The Increased Powers and Faculties of the Mind in a Future State

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 15, 1854.

I feel grateful to my heavenly Father this afternoon for the privilege of meeting with the Saints in this Tabernacle; and feel thankful also for the privilege of rising in this stand, for the purpose of speaking to you upon such subjects as may be presented to my mind.

I, however, realize sometimes, more than at others, the necessity of having the gift of the Holy Spirit resting upon me in order to instruct and teach the people; for that is the only object of speaking and hearing in a place like this. We speak for the purpose of conveying to others the ideas that are contained within our own minds; or such ideas as God may condescend to put into our hearts; the people listen for the purpose of receiving the ideas that may be advanced, in hope that their minds will be enlarged and instructed, through the speaker. If I know my own heart, it is my desire when I rise before an assembly to communicate something that shall be instructing to the minds of the people; and in order to do this, I am perhaps as well aware as any other person living, of the necessity of having that Spirit that is able to give truth to the mind—that Spirit that is able to inspire the heart in the very moment with the words and ideas calculated to benefit the people. Indeed this is the promise of the Lord to His servants; they are not to take any thought beforehand concerning the words and ideas they shall utter before a congregation; it is true they are commanded, in the revelations which God has given, to treasure up in their minds continually the words of life.

Why is it that we are required, as the servants of God, to treasure up in our minds the words of life? It is in order that we may have a store of knowledge and information—it is in order that we may understand true principles—true doctrine, upon all subjects that pertain to the welfare of man, that the mind being filled with understanding, light, knowledge, truth, theory, and with a knowledge of things God has revealed, may be able to communicate at the very moment that part or portion of the same which God shall be pleased to impart to the congregation, suited to their capacity and circumstances; this is not taking thought beforehand what we shall say. If we should treasure up the words that God has revealed—that are written in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and in the various revelations that God has given in latter times (I mean the printed and written ones), together with what he has revealed in ancient times; if we should get it all imprinted upon the tablet of our minds, it would not be taking thought beforehand what we should say.

When we arise to speak before a congregation, if we place our dependence upon God to inspire us with the Holy Spirit, to bring forth not only the knowledge and information in regard to things that are written, and things that have been revealed, but to communicate new ideas, instructions, and information by the power of the Holy Ghost, we shall thus be able to edify.

Sometimes when I arise before a congregation of the Saints, here in the Valleys of the Mountains, I look at myself naturally, and think over naturally in my own mind, How can I edify this people? What can I say to them that has not already been said? This is a weakness in human nature. These meditations and reflections ought not to have any bearing upon the mind; God has wisdom sufficient; He has knowledge sufficient, and understanding, and light, and truth to communicate something for the benefit of the people, though they may have been instructed for a long period, and been well informed in doctrine and principles. Some times the Lord does not see proper to impart any new ideas to the speaker, but rather to influence his mind to dwell upon old things, or in other words, that which has already been made manifest, for the purpose of communicating more clearly, or impressing upon the mind more forcibly, the importance of attending to that which has already been spoken and revealed.

We are only sojourners here, stopping here for a short period of time, and while we are here we often meet together. What for? To learn something that is calculated to benefit us temporally or spiritually. Indeed everything with which we are surrounded, every circumstance that we may be placed in, everything with which we have to do, if properly used, is calculated to benefit the mind of man. That is the object of all the works of God, to benefit living beings—beings that are capable of being made happy—capable of receiving joy and peace, all His works from the beginning to the end (if there be any beginning or end, which we doubt very much), are calculated in their nature to render happy, living, intelligent beings. That is the reason we are here—the reason we have come from distant countries, from foreign lands, and congregated in these valleys; it is in order that we may be more happy, and more fitted to gain that experience that is calculated to make us more happy. We are looking forward to a time when we shall be exceedingly happy; that is natural to the mind of man; it is on the stretch looking forward to the period when it shall be far more happy than at present. We are inquiring how, and by what means, or by what course of conduct, we can make ourselves more happy than at the present time. Some people pursue one course and some another; mankind have their various paths, walks, and courses, there are almost as many courses as there are people upon the face of the earth; and they are traveling in these paths and roads: each one seeking his own happiness, and perhaps, in few instances, the happiness of some others. Some take a road of sin and wickedness to secure happiness, but, in the end, they will find themselves literally disappointed. In traveling these great variety of paths, they find that it does not produce the result they hoped for—it does not bring happiness, nor give to them joy. There is something, connected with the travels of the people, and the courses that they mark out for themselves, that is calculated very frequently to leave a bitter sting upon the consciences. They suppose they can be happy in pursuing a certain course, but they find themselves miserably disappointed.

The Lord is gathering His Saints into this valley in order to instruct them how to be happy; that is the ultimate object and aim He has in view. He desires us to be well instructed, and to have the straight and narrow path laid out plain before us, showing us, from time to time, what steps are necessary to be taken, that will lead to the greatest amount of happiness; and if we follow them and continue in the path, we shall find that our light will grow brighter and brighter, our happiness greater and greater, and our joys will become more and more intense, until, in the eternal world we shall be swallowed up, as it were, with a fulness of joy—a fulness of happiness.

We are all the time, as I have already observed, looking forward to something ahead of our present condition, to something that is future.

We believe in a future state; it is a kind of natural instinct in the mind of man, to believe in a never-ending hereafter. When he lays down his mortal body in the silent tomb, and it crumbles back to its mother earth, he does not believe that the destruction of the mortal body, is the last of the being called man; he believes that there is something there besides the tabernacle of flesh, that will live, move, and have a being forever. Furthermore, when we reflect more fully upon this subject, we believe that the something which dwells in this flesh and bones, is the only being that is capable of being made happy.

We have often been told this, from this stand; and it has often been told, among the congregations of the Saints abroad, that it is the spirit of man, and not the mortal tabernacle, that enjoys, that suffers, that has pleasure and pain. But the mortal tabernacle is so closely connected with the spirit of man, and we have so long been in the habit of associating the pains and pleasures of the spirit with what is termed the pains and pleasures of the body, that we have almost worked ourselves into the belief that it is actually the body that suffers pain, and enjoys pleasure; but this is not the case; the body, so far as we know, is incapable of feeling; it is naturally incapable of it; it is only the spirit, that dwells within the body, that feels. However severely the body may be injured, it is not the body that discerns that injury, but the spirit, within the body, that discerns it. [The speaker here asked a blessing on the cup.] We were speaking concerning that being that we call ourselves, that dwells in this mortal tabernacle of flesh and bones. We were observing that so intimately are the body and spirit connected together, that we have become habituated to term the pleasures and pains that we experience, the pleasures and pains of the body; but this is not the case; the body of flesh and bones, when the spirit has left it, is incapable of any sensation whatever; it does not form any portion of that identity that belongs to ourselves as spirits; we are not aware of its pleasures or its pains; for it has neither; but we are aware that if our mortal tabernacle is injured or infringed upon, the spirit within is troubled and pained; but we have become habituated to call this the pain of the body.

I make these remarks in order to extend our ideas beyond this state of existence.

If the spirit while in the body is capable of suffering, of being acted upon from without the body, and of experiencing diverse sensation, if it is capable of intense joy, or intense grief, may we not suppose that when it is freed from the body, when the animal tabernacle is fallen into the dust, and returns to its former earth, the same spirit, unclothed and unshielded, standing naked, as it were, before God, and before the elements that He has made, will be acted upon then, more or less, by these same elements; and that the same spirit that is capable of suffering here, will be capable of far more intense suffering hereafter; the same spirit that is capable of great joy here, will be capable of far more intense joy and pleasure hereafter; and the same things of an external nature that are capable of producing intense pain here, are, under certain circumstances, capable of producing a hundredfold more pain hereafter? If this be the case, how important it is that we should take that course that the spirit may, in its future state of existence, be placed under circumstances where we can obtain the pleasure, joy, and happiness, and escape the pains, evils, and bitterness of misery, to which some spirits will be exposed.

Perhaps there may be in the future state a difference, a vast difference, in some respects, in the reflection of pain upon the spirit from what there is here; and in other respects there may be a similarity. There are many things connected with the spirit of man, in the intermediate state, that we do not know anything about; and then there are other things that we do know, so far as they are revealed, and no further; and then there are other things connected with the spirit of man between death and the resurrection that we may believe, but not have a certain knowledge of, but believe that such and such will be the case from analogy, from reason, from the nature of things. There has been but a little revealed to man on the subject of the intermediate state of the spirit, after it leaves this mortal tabernacle.

We are told in the Book of Mormon that the spirits of all men, as soon as they leave this mortal body, and return home to that God who gave them life, whether they be wicked or whether they be righteous, go back to where they once were; they return to their former state, to their former location and residence; they appear in the presence of the Being that gave them life.

What further are we told on the subject? That after we get back into the presence of God, and return home again, then it shall come to pass that the spirits of the righteous, those who have done good, those who have wrought the works of righteousness here upon the earth, shall be received into a state of rest, a state of happiness, of peace, a state of joy, where they will remain until the time of the resurrection. We are also told that another portion of spirits, another class of them that return home to God, after leaving this mortal tabernacle, are cast out, are sent off again, and are not permitted to stay at home, but are cast out into outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Now there must be some intense suffering, some intense misery in connection with the wicked class of spirits in order to cause them to weep and to wail.

We might now inquire, what is the cause of this intense suffering and misery? Is it the action of the elements upon the spirit? Is it the materials of nature, operating from without upon it, that causes this distress, this weeping, wailing, mourning, and lamentation? It may be in some measure; it may help to produce the misery and the wretchedness; but there is something connected with the spirit itself that no doubt produces this weeping, wailing, and mourning. What is this something? It is memory, and remorse of conscience; a memory of what they have once done, a memory of their disobedience. Do you not suppose the spirits can have power to remember in that world as well as in this? Yes, they certainly can. Have you never read in the Book of Mormon, where it informs us, that every act of our lives will be fresh upon the memory, and we shall have a clear consciousness of all our doings in this life? Yes; we have read that in the Book of Mormon—“a clear consciousness.”

We read or learn a thing by observation yesterday, and today or tomorrow it is gone, unless it be something that impresses us distinctly, that makes a vivid impression upon the mind, that we can remember it perhaps for days, months, and years; but common information and knowledge are constantly coming into our minds, and as constantly being forgotten. And some of the knowledge we receive here at one time becomes so completely obliterated, through the weakness of the animal system, that we cannot call it to mind, no association of ideas will again suggest it to our minds; it is gone, erased, eradicated from the tablet of our memories. This is not owing to the want of capacity in the spirit; no, but the spirit has a full capacity to remember; for do you sup pose that God in begetting spirits in the eternal world would beget an imperfect thing, that had no capacities? No. The Being, who is full of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom, and acting upon the great principles that are ordained for the generation of living beings, spiritual beings, brings them forth with capacities capable of being enlarged or extended wider and wider; consequently it is not the want of capacity in the spirit of man that causes him to forget the knowledge he may have learned yesterday; but it is because of the imperfection of the tabernacle in which the spirit dwells; because there is imperfection in the organization of the flesh and bones, and in things pertaining to the tabernacle; it is this that erases from our memory many things that would be useful; we cannot retain them in our minds, they are gone into oblivion. It is not so with the spirit when it is released from this tabernacle.

I might refer to the words of many of the Prophets upon this subject, but every person of reflection and observation knows that the imperfection of the tabernacle does have a bearing upon the memory, as well upon other faculties and powers of man. It has been proved that when the skull has been depressed by accident, or in the way of experiment, every particle of the knowledge that the person has possessed has been entirely suspended. Relieving the skull from the pressure, things come fresh again into the mind; this shows that the spirit has not lost its capacity for memory, but it is the organization of the tabernacle that prevents it from remembering. Wait until these mortal bodies are laid in the tomb; when we return home to God who gave us life; then is the time we shall have the most vivid knowledge of all the past acts of our lives during our probationary state; then is the time that we will find that this being we call man—this spirit that dwells within the tabernacle, is a being that has capacity sufficient to retain all its past doings, whether they be good or bad.

It is, then, this memory that will produce the suffering and the pains upon that class of spirits whose works have been wicked and abominable in the sight of God. A spirit, then, will remember, that “at such a time in yonder world, and at such a place, I disobeyed the commandments of God; I did not hearken to the counsel of those whom God had appointed to be my counselors; I did not give heed to the man of God; no: but I rejected his sayings; good counsel was imparted to me, but I did not heed it.” In this life, things that may have been erased from your memory for years will be presented before you with all the vividness as if they had just taken place. This will be like a worm upon the conscience; it will prey upon the spirit, and produce unhappiness, wretchedness, and misery. This will cause you to lament, and mourn, and weep after you are cast out from the presence of God—from the home to which you have returned.

I am speaking now of the wicked. What is it that produces the opposite principle? There is an opposition in all things; it is the reflection of the memory that produces joy; that is one of the elements by which joy and happiness are produced upon the spirit of man in the future state; we remember the acts of our past lives that they have been good; we perceive by our memories that we have been obedient to counsel; we perceive that when we have erred through our weakness we have repented of that error; when we have been told of a fault we have forsaken it. When we look back upon acquaintances and neighbors we perceive that we have observed the golden rule, to do unto others as we would that others should do unto us. We look back upon our past lives, and we perceive we have never spoken evil against a brother or sister, that we have never striven to stir up family broils, and that we have never desired to injure any of the children of men; male or female. What do these reflections produce? They produce joy, satisfaction, peace, consolation, and this joy is a hundredfold more intense than what the spirit is capable of perceiving or enjoying in this life. Why? Because just in proportion to the vividness of the conscience, or the memory, so will be the joy. This you may have knowledge of by everyday experience; just in proportion to the vividness of your ideas, and of the truth set before your minds, and of the good things that are imparted to you, the more intense is your happiness here; how much more intense would it be hereafter, when this mortal clog with all its imperfections has been laid down in the grave! The fact is, our spirits then will be happy, far more happy than what we are capable even of conceiving, or having the least idea of in this world.

Our happiness here is regulated in a great measure by external objects, by the organization of the mortal tabernacle; they are not permitted to rise very high, or to become very great; on the other hand it seems to be a kind of limit to our joys and pleasures, sufferings, and pains, and this is because of the imperfection of the tabernacle in which we dwell; and of those things with which we are surrounded; but in that life everything will appear in its true colors; in my estimation not a single thought of the heart, that has ever passed through the mind, not a single act of an individual, from the earliest period of its memory till the time it comes into the presence of God, will escape the notice of the memory when it appears there, unclogged from this tabernacle.

Are there any other circumstances that will produce pain or joy, besides that which is connected with the spirit—besides its own conscience or memory? Yes, a great deal will depend upon the place of the residence of these spirits. Suppose you were a righteous spirit, and you were cast out to dwell a certain time; not cast out, but sent out, on a mission to the abodes of darkness, or to those who are not as righteous as yourselves; though you might have peace of conscience and happiness dwelling within your own bosoms in reflecting upon your past conduct, yet the society with which you are compelled to mingle for a short period, in order to impart knowledge and wisdom and such information as is calculated to benefit them, is, in a measure, disagreeable; you are compelled, for a season, to mingle with those who are inferior to yourself in their capacities. When you go and associate with them there is something disagreeable in the nature of this association; you feel to pity them in their ignorance, in their condition and circumstances; their conversation is not agreeable to you as that of your own associates in the presence of God. There is something that is calculated to render their society disagreeable to themselves, which increases as the degradation of the society is increased. Then a wicked man entering into the company of such beings has not only a hell within himself—a conscience gnawing like a worm, but he sees misery and wretchedness; and they cleave one to another in their wickedness, and in their conversation, and acts, and doings, and intercourse with each other; all these things are calculated in their nature to produce misery and wretchedness, as well as their own consciences. It should then be our constant study to escape this order of things. We are free and independent; it is all in our hands whether to escape this order of wretchedness and misery, and the abodes of the wicked in the spiritual world; we can dwell in the society of the righteous, or in the society of the wicked, just as we choose. As the revelation states, all intelligence and all truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it to act for itself, consequently you and I are the ones to make ourselves happy by taking the course pointed out by our superiors, by those who have a right to teach, control, and direct us. It is for us to create a heaven within our own minds. It is for us to choose the place of our abode, either among the spirits of the just or the spirits of the damned.

We have spoken of the memory of spirits in the future state; the same principle will apply to many other faculties of the mind of man, as well as memory; knowledge for instance. How limited, how very limited, in its nature is the knowledge of man in this life. Why is it that our knowledge is so limited? I say limited, compared with that which is to be known, and which will be known. The reason is, God has seen proper in His infinite wisdom to place us in circumstances where we can learn the very first elements of knowledge, and act upon them in the first place. Instead of having the whole of the rich treasures of knowledge and wisdom unfolded to us at once, He begins to feed us little by little, the same as you would feed a weakly, sickly infant with food prepared and adapted to its taste, and to the weakness of its system. The Lord brings us in this state under similar circumstances, endowed with certain senses by which we can gain, by little and little, knowledge and information; but it takes a long time to get a little into our minds. It seems that our spirits, that once stood in the presence of God, clothed with power, capacities, wisdom, and knowledge, forget what they once knew—forget that which was once fresh in their minds.

But, inquires one, “Do you have an idea we had once much information and knowledge in the spirit world?” Yes, we had a great deal of knowledge and information, but to what extent I know not; suffice to say we had much knowledge, we were capable, when the morning stars sang together for joy, when the foundations of this earth were laid, of lifting up our voices and shouting aloud for joy. What produced this joy? The contemplation of a world on which we were to receive our probation, and have tabernacles of flesh and bones and obtain our redemption. All these things were known to us in our anterior state, but we have forgotten them all. We knew then about the Redeemer—about Christ, but we forgot it in our infantile moments.

As soon as our spirits were enclosed in this tabernacle all our former knowledge vanished away—the knowledge of our former acts was lost, what we did then we know not; we had laws to govern us; how obedient to them we were we know not; how faithful we were we know not, we had a contest with the one-third part of the hosts of heaven, and we overcame them; and then the Lord made an earth where we might have a second probation, and forget all we once knew concerning the battles we had fought, before we came here, against Lucifer the son of the morning. We forget about the laws that were given to govern us in that spiritual state. Why all this? If we came here with all the knowledge we formerly possessed, could we be again tried as those who possess only the first principles of knowledge? We must begin at the alphabet of knowledge; and when once we begin to gain knowledge and information the Lord tries us to see if we will comply with that, and if we do, He gives us more, in this probationary state; but after we have gained all we can here, it is nothing com pared with that immense fulness, which it is the privilege of the children of men to obtain in the future state of existence.

Our knowledge here is, comparatively speaking, nothing; it can hardly be reckoned the elements of knowledge. What few glimmering ideas the wisest of us get, we obtain by experience, through the medium of our senses, and the reflecting powers of the mind.

Some people suppose that we do not acquire scarcely any knowledge, only what we get by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling; we may not, in one sense of the word, but in another sense there is a vast amount of knowledge which we gain by reflection; the solving of mathematical problems from beginning to end is not brought about by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling, unless the mind can feel them; we reason from one step to another until we solve the proposition. There is a vast field of knowledge, pertaining to this state, that mankind can gain through the medium of their reflecting or reasoning powers; and then there is another vast field that they can explore through the medium of their senses. I am now speaking of temporal knowledge.

We became acquainted with light and color through the organization of our bodies. In other words the Lord has constructed the mortal eye and framed it in such a manner that it is capable of being acted upon by one of the elements of nature, called light; and that gives us a great variety of knowledge. A blind man knows nothing about light, as we were told here the other day by our President, the blind man knows nothing about light if he were born blind. You cannot, by talking with him for a thousand years, instil into his mind an idea what red, yellow, white, black, green, blue are like; they are ideas that have never entered into his mind. Why? Because the little inlet to this kind of knowledge is closed up, and there is no other part of the spirit exposed to the light. It is only a small place by which the spirit can converse with light and its colors. Just so in regard to many other ideas.

Take a man who is perfectly deaf, who was born deaf, so that no sound has ever entered his ears; what does he know about music? About the various sounds that are so beautiful to the mind of man? He knows nothing at all about it, neither can it be described to him.

A man that has always been deprived of the organ of smell, has no other inlet of knowledge by which he can know and understand the nature of smell; he cannot see a smell, or hear a smell; it can only be perceived by this little organ called the nose; that is the only way these ideas can get to the spirit. If he ever knew them before he came here, he has forgotten them, which is the same as if he had never known them; and if he wishes to gain an idea of the sensations produced by the elements of nature, he must learn them anew by these media. If a man be devoid of taste what can he know about sweet and sour? You might as well talk to him about the bounds of time and space, and get him to comprehend a heaven located beyond their limits, as to comprehend what sweet and bitter are, or tell the difference between a piece of sugar and vinegar, so far as its taste is concerned.

So with regard to touch. There are many things we cannot feel, yet we have knowledge of them; we cannot feel the sun, moon, stars, and comets, and many other things; and if it were not for some senses that give a knowledge of them we should be wrapped in total ignorance concerning them. How do we know, when this spirit is freed from this mortal tabernacle, but that all these senses will be greatly enlarged? If we, by looking through these little eyes of ours, can see objects some thousands of millions of miles distant; if we can see objects that are existing at that immense distance through the medium of these little inlets; suppose that the whole spirit were uncovered and exposed to all the rays of light, can it be supposed that light would not affect the spirit if it were thus unshielded, uncovered, and unclothed? Do you suppose that it would not be susceptible of any impressions made by the elements of light? The spirit is inherently capable of experiencing the sensations of light; if it were not so, we could not see. You might form as fine an eye as ever was made, but if the spirit, in and of itself, were not capable of being acted upon by the rays of light, an eye would be of no benefit. Then unclothe the spirit and instead of exposing a small portion of it about the size of a pea to the action of the rays of light, the whole of it would be exposed. I think we could then see in different directions at once, instead of looking in one particular direction; we could then look all around us at the same instant. We can see this verified, in some small degree, by bringing to our aid artificial means. Look at the telescopes invented, of what advantage are they? Why, they bring a greater number of rays of light together, and concentrate them upon the retina of the eye. The glasses within the telescope are so constructed as to bring the rays of light to a focus; and when they are placed properly in that instrument it brings a larger number of rays upon the eye, so that it brings objects we cannot see with the natural eye within the power of our vision, thus we are enabled to see many glorious objects in the heavens, that the natural eye could never have gazed upon.

Let the spirit itself be a telescope; or in other words, let there be a million of times more of the surface of the spirit exposed to the rays of light, than is now exposed through the medium of the eyes, or were this body of flesh and bones taken off, and the whole spirit exposed to the rays of light; would not these rays produce an effect upon the spirit? Yes; inasmuch as it is inherently capable of such effects, independent of flesh and bones. Then there would be a vast field opened to the view of the spirit, and this would be opened not in one direction only, but in all directions; we should then have the advantage of the telescope, though it were as large as Lord Ross’, whose object glass is six feet in diameter. What great improvement it would be if a telescope could be invented, to bring the rays of light on other parts of the spirit, besides the eye. Such will be the case when this tabernacle is taken off; we shall look, not in one direction only, but in every direction. This will be calculated to give us new ideas, concerning the immensity of the creations of God, concerning worlds that may be far beyond the reach of the most powerful instruments that have been called to the aid of man. This will give us information and knowledge we never can know as long as we dwell in this mortal tabernacle. This tabernacle, although it is good in its place, is something like the scaffolding you see round about a new building that is going up; it is only a help, an aid in this imperfect situation; but when we get into another condition, we shall find that these imperfect aids will not be particularly wanted; we shall have other sources of gaining knowledge, besides these inlets, called senses.

In relation to this matter, touching the extension of our knowledge year after year, some people have thought that we should have to learn every thing by study. I do not believe it; there are a great many ways of learning things without reasoning or studying them out; without obtaining them through the medium of the five senses. Man will be endowed, after he leaves this tabernacle, with powers and faculties which he, now, has no knowledge of, by which he may learn what is round about him. In order to prove this, let me refer you to some things in some of the revelations which God has given. What is said about the brother of Jared? It is said that the Lord showed him all the children of men previous to his day, and all that were on earth at the time he lived, and all that would be to the end of time. How do you suppose he beheld them? Did he look at them with his natural eyes? How long do you suppose it would take a man to see all that are now living, if he only employed one second to look at each individual? It would take him a long time; it would take him over thirty years. In order to see them all, he must place his eye upon them all. If a man look at one individual in this assembly, though he may indistinctly perceive, on each side of that individual, a vast variety of faces, yet there is only one person that he sees distinctly; the rest only produce very indistinct images upon his vision. So with the brother of Jared; if he had looked at each individual of all the generations for one second successively, it would have taken him over three thousand years to have beheld them all.

There must be some faculty or power natural to God and to superior beings, that man, in this life, is not in possession of in any great degree, by which they can look at a great variety of objects at once. The brother of Jared could look upon past, present, and future generations; they all came before him, and he gazed upon them all; there was not a soul that he did not behold.

Moses also had a similar view; he, at a certain time, was clothed upon with the glory of God; and while he was thus clothed upon, he was enabled to behold many things; and seeing some things that looked very glorious, he wanted to see more; but the Lord said unto him. “No man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh;” that is, it would consume him; the sight would be so overwhelming that the mortal tabernacle would melt away. Should a mortal man be permitted to gaze upon all the works of God, which include all His glory; mortality could not endure it. But the Lord did condescend to give him, in a measure, the same principle that He Himself is in possession of; for the Lord beholds all His works. He says, “Mine eye can pierce them all,” after telling us that the number of worlds were greater than the number of particles in millions of earths like this. Jesus says that he “looked forth upon the wide expanse of eternity,” and that “all things are present before mine eyes.”

Now, the Lord imparted a portion of this principle to Moses. Let us see how it operated on his vision. As soon as Moses got this new principle, not natural to man, what did he behold? He looked upon that which mankind never can look upon in this natural state, without the aid of the same principle; he beheld every particle of the earth, or, as the new revelation says, and there was not a particle of it that he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. What an excellent telescope! Did the Spirit of God impress it by the rays of light upon the retina of the eye only? No: the vision was exhibited to the mind, independent of the natural eye. Instead of acting upon the mere eye, every part of the human spirit could behold and discern, through the medium of that all powerful substance—the Spirit of God, every particle of this earth. How long would it have taken Moses to have gazed at each particle separately, with the natural eye? While he was gazing with the eye at one, he could not be looking directly at another. It would have taken him a great many millions of years to have gazed directly and distinctly upon every particle of the earth, as we naturally see things in succession. But, instead of this, we find him, in a short space of time, perhaps the interval was only a few minutes or hours, gazing upon every particle of it. Here was something new, and independent of the natural vision, showing him things beneath the surface of the earth. Men look at things above the surface by the natural eye; but here is a man who, by the power of heaven, is enabled to penetrate that which the natural eye could never behold. Suppose that the spirit of man were unclogged from this mortal tabernacle, the Lord could show him the particles of million on millions of worlds, in the same way, and with the same ease, that he showed Moses the particles of one.

By the same power and principle that Moses beheld every particle of this earth, he could have looked at the moon, and beheld every particle of it; and the same power could have shown him every particle of the sun, planets, comets, and fixed stars.

Here, then, is a new faculty of knowledge, very extended in its nature, that is calculated to throw a vast amount of information upon the mind of man, almost in the twinkling of an eye. How long a time would it take a man in the next world, if he had to gain knowledge as we do here, to find out the simplest things in nature? He might reason, and reason for thousands of years, and then hardly have got started. But when this Spirit of God, this great telescope that is used in the celestial heavens, is given to man, and he, through the aid of it, gazes upon eternal things, what does he behold? Not one object at a time, but a vast multitude of objects rush before his vision, and are present before his mind, filling him in a moment with the knowledge of worlds more numerous than the sands of the seashore. Will he be able to bear it? Yes, his mind is strengthened in proportion to the amount of information imparted. It is this tabernacle, in its present condition, that prevents us from a more enlarged understanding. Moses understood all he saw, so far as the Lord pleased to show him; and if the Lord showed him all the properties, qualities, and connections of those particles, he would have understood it.

There is a faculty mentioned in the word of God, which we are not in possession of here, but we shall possess it hereafter; that is not only to see a vast number of things in the same moment, looking in all directions by the aid of the Spirit, but also to obtain a vast number of ideas at the same instant. Here, we have to confine ourselves in a little, narrow, contracted space, and we can hardly think of two things at a time; if we do, our minds are distracted, and we cannot think distinctly. Some, by habit, it is true, are able to think of two or three little things at once, or at least the interval between the successive thoughts is so small as to be inappreciable. Some people play on an instrument of music, and may go through a very difficult performance, while their minds are thinking of something else; and by habit, they hardly perceive the working of the musical instrument.

I believe we shall be freed, in the next world, in a great measure, from these narrow, contracted methods of thinking. Instead of thinking in one channel, and following up one certain course of reasoning to find a certain truth, knowledge will rush in from all quarters; it will come in like the light which flows from the sun, penetrating every part, informing the spirit, and giving understanding concerning ten thousand things at the same time; and the mind will be capable of receiving and retaining all.

Says one, “Shall we have all knowledge?” I have nothing to say about that; that is a matter that you must look to our President for information upon; he is the one to hear upon that subject; and we should not teach anything, when we once ascertain his real mind, that will come in contact with his teachings. I do not know that I have this day presented any views that are different from his: if I have, when he corrects me, I will remain silent upon the subject, if I do not understand it as he does. So with regard to any other principle whatever which I may teach. God has placed him as the President of this Church, as our leader, guide, and teacher, and we are bound not to come in contact with him—not to teach differently to what he does; that is, when we once ascertain fully his mind and views. But, very frequently, mankind are so imperfect, and their minds so contracted, and their knowledge so little, comparatively speaking, that they may throw out many ideas that may not be true, that are incorrect; but the Lord has appointed these that hold the keys, to correct and give us instructions on all principles of doctrine; and as often as they see proper to turn the keys and unlock to their own minds these principles, they can do so. It is not always wisdom to use the keys of knowledge and revelation upon trifling subjects. There may also be many subjects that it is not wisdom for us to understand and receive at present. There may be many items of knowledge in the bosom of God, in the eternal worlds, that He does not see proper to reveal to us, while in our mortal state; consequently, people may differ with regard to their views of those things not revealed, and which they do not understand. In many of my remarks and teachings, I may have laid before you ideas, which, when you come to learn the President’s mind upon them, may be declared erroneous and not sound doctrine. I may have done the same things in many of my writings; but in all points of doctrine, relating to the plan of salvation, and the redemption of man, so far as I understood it, I have endeavored to write that which I, at the time, verily believed to be true. Some of those things may be wrong; I do not say that I am capable, without direct revelation, of writing upon many intricate points, with the same degree of perfection and precision as one who writes only as he is inspired. But I do feel thankful to that God who has placed us in these Valleys of the Mountains, that He has ordained keys by which knowledge and information may be poured down from the great fountain, until we gain all that is necessary for us to know in this state: and I do look forward with great rejoicing at the prospects of the future.

When I speak of the future state of man, and the situation of our spirits between death and the resurrection, I long for the experience and knowledge to be gained in that state, as well as this. We shall learn many more things there; we need not suppose our five senses connect us with all the things of heaven, and earth, and eternity, and space; we need not think that we are conversant with all the elements of nature, through the medium of the senses God has given us here. Suppose He should give us a sixth sense, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth, or a fiftieth. All these different senses would convey to us new ideas, as much so as the senses of tasting, smelling, or seeing communicate different ideas from that of hearing.

Do we suppose the five senses of man converse with all the elements of nature? No. There is a principle called magnetism; we see its effects, but the name of the thing does not give us a knowledge of its nature, or of the manner in which the effects are produced. We know not why a piece of iron will turn towards a magnet this way or that. Now, suppose we had a sixth sense that was so adapted as to perceive this very thing, we should learn some new ideas, connected with the elements of nature, besides those we have learned by the five senses we already possess. I believe there are ten thousand things with which we are surrounded, that we know nothing about by our present natural senses. When the Lord imparts to us a principle by which we can look upon the past and future, as well as the present—by which we can look upon many intricate objects of nature which are now hidden from our view, we shall find our capacity for obtaining and retaining knowledge to be greatly enlarged.

We already have the capacity, and all it wants is to bring things into a situation to act upon it. The capacity is here; and when the Lord sees fit, it will be instructed and taught, and things will be unveiled—even the things of God, and the laws that have been hidden concerning the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial worlds, and concerning all the variety of things that are organized in the immensity of space, so far as the Lord sees proper to unfold them; and we shall learn more and more of them until the perfect day, as the Lord places us in circumstances to become acquainted with them.

I have dwelt upon this subject in order that we may be looking forward with joyful anticipations to the future. I am constantly looking to the future, as well as to the present, and trying to frame my present course of conduct in such a way as shall enable me to attain to that which is in the future for the faithful. If I had no knowledge or understanding of the future, it would be like a person pursuing a phantom that he did not know was of any worth; but the more know ledge we get of the future, the more we impress it upon our minds and in our thoughts, the more we will be stirred up in our exertions to do that which concerns us at the present moment, knowing that it has an all-important bearing upon the future.

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund—Emigration of the Saints and the Nations

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 7, 1854.

We will bring up the subject upon which others have spoken, and that which more immediately concerns us, viz.: the Perpetual Emigrating Fund. What is it? For what was it established? What are your duties in regard to this Fund, and in relation to your fellow beings, your brethren and sisters, and their families that are scattered abroad in the midst of those wretched, wicked, and abominable governments?

We have already been informed, and taught from this stand, by those who are filled with the Holy Ghost, by those who are filled with the inspiration of the Almighty, setting forth the necessity and importance of being awake in regard to the condition of the Saints that are scattered abroad. We are apt to forget the things we ought to do, though they are told to us in plainness. We think in our hearts—“Well, we will go and do as we have been told; it looks beautiful and very consistent; it seems to be the very law by which we should be governed; and when we go from this Conference, we will make all the necessary arrangements to fulfil and comply with this law, and hearken to the counsels and instructions that have been given;” but straightway, as you go out of the Tabernacle, and get out of the voice of the servants of God, the devil comes along, and begins to whisper in your ears, and tells you to be a little selfish, saying, “Look out more for yourselves, for your wives, and for your children; they may go hungry, they may want food, and houses, and ten thousand other things, and unless you put forth your hands, and exert your energies to provide for them, they may be brought into great suffering; and again, perhaps there may be some great trials ahead of the Saints, there may be pinching times; it would be well for you to look out a little, and be prepared against these times of trial,” &c. And thus the good word that is sown in your hearts by the Holy Spirit begins to be caught away, one principle after another, until finally selfishness has full control over your movements, and it is the last thing you think of to do unto others as you would have others do unto you under the same circumstances.

The Lord is going to gather His Saints, and we are already gathered, a great host of us, into this territory; but let me tell you this is hardly a beginning; many nations are yet to be gathered unto the name of the Lord of Hosts, unto Mount Zion, where they can be taught in the ways of the Lord, and be instructed to walk in His paths, and understand the principles of true government, and their duties towards one another, and towards the God whom they profess to worship and serve. Nations, not a few, are to be gathered, and to go up for that purpose.

This is just laying the foundation; it is a little nucleus, and a few thou sands are gathering to it year after year; but the work that is now commenced will increase, and continue to increase; like the stone that was hewn out of the mountain. In the first place, the stone taken out of the mountain is much smaller than the mountain, but finally it increases to that magnitude that it begins to be a great mountain, not merely to fill one small territory, but as Daniel said, “it became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Very well, then, the Saints are to be gathered, and they are to come not only by thousands, but tens of thousands, scores of thousands, and hundreds of thousands are to be assembled from among the nations. How is this to be brought about? Through the servants of the living God. This is what the Lord told us before one Saint was gathered. In a revelation, given in the presence of six Elders, in Sept. 1830, the Lord says, “Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land.”

That is the decree that has gone forth; it is ordained in the heavens, and it will come to pass. As the Saints have already been gathered here unto this territory, even so will it continue to be fulfilled until the last of the elect of God are assembled from the four corners of the earth.

The servants of God are the ones that are called to bring to pass this work, says the revelation. In obedience to this declaration, and in fulfillment of this prophecy, the Holy Ghost wrought upon the heart of our President, to establish a fund—a Perpetual Emigrating Fund, to bring about this great work; he laid the foundation of it; he proposed it to the people, and explained the nature of it—how it was to be used, how it was to be controlled, and how it should be made lasting and perpetual in its nature, to accomplish the design of the Almighty in gathering His elect from the four winds of heaven. Shall we, then, as Saints of the Most High, come here and sit down in our fine habitations, and upon our farms and inheritances, and let this great work of the last days come to naught through our carelessness and indifference? No, brethren; let it not be recorded in the archives of the eternal world that we will thus do, when our brethren have stretched out their hands to help us to this place. Let not the news fly to eternal worlds that we are not willing to do to our brethren scattered abroad, as they have been willing to do to us, when we were in a scattered condition.

I do not know what more can be said, than what other speakers have already said upon this subject. Our President said he would be glad to have some six discourses, each six hours long, preached to the people upon the subject of doing their duty unto others in regard to this Fund. And I have no doubt he included every other duty between man and man, so far as it could be done in that short period of time, for thirty-six hours would not begin to be time enough for a man to tell the people all their duties. Many people think that all the duties of man are recorded in the Bible; that idea is held by many of the sectarian world; they think this book contains all the duties in regard to the relationships between man and man, and that it is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, and enough to govern them in all their dealings with each other, and in their duties towards their God.

Let me tell you, if any one man’s duties (if he lived to be an old man) were clearly written, and foretold before he was born, it would take a larger volume than the Bible to contain them all; and when we consider the thousands and millions of human beings that are on the earth now, and the millions that have dropped into their graves in ages past, it is absurd to suppose that one such volume could point out all their duties, even if they all could have been foretold by the spirit of prophecy.

For instance, the duties of today, if written, would require something like one page; and as every day’s duties would be different the one from the other, it would require three hundred and sixty-five pages in one year, which in seventy years would amount to upwards of twenty-five thousand pages, which would have to be recorded to point out the duties of one individual towards his fellow man. Think not, then, that six discourses each, only six hours long, could make known to you the whole of your duties towards each other through life.

This is reason why the Lord has appointed a living Priesthood on the earth; why He has sent down the Holy Ghost from heaven, why it enters the heart of man, and inspires him with knowledge and information concerning his own duties, and the duties of others also, that he may impart to them, week after week, and from one meeting to another, in public and in private, before large assemblies and in the family circle, every principle and duty that is necessary to be known; that his family, his wives and his children, and the Church of God at large may be taught by the Holy Ghost—the Comforter that guides into all truth; it is that power that instructs men in regard to all their duties.

Then let not the immigrants—the Saints that have come into this territory in former years, as well as those who have come here the present year, be asleep upon this subject, but awake from a deep sleep. You know what the parable says, on the subject of the kingdom of God in the last days, comparing it to ten virgins, that took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. They did not stay abroad among the nations. “Then,” says Jesus, “the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins.” Not the kingdom he built up in his own day, and in the days of his Apostles, who were with him in the flesh; but “then;” having reference to what was previously spoken in the foregoing verses, concerning his second coming in the clouds of heaven in power and great glory. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth from among the nations; some took oil in their lamps, and some did not, but let their lamps go out, only having barely lighted up their wicks a little, which contained no oil to feed the flame; and they all slumbered and slept; but by and by, about midnight, when they were all in a sound slumber, a cry is heard, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.” That waked them all up.

Now it would be much better for us to wake up before the midnight cry is sounded in our ears. We gathered here and brought lamps with us, have we got oil in them? Are we doing the things God requires at our hands? Are we doing unto others that we would have others do to us under the same circumstances? If you want to know just precisely your duties towards your fellow man, always ask yourselves this question—“If I were placed in that man’s or in that woman’s condition, how should I desire that they should do unto me?” And whatsoever you would have men do to you, do you even the same to them. We can always tell what we should do by changing circumstances and places; by placing ourselves in other’s circumstances, we can see what we would wish them to do to us under those circumstances, and thus find out what we should do for those in that condition.

What does the Lord intend to do? He is introducing a new dispensation, yet it is the Gospel dispensation, the same as all other dispensations; the Gospel is included in this new dispensation. The Lord intends to do a great many things in this dispensation He never did in former ones; and a great many things that were in former ones will eventually be done away in this new one. What is to be done away? A great many things Jesus taught on the Mount will actually have to be done away in this new dispensation. A great many things were given to meet the circumstances of the people, that when they all become righteous many of those laws and regulations that were given to them in an imperfect state will vanish away; they will be of no use; they are like the platform erected around an edifice, which serves a good purpose for the time being, but when the edifice is completed, the platform is taken away.

We are told a great deal about the poor in former dispensations; how to deal with them, and the laws that were given to regulate mankind in dealing their alms to them. Will this always be the case? No, but the time will come when there will be no poor. The object of this last dispensation is to make the people one as the Father and the Son are one, or as the Book of Doctrine and Covenants says, to make them “equal in earthly things, that they may be made equal in heavenly things.”

To bring about this object, and do away with poverty, and make all the people rich, the Lord has introduced laws, and rulers, and governors, to teach us our duty while poverty reigns in the world. If you think it hard to pay back a just and honest debt to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, what will you think when the pure laws of God are introduced, and you are required by His law to pay over every farthing you have in the world! Not only to pay your just and honest dues to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, but to pay everything in your possession. If you cannot deal justly in relation to these small accounts, how is it to be expected you will perform the pure law of God—the law of consecration? I tell you, we have got to begin and attend faithfully to these small things. But when we are first born into His kingdom we cannot run alone; we are not able to prance, and trot, and caper about. He has therefore ordained certain helps, and governments, and laws to govern us while we are in the creeping state, and trying to advance into a more perfect order of things. This Perpetual Emigrating Fund is one of those helps, ordained to assist us in our imperfect and weak state: by and by, when the full law of God comes in force, these helps can then be dispensed with. When that will be, I do not know, but I have an idea that it will not be until we get back to Jackson County, for the Lord has told us, in one revelation, in substance as follows—“Let these laws I have given concerning my people in Jackson County be fulfilled after the redemption of Zion.”

The Lord is beginning to redeem Zion. You must not suppose, because you are away here in Utah, that you are out of the reach of the Lord’s working for the redemption of Zion; for He has been working, ever since we were scattered from that land, to bring it about, and we are becoming more and more of one heart and mind, more and more willing to hearken to counsel. You see among this people a very different spirit manifested, from what was manifested some ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago. How ready and willing they generally are to receive the instructions and counsel of those God has ordained to teach them.

We can see how the Lord has prospered us as a people since we came to this territory, and how everything has worked for our good through obeying the counsel of those God has appointed for our consolation, happiness, and benefit, both temporally and spiritually. All this has a tendency to the redemption of Zion; it is all making to that great point. Whenever the properties of this Church shall be consecrated to it, and the Saints receive their stewardship, it will all be tending to bring about that which is so often spoken of in ancient and modern revelations.

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund is one of the helps that is introduced to lead us previous to our getting into that more perfect state; and when we get into that, it will all be Perpetual Fund, or any other kind of funds we please to name, for the property will all be consecrated unto the Lord, with a deed and covenant that cannot be broken; then the servants of God can take the whole of the property and use it according to the mind and will of God, and it will be all Perpetual Fund, and all tithing funds, and all public building funds; for it will be just the kind of funds the Lord shall direct to accomplish whatever is designed in His wise purposes through His servants.

Let us step forward, and build up this Fund, and take hold of simple things, if we ever expect to receive the greater ones. We had excellent preaching this forenoon, as to practical duties; this has been my manner of preaching when abroad upon the earth, except on my last mission; on that, I was sent to preach the doctrine of plurality of wives. In all my preaching on other missions, I have endeavored to be just as practical as possible among the people, showing them their everyday duties. I have published many pamphlets and works, and in the most of them, I have pub lished the simple, plain, easy principles of the Gospel. It is true, in answering some queries that have been put forth by the world, I have been obliged to deviate, in some of my publications, from the plain and simple course I have generally pursued in my works.

For instance, the world read in the revelations we have received, that there are more Gods than one. This is something that does not immediately concern us; but yet opposers get up and contend against us, and prejudice the minds of congregations against the people of God, because they profess to believe, not only in a plurality of wives, but also in a plurality of Gods; it is necessary to show them the reasons for our belief—the whys and the wherefores; and this I endeavored to do in some of my last publications; not because I had more light upon this subject than many others, but I endeavored to do it for the benefit of the people—to show them wherein we believe in the plurality of Gods, and yet acknowledge only one God. I believe both of these principles with all my heart. I believe there is one only wise God, and I believe there is an immense number of Gods. The people know we believe these doctrines, and they publish against us on this ground; and if we should not take up any arguments to explain the matter, it would only serve to rivet down their prejudices on their hearts. Notwithstanding this, it was always more delightful to me in all my preachings abroad, and in any publications I have sent forth, to dwell upon faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, and upon the plain, simple, everyday duties of the Saints, showing them what to do in order to obtain eternal life in the kingdom of God.

So far as I have ever preached abroad in the world, and published, one thing is certain, I have not pub lished anything but what I verily believed to be true, however much I may have been mistaken, and I have generally endeavored to show the people, from the written word of God, as well as reason, wherein it was true. This has been my general course. I may have erred in some principles; I do not profess to be wise, or to have more understanding than many others. I am not called with the same calling as those who preside over all the Church. I may not have as great a degree of the spirit of revelation; but I have always tried, in my teachings, and in my proclamations, and publications, where I could not get light by the Spirit of the Lord (or did not get light; I will not say could not, for I believe it is the privilege of all Elders, authorities, and members of the Church of God to get light by the Spirit of the Lord), but where I did not get light by the Spirit of the Lord, I have generally been careful to back up all the doctrines and principles I set forth by reason, or by, Thus saith the Lord, in some revelation either ancient or modern. Previous to declaring a doctrine, I have always inquired in my own mind, “Can this doctrine be proved by revelation given, or by reason, or can it not?” If I found it could be proved, I set forth the doctrine; but if I found there was no evidence to substantiate it, I laid it aside; in all this, however, I may have erred, for to err is human.

I feel thankful to God this day that I stand in the midst of a great and good people, that are willing to practice the principles of eternal truth and righteousness; and those mysteries about the plurality of Gods, and the plurality of worlds also are good in their places; God has revealed them, and they are intended for our good and instruction, or He never would have revealed them.

But to go back to the words of our text; that is the thing that most concerns us at present. It should be laid before the minds of the people and instilled into their hearts week after week; they should be taught and instructed in such a way and manner that these mysteries, when we get the true light upon them, may do us good. When the Lord sees fit to pour out wisdom and knowledge, and mysteries, and understanding from the heavens, may we, by practical works, faith, and diligence in doing our duties one towards another, and towards our God, be able to receive them, and have them do us good. The time will come when the Lord will reveal all these things; everything in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth; and everything pertaining to the soul of man will be proclaimed by the sounding of trumpets in the ears of all living.

I will adopt the old saying—“I feel first-rate.” It does me good to get back into Utah Territory, after having been gone two years, to behold the faces of the Saints again, and rejoice in their midst, and to bear my weak and humble testimony of the truth of this great and glorious work. It is now over twenty-four years since I was baptized into this Church; it was twenty-four years on the 19th of last month since I was baptized, and became a member of this Church. I have seen it rise to its present greatness from a very few individuals that composed the whole Church in 1830. There were then, perhaps, not fifty Latter-day Saints in the whole world; and every year brings to pass the fulfillment of the sayings, and predictions, and revelations of Joseph, the Prophet.

The work is rolling on as rapidly as the wheels of time will permit. I well recollect a revelation given upwards of twenty-three years ago. What did the Lord say when we were only a little handful? Said He, “It is necessary that my Elders should go forth into all the regions round about, and preach my Gospel, and many shall be converted; and ye shalt have power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man.” This was spoken before we began to gather. What was the use of organizing ourselves according to the laws of man? “That you may break every band wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy, and that you may keep my laws.” Has not this been fulfilled? Look at the time that prophecy was given, away back nearly twenty-four years ago. Has it come to pass? Are we not organized according to the laws of man? Are not many converted just as the revelation predicted? And are we not in a position, by being organized here in Utah territory according to the laws of man, to break the bands of the enemy, that they may not destroy us as a people? If mobs undertake to afflict us here, they will find it very difficult, because we are organized according to the laws of man. If they use any exertion or any influence to bring about the destruction of this people, we are organized according to the laws of man, and can fight them with their own weapons.

Not only was this for the purpose of our being secure from the hands of our enemies, but, “that ye may be able to keep my laws.” That was another reason the Lord gave in the same revelation. Are there not some laws of God that we could keep if we were scattered over the other states and territories, unorganized according to the laws of man? Yes. There are laws of the greatest moment, that have a bearing upon the present and future destiny of this people; that have a bearing upon their eternal glory, exaltation, and everlasting happiness. These laws never could have been kept had we not been organized according to the laws of man. The Lord has fulfilled this revelation thus far; how much more complete this organization may become hereafter, I know not, neither do I care.

It was not the invention of man, nor the power and wisdom of man, that organized this kingdom, but the God we worship and serve, who made the heavens and the earth. He made this kingdom and organized it, and established it; it is all His, and He holds it in His own hands; and the same great Being rules and governs the wicked; He controls them, and He will fulfil every word that has been given through the mouths of His servants, as He tells us in the preface of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—These commandments and prophecies shall be fulfilled; though the heavens and the earth shall pass away, not one jot or tittle of the commandments of that book shall pass away.

Everything will roll round, roll round, roll round in its times and seasons until this kingdom shall spread forth, and the dominion and the greatness of it will cover the whole face of the earth, and there will not be a dog to move his tongue from the Rocky Mountains to the uttermost parts of the earth, but all be in subjection to the kingdom of Christ; all must become subject to her laws; and the great nations of the earth—mighty nations not a few, ere long will come up to Zion to seek wisdom and knowledge from the counselors in Zion. They will read her laws, and say, “Our laws are as nothing, our wisdom as foolishness, our words like the tow that is exposed to the devouring flame; we are broken asunder, torn into fragments, and ready to crush under our own weight; but your laws, government, and officers are all good, righteous, just, and true; surely the God of Israel is in your midst. Come, let us go up to Zion, let us hear from the wise legislators of Zion, and let us hear the laws proclaimed therein; let us learn of the wisdom that dwells in the servants of the Most High.” And they will come up with their armies, and their mighty men, and their judges, and their rulers, and kings will come to the brightness of her rising; and the Gentiles will come like a flowing stream, and the gates of Zion will be open day and night, and never be shut, to admit the forces that will come rushing in from all nations, to learn the wisdom, knowledge, and instruction that are poured out from the heavens upon the servants of the Most High.

If we are looking forward to such a glorious time—to such a happy period, let us endeavor to prepare ourselves, and awake from our slumber, and do the duties required at our hands. Pay up your debts, pay them up to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund; let the means be sent back im mediately, that those who are starving to death, and are ground down with tyranny, may enjoy the same privileges as you. Remember them, and God will remember you. But if you turn your back upon these principles, and will not seek to do unto others as you would have them do to you; if you will not listen to the instructions of our Prophet, and to the instructions of others who have spoken on this stand, you will wither away like a dried reed, and you will bear no authority, and that you have will be taken from you, and you will be left poor and miserable, and become the offscouring of the earth, under the curse of the Almighty for your disobedience.


A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, September 10, 1854.

By the request of our President, I arise this afternoon for the purpose of addressing you upon those subjects that may be presented to my mind, feeling joyful in my heart that I have the opportunity.

I do not say, as many others may have said, that it is a disagreeable task, or a very great cross, for me to address the Saints; this is not the case; it is a pleasure and a joy; and I feel to esteem it as a blessing from the hand of God, that I have the privilege from time to time of meeting with His people, and speaking about the great things that God has revealed, which belong to our peace, happiness, and welfare, both here and hereafter.

There is no other subject that I care much about. As it regards earthly things, temporal things, the riches of this world, or the honors of this world, I will not say they are of secondary nature to me, but they are far beneath this; though they may be good in their place, yet my whole object and design, delight and joy, is to do the will of God, to benefit the children of men, and to seek after the welfare, happiness, and peace, not only of myself and family, but also of the whole human race, as far as it is within my power.

It does me good to return, after an absence of two years, and again look upon the faces of the brethren and sisters; there is something so different in the expression of your countenances from what we see abroad in the world; the principles of goodness, of righteousness, of virtue, and of holiness seem to be enstamped upon the countenances of the Saints of the living God; the spirit of meekness, of sobriety, of solemnity—a Godlike spirit is reflected in every feature of those who are truly good, which seems to carry peace, happiness, and joy to the hearts of those who gaze upon them with the same spirit. But after all, brethren, we are not near as good as we might be, in many respects. Though we are far in advance of the nations of the earth, though we have become far exalted above them in the principles of virtue, truth, righteousness, and a oneness of feeling, yet there is still room for improvement, and, while we remain here in the flesh, there will be room for improvement, upon all these principles, upon all the attributes of divinity, and upon everything that is good and Godlike.

There is one subject that presents itself to my mind, and upon which I have meditated in years past and gone, and which gave me great joy when I learned that it was being established in our midst. What is it? It is the consecration of the properties of the whole Church, according to the written revelations, commandments, and laws of the Most High God. I heard of this about the time I was starting upon the plains for this place, and it gave me great joy to learn that there was a prominent step taken at your last Conference to bring about and accomplish this object. I consider it is one of the most important objects to be accomplished among the Saints of latter days.

You may ask why? You may think that this contradicts my first statement—that the temporal things of this life are not even of a secondary consideration with me. They are not in one respect, but, in another, I consider them a part and portion of the religion that we as a people have embraced, and a very essential and necessary part too.

We read in the revelations that God has given, that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; well, if it is the Lord’s and the fulness of it, then it does not belong to you nor me as individuals, exclusive of others. If the Lord had set apart, and consecrated, and given a certain portion of the earth to any individual with a deed and covenant, he might with some propriety call it his own; but all other deeds that are according to Gentile laws, and the institutions of the nations of the earth, do not, according to the laws and revelations of heaven, give to men the exclusive right to the things of this world, as their own; they are good enough in their place, for the Lord deals with the nations according to their light; and suffers laws to be enacted that are good in their place, and calculated to govern imperfect beings; laws to govern and control property; and in many respects, they are just adapted to the circumstances and conditions of the nations where they are enacted; and they are the means of doing much good in preserving what are termed the rights of individuals, and of the citizens generally; and they should not be done away, until circumstances will permit of their being superseded by a more perfect law. That more perfect order is what we wish to speak a few words upon at this present time.

The Lord told us something about it in the revelations He gave a long time ago, in the year 1831, when ancient “Mormonism,” as it has often been termed, was first introduced; we call it ancient, because it seems quite long to us narrow-minded creatures.

There were certain laws and revelations then given, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, pertaining to the Lord’s earth, and the righteous that He has upon it. I will repeat a small clause which was given before the Church was one year old, in March 1831. It reads thus—wherefore “it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” This was revealed above twenty-three years ago; we will again repeat it, “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” Here was a hint of the more perfect law and order of things that God intended eventually to introduce among this people; and which I am happy to say, there has been a great step already taken at the last Conference to bring about; and I hope that I may be permitted to live to see this law carried out to the fullest extent among the Saints of the living God.

Remember, that as long as there is inequality in the things that belong to the Lord, the world lieth in sin. It is not given to them that they should possess one above another. I intend to explain how this is to be brought about, and also show how one man can possess hundreds and thousands of dollars, in a certain sense of the word, and another man only one dollar, and yet both be equal; but they possess the same, not as their own, but as stewards of the Lord; it being the Lord’s property.

We read, in another revelation that God gave in the early rise of this Church, that unless we are equal in earthly things, we cannot be made equal in heavenly things. Here is an equality preached. There must be an equality in earthly things, in order that we may be equal in heavenly things. Now supposing the people were all to be made equal today, tomorrow they would, through circumstances, become unequal: but I will show you how this equality can be established upon an order that never can be shaken—that inequality, in regard to property, never more can be introduced among the Saints, that no circumstance which can transpire can make them unequal. If a fire should burn up a man’s barn, and his stacks of grain, and everything he has accumulated, I will prove to you that it does not render him unequal with his brethren on the principle the Lord has established and ordained; so that when this order is once established among this people, they will become equal in earthly things, which will prepare them to be made equal in heavenly things.

In the first place how shall we get at this order? In what manner and by what means shall we begin to lay the foundation of this equality? The Lord has told us, that it is required of every man in this Church to lay all things, not one tenth alone, but to lay all things before the Bishop of His Church; consecrate the whole of it—everything he has—his flocks and herds—his cattle, horses, and mules—his gold and silver—his wearing apparel, watches, jewelry, and everything he possesses; consecrate it; not keep back a portion like Ananias and his wife, but give everything—make a full consecration to begin with. [Voice in the stand, “Wives and children.” ] Yes, give wives and children of course: the wives have given themselves to their husband, and he has to consecrate them; they are the Lord’s, He has only lent them to us.

Supposing that the people had complied with this law when it was first given, in every respect, instead of seeing inequality that has reigned for these many years in this Church, we should now have seen a different order of things. But we lacked experience, and there was too much covetousness in our hearts, for a full consecration of property, then. In consecrating property, we must, in the first place, remember that it is not ours. Why? Because the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. We have no cattle, no gold or silver, no watches or jewelry, no property of any description, no houses, lands, or anything else which is our own, if the fulness of the earth is the Lord’s. Then in consecrating that which we have been in the habit of calling our own, we are only returning to the Lord His own property—that which we became legally possessed of according to the laws of man, but not according to the laws of God, He never having directly given us the things which we claim as ours; we have not got them according to the celestial law—according to the great principle and order God has established; but we came by them through speculation, trading, labor, etc., and after we thus got them they are the Lord’s still. We consecrate this property—it all goes into the hands of the Bishop of the Church. If the whole Church were to consecrate in this way they would have nothing left of their own. Then, it would all be the Lord’s, and it has to be consecrated too, says the revelation, with a covenant and a deed that cannot be broken; that is, according to the law of God and man, and if it is made according to the law of God in all respects, and also according to the law of the land in which we live, it will be in the situation the Lord wants it in, even the whole property of the Church.

We ask, are they not all equal now? Yes. If the whole Church have consecrated everything in their possession to the Bishop, is there not a perfect equality among them before they get their stewardship? Yes: this makes them perfectly so, as far as property is concerned; they are all in a state of equality, owning nothing. What is the next step to be taken in order to bring about equality of property? The Lord says, “Let the Bishop appoint every man his stewardship,” for, says the Lord, “It is required of every man to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.” Now the Bishop begins and parcels out to this man his stewardship, and to that one his stewardship, according to the counsels of the First Presidency of the Church—the authority that has the management and control of the Lord’s property. Each one gets his stewardship.

Now supposing one man obtained double the quantity of another; it is not his, but the stewardship is the Lord’s; consequently the man is on a perfect equality with his brother still. But there is another sense in which this equality may be made, so far as the consecrating of property to the Church is concerned, which includes the whole of it. I say, who does it belong to in another sense of the word? I have shown you that it belongs to the Lord, and if we are His, we shall inherit it with Him; consequently in another sense of the word it is all ours. If each one in the Church, then, possesses the whole of it, as joint heirs with the Lord, is there not an equality? You may diminish the common property or joint fund just as much as you please. Suppose it were diminished to one half by mobs, &c., it does not make the Church unequal, not in the least; for each one may be considered as the possessor of the whole; he inherits all things; he is a joint heir with Jesus Christ in the inheritance of the earth, and all the fulness thereof. Can you make any inequality here? If each man in the Church is a joint inheritor of all the property, and a part of it, it makes each one perfectly equal with the rest.

Now I defy you to bring about an equality upon any other principle. You may divide the properties of the Church today, yes, if it be possible, make a perfectly equal division of it, so that every man in the whole Church should have his share, and let him call it his own; it would not be one day before there would be an inequality again introduced; and one man would possess that which is above another; it could not be otherwise; the changes, difficulties, want of judgment in the management and control of property, and all these things combined together, would serve to render these divided shares unequal; one man losing a large portion of his property through mismanagement; another by fire, by mobocracy, or in some other way, so that neither would have one half, one quarter, or perhaps one hundredth part as much as some of his brethren with whom he was only a short time before perfectly equal.

No equality can be brought about by dividing property; the Lord never intended such an order of things. It is not a division of property that is going to bring about a oneness among the Latter-day Saints in temporal things, but it is a union of property, that all the property may be united, and considered belonging to the Lord, and to every individual in the whole Church, as joint heirs with Him, or as His stewards. You may imagine, then, how my heart rejoiced, when I received a letter from our beloved President, informing me that steps had been taken for a full consecration of the property of the Church, to introduce the order of stewardships among the Saints of God.

But in regard to these stewardships, it is not needful or necessary, or the Lord never intended, that every man should possess an equal amount of stewardship with his brother. Why? Because God has given to some men greater ability to manage and control property than others. He may give to one, one talent; to another, two; to another, three; to another, five; and to another, ten; and then command them to make use of these talents according to the instructions and revelations given, and be accountable to Him who gave them. “It is required of every man,” says the Lord, “to be accountable to me in their stewardships, both in time and in eternity;” consequently these stewards have to render all their accounts to some one in time, but to whom? To the Lord’s Bishop—to those whom the Lord has appointed to receive the accounts. And if a man undertakes to squander the stewardship which the Lord has entrusted to him, He takes it away, and gives it to another who is a more wise steward; one who will manage His property in such a way as to benefit the whole; each one seeking the interest of the whole as well as of himself.

Each one is to be considered as possessor of all things in the Church: but if it be all common property, how is it that the Saints can get along and give an account of their stewardship of property? Will not one brother go and pick up his brother’s plow, and take it off, without asking him for it, imagining that he is the possessor of all things? Yes, if that brother had no understanding he would do it, but when he comes to understand the law of the Lord, he will find that all these stewardships are controlled by the wisest kind of laws; hence the Lord says, “Thou shall not take thy brother’s garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou dost receive from thy brother.” Notwithstanding the whole property belongs to the Lord, and to each one as joint heirs, yet the Lord has given strict laws with regard to the stewardships, so that one has no business to go and pick up his neighbor’s ax, or take any of his stewardship from him, without leave; but he is to pay for that which he receives from his brother steward, unless he borrow it by fairly asking for it.

On this principle it would be an easy matter for each steward to render an account of his time; and if necessary he could account for every item of his stewardship. But if it were permitted to run at random, according to the vague ideas of common stock in some societies in the world, away would go a man’s hat, or his coat, and he could render no account of it at all. But according to the strict principle which the Lord has ordained, he could show to his Bishop a full account of everything in his stewardship—that he has gained so much here, and made so much there, upon the Lord’s property. What says the Bishop? “Well done, good and faithful steward, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will enlarge that stewardship,” providing he had anything to enlarge it with. “You have gained other talents; you have increased upon that entrusted to your charge; you have not squandered it away foolishly for that which would not profit you.”

There would be no desire on the part of stewards to steal, “For, says one, If I go and steal from another steward, it is all the Lord’s, and it would do just as much good in the hands of that steward to whom it was entrusted, as if I were to possess it by stealing it from him.”

How much every Saint ought to be interested for this order of things to be brought about, realizing that all the property of the Church is for his own good as well as for the good of the whole body.

But in regard to these inequalities in stewardship: I will show you another principle where men may have equal judgment, and yet there may be an inequality of stewardships; it is in consequence of the various branches of business in which they may be engaged. It is well known that for farming purposes, it does not require the same skill as for manufacturing many articles, nor the same capital. And the ingenious mechanic, who understands the nature or construction of machinery, might have to be entrusted with a stewardship of one hundred thousand dollars worth of property to establish his manufactory, and work it so as to have it prove a benefit to the whole Church; and without this amount being put into his hands, as a steward, he might not be able to accomplish anything needed in the particular branch of manufacturing with which he was familiar. The stewardships, in such cases, would be different, not only in kind, but in the amount or value of the stewardship.

Let me illustrate this in another way; not but what I suppose all the Saints understand it, but you only want to be put in mind of that you have understood for years, but have not perhaps practiced upon it; and unless a people practice upon that they do understand, it does not benefit them much. Suppose a man have twelve sons, and he had according to the laws of the land 78 acres of ground; he gives to his oldest son twelve acres as a steward; he gives to his next son eleven acres, and to the next ten, and so on down to the youngest, which he gives one acre; and he says unto them, “Manage these different inheritances that I have set off to you, and gain all you can;” would those sons have any right or title to call that property their own? No: they would say, “It is father’s property, and he has told us to go and occupy it, and he has given us rules by which we are to be governed; that the youngest may not encroach upon the oldest, nor any one encroach upon another, but that each stewardship may be managed and controlled according to the regulations he has given, and at the end of the year each of us must render a strict account to our father of every iota of our business transactions, of our losses and gains in trading, etc.” Now all this property, we see, belongs to the father, but it is all for the benefit of the twelve sons; they are all to be made joint heirs with the father in the possession of it. In due time, when they have learned the law the father has ordained, they will be prepared to enter as joint owners upon the grand inheritances, not only of 78 acres, but to possess all things that the father has.

Temporal things are a type of heavenly things, as the Lord says, in one of the revelations, “All things have their likeness, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual.” Does this order of things—the equality of property—have its likeness? Yes, in the heavens, and it is typical of that celestial order that we are all praying for, that we all desire the Lord to bestow upon us. We all feel very anxious to enter into the fulness of celestial glory, and inherit thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, and to have kingdoms appointed to us, and to receive crowns and to sway a scepter over kingdoms, as wise rulers. If we want to get there, we must begin here, and learn the order that is to be there. If we should have a division of property here, as we have had heretofore, and continue this order of things, as has been for many years back, and never should begin to practice upon this equality of things which God has ordained in His law, when we come to enter the courts above, we should be ignoramuses; we could say, “We read in your law something about it, but the people did not practice it, they were careless, and did not keep the law.” And now we do not know how to manage this celestial glory, and these kingdoms, and these worlds placed under our charge; for we are to give an account, not only in time, but in eternity, of our stewardship; consequently we must improve upon the true order of things here, which is typical of that which is hereafter; and if we learn the lessons here, everything there will be plain before us, and we will be able to enter into the very things we have been practicing years before. There will be an inequality, no doubt, in some respects in the eternal worlds, in proportion to the eternal things that will be entrusted to the servants, as in temporal things; but there will be a perfect equality in another respect; the revelation says, “He maketh them equal in might, and in power, and in dominion.”

Did you ever think of that? It is only in one respect. Each one will be made joint heir of all things in heaven, and upon earth. What more can a person want, if he is made a joint heir of all things; and one revelation says, he that is a faithful and wise steward in time shall inherit all things; consequently they are equal in dominion, and in power, and in might, as the Vision states. This don’t say that each one shall actually control, and govern, and manage all things; that is a very different thing; just as it is here in temporal things, though each person may be considered as the inheritor of all the properties of the Church; yet when he comes to the management of property, he has only a share; so in heavenly things, a person may have the management of only one world, or of two, or of three, or of as many as there are particles of dust that compose our globe, yet, after all, each can proclaim himself as the inheritor of all things, being a joint heir of the grand universal inheritance.

There is no division of celestial glory, imparting to each one an equa lity of dominion, and might, and power; it is not to be divided, but there is an equality in the union of all these things. That is what we want to get at here; we want to learn the alphabet of it here, and advance to the a, be, abbs, and get over into two syllables, and keep on until we understand all about the celestial order by practice in this world, and then we will learn the laws that are to govern the different individuals that control and manage certain portions of the great joint stock inheritance; we will learn the laws that are to rule and govern between man and man; and we will not be ignorant of it when we go into the next world, we will find there that one kingdom will not have the right to encroach upon the royalty of another and take away its right, but each one will be governed by true and holy laws. Upon this principle, and this only, can we understand those revelations which so often speak of the principles of equality in the eternal worlds. Equality of dominion we cannot understand, by supposing each person that comes into the celestial glory is going to have the same number of worlds, and of kingdoms, and thrones set off to him that those have who have been in the celestial glory millions of ages—that he is going to have the same number of principalities and powers, and servants or angels to wait upon him to carry out his commands. An equality of dominion is that that I have already explained, each one inheriting all things, according to the laws God has ordained for celestial beings, but not directly or personally controlling only that which is placed under his management.

Much might be said upon this subject; it is glorious, and it is a principle I wish the Saints in Utah may all be enlisted in, that it may be sought by the nations afar off, when they come to learn that this people are the people of God, and they are governed by God’s laws; that they may see the order carried out before them in practice, that we may be looked to as a great light set upon the mountains, that will reflect upon all the face of the earth, and show the people the true order by practice, and then they will see the difference between God’s order of the possession of property, and the little, narrow, contracted orders established by man; for each one is grasping for all he can get, oppressing the widow and the fatherless, bearing down his neighbor, and grinding him down in distress, tyrannizing over mankind, because he has riches at his command. The Lord has seen this order long enough, and it is a stink in His nostrils, and He wishes it driven away from the earth, and He has given us instructions to do it away, and if we want to do it away, let us begin among ourselves first. I rejoice in this principle, because it takes away the idea of having so many poor in our midst. You know in the days of Enoch the Lord placed the people upon the high places and mountains, and they flourished, and He blessed them, and called them Zion because there was no poor among them, and the Lord was in their midst.

Now the Latter-day Zion is to be built up according to the same pattern, so far as circumstances will permit, for we expect that the Zion which was built up by Enoch, that had no poor in it, will come down again at the commencement of the Millennium to meet the Zion here, according to the song in the Book of Covenants, “The Lord has brought up Zion from beneath, the Lord has brought down Zion from above,” and they shall gaze upon each other’s countenances, and see eye to eye. When we get there how sadly we should be disappointed, if we should look forward upon all the vast extent of the Zion of Enoch, and all the Zions God has taken out of His creations to heaven, and should see no poor among them; and then we should look upon Zion brought up from beneath, containing poor and rich; should we not be ashamed? Especially when we reflected that the law of God had been among us; we should not have boldness to gaze upon their countenances, unless we came into the same order of things that existed among them.

Let us prepare ourselves for the coming of Enoch’s Zion, that we may have the same order of things among us that they had in the beginning. Then, again, it will be a glorious thing in many other respects. What is it that creates this great inequality that we naturally see in the world, in regard to the high and low? It is the difference of parentage in many respects. One man is so situated he can train up his children in all the learning of the day; he can take them into his carriage, and they can ride at their ease, and in their grandeur, while the poor and needy and destitute bow before them, or are trampled under their feet. There is no such thing as union there, because they were unequal to begin with. When the Saints have this established in their midst, you will see them all alike, where none can say that “such a person is richer than I am, and I have no right to associate with him.” Neither can the rich look upon those that are poor, and say, “My children shall not marry with the poor, and unite with them in their festivities, &c., because I have more property than they.” All these things will be done away, and the principle of equality will be established, and all will be stewards of the Lord’s property. That is what I wish to see—that when one family of children have the privilege of being educated, the rest should enjoy it; when one family are in possession of the good things of the earth, the rest should enjoy the same privileges also.

How do I feel, to take it home to myself? I long for the time to come when I can consecrate everything I have got; all the cattle I have; I have got some first-rate cattle, the Lord has prospered them. I want the time to come when I can consecrate every hoof of them; also my books, and the right and title I have to publish my works, also my wearing apparel, and my houses; they are not mine, and not being mine, I have no business with this property, only as the Lord sees fit to let me have it. When I have done this, if the Lord in His mercy will give me one team, five or ten teams, to make use of as His steward, I will endeavor to keep a record of that stewardship, of the losses and the gains of it, and will endeavor to render an account of it in time as well as in eternity, and an account of all things pertaining to it, and of my transactions in regard to it; for unless I am a wise and faithful steward in time, I never expect to inherit all things in eternity.

Having said this much, may the Lord bless you, and may His Holy Spirit be poured out upon you, and may your hearts be united to bring about this union; for if we unite ourselves together upon this principle, with all our hearts, mights, minds, and strength, laying aside all covetousness, there is not any power beneath the celestial kingdom that is able to prevail against us; we will prosper in all things, and the Lord will make us the richest of all people that have been upon the face of the earth for many generations, and He will bless our basket and our store, and increase and multiply the flocks and the herds in the fields, and cause them to flourish exceedingly, and make us mighty; and when we go forth He will make the nations to tremble before us, because His power and glory will be with us when we are doing His will and are united in one.

Celestial Marriage

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 29, 1852.

It is quite unexpected to me, brethren and sisters, to be called upon to address you this forenoon; and still more so, to address you upon the prin ciple which has been named, namely, a plurality of wives.

It is rather new ground for me; that is, I have not been in the habit of publicly speaking upon this subject; and it is rather new ground to the inhabitants of the United States, and not only to them, but to a portion of the inhabitants of Europe; a portion of them have not been in the habit of preaching a doctrine of this description; consequently, we shall have to break up new ground.

It is well known, however, to the congregation before me, that the Latter-day Saints have embraced the doctrine of a plurality of wives, as a part of their religious faith. It is not, as many have supposed, a doctrine embraced by them to gratify the carnal lusts and feelings of man; that is not the object of the doctrine.

We shall endeavor to set forth before this enlightened assembly some of the causes why the Almighty has revealed such a doctrine, and why it is considered a part and portion of our religious faith. And I believe that they will not, under our present form of government (I mean the government of the United States), try us for treason for believing and practicing our religious notions and ideas. I think, if I am not mistaken, that the constitution gives the privilege to all the inhabitants of this country, of the free exercise of their religious notions, and the freedom of their faith, and the practice of it. Then, if it can be proven to a demonstration, that the Latter-day Saints have actually embraced, as a part and portion of their religion, the doctrine of a plurality of wives, it is constitutional. And should there ever be laws enacted by this government to restrict them from the free exercise of this part of their religion, such laws must be unconstitutional.

But, says the objector, we cannot see how this doctrine can be embraced as a matter of religion and faith; we can hardly conceive how it can be embraced only as a kind of domestic concern, something that pertains to do mestic pleasures, in no way connected with religion. In reply we will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fullness of the Lord’s glory in the eternal world. Would you like to know the reasons? Before we get through, we will endeavor to tell you why we consider it an essential doctrine to glory and exaltation, to our fullness of happiness in the world to come.

We will first make a few preliminary remarks in regard to the existence of man, to his first existence in his first estate; and then say something in relation to his present state, and the bearing which it has upon his next or future state.

The “Mormons” have a peculiar doctrine in regard to our pre-existence, different from the views of the Christian world, so called, who do not believe that man had a pre-existence. It is believed, by the religious world, that man, both body and spirit, begins to live about the time that he is born into this world, or a little before; that then is the beginning of life. They believe, that the Lord, by a direct act of creation, formed, in the first place, man out of the dust of the ground; and they believe that man is possessed of both body and spirit, by the union of which he became a living creature. Suppose we admit this doctrine concerning the formation of the body from the dust; then how was the spirit formed? Why, says one, we suppose it was made by a direct act of creation, by the Almighty Himself; that He molded the spirit of man, formed and finished it in a proper likeness to inhabit the tabernacle He had made out of the dust.

Have you any account of this in the Bible? Do the Scriptures declare that the spirit was formed at the time the tabernacle was made? No. All the tabernacles of the children of men that were ever formed, from remote generations, from the days of Adam to this time, have been formed out of the earth. We are of the earth earthy. The tabernacle has been organized according to certain principles, and laws of organization, with bones, and flesh, and sinews, and skin. Now, where do you suppose all these tabernacles got their spirits? Does the Lord make a new spirit every time a tabernacle is made? If so, the work of creation, according to the belief of Christendom, did not cease on the seventh day. If we admit their views, the Lord must be continually making spirits to inhabit all the tabernacles of the children of men; he must make something like one thousand millions of spirits every century; he must be working at it every day, for there are many hundreds of individuals being born into the world every day. Does the Lord create a new spirit every time a new tabernacle comes into the world? That does not look reasonable, nor Godlike.

But how is it, you inquire? Why the fact is, that being that animates this body, that gives life and energy, and power to move, to act, and to think; that being that dwells within this tabernacle is much older than what the tabernacle is. That spirit that now dwells within each man, and each woman, of this vast assembly of people, is more than a thousand years old, and I would venture to say, that it is more than five thousand years old.

But how was it made? When was it made? And by whom was it made? If our spirits existed thousands of years ago—if they began to exist—if there were a beginning to their organization, by what process was this organization carried on? Through what medium, and by what system of laws? Was it by a direct creation of the Almighty? Or were we framed according to a certain system of laws, in the same manner as our tabernacles? If we were to reason from analogy—if we admit analogical reasoning in the ques tion, what would we say? We should say, that our spirits were formed by generation, the same as the body or tabernacle of flesh and bones. But what says revelation upon the subject? We will see whether revelation and analogy will agree.

We read of a certain time when the cornerstones of the earth were laid, and the foundations thereof were made sure—of a certain time when the Lord began to erect this beautiful and glorious habitation, the earth; then they had a time of joy. I do not know whether they had instruments of music, or whether they were engaged in the dance; but one thing is certain, they had great joy, and the heavens resounded with their shouts; yea, the Lord told Job, that all the sons of God shouted for joy, and the morning stars sang together, when the foundations of this globe were laid.

The SONS of God, recollect, shouted for joy, because there was a beautiful habitation being built, so that they could get tabernacles, and dwell thereon; they expected the time—they looked forward to the period; and it was joyful to them to reflect, that the creation was about being formed, the cornerstone of it was laid, on which they might, in their times, and in their seasons, and in their generations, go forth and receive tabernacles for their spirits to dwell in. Do you bring it home to yourselves, brethren and sisters? Do you realize that you and I were there? Can you bring it to your minds that you and I were among that happy number that shouted for joy when this creation was made? Says one, I don’t recollect it. No wonder! For your recollection is taken from you, because you are in a tabernacle that is earthly; and all this is right and necessary. The same is written of Jesus Christ himself, who had to descend below all things. Though he had wisdom to assist in the organization of this world; though it was through him, as the great leader of all these sons of God, the earth was framed, and framed too, by the assistance of all his younger brethren—yet we find, with all that great and mighty power he possessed, and the great and superior wisdom that was in his bosom, that after all, his judgment had to be taken away; in his humiliation, his reason, his intelligence, his knowledge, and the power that he was formerly in possession of vanished from him as he entered into the infant tabernacle. He was obliged to begin down at the lowest principles of knowledge, and ascend upward by degrees, receiving grace for grace, truth for truth, knowledge for knowledge, until he was filled with all the fulness of the Father, and was capable of ruling, governing, and controlling all things, having ascended above all things. Just so with us; we that once lifted up our united voices as sons and daughters of God, and shouted for joy at the laying of the foundation of this earth, have come here and taken tabernacles, after the pattern of our elder brother; and in our humiliation—for it is humiliation to be deprived of knowledge we once had, and the power we once enjoyed—in our humiliation, just like our elder brother, our judgment is taken away. Do we not read also in the Bible, that God is the Father of our spirits?

We have ascertained that we have had a previous existence. We find that Solomon, that wise man, says that when the body returns to the dust the spirit returns to God who gave it. Now all of this congregation very well know, that if we never existed there we could not return there. I could not return to California. Why? Because I never have been there. If you never were with the Father, the same as Jesus was before the foundation of the world, you never could return there, any more than I could to the West Indies, where I have never been. But if we have once been there, then we can see the force of the saying of the wise man, that the spirit returns to God who gave it—it goes back where it once was.

Much more evidence might be derived in relation to this subject, even from the English translation of the Bible; but I do not feel disposed to dwell too long upon any particular testimony; suffice it to say, that the Prophet Joseph Smith’s translation of the forepart of the book of Genesis is in print, and is exceedingly plain upon this matter. In this inspired translation we find the pre-existence of man clearly laid down, and that the spirits of all men, male and female, did have an existence, before man was formed out of the dust of the ground. But who was their Father? I have already quoted a saying that God is the Father of our spirits.

In one sense of the word, there are more Gods than one; and in another sense there is but one God. The Scriptures speak of more Gods than one. Moses was called a God to Aaron, in plain terms; and our Savior, when speaking upon this subject, says, “If the Scriptures called them Gods unto whom the word of God came, why is it that you should seek to persecute me, and kill me, because I testify that I am the Son of God?” This in substance was the word of our Savior; those to whom the word of God came, are called Gods, according to his testimony. All these beings of course are one, the same as the Father and the Son are one. The Son is called God, and so is the Father, and in some places the Holy Ghost is called God. They are one in power, in wisdom, in knowledge, and in the inheritance of celestial glory; they are one in their works; they possess all things, and all things are subject to them; they act in unison; and if one has power to become the Father of spirits, so has another; if one God can propagate his species, and raise up spirits after his own image and likeness, and call them his sons and daughters, so can all other Gods that become like him, do the same thing; consequently, there will be many Fathers, and there will be many families, and many sons and daughters; and they will be the children of those glorified, celestial beings that are counted worthy to be Gods.

Here let me bring for the satisfaction of the Saints, the testimony of the vision given to our Prophet and Revelator Joseph Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, on the 16th day of February, 1832. They were engaged in translating the New Testament, by inspiration; and while engaged in this great work, they came to the 29th verse of the 5th chapter of John, which was given to them in these words—“they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust.” This being given in different words from the English translation, caused them to marvel and wonder; and they lifted up their hearts in prayer to God, that He would show them why it was that this should be given to them in a different manner; and behold, the visions of heaven opened before them. They gazed upon the eternal worlds, and saw things before this world was made. They saw the spiritual creation who were to come forth and take upon themselves bodies; and they saw things as they are to be in the future; they saw the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial worlds, as well as the sufferings of the ungodly; all passed before them in this great and glorious vision. And while they were yet gazing upon things as they were before the world was made, they were commanded to write, saying, “this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God: and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father; that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created; and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” Notice this last expression, “the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (meaning the different worlds that have been created and made). Notice, this does not say, that God, whom we serve and worship, was actually the Father Himself, in His own person, of all these sons and daughters of the different worlds; but they “are begotten sons and daughters unto God;” that is, begotten by those who are made like Him, after His image, and in His likeness; they begat sons and daughters, and begat them unto God, to inhabit these different worlds we have been speaking of. But more of this, if we have time, before we get through.

We now come to the second division of our subject, or the entrance of these spirits upon their second estate, or their birth and existence in mortal tabernacles. We are told that among this great family of spirits, some were more noble and great than others, having more intelligence.

Where do you read that? says one. Out of the Book of Abraham, translated from the Egyptian papyrus by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Among the great and numerous family of spirits—“the begotten sons and daughters of God”—there are some more intelligent than others; and the Lord showed unto Abraham “the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones.” And God said to Abraham, “thou art one of them, thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” Abraham was chosen before he was born. Here then, is knowledge, if we had time to notice it, upon the doctrine of election. However, I may just remark, it does not mean unconditional election to eternal life of a certain class, and the rest doomed to eternal damnation. Suffice it to say, that Abraham and many others of the great and noble ones in the family of spirits, were chosen before they were born, for certain purposes, to bring about certain works, to have the privilege of coming upon the stage of action, among the host of men, in favorable circumstances. Some came through good and holy parentages, to fulfill certain things the Lord decreed should come to pass, from before the foundations of the world.

The Lord has ordained that these spirits should come here and take tabernacles by a certain law, through a certain channel; and that law is the law of marriage. There are a great many things that I will pass by; I perceive that if I were to touch upon all these principles, the time allotted for this discourse would be too short, therefore I am under the necessity of passing by many things in relation to these spirits in their first estate, and the laws that governed them there and come to their second estate.

The Lord ordained marriage between male and female as a law through which spirits should come here and take tabernacles, and enter into the second state of existence. The Lord Himself solemnized the first marriage pertaining to this globe, and pertaining to flesh and bones here upon this earth. I do not say pertaining to mortality; for when the first marriage was celebrated, no mentality was there. The first marriage that we have any account of, was between two immortal beings—old father Adam and old mother Eve; they were immortal beings; death had no dominion, no power over them; they were capable of enduring forever and ever, in their organization. Had they fulfilled the law, and kept within certain conditions and bounds, their tabernacles would never have been seized by death; death entered entirely by sin, and sin alone. This marriage was celebrated between two immortal beings. For how long? Until death? No. That was entirely out of the question; there could have been no such thing in the ceremony.

What would you consider, my hearers, if a marriage was to be celebrated between two beings not subject to death? Would you consider them joined together for a certain number of years, and that then all their covenants were to cease forever, and the marriage contract be dissolved? Would it look reasonable and consistent? No. Every heart would say that the work of God is perfect in and of itself, and inasmuch as sin had not brought imperfection upon the globe, what God joined together could not be dissolved, and destroyed, and torn asunder by any power beneath the celestial world, consequently it was eternal; the ordinance of union was eternal; the sealing of the great Jehovah upon Adam and Eve was eternal in its nature, and was never instituted for the purpose of being overthrown and brought to an end. It is known that the “Mormons” are a peculiar people about marriage; we believe in marrying, not only for time, but for all eternity. This is a curious idea, says one, to be married for all eternity. It is not curious at all; for when we come to examine the Scriptures, we find that the very first example set for the whole human family, as a pattern instituted for us to follow, was not instituted until death, for death had no dominion at that time; but it was an eternal blessing pronounced upon our first parents. I have not time to explain further the marriage of Adam and Eve, but will pass on to their posterity.

It is true, that they became fallen, but there is a redemption. But some may consider that the redemption only redeemed us in part, that is, merely from some of the effects of the fall. But this is not the case; every man and woman must see at once that a redemption must include a complete restoration of all privileges lost by the fall.

Suppose, then, that the fall was of such a nature as to dissolve the marriage covenant, by death—which is not necessary to admit, for the covenant was sealed previous to the fall, and we have no account that it was dissolved—but suppose this was the case, would not the redemption be equally as broad as the fall, to restore the posterity of Adam back to that which they lost? And if Adam and Eve were married for all eternity, the ceremony was an everlasting ordinance, that they twain should be one flesh forever. If you and I should ever be accounted worthy to be restored back from our fallen and degraded condition to the privileges enjoyed before the fall, should we not have an everlasting marriage seal, as it was with our first progenitors? If we had no other reasons in all the Bible, this would be sufficient to settle the case at once in the mind of every reflecting man and woman, that inasmuch as the fall of man has taken away any privileges in regard to the union of male and female, these privileges must be restored in the redemption of man, or else it is not complete.

What is the object of this union? is the next question. We are told the object of it; it is clearly expressed; for, says the Lord unto the male and female, I command you to multiply and replenish the earth. And, inasmuch as we have proved that the marriage ordinance was eternal in its nature, previous to the fall, if we are restored back to what was lost by the fall, we are restored for the purpose of carrying out the commandment given before the fall, namely, to multiply and replenish the earth. Does it say, continue to multiply for a few years, and then the marriage contract must cease, and there shall be no further opportunity of carrying out this command, but it shall have an end? No, there is nothing specified of this kind; but the fall has brought in disunion through death; it is not a part of the original plan; consequently, when male and female are restored from the fall, by virtue of the everlasting and eternal covenant of marriage, they will continue to increase and multiply to all ages of eternity, to raise up beings after their own order, and in their own likeness and image, germs of intelligence, that are destined, in their times and seasons, to become not only sons of God, but Gods themselves.

This accounts for the many worlds we heard Elder Grant speaking about yesterday afternoon. The peopling of worlds, or an endless increase, even of one family, would require an endless increase of worlds; and if one family were to be united in the eternal covenant of marriage, to fulfill that great commandment, to multiply his species, and propagate them, and if there be no end to the increase of his posterity, it would call for an endless increase of new worlds. And if one family calls for this, what would innumerable millions of families call for? They would call for as many worlds as have already been discovered by the telescope; yea, the number must be multiplied to infinity in order that there may be room for the inheritance of the sons and daughters of the Gods.

Do you begin to understand how these worlds get their inhabitants? Have you learned that the sons and daughters of God before me this day, are His offspring—made after His own image; that they are to multiply their species until they become innumerable?

Let us say a few words, before we leave this part of the subject, on the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises were, Lift up your eyes, and behold the stars; so thy seed shall be, as numberless as the stars. What else did He promise? Go to the seashore, and look at the ocean of sand, and behold the smallness of the particles thereof, and then realize that your seed shall be as numberless as the sands. Now let us take this into consideration. How large a bulk of sand would it take to make as many inhabitants as there are now upon the earth? In about one cubic foot of sand, reckoning the grains of a certain size, there would be a thousand million particles. Now that is about the estimated population of our globe. If our earth were to continue 8,000 years, or eighty centuries, with an average population of one thousand millions per century, then three cubic yards of sand would contain a greater number of particles than the whole population of the globe, from the beginning, until the measure of the inhabitants of this creation is complete. If men then cease to multiply, where is the promise made to Abraham? Is it fulfilled? No. If that is the end of his increase, behold, the Lord’s promise is not fulfilled. For the amount of sand representing his seed, might all be drawn in a one-horse cart; and yet the Lord said to Abraham, thy seed shall be as numerous as the sand upon the seashore; that is, to carry out the idea in full, it was to be endless; and therefore there must be an infinity of worlds for their residence. We cannot comprehend infinity. But suffice it to say, if all the sands on the seashore were numbered, says the Prophet Enoch, and then all the particles of the earth besides, and then the particles of millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to all thy creations and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and thy curtains are stretched out still. This gives plenty of room for the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, and enough to spare for the fulfillment of similar promises to all his seed.

We read that those who do the works of Abraham, are to be blessed with the blessing of Abraham. Have you not, in the ordinances of this last dispensation, had the blessings of Abraham pronounced upon your heads? O yes, you say, I well recollect, since God has restored the everlasting Priesthood, that by a certain ordinance these blessings were placed upon our heads—the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why, says one, I never thought of it in this light before. Why did you not think of it? Why not look upon Abraham’s blessings as your own, for the Lord blessed him with a promise of seed as numerous as the sand upon the seashore; so will you be blessed, or else you will not inherit the blessings of Abraham.

How did Abraham manage to get a foundation laid for this mighty kingdom? Was he to accomplish it all through one wife? No. Sarah gave a certain woman to him whose name was Hagar, and by her a seed was to be raised up unto him. Is this all? No. We read of his wife Keturah, and also of a plurality of wives and concubines, which he had, from whom he raised up many sons. Here then, was a foundation laid for the fulfillment of the great and grand promise concerning the multiplicity of his seed. It would have been rather a slow process, if Abraham had been confined to one wife, like some of those narrow, contracted nations of modern Christianity.

I think there is only about one-fifth of the population of the globe, that believe in the one-wife system; the other four-fifths believe in the doctrine of a plurality of wives. They have had it handed down from time immemorial, and are not half so narrow and contracted in their minds as some of the nations of Europe and America, who have done away with the promises, and deprived themselves of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nations do not know anything about the blessings of Abraham; and even those who have only one wife, cannot get rid of their covetousness, and get their little hearts large enough to share their property with a numerous family; they are so penurious, and so narrow and contracted in their feelings, that they take every possible care not to have their families large; they do not know what is in the future, nor what blessings they are depriving themselves of, because of the traditions of their fathers; they do not know that a man’s posterity, in the eternal worlds, are to constitute his glory, his kingdom, and dominion.

Here, then, we perceive, just from this one principle, reasoning from the blessings of Abraham alone, the necessity—if we would partake of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—of doing their works; and he that will not do the works of Abraham and walk in his footsteps, will be deprived of his blessings.

Again, let us look at Sarah’s peculiar position in regard to Abraham. She understood the whole matter; she knew that, unless seed was raised up to Abraham, he would come short of his glory; and she understood the promise of the Lord, and longed for Abraham to have seed. And when she saw that she was old, and fearing that she should not have the privilege of raising up seed, she gave to Abraham, Hagar. Would Gentile Christendom do such things now-a-days? O no; they would consider it enough to send a man to an endless hell of fire and brimstone. Why? Because tradition has instilled this in their minds as a dreadful, awful thing.

It matters not to them how corrupt they are in female prostitution, if they are lawfully married to only one wife; but it would be considered an awful thing by them to raise up a posterity from more than one wife; this would be wrong indeed; but to go into a brothel, and there debauch themselves in the lowest haunts of degradation all the days of their lives, they consider only a trifling thing; nay, they can even license such institutions, in Christian nations, and it all passes off very well.

That is tradition; and their posterity have been fostered and brought up in the footsteps of wickedness. This is death, as it stalks abroad among the great and popular cities of Europe and America.

Do you find such haunts of prostitution, degradation, and misery here, in the cities of the mountains? No. Were such things in our midst, we should feel indignant enough to see that such persons be blotted out of the page of existence. These would be the feelings of this community.

Look upon those who committed such iniquity in Israel, in ancient days; every man and woman who committed adultery were put to death. I do not say that this people are going to do this; but I will tell you what we believe—we believe it ought to be done.

Whoredom, adultery, and fornication, have cursed the nations of the earth for many generations, and are increasing fearfully upon the community; but they must be entirely done away from those who call themselves the people of God; if they are not, woe! woe! be unto them, also; for “thus saith the Lord God Almighty,” in the Book of Mormon, “Woe unto them that commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell!” There is no getting away from it. Such things will not be allowed in this community; and such characters will find, that the time will come, that God, whose eyes are upon all the children of men, and who discerneth the things that are done in secret, will bring their acts to light; and they will be made an example before the people; and shame and infamy will cleave to their posterity after them, unto the third and fourth generation of them that repent not.

How is this to be prevented? for we have got a fallen nature to grapple with. It is to be prevented in the way the Lord devised in ancient times; that is, by giving to His faithful servants a plurality of wives, by which a numerous and faithful posterity can be raised up, and taught in the principles of righteousness and truth: and then, after they fully understand those principles that were given to the ancient Patriarchs, if they keep not the law of God, but commit adultery, and transgressions of this kind, let their names be blotted out from under heaven, that they may have no place among the people of God.

But again, there is another reason why this plurality should exist among the Latter-day Saints. I have already given you one reason, and that is, that you might inherit the blessings and promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and receive continuation of your posterity, that they may become as numerous as the sand upon the seashore. There is another reason, and a good one, too. What do you suppose it is? I will tell you; and it will appear reasonable to every man and woman of a reflecting mind. Do we not believe, as the Scriptures have told us, that the wicked nations of the earth are doomed to destruction? Yes, we believe it. Do we not also believe as the Prophets have foretold, concerning the last days, as well as what the new revelations have said upon the subject, that darkness prevails upon the earth, and gross darkness upon the minds of the people; and not only this, but that all flesh has corrupted its way upon the face of the earth; that is, that all nations, speaking of them as nations, have corrupted them selves before the Most High God, by their wickedness, whoredoms, idolatries, abominations, adulteries, and all other kinds of wickedness? And we furthermore believe, that according to the Jewish Prophets, as well as the Book of Mormon, and modern revelations given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the sword of the vengeance of the Almighty is already unsheathed, and stretched out, and will no more be put back into the scabbard until it falls upon the head of the nations until they are destroyed, except they repent. What else do we believe? We believe that God is gathering out from among these nations those who will hearken to His voice, and receive the proclamation of the Gospel, to establish them as a people alone by themselves, where they can be instructed in the right way, and brought to the knowledge of the truth. Very well; if this be the case, that the righteous are gathering out, and are still being gathered from among the nations, and being planted by themselves, one thing is certain—that that people are better calculated to bring up children in the right way, than any other under the whole heavens. O yes, says one, if that is the case—if you are the people the ancient Prophets have spoken of, if you are the people that are guided by the Lord, if you are under the influence, power, and guidance of the Almighty, you must be the best people under heaven, to dictate the young mind: but what has that to do with the plurality of wives? I will tell you. I have already told you that the spirits of men and women, all had a previous existence, thousands of years ago, in the heavens, in the presence of God; and I have already told you that among them are many spirits that are more noble, more intelligent than others, that were called the great and mighty ones, reserved until the dispensation of the fullness of times, to come forth upon the face of the earth, through a noble parentage that shall train their young and tender minds in the truths of eternity, that they may grow up in the Lord, and be strong in the power of His might, be clothed upon with His glory, be filled with exceeding great faith; that the visions of eternity may be opened to their minds; that they may be Prophets, Priests, and Kings to the Most High God. Do you believe, says one, that they are reserved until the last dispensation, for such a noble purpose? Yes; and among the Saints is the most likely place for these spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage. They are to be sent to that people that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth; there to be trained up properly, according to their nobility and intelligence, and according to the laws which the Lord ordained before they were born. This is the reason why the Lord is sending them here, brethren and sisters; they are appointed to come and take their bodies here, that in their generations they may be raised up among the righteous. The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations that dwell upon the face of this earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage upon the earth; no, the Lord is not such a being; His justice, goodness, and mercy will be magnified towards those who were chosen before they were born; and they long to come, and they will come among the Saints of the living God; this would be their highest pleasure and joy, to know that they could have the privilege of being born of such noble parentage.

Then is it not reasonable, and con sistent that the Lord should say unto His faithful and chosen servants, that had proved themselves before Him all the day long; that had been ready and willing to do whatsoever His will required them to perform—take unto yourselves more wives, like unto the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of old—like those who lived in ancient times, who walked in my footsteps, and kept my commands? Why should they not do this? Suppose the Lord should answer this question, would He not say, I have here in reserve noble spirits, that have been waiting for thousands of years, to come forth in the fulness of times, and which I designed should come forth through these my faithful and chosen servants, for I knew they will do my will, and they will teach their children after them to do it. Would not this be the substance of the language, if the Lord should give us an answer upon this subject?

But then another question will arise; how are these things to be conducted? Are they to be left at random? Is every servant of God at liberty to run here and there, seeking out the daughters of men as wives unto themselves without any restriction, law, or condition? No. We find these things were restricted in ancient times. Do you not recollect the circumstance of the Prophet Nathan’s coming to David? He came to reprove him for certain disobedience, and told him about the wives he had lost through it; that the Lord would give them to another; and he told him, if he had been faithful, that the Lord would have given him still more, if he had only asked for them. Nathan the Prophet, in relation to David, was the man that held the keys concerning this matter in ancient days; and it was governed by the strictest laws.

So in these days; let me announce to this congregation, that there is but one man in all the world, at the same time, who can hold the keys of this matter; but one man has power to turn the key to inquire of the Lord, and to say whether I, or these my brethren, or any of the rest of this congregation, or the Saints upon the face of the whole earth, may have this blessing of Abraham conferred upon them; he holds the keys of these matters now, the same as Nathan, in his day.

But, says one, how have you obtained this information? By new revelation. When was it given, and to whom? It was given to our Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Joseph Smith, on the 12th day of July, 1843; only about eleven months before he was martyred for the testimony of Jesus.

He held the keys of these matters; he had the right to inquire of the Lord; and the Lord has set bounds and restrictions to these things; He has told us in that revelation, that only one man can hold these keys upon the earth at the same time; and they belong to that man who stands at the head to preside over all the affairs of the Church and kingdom of God in the last days. They are the sealing keys of power, or in other words, of Elijah, having been committed and restored to the earth by Elijah, the Prophet, who held many keys, among which were the keys of sealing, to bind the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers; together with all the other sealing keys and powers, pertaining to the last dispensation. They were committed by that Angel who administered in the Kirtland Temple, and spoke unto Joseph the Prophet, at the time of the endowments in that house.

Now, let us enquire, what will become of those individuals who have this law taught unto them in plainness, if they reject it? [A voice in the stand, “they will be damned.“] I will tell you: they will be damned, saith the Lord God Almighty, in the revelation He has given. Why? Because where much is given, much is required; where there is great knowledge unfolded for the exaltation, glory, and happiness of the sons and daughters of God, if they close up their hearts, if they reject the testimony of His word, and will not give heed to the principles He has ordained for their good, they are worthy of damnation, and the Lord has said they shall be damned. This was the word of the Lord to His servant Joseph the Prophet himself. With all the knowledge and light he had, he must comply with it, or, says the Lord unto him, you shall be damned; and the same is true in regard to all those who reject these things.

What else have we heard from our President? He has related to us that there are some damnations that are eternal in their nature; while others are but for a certain period, they will have an end, they will not receive a restoration to their former privileges, but a deliverance from certain punishments: and instead of being restored to all the privileges pertaining to man previous to the fall, they will only be permitted to enjoy a certain grade of happiness, not a full restoration. Let us inquire after those who are to be damned, admitting they will be redeemed, which they will be, unless they have sinned against the Holy Ghost. They will be redeemed, but what will it be to? Will it be to exaltation, and to a fulness of glory? Will it be to become the sons of God, or Gods to reign upon thrones, and multiply their posterity, and reign over them as kings? No, it will not. They have lost that exalted privilege forever; though they may, after having been punished for long periods, escape by the skin of their teeth; but no kingdom will be conferred upon them. What will be their condition? I will tell you what revelation says, not only concerning them that reject these things, but concerning those that through their carelessness, or want of faith, or something else, have failed to have their marriages sealed for time and for all eternity; those that do not do these things, so as to have the same ordinances sealed upon their heads by divine authority, as was upon the head of old Father Adam—if they fail to do it through wickedness, through their ungodliness, behold, they also will never have the privilege of possessing that which is possessed by the Gods that hold the keys of power, of coming up to the thrones of their exaltation, and receiving their kingdoms. Why? Because, saith the Lord, all oaths, all covenants, and all agreements, &c., that have been made by man, and not by me, and by the authority I have established, shall cease when death shall separate the parties; that is the end; that is the cessation; they go no further; and such a person cannot come up in the morning of the resurrection, and say, Behold, I claim you as my wife; you are mine; I married you in the other world before death; therefore you are mine: he cannot say this. Why? Because he never married that person for eternity.

Suppose they should enter into covenant and agreement, and conclude between themselves to live together to all eternity, and never have it sealed by the Lord’s sealing power, by the Holy Priesthood, would they have any claim on each other in the morning of the resurrection? No; it would not be valid nor legal, and the Lord would say, It was not by me; your covenants were not sealed on the earth, and therefore they are not sealed in the heavens; they are not recorded on my book; they are not to be found in the records that are in the archives of eternity; therefore the blessings you might have had, are not for you to enjoy. What will be their condition? The Lord has told us. He says these are angels; because they keep not this law, they shall be ministering servants unto those who are worthy of obtaining a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; wherefore, saith the Lord, they shall remain singly and separately in their saved condition, and shall not have power to enlarge themselves, and thus shall they remain forever and ever.

Here, then, you can read their history; they are not Gods, but they are angels or servants to the Gods. There is a difference between the two classes; the Gods are exalted; they hold keys of power; are made Kings and Priests; and this power is conferred upon them in time, by the everlasting Priesthood, to hold a kingdom in eternity that shall never be taken from them worlds without end; and they will propagate their species. They are not servants; for one God is not to be a servant to another God; they are not angels; and this is the reason why Paul said, Know ye not, brethren, that we shall judge angels? Angels are inferior to the Saints who are exalted as Kings. These angels who are to be judged, and to become servants to the Gods, did not keep the law, therefore, though they are saved, they are to be servants to those who are in a higher condition.

What does the Lord intend to do with this people? He intends to make them a kingdom of Kings and Priests, a kingdom unto Himself, or in other words, a kingdom of Gods, if they will hearken to His law. There will be many who will not hearken; there will be the foolish among the wise, who will not receive the new and everlasting covenant in its fulness; and they never will attain to their exaltation; they never will be counted worthy to hold the scepter of power over a numerous progeny, that shall multiply themselves without end, like the sand upon the seashore.

We can only touch here and there upon this great subject, we can only offer a few words with regard to this great, sublime, beautiful, and glorious doctrine, which has been revealed by the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Joseph Smith, who sealed his testimony with his blood, and thus revealed to the nations, things that were in ancient times, as well as things that are to come.

But while I talk, the vision of my mind is opened; the subject spreads forth and branches out like the branches of a thrifty tree; and as for the glory of God, how great it is! I feel to say, Hallelujah to His great and holy name; for He reigns in the heavens, and He will exalt His people to sit with Him upon thrones of power, to reign forever and ever.

Departure of Missionaries Without Purse or Scrip—Blessings of the Lord Upon His Faithful Servants

Remarks by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered at a Special Conference held in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 28, 1852.

The congregation have seen manifested the determination of these brethren who have been appointed to go on their respective missions. If it be the minds of this assembly that all of these brethren whose names have been read shall fulfil their several appointments, you will manifest it by the uplifted hand. [The manifestation was unanimous.]

I will make a few observations by permission. When I see so many of my brethren feeling a desire to go to the nations—to different parts of the earth, it truly is a cause of great rejoicing to my heart. When I read, occasionally, letters and communications that are published in the Millennial Star, in regard to the spread of the work among the different nations, it is a joy to me which is indescribable. And when I see the brethren going forth to the different nations, I almost feel as though I wanted to go to all these different places at the same time myself—to go with my brethren and be instrumental with you in trying to build up this kingdom among the nations. There is certainly no work in which the servants of God can be engaged that is so pleasing and joyful to the mind as to be engaged in the work of the holy ministry—in trying to persuade the honest in heart among the nations to receive the truth.

This generation have been calling a long time for miracles; but one of the greatest miracles in the last days, in my estimation, is the fact that scores and hundreds of the missionaries of the Latter-day Saints are traversing the globe, going from nation to nation, upon the principle that the ancient Apostles traveled—namely, without purse or scrip. Is not that a miracle? Has there any such thing happened before for many generations as people traveling over the whole earth, starting from their homes without purse or scrip? If you should go upon your own business, and the Lord had not a hand in the matter, it would be nine chances out of ten if you did not perish before you returned; and, perhaps, nine chances out of ten if you ever obtained means to accomplish your journey and pay your passage from place to place. But where is there an example of any faithful man in this Church, since the year 1830, that has gone forth trust ing in the Lord God of Israel, with mighty prayer, but what has been sustained, upheld, and preserved to return again in honor, unless he has fallen, perhaps, by sickness, or has died a martyr in testimony of the truth?

We find, then, that the Lord has actually wrought miracles in scores and hundreds of instances, in sustaining his servants among foreign nations—in foreign lands, where it would be almost impossible for people that were on their own business to have accomplished anything or to have traveled among them. What has the Lord said upon this subject? He commands us, in a revelation given September 22nd, 1832, as follows—“Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the Church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.” This was a command given twenty years ago this next September. Says one, That looks rather hard. It does not look hard at all; for that same God that gave the commandment is able to bear you up: he is able to sustain you. Perhaps this might have had reference, more particularly, to those who are actually in their fields of labor. This may be the case; for traveling to your field of labor is one thing, and laboring in it is another. There may actually be instances where an Elder is obliged, circumstances being such, to take some means to assist him until he shall arrive at his field of labor; but when he gets there, then depend upon the Lord God of Israel and the people to feed and sustain him. I am not going to say but what it will apply in traveling to the field of his labor. At any rate, I would not be afraid to trust the God of Israel to assist me in going to my field of labor, as well as to assist me after having arrived there.

What would be the best thing, then, for these Elders who are going forth? As a general thing, I would say to them, if you have any cash, leave it with your wives and children, to comfort their hearts, to support them in your absence, and be a blessing to them. And if you can get mules and horses to carry you from here to the States, when you get on the frontiers, sell them, and they will bring you in a little cash to carry through the mobocratic divisions of the country. [A voice in the stand: “Send that back.“] The Lord will always provide some way to get along; and the faithful servant of God has nothing to fear, only his own weakness and his own imperfections and follies: these are the things he has to fear the most. If an Elder gets unfaithful when he is abroad, he is sometimes apt to get into strait places; but if he is diligent in prayer, in doing the work of the Lord, striving in faith to live humbly before him, setting a proper example before his brethren and the people among whom he labors, he will find that the Lord will bear him off victorious; his power will be upon him; and when he administers in the words of life it will be by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. When he administers in the ordinances of the Church, the blessings of Jehovah will follow. When he says to the sick, Be thou healed in the name of Jesus Christ, behold, it is done. When he commands, the lame will leap like a hart. The power of the Lord God of Israel will be made manifest through his faithful servants, and they have nothing to fear.

Brethren, I will prophesy that the power of the Lord God of Israel will be with you to a far greater extent than what has been poured out in days that are passed; and the way will be open before you, and the Lord will visit the hearts of the people before you arrive among them, and make manifest to them by visions and dreams that you are the servants of God, before they shall see your faces. And you will receive heavenly visions to comfort you, and dreams to give you knowledge of the things of God, if you prove faithful before him. I will prophesy this in the name of the Lord God of Israel; and you will find that his power will be more conspicuously made manifest through your administrations on these missions than has ever taken place since the rise of this Church.

How often have I reflected upon the words of the Savior, which were given expressly to his servants: they were not given to the whole Church, but to his servants who were engaged in the work of the ministry. He said, “Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed. Consider the lilies of the field: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet Solomon, or the kings of this world, are not arrayed like one of these. And if God so clothe the grass, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more shall he clothe you, if you are not of little faith. Therefore, take no thought for these things.” You will find, brethren, if you go forth trusting in the Lord, that whatever you need, it will be ministered to you in the very moment; and you will return again with your hearts filled with joy, and your bodies comfortably clothed, and means in your pockets to assist your families when you return to them, and with souls as seals to your ministry, with whom you shall rejoice in time and in eternity.

I have oftentimes thought of another saying in the Book of Mormon, concerning the parable of the vineyard, delivered by one of the ancient Prophets. He said that “The servants of God shall go forth and labor for the last time;” and the prophecy says, “Behold, they were few, and the Lord labored with them.” Among all the servants that had labored in previous dispensations, the parable does not condescend to say that the Lord labored with them, although he no doubt did. But here it is expressly said that the laborers were few, and the Lord labored with them. And after the vineyard was pruned, and was no more corrupt, he called up his servants and said, Behold, you see I have done according to my will, and ye shall have joy with me in the fruit of my vineyard. This truly seems to be characteristic of the way and manner this Gospel is going to the nations. It does not go according to the will of man, neither according to his inferior judgment, but according to the will of God. It breaks forth on the right hand and on the left, and the servants of God are sent forth by his will and authority; and if they are faithful, he has ordained them to labor in his vineyard; and the prophecy says, They will be faithful, and they shall keep the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

Try to have this prophecy fulfilled upon your heads. Keep the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things, that his blessings may be upon you, that when you set to your hands with the pruning-knife, to prune and train up the branches of the trees of the vineyard, and dig around their roots, the power of the everlasting God may rest upon you and the vineyard where you labor. Keep the commandments of the Lord in all things, that you may have joy with him in the fruits of the vineyard when the work is finished. May he bless you as he did Abraham and his servants of old, that you may do the work he has appointed to you in faith, and prayer, and perseverance, that you may bring home your thousands and rejoice in the midst of the mountains.

A General Funeral Sermon of All Saints and Sinners; Also, of the Heavens and the Earth

Delivered by Elder Orson Pratt, at the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 25, 1852.

I have been requested to preach the funeral sermon of the wife of brother Levi Savage, who died last December; and since coming to this place this morning, I have been requested to preach the funeral sermons of several of the Saints who have died in England; and I have concluded, instead of limiting my address to any one individual case, to preach what may be considered a general funeral sermon of all the Saints that have died in all past ages and generations, with all that shall die hereafter, and the funeral sermon of all those who are not Saints, and also the funeral sermon of the heavens and the earth; and for this purpose I will take a text, which you will find recorded in the 51st chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, and the sixth verse—

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

All things with which we are acquainted, pertaining to this earth of ours, are subject to change; not only man, so far as his temporal body is concerned, but the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, and every living thing with which we are acquainted—all are subject to pain and distress, and finally die and pass away; death seems to have universal dominion in our creation. It certainly is a curious world; it certainly does not look like a world constructed in such a manner as to produce eternal happiness; and it would be very far from the truth, I think, for any being at the present time to pronounce it very good: everything seems to show us that goodness, in a great degree, has fled from this creation. If we partake of the elements, death is there in all its forms and varieties; and when we desire to rejoice, sorrow is there, mingling itself in every cup; and woe, and wretchedness, and misery, seem to be our present doom.

There is something, however, in man, that is constantly reaching forward after happiness, after life, after pleasure, after something to satisfy the longing desire that dwells within his bosom. Why is it that we have such a desire? And why is it that it is not satisfied? Why is it that this creation is so constructed? And why is it that death reigns universally over all living earthly beings? Did the great Author of creation construct this little globe of ours subject to all these changes, which are calculated to produce sorrow and death among the beings that inhabit it? Was this the original condition of our creation? I answer, no; it was not so constructed. But how was it made in the beginning? All things that were made pertaining to this earth were pronounced “very good.” Where there is pain, where there is sickness, where there is sorrow, and where there is death, this saying cannot be understood in its literal sense; things cannot be very good where something very evil reigns and has universal dominion.

We are, therefore, constrained to believe, that in the first formation of our globe, as far as the Mosaic history gives us information, everything was perfect in its formation; that there was nothing in the air, or in the waters, or in the solid elements, that was calculated to produce misery, wretchedness, unhappiness, or death, in the way that it was then organized; not but what the same elements, organized a little differently, would produce all these effects; but as it was then constructed, we must admit that every particle of air, of water, and of earth, was so organized as to be capable of diffusing life and immortality through all the varied species of animated existence—immortality reigned in every department of creation; hence it was pronounced “very good.”

When the Lord made the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, to people the atmospheric heavens, or the watery elements, these fowls and fishes were so constructed in their nature as to be capable of eternal existence. To imagine anything different from this, would be to suppose the Almighty to form that which was calculated to produce wretchedness and misery. What says the Psalmist David upon this subject? He says that all the works of the Lord shall endure forever. Did not the Lord make the fish? Yes. Did He not make the fowls of the heavens? Yes. Did He not make the beasts of the field, and the creeping things, and the insects? Yes. Do they endure forever? They apparently do not; and yet David says all His works are constructed upon that principle. Is this a contradiction? No. God has given some other particulars in relation to these works. He has permitted the destroyer to visit them, who has usurped a certain dominion and authority, carrying desolation and ruin on every hand; the perfections of the original organizations have ceased. But will the Lord forever permit these destructions to reign? No. His power exists, and the power of the destroyer exists. His power exists, and the power of death exists; but His power exceeds all other powers; and consequently, wherever a usurper comes in and lays waste any of His works, He will repair those wastes, build up the old ruins, and make all things new: even the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth, must yet, in order to carry out the designs of the Almighty, be so constructed as to be capable of eternal existence.

It would be interesting to know something about the situation of things when they were first formed, and how this destroyer happened to make inroads upon this fair creation; what the causes were, and why it was permitted.

Man, when he was first placed upon this earth, was an immortal being, capable of eternal endurance; his flesh and bones, as well as his spirit, were immortal and eternal in their nature; and it was just so with all the inferior creation—the lion, the leopard, the kid, and the cow; it was so with the feathered tribes of creation, as well as those that swim in the vast ocean of waters; all were immortal and eternal in their nature; and the earth itself, as a living being, was immortal and eternal in its nature. “What! is the earth alive too?” If it were not, how could the words of our text be fulfilled, where it speaks of the earth’s dying? How can that die that has no life? “Lift up your eyes to the heavens above,” says the Lord, “and look upon the earth beneath; the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner.” In like manner! What! The earth and the heavens to die? Yes, the material heavens and earth must all undergo this change which we call death; and if so, the earth must be alive as well as we. The earth was so constructed that it was capable of existing as a living being to all eternity, with all the swarms of animals, fowls, and fishes that were first placed upon the face thereof. But how can it be proved that man was an immortal being? We will refer you to what the Apostle Paul has written upon this subject; he says that by one man came death; and he tells us how it came: it was by the transgression of one individual that death was introduced here. But did transgression bring in all these diseases and this sorrow, this misery and wretchedness, over the whole face of this creation? Is it by the transgression of one person that the very heavens are to vanish away as smoke, and the earth is to wax old like a garment? Yes, it is by the transgression of one; and if it had not been for his transgression, the earth never would have been subject to death. Why? Because the works of the Lord are so constructed as to exist forever; and if death had come in without a cause, and destroyed the earth, and laid waste the material heavens, and produced a general and utter overthrow and ruin in this fair creation, then the works of the Lord would have ceased to endure according to the promise, being imperfect in their construction, and consequently not very good.

But what was this sin, and what was the nature of it? I will tell you what it was; it was merely the partaking of a certain kind of fruit. But, says one, I should think there is no harm in eating fruit. There would not be unless God gave a command upon the subject. There are things in nature that would be evil without a commandment: if there were no commandment, it would be evil for you to murder an innocent being, and your own conscience would tell you it was an evil thing. It is an evil for any individual to injure another, or to infringe upon the rights of another, independent of any revealed law; for the savage, or that being who has never heard of the written laws of heaven—who has never heard of the revealed laws of God with regard to these principles—as well as the Saint, knows that it is an evil to infringe upon the rights of another; the very nature of the thing shows that it is an evil; but not so in regard to many other things that are evil; which are only made evil by commandment.

For instance, here is the Sabbath day: a person that never heard the revealed law of God upon the subject, never could conceive that it was an evil to work on the Sabbath day; he would consider it just as right to work on the first day of the week, as on the seventh; he would perceive nothing in the nature of the thing by which he could distinguish it to be an evil. So with regard to eating certain fruits; there is no evil in it of itself, it was the commandment of the Great God that made it an evil. He said to Adam and Eve, “Here are all the fruits of the garden; you may eat of them freely except this one tree that stands in the midst of the garden; now beware, for in the day you eat thereof you shall surely die.” Don’t we perceive that the commandment made this an evil? Had it not been for this commandment, Adam would have walked forth and freely partaken of every tree, without any remorse of conscience; just as the savage, that never has heard the revealed will of God, would work on the Sabbath, the same as on any other day, and have no conscience about the matter. But when a man murders, he knows it to be an injury, and he has a conscience about it, though he never heard of God; and so with thousands of other evils. But why did the Lord place man under these peculiar circumstances? Why did He not withhold the commandment, if the partaking of the fruit, after the commandment was given, was sin? Why should there have been a commandment upon the subject at all, inasmuch as there was no evil in the nature of the thing to be perceived or understood? The Lord had a purpose in view; though He constructed this fair creation, as we have told you, subject to immortality, and capable of eternal endurance, and though He had constructed man capable of living forever, yet He had an object in view in regard to that man, and the creation he inhabited. What was the object? And how shall this object be accomplished?

Why, the Lord wanted this intelligent being called man, to prove himself; inasmuch as he was an agent, He desired that he should show himself approved before his Creator.

How could this be done without a commandment? Can you devise any possible means? Is there any person in this congregation having wisdom sufficient to devise any means by which an intelligent being can show himself approved before a superior intelligence, unless it be by administering to that man certain laws to be kept? No. Without law, without commandment or rule, there would be no possible way of showing his integrity: it could not be said that he would keep all the laws that govern superior orders of beings, unless he had been placed in a position to be tried, and thus proven whether he would keep them or not. Then it was wisdom to try the man and the woman, so the Lord gave them this commandment; if He had not intended the man should be tried by this commandment, He never would have planted that tree, He never would have placed it in the midst of the garden. But the very fact that He planted it where the man could have easy access to it, shows that He intended man should be tried by it, and thus prove whether he would keep His commandments or not. The penalty of disobedience to this law was death.

But could He not give a commandment, without affixing a penalty? He could not: it would be folly, even worse than folly, for God to give a law to an intelligent being, without affixing a penalty to it if it were broken. Why? Because all intelligent beings would discard the very idea of a law being given, which might be broken at pleasure, without the individuals breaking it being punished for their transgression. They would say—“Where is the principle of justice in the giver of the law? It is not there: we do not reverence Him nor His law; justice does not have an existence in His bosom; He does not regard His own laws, for He suffers them to be broken with impunity, and trampled under foot, by those whom He has made; therefore we care not for Him or His laws, nor His pretended justice; we will rebel against it.” Where would have been the use of it if there had been no penalty affixed?

But what was the nature of this penalty? It was wisely ordained to be of such a nature as to instruct man. Penalties inflicted upon human beings here, by governors, kings, or rulers, are generally of such a nature as to benefit them.

Adam was appointed lord of this creation; a great governor, swaying the scepter of power over the whole earth. When the governor, the person who was placed to reign over this fair creation, had transgressed, all in his dominions had to feel the effects of it, the same as a father or a mother, who transgresses certain laws, frequently transmits the effects thereof to the latest generations.

How often do we see certain diseases becoming hereditary, being handed down from father to son for generations. Why? Because in the first instance there was a transgression, and the children partook of the effects of it.

And what was the fullest extent of the penalty of Adam’s transgression? I will tell you—it was death. The death of what? The death of the immortal tabernacle—of that tabernacle where the seeds of death had not been, that was wisely framed, and pronounced very good: the seeds of death were introduced into it. How, and in what manner? Some say there was something in the nature of the fruit that introduced mortality. Be this as it may, one thing is certain, death entered into the system; it came there by some means, and sin was the main spring by which this monster was introduced. If there had been no sin, old father Adam would at this day have been in the garden of Eden, as bright and as blooming, as fresh and as fair, as ever, together with his lovely consort Eve, dwelling in all the beauty of youth.

By one man came death—the death of the body. What becomes of the spirit when the body dies? Will it be perfectly happy? Would old father Adam’s spirit have gone back into the presence of God, and dwelt there eternally, enjoying all the felicities and glories of heaven, after his body had died? No; for the penalty of that transgression was not limited to the body alone. When he sinned, it was with both the body and the spirit that he sinned: it was not only the body that ate of the fruit, but the spirit gave the will to eat; the spirit sinned therefore as well as the body; they were agreed in partaking of that fruit. Was not the spirit to suffer then as well as the body? Yes. How long? To all ages of eternity, without any end; while the body was to return back to its mother earth, and there slumber to all eternity. That was the effect of the fall, leaving out the plan of redemption; so that, if there had been no plan of redemption prepared from before the foundation of the world, man would have been subjected to an eternal dissolution of the body and spirit—the one to lie mingling with its mother earth, to all ages of eternity, and the other to be subject, throughout all future duration, to the power that deceived him, and led them astray; to be completely miserable, or, as the Book of Mormon says, “dead as to things pertaining to righteousness;” and I defy any such beings to have any happiness when they are dead as to things pertaining to righteousness. To them, happiness is out of the question; they are completely and eternally miserable, and there is no help for them, laying aside the atonement. That was the penalty pronounced upon father Adam, and upon all the creation of which he was made lord and governor. This is what is termed original sin, and the effect of it.

But there is a very curious saying in the Book of Mormon, to which I now wish to refer your minds; it reads thus: “Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” Says one, “If Adam had not fallen, then there could not have been any posterity.” That is just what we believe; but how do you get along with that saying which was given previous to the fall, where he was commanded to multiply and replenish the earth? How could he have multiplied and fulfilled this commandment, if “Adam fell that man might be?” Let me appeal to another saying in the New Testament: “Adam was not deceived; but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression,” says the Apostle Paul. Well, after the woman was deceived, she became subject to the penalty; yes, after she had partaken of the forbidden fruit, the penalty was upon her, and not upon Adam; he had not partaken of the fruit, but his wife had. Now, what is to be done? Here are two beings in the garden of Eden, the woman and the man; she has transgressed, has broken the law, and incurred the penalty. And now, suppose the man had said, “I will not partake of this forbidden fruit;” the next word would have been, “Cast her out of the garden; but let Adam stay there, for he has not sinned; he has not broken the commandment, but his wife has; she was deceived, let her be banished from the garden, and from my presence, and from Adam’s presence; let them be eternally separated.” I ask, on these conditions could they fulfil the first great commandment? They could not. Adam saw this, that the woman was overcome by the devil speaking through the serpent; and when he saw it, he was satisfied that the woman would have to be banished from his presence: he saw, also, that unless he partook of the forbidden fruit, he could never raise up posterity; therefore the truth of that saying in the Book of Mormon is apparent, that “Adam fell that man might be.” He saw that it was necessary that he should with her partake of sorrow and death, and the varied effects of the fall, that he and she might be redeemed from these effects, and be restored back again to the presence of God.

This tree, of which they both ate, was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was it thus termed? I will explain a mystery to you, brethren, why this was called so. Adam and Eve, while in the garden of Eden, had not the knowledge you and I have; it is true, they had a degree of intelligence, but they had not the experience, they had not the knowledge by experience, which you and I have: all they knew was barely what they knew when they came there; they knew a commandment had been given to them, and they had sufficient knowledge to name the beasts of the field as they came up before them; but as for the knowledge of good, they had not got it, because they never had anything contrary to good placed before them.

We will bring up an example. For instance, suppose you had never tasted anything that was sweet—never had the sensation of sweetness—could you have any correct idea of the term sweetness? No. On the other hand, how could you understand bitter if you never had tasted bitterness? Could you define the term to them who had never experienced this sensation, or knew it? No. I will bring another example. Take a man who had been perfectly blind from his infancy, and never saw the least gleam of light—could you describe colors to him? No. Would he know anything about red, blue, violet, or yellow? No; you could not describe it to him by any way you might undertake. But by some process let his eyes be opened, and let him gaze upon the sunbeams that reflect; upon a watery cloud, producing the rainbow, where he would see a variety of colors, he could then appreciate them for himself; but tell him about colors when he is blind, he would not know them from a piece of earthenware. So with Adam previous to partaking of this fruit; good could not be described to him, because he never had experienced the opposite. As to undertaking to explain to him what evil was, you might as well have undertaken to explain, to a being that never had, for one moment, had his eyes closed to the light, what darkness is. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was placed there that man might gain certain information he never could have gained otherwise; by partaking of the forbidden fruit he experienced misery, then he knew that he was once happy, previously he could not comprehend what happiness meant, what good was; but now he knows it by contrast, now he is filled with sorrow and wretchedness, now he sees the difference between his former and present condition, and if by any means he could be restored to his first position, he would be prepared to realize it, like the man that never had seen the light. Let the man to whom all the beauties of light have been displayed, and who has never been in darkness, be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, deprived of his natural sight; what a change this would be to him; he never knew anything about darkness before, he never understood the principle at all; it never entered the catalogue of his ideas, until darkness came upon him, and his eyesight was destroyed: now he can comprehend that the medium he once existed in was light. Now, says he, if I could only regain my sight, I could appreciate it, for I understand the contrast; restore me back again to my sight, and let me enjoy the light I once had; let me gaze upon the works of creation, let me look on the beauties thereof again, and I will be satisfied, and my joy will be full. It was so with Adam; let the way be prepared for his redemption, and the redemption of his posterity, and all creation that groans in pain to be delivered—let them be restored back again to what they lost through the fall, and they will be prepared to appreciate it.

In order to show you the dire effects of the fall, it is not only necessary to say that old father Adam has experienced that penalty, and laid down his body in the dust; but all generations since that time have experienced the same; and you, and I, and every man, and woman, and child, have got to, undergo that penalty; it will be inflicted upon us, and thus will the law of God be magnified, His words fulfilled, and justice have its demands. It is not because of our sins, that we die; it is not because we have transgressed, that we die; it is not because we may commit murder, or steal, or plunder, or rob, or take the name of the Lord in vain; it is not these things that bring the death of the body; but it is Adam’s sin that makes the little child die, that makes kings, princes, and potentates die, and that has made all generations die from his day down to the present time. Don’t you think there ought to be some way to redeem us from this dreadful calamity? We had no hand in the transgression of Adam; you and I were not there to participate in it; but it was our great father who did it, and we are suffering the effects of it.

Cannot some of the wise medical men of the age—some of the great physicians and doctors of the day, who have studied medicine all their life—can they not imagine up something new, that will relieve the posterity of Adam from this awful calamity? They have not done it yet. Dr. Brandreth recommended his medicine for all kinds of diseases, and even it was said that steamboats were propelled by its power; but it made no man immortal; it did not save one man; and it is doubtful in the extreme—it is certain, that no man in this mortality has ever discovered that medicine which will relieve us from these awful effects transmitted from father Adam to this present time. There is a remedy, but it is not to be found in the catalogue of the inventions of man; it is not to be found in the bowels of the earth, or dug out of any mines; it is not to be purchased by the gold of California, or the treasures of India. What is it, and how was it discovered? It was the Being who made man, that made him immortal and eternal, that Being whose bosom is filled with mercy, as well as justice, that exercises both attributes, and shows to all creation that He is a merciful God, as well as a God of justice; it was He that discovered this wonderful remedy to preserve mankind from the effects of this eternal death. But when is it to be applied? Not immediately, for that would frustrate His designs: when the body has got back into the dust, and after man has suffered sufficiently long for the original sin, He then brings him forth to enjoy all the bloom of immortality; He tells Death to trouble him no more; He wipes away all tears from his eyes, for he is prepared to live forever, and gaze upon His glory, and dwell in His presence.

This great Redeemer is stronger than Death, more powerful than that direful monster who has come into the world, and laid siege to all the inhabitants thereof; He will banish it out of this creation. How will He do it? If the penalty of the original sin be the eternal separation of body and spirit, how can justice have all its demands, and mercy be shown to the transgressor? There is a way, and how? It is by the introduction of His Only Begotten Son, the Son of His own bosom, the firstborn of every creature, holding the birthright over every creation He has made, and holding the keys of salvation over millions of worlds like this; he has a right to come forth and suffer the penalty of death for the fallen sons and daughters of man. He offered his own life: says he, “Father, I will suffer death though I have not merited it; let me suffer the demands of the law. Here I am innocent in thy presence; I have always kept thy laws from the day of my birth among thy creations, throughout ages past down to the present time; I have never been re bellious to thy commandments; and now I will suffer for my brethren and sisters: let thy justice be magnified and made honorable; here am I; let me suffer the ends of the law, and let death and the grave deliver up their victims, and let the posterity of Adam all be set free, every soul of them without an exception.” This is the way that justice is magnified and made honorable, and none of the creations of the Almighty can complain of Him, that He has not answered the ends of justice; no intelligent being can say, “You have deviated from your words.” Justice has had its demands in the penalties that were inflicted upon the Son of God, so far as Adam’s transgression is concerned.

I will explain a little further. So far as that transgression is concerned, all the inhabitants of the earth will be saved. Now understand me correctly. If there are any strangers present, that have not understood the views of the Latter-day Saints, I wish you to understand that we have no reference in any way to our own personal sins; but so far as the original sin of father Adam is concerned, you and I will have to suffer death; and every man and woman that ever lived on this globe will be redeemed from that sin. On what condition? I answer, on no condition whatever on our part. “But,” says one, “where I came from they tell me I ought to repent for the original sin.” I care not what they tell you, you will be redeemed from the original sin, with no works on your part whatever. Jesus has died to redeem you from it, and you are as sure to be redeemed, as you live upon the face of this earth. This is the kind of universal redemption the “Mormons” believe in, though in one sense of the word, it is a different kind of universal redemption from that which the nations have been in the habit of hearing. We believe in the universal redemption of all the children of Adam into the presence of God, so far as the sins of Adam are concerned. They will obtain a universal redemption from the grave. It matters not how wicked you are; if you have murdered all the days of your life, and committed all the sins the devil would prompt you to commit, you will get a resurrection; your spirit will be restored to your body. If Jesus had not come, all of us would have slumbered in the grave; but now, wicked as we may be, if we go down to the grave blaspheming the name of the Lord, we shall as sure come up again as we go down there. This is free grace without works; all this comes to pass without works on the part of the creature.

Now let us pause upon another subject, as we pass along. Don’t you know, my hearers, that there has been another law given since man has become a mortal being? Is it the Book of Mormon? No. After man became a mortal being, the Lord gave him another law. What was it? “You have now got into a condition that you know good and evils by experience, and I will give you a law adapted to your capacity,” says the Lord, “and I now command you, that you shall not do evil.”

What is the penalty? Second death. What is that? After you have been redeemed from the grave, and come into the presence of God, you will have to stand there to be judged; and if you have done evil, you will be banished everlastingly from His presence—body and spirit united together; this is what is called the second death. Why is it called the second death? Because the first is the dissolution of body and spirit, and the second is merely a banishment—a becoming dead to the things of righteousness; and as I have already remarked, wherever a being is placed in such a condition, there perfect misery reigns; I care not where you place them; you may take any of the celestial worlds, and place millions of beings there that are dead to righteousness, and how long will it be before they make a perfect hell of it? They would make a hell of any heaven the Lord ever made. It is the second death—the penalty attached to the commandment given to the posterity of Adam, viz., “You shall cease to do evil; for if you cease to do evil, you shall be redeemed from Adam’s transgression, and brought back into my presence; and if you cease not to do evil, you shall be punished with everlasting destruction from my presence, and from the glory of my power,” saith the Lord.

“But,” says one, “He is so merciful that He would not inflict such a penalty upon us.” Have you ever seen a man that has escaped from the first death? Or who had any prospect of it? No; you cannot find a remedy to hinder him from going down to his grave. Has there been any escape for any individual for 6,000 years past? Now, if the Lord has been punctual to make every man, woman, and child, suffer the penalty of the first transgression, why should you suppose that you can stand in His presence, and behold the glory of His power, and have everlasting life and happiness, when He has told you that you should be banished therefrom, that the second death should be inflicted upon you? For the first provocation, He has fulfilled to the very letter the penalty of the law; so will He in the second, and there is no escape. Says one, “Is there no escape?” No; not so far as you are able to provide. But I will tell you that there is a redemption for man from this second death or penalty, and the Lord remains a perfect, just Being, His justice being magnified.

There is a way of escape from the effects of your own individual transgressions, but it is different from the redemption from the original sin of Adam. The redemption from that sin was universal without works, but the redemption from your own personal sins is universal with works on the part of the creature—universal in its nature, because it is free to all, but not received by all. The salvation, or redemption from your own sins, is not by free grace alone, it requires a little work. But what are the works? Jesus Christ, through his death and sufferings has answered the penalty, on condition that you believe in him, and repent of your sins, and be baptized for the remission of them, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, and continue humble, and meek, and prayerful, until you go down to your graves; and on these conditions, Jesus will plead for you before the Father, and say, “Father, I not only died for Adam’s sin, but for the sins of all the world, inasmuch as they believe in my Gospel; and now these individuals have repented, they have reformed their lives, and have become like little children in my sight, and have performed the works I have given them to do—and now, Father, may they be saved with an everlasting salvation in thy presence, and sit down with me on my throne, as I have overcome, and sit down with thee on thy throne; and may they be crowned, with all the sanctified, with immortality and eternal life, no more to be cast away.”

Don’t you think the Father would accept an appeal of this kind from His Only Begotten Son? Yes. He is our Mediator, to plead before the Father for those who will comply with his commands, and the laws of his Gospel. The way is simple, so simple and easy that many step over it and say, “O, that is of no consequence, it is of no avail, it will do no good to be baptized in water.” But if the Lord had not constructed it upon a simple plan, adapted to the capacities of all men, they might have had some excuse; but as it is, they have none: all you have got to do is to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, turn away from your sins, cease to do evil, saying, “Father, I will cease from this time henceforth to sin, and will work the works of righteousness; I will try to do good all the days of my life; and I witness this before thee by this day going down into the waters of baptism; and thus cast off the old man, with his deeds,” and henceforth live in newness of life. If you will do this, you will just as sure be redeemed from your own sins, and the penalty thereof, and be lifted up to dwell in the presence of God, as you have been redeemed or lifted up from the waters of baptism. This is the Gospel, the first principles thereof, by which you can be redeemed from your own sins; and by and by death will come, and it will be sweet to you, for Jesus has suffered the penalty of sin; the pangs of sin are gone, and you fall asleep in peace, having made sure your salvation, and having done your duty well, like those we are preaching the funeral sermon of this morning; and thus you will fall asleep, with a full assurance that you will come up, in the morning of the first resurrection, with an immortal body, like that which Adam had before he partook of the forbidden fruit. This is the promise to them that fall asleep in Jesus.

When our spirits leave these bodies, will they be happy? Not perfectly so. Why? Because the spirit is absent from the body; it cannot be perfectly happy while a part of the man is lying in the earth. How can the happiness be complete when only a part of the redemption is accomplished? You cannot be perfectly happy until you get a new house. You will be happy, you will be at ease in paradise; but still you will be looking for a house where your spirit can enter, and act as you did in former times, only more perfectly, having superior powers. Consequently, all the holy men that have lived in days of old, have looked forward to the resurrection of their bodies; for then their glory will be complete.

What did Paul say upon this subject? He said, “I have fought a good fight,” “I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” Do you understand this passage? Remember that this crown that Paul speaks of, was not to be given in the day we die; but it is to be given in “that day”—the day of the Lord’s appearing; it is to be given to all those that love his appearing; then is the time that Paul will get his crown; then is the time that the Saints who fall asleep in our day, will receive their crowns—crowns of rejoicing—kingly crowns. What good would a crown do a man who is miserable and wretched? Many persons have worn crowns in this life; tyrants have had crowns of diamonds and gold; but what benefit are they? None at all, except to a being who has made himself perfectly happy by his obedience. But what are we to understand by this crown of righteousness, which is to be given to the Saints? We understand that it is actually to be a crown of glory; that they are to be kings in reality. John speaks in the first chapter of his Revelation to the Churches in his day, and represents the Saints to be Kings and Priests; he says, Christ “hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father;” and this too, while in this life.

In another place he speaks of those who are dead—about their singing a new song: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou hast redeemed us Oh God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests.” Here then we find, from the first chapter, that they were made Kings and Priests before they were dead; and in the next quotation; we find that they still retained their kingly office after death, and actually had made songs to express their happy condition—“Thou hast made us kings and priests.” Now we see the reason why they are to wear crowns, for they will be made Kings and Priests on the earth: the Lord then, must have some way to give this kingly power.

Do you understand this, brethren and sisters? If you were to speak, I should hear innumerable voices respond, “Yes, we understand it; the Lord has revealed the ordinances; we know how the sons and daughters of God obtain this kingly office, while living here in this mortal tabernacle.”

We will pass over that; suffice it to say, that death does not wrench it from them; for they are to be kings, not for a day, or for this short life, but they are to remain to all eternity kings; having their thrones, and acting in the duties belonging to their kingly office. Compared with this, what are all the little, petty kingdoms of this earth worth? They are not worth one snap of the finger. The kings of the world exercise a certain authority over the nations—over their subjects, issuing laws, and framing governments, and controlling them; and do you suppose that the Saints will be kings in the eternal world, and sit down upon thrones, in silence, not exercising the functions of their office? No. That is not the way the Lord has organized His creations; if there are kings, you may depend upon it they will have kingdoms under their control; they will have authority and dominion; they will give laws to those subjects over whom they bear rule; they will control them by the priestly office, for it is combined with the kingly office, and neither can be separated to all eternity. Is our God so narrow and contracted in His feelings, in His views and disposition, that He would limit the authority of the priestly office to this little globe we inhabit? No. God has more expansive views; His works are without beginning, and without end; they are one eternal round. What kind of works are they? They are to make creations, and people them with living beings, and place them in a condition to prove themselves; and to exercise the kingly and priestly office to redeem them after they have suffered pain, and sorrow, and distress; and to bring them up into the presence of God; that they, in their turn, may become kings and priests for other creations that shall be made, and that shall be governed and ruled over by those possessing the proper authority.

We do not believe that everything has got to be limited to this little space of time in this world; but the Saints will be doing a work that will be adapted to beings that are the sons of God in the fullest sense of the word, that are precisely like their Father; and if so, they will be like Gods, and will hold dominion under that Being who is the Lord of lords; and they will hold it to all eternity.

We will come back to our text. We have been talking about the funeral sermon of the earth; the earth is to wax old like a garment and pass away. I have already proved to you the redemption of man, and how he will become immortal and eternal; now let us look after his inheritance; we will see if he is to be lifted up in space, without any inheritance to stand upon, without any land upon which to raise manna for eating, or flax for the spinning and making of fine robes and other wearing apparel. Let us see if it is to be a shadowy existence, like the God that is served by Christendom, “without body, parts, and passions,” and located “beyond the bounds of time and space.”

The earth is to die; it has already received certain ordinances, and will have to receive other ordinances for its recovery from the fall.

We will go back to the creation. The first account we have of the earth, it was enveloped in a mass of waters; it was called forth from the womb of liquid elements. Here was the first birth of our creation—the waters rolled back, and the dry land appeared, and was soon clothed upon with vegetable and animal existence. This was similar to all other births; being first encompassed in a flood of mighty waters, it burst forth from them, and was soon clothed with all the beauties of the vegetable kingdom. By and by it became polluted by Adam’s transgression, and was thus brought under the sentence of death, with all things connected with it; and as our text says, it must wax old and die, in like manner as the inhabitants upon the face thereof.

The heavens and the earth were thus polluted, that is, the material heavens, and everything connected with our globe; all fell when man fell, and became subject to death when man became subject to it. Both man and the earth are redeemed from the original sin without ordinances; but soon we find new sins committed by the fallen sons of Adam, and the earth became corrupted before the Lord by their transgressions. It needs redeeming ordinances for these second transgressions. The Lord ordained baptism, or immersion of the earth in water, as a justifying ordinance. Said he to Noah, “Build an ark for the saving of thyself and house, for I will immerse the earth in water, that the sins which have corrupted it may be washed away from its face.” The fountains of the great deep, and the windows on high, were opened, and the rains came and overwhelmed the earth; and the dry land disappeared in the womb of the mighty waters, even as in the begin ning. The waters were assuaged; the earth came forth clothed with innocence, like the newborn child, having been baptized or born again from the ocean flood; and thus the old earth was buried with all its deeds, and arose to a newness of life, its sins being washed away, even as man has to be immersed in water to wash away his own personal sins.

By and by the earth becomes corrupted again, and the nations make themselves drunken with the wine of the wrath of great Babylon; but the Lord has reserved the same earth for fire; hence He says by the prophet Malachi, “Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, &c.” A complete purification is again to come upon the earth, and that too, by the more powerful element of fire; and the wicked will be burned as stubble. When is this to be? Is it to be before the earth dies? This is a representation of the baptism that is received by man after he has been baptized in water; for he is then to be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, and all his sins entirely done away: so the earth will be baptized with fire, and wickedness swept away from its face, so that the glory of God shall cover it. As the waters cover the great deep, so will the earth be overwhelmed and immersed in the glory of God, and His Spirit be poured out upon all flesh, before the earth dies. After this purifying ordinance, there will be a thousand years of rest, during which righteousness shall abound upon the face of the earth; and soon after the thousand years have ended, the words of the text shall be fulfilled—“The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment,” &c. When the earth waxes old, and has filled the measure of its creation, and all things have been done according to the mind and will of God, He will say to the earth, “Die.” What will be its death? Will it be drowned? No: it is to die through the agency of fire; it is to suffer a death similar to many of the martyrs; the very elements themselves are to melt with fervent heat, and the hills are to be made like wax before the Lord. Will the earth be annihilated? No, there is no such a word in all His revelations; such a thing was never known in the bosom of the Almighty, or any other being, except in the imaginations of some of the moderns, who have declared that the globe was to become like the “baseless fabric of a vision.” It is one of the sectarian follies, that the elements and everything else are to be completely struck out of existence. The Lord never revealed, or thought of, or even hinted at such a thing.

The earth will not be annihilated, any more than our bodies are after being burned. Every chemist knows that the weight of a thing is not diminished by burning it. The present order of things must be done away, and, as the apostle John says, all things must become new; and he tells us the time when: it is to be after the millennium. The passing away is equivalent to death, and all things being made new is equivalent to the resurrection. Is the new earth to be made precisely like this earth? No; but as this earth was, before sin entered into it; and we shall inherit it. This is our heaven, and we have the title to it by promise, and it will be redeemed through the faith and prayers of the Saints, and we shall get a title from God to a portion of it as our inheritance.

O ye farmers, when you sleep in the grave, don’t be afraid that your agricultural pursuits are forever at an end; don’t be fearful that you will never get any more landed property; but if you be Saints, be of good cheer, for when you come up in the morning of the resurrection, behold! there is a new earth made, wherein dwells righteousness, and blessed are ye, for ye shall inhabit it. “Blessed are the meek,” says our Savior, “for they shall inherit the earth,” though they have died without a foot of land. The Latter-day Saints were driven from one possession to another, until they were driven beyond the pale of civilization into the deserts, where it was supposed they would die, and that would be the last of them; but behold, they have a firm hold upon the promise that the meek shall inherit the earth, when they come here with immortal bodies capable of enjoying the earth. True, we can have plenty of the things of this life in their cursed condition; but what are all these things? They are nothing. We are looking for things in their immortal state, and farmers will have great farms upon the earth when it is so changed. “But don’t be so fast,” says one, “don’t you know that there are only about 197,000,000 of square miles, or about 126,000,000,000 of acres, upon the surface of the globe? Will this accommodate all the inhabitants after the resurrection?” Yes; for if the earth should stand 8,000 years, or eighty centuries, and the population should be a thousand millions in every century, that would be eighty thousand millions of inhabitants; and we know that many centuries have passed that would not give the tenth part of this; but supposing this to be the number, there would then be over an acre and a half for each person upon the face of the globe.

But there is another thing to be considered. Are the wicked to receive the earth as an inheritance? No; for Jesus did not say, Blessed are the wicked, for they shall inherit the earth; this promise was made only to the meek. Who are the meek? None but those who receive the ordinances of the Gospel, and live according to them; they must receive the same ordinances the earth has received, and be baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, as this earth will be when Jesus comes to reign upon it a thousand years; and be clothed upon with the glory of God, as this earth will be; and after they have died as the earth will die, they will have to be resurrected, as this earth will be resurrected, and then receive their inheritance upon it.

Look at the seventeen centuries that have passed away on the eastern hemisphere, during which time the sound of the Gospel has never been heard from the mouth of an authorized servant of God. Suppose now that out of the vast amount of the population of this earth, one in a hundred should receive the law of meekness, and be entitled to receive an inheritance upon the new earth; how much land would they receive? We answer, they would receive over 150 acres, which would be quite enough to raise manna, and to build some habitations upon, and some splendid mansions; it would be large enough to raise flax to make robes of, and to have beautiful orchards of fruit trees; it would be large enough to have our flower gardens, and everything the agriculturalist and the botanist want, and some to spare.

What would be done with the spare portions? Let me tell you of one thing which perhaps some of you have never thought of. Do you suppose that we shall get up out of the grave, male and female, and that we shall not have the same kind of affections, and endearments, and enjoyments that we have here? The same pure feelings of love that exist in the bosoms of the male and female in this world, will exist with seven-fold intensity in the next world, governed by the law of God; there will be no corruptions nor infringements upon one another’s rights. Will not a man have his own family? Yes; he will also have his own mansion and farm, his own sons and daughters. And what else? Why, the fact is, man will continue to multiply and fill up this creation, inasmuch as it is not filled up by the resurrected Saints after it is made new.

And what will he do when this is filled up? Why, he will make more worlds, and swarm out like bees from the old hive, and prepare new locations. And when a farmer has cultivated his farm, and raised numerous children, so that the space is beginning to be too strait for them, he will say, “My sons, yonder is plenty of matter, go and organize a world, and people it; and you shall have laws to govern you, and you shall understand and comprehend through your experience the same things that we know.” And thus it will be one eternal round, and one continual increase; and the government will be placed under those that are crowned as kings and Priests in the presence of God.

Much more might be said, for we have only just touched upon these things, only turned the key that you may look through the door and discern a little of the glories that await the Saints. Let me tell you, it has not entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God has laid up for them that love Him, unless he is filled with the Holy Ghost, and by vision gazes upon the thrones and the dominions, the principalities and powers, that are placed under His control and dominion; and He shall sway a righteous scepter over the whole.

This we will consider a kind of resurrection sermon for this creation, and all the righteous that shall inhabit it. We have not time in this discourse to preach the resurrection of the wicked, nor point out the place of their location.