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Reminiscences and Testimony of Parley P. Pratt

A Discourse by Elder Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday, September 7, 1856.

Beloved brethren and sisters—Being about to depart from this Territory and from the “home mission” to which I was appointed among you, and to journey to the States on a mission, I rise to express my feelings and my faith, and to leave my testimony with you.

There are some, I presume, in this congregation, who personally have been strangers to me, and who have not heard my testimony. I have been acquainted in this Church and connected with it from the first year of its organization in the wilderness of western New York. It was organized on the 6th day of April, 1830, and I was baptized into it about the 1st of the September following.

When I first became a member of this Church, one small room could have contained all the members there then were in the world, and that, too, without being crowded; for at times, I presume, there were not fifty.

The first thing that attracted my attention towards this work was the Book of Mormon. I happened to see a copy of it. Some man, nearly a stranger to it, and not particularly a believer in it, happened to get hold of a copy: he made mention of it to me, and gave me the privilege of coming to his house and reading it. This was at a place about a day’s journey from the residence of Joseph Smith the Prophet and his father, and while I was returning to the work of my ministry; for I was then traveling and preaching, being connected with a society of people sometimes called Campbellites or Reformed Baptists.

I had diligently searched the Scriptures, and prayed to God to open my mind that I might understand them; and he had poured his Spirit and understanding into my heart, so that I did understand the Scriptures in a good degree, the letter of the Gospel, its forms and first principles in their truth, as they are written in the Bible. These things were opened to my mind; but the power, the gifts, and the authority of the Gospel I knew were lacking, and did really expect that they would be restored, because I knew that the things that were predicted could never be fulfilled until that power and that authority were restored. I also had an understanding of the literal fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible, so that I really did believe in and hope for the literal restoration of Israel, the cutting off of wickedness, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the triumph of his kingdom on the earth. All this I was looking for; and the Spirit seemed to whisper to my mind that I should see it in my day.

Under these circumstances, I was traveling to impart the light which I had to others; and while doing this, I found, as I before stated, the Book of Mormon. I read it carefully and diligently, a great share of it, without knowing that the Priesthood had been restored—without ever having heard of anything called “Mormon ism,” or having any idea of such a Church and people.

There were the witnesses and their testimony to the book, to its translation, and to the ministration of angels; and there was the testimony of the translator; but I had not seen them, I had not heard of them, and hence I had no idea of their organization or of their Priesthood. All I knew about the matter was what, as a stranger, I could gather from the book: but as I read, I was convinced that it was true; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, while I read, and enlightened my mind, convinced my judgment, and riveted the truth upon my understanding, so that I knew that the book was true, just as well as a man knows the daylight from the dark night, or any other thing that can be implanted in his understanding. I did not know it by any audible voice from heaven, by any ministration of an angel, by any open vision; but I knew it by the spirit of understanding in my heart—by the light that was in me. I knew it was true, because it was light, and had come in fulfillment of the Scriptures; and I bore testimony of its truth to the neighbors that came in during the first day that I sat reading it, at the house of an old Baptist deacon, named Hamblin.

This same spirit led me to enquire after and search out the translator, Joseph Smith; and I traveled on foot during the whole of a very hot day in August, blistering my feet, in order to go where I heard he lived; and at night I arrived in the neighborhood of the little village of Manchester, then in Ontario County, New York. On the way, I overtook a man driving some cows, and enquired for Joseph Smith, the finder and translator of the Book of Mormon. He told me that he lived away off, something more than an hundred miles from there, in the State of Pennsylvania. I then enquired for the father of the Prophet, and he pointed to the house, but said that the old gentleman had gone a journey to some distant place. After awhile, in conversation, the man told me that his name was Hyrum Smith, and that he was a brother to the Prophet Joseph. This was the first Latter-day Saint that I had ever seen.

He invited me to his home, where I saw mother Smith and Hyrum Smith’s wife, and sister Rockwell, the mother of Orin Porter Rockwell. We sat up talking nearly all night; for I had not much spare time, having two appointments out, and a long day’s journey for a man to walk. I had to return the next morning, and we conversed during most of the night without being either sleep or weary.

During that conversation, I learned something of the rights of the Church, its organization, the restoration of the Priesthood, and many important truths. I felt to go back and fill the two appointments given out, and that closed my ministry, as I felt that I had no authority, and that I would go back and obey the Priesthood which was again upon the earth.

I attended to my appointments, and was back again the next morning to brother Hyrum’s. He made me a present of the Book of Mormon, and I felt richer in the possession of that book, or the knowledge contained in it, than I would, could I have had a warrantee deed of all the farms and buildings in that country, and it was one of the finest regions in the world. I walked awhile, and then sat down and read awhile; for it was not my mind to read the book through at once. I would read, and then read the same portion over again, and then walk on. I was filled with joy and gladness, my spirit was made rich, and I was made to realize, almost as vividly as if I had seen it myself, that the Lord Jesus Christ did appear in his own proper person, in his resurrected body, and minister to the people in America in ancient times. He had surely risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, and did come down on the American continent, in the land Bountiful, on the northern part of South America, and did minister to the remnants of Joseph, called the Nephites, and did show his resurrected body unto them.

They did handle him, see him, and examine the wounds that were pierced in his hands, his side, and his feet; and they bathed them with their tears and kissed them, and thousands of them did bear record of these facts. He did deliver to them his Gospel in its fulness and plainness, in the presence of thousands, and did command them to write it in a book; and he promised that that book should come to light in latter days, in time for the great restoration of all Israel, and the fulfillment of the prophecies relating to the great work of the last days.

I was made to realize this and to bring it home to my faith, my senses, and my knowledge, with a warmth, love, and assurance that I could scarcely contain for I had either studied and seen him in my reflections, or I had heard his voice whispering to me. Do you not think that I rejoice?

As before stated, I fulfilled my two appointments; crowds heard me and were interested, and solicited me to make more appointments. I told them that I would not—that I had a duty to perform for myself. I bid them farewell, and returned to Hyrum Smith, who took me to a place, about twenty-five miles off, in Seneca County, New York. He there introduced me to the three witnesses whose names appear at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, also to the eight witnesses. I conversed with Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses, and on the next day we repaired to Seneca Lake, there I was baptized by Oliver Cow dery, then the second Apostle in this Church, and a man who had received the ministration of an angel, as you can learn by reading his testimony.

After being baptized, I was confirmed in a little meeting during the same day, was full of the Holy Ghost, and was ordained an Elder. This transpired on the 1st day of September, 1830; and from that day to this, I have endeavored to magnify my calling and to honor the Priesthood which God has given me, by testifying to both small and great of the things that he has revealed in these last days.

I have testified and do still testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon—that it is an inspired record, the history of a branch of the house of Israel that live in America; that it does contain the fulness of the Gospel as revealed to them by a crucified and risen Redeemer; and that wherever it goes and its light is permitted to shine, the Spirit of the Lord will bear testimony of its truth to every honest heart in all the world. Wherever that book is candidly perused, the Spirit will bear record of its truth: and I bear this testimony this day, that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator—an Apostle holding the keys of this last dispensation and of the kingdom of God, under Peter, James, and John. And not only that he was a Prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ, and lived and died one, but that he now lives in the spirit world, and holds those same keys to usward and to this whole generation. Also that he will hold those keys to all eternity; and no power in heaven or on the earth will ever take them from him; for he will continue holding those keys through all eternity, and will stand—yes, again in the flesh upon this earth, as the head of the Latter-day Saints under Jesus Christ, and under Peter, James, and John. He will hold the keys to judge the generation to whom he was sent, and will judge my brethren that preside over me; and will judge me, together with the Apostles ordained by the word of the Lord through him and under his administration.

When this is done, those Apostles will judge this generation and the Latter-day Saints; and they will judge them with that judgment which Jesus Christ will give unto them; and they will have the same spirit and the same mind as Jesus Christ, and their judgment will be his judgment, for they will be one.

Some of my brethren feel, once in a while, as though we were but men, which is true; and at times we are forgetful, and especially myself. Sometimes men will come up and say, “Why, do you not remember me, brother Pratt?” No, I do not, particularly, though your countenance looks familiar. “What, do you not remember me? I was along with you at such a place: it is strange that you cannot remember me.” At such times you may think, how will brother Parley, with his brethren, sit in judgment upon us when he forgets some things, and cannot remember what we have done to him? I expect, by the power of the resurrection and the quickening power of the celestial glory, that my memory will be perfected, and that I will be able to remember all the acts, duties, and doings of my own life. I will also remember, most correctly and perfectly, every act of benevolence that has ever been done to me in the name of the Lord and because of my calling; and I will remember, most perfectly, every neglect and slighting by those to whom I have been sent.

I will be able to say to a just person, “Well done, good and faithful servant; for you did do good so-and-so to me or my brethren: therefore, enter into the joy of your Lord.” I will also be able to say to others, “Depart from me; for I was an hungered, and ye did not feed me; I was naked, and ye clothed me not; I was sick, or in prison, or in a strait, and ye helped me not; I had a mission to perform, and ye took no interest in it.”

So it will be with brother Joseph, or brother Brigham, or any of the Apostles or Elders that hold a portion of the keys of the Priesthood to this generation; if they hold them faithfully. They will be able to remember and understand all their own doings and all the acts of this generation to whom they are sent; and they will judge them in the name of Jesus Christ. We will be judged by brother Joseph; and he will be judged by Peter, James, and John, and their associates. Brother Brigham, who now presides over us, will hold the keys under brother Joseph; and he and his brethren, who hold the keys with him, or under his direction, will judge the people; for they will hold those keys to all eternity, worlds without end. By those keys they will have to judge this generation; and Peter, James, and John, will hold the keys to preside over, and judge, and direct brother Joseph to all eternity; and Jesus Christ will hold the keys over them and over us, under his Father, to whom be all the glory. This is my testimony; and in obedience to these keys, if God will open my way and spare my life, I will continue to act.

I am now about to start to the States, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bear testimony of those things which I most assuredly do know; for this is my calling. I have desired, after traveling for twenty-five or twenty-six years, mostly abroad, to stay at home and minister among the people of God, and take care of my family; but God’s will be done, and not mine. If it is the will of God that I should spend my days in pro claiming this Gospel and bearing testimony of these things, I shall think myself highly privileged and honored. And when the Spirit of God is upon me, I think it matters but very little what I suffer, what I sacrifice—whether I secure the honor or dishonor of men, or where I die, if it so be that I can keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish my course with joy.

I have all eternity before me, in which to enjoy myself; and though I am a stranger and a pilgrim on this earth, and whether I be rich or poor, or live long or short, I shall yet plant gardens and eat the fruit of them, plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof, build houses and inhabit them, and, as one of the elect of God, shall long enjoy the works of my hands. All this shall I do, though worms eat the body that I now have.

There are many who consider the times to be hard, and the sufferings to be endured so great that they feel to withdraw from this people. Some say they have no faith in the Book of Mormon. A word for those. I do not believe that they have read that book; or, if they have, I do not believe that they have read it humbly, attentively, prayerfully, and under a good influence. I do not think they were counted honest, or that they had a heart that had place for the Spirit of God. If they were at all acquainted with that influence, or had it in them, they would not only believe it, but they would know that it was true. They would not only know and acknowledge it by the Holy Ghost, but they would know it naturally, just as we know that a man is a Prophet, when the thing which he predicts comes to pass.

Twenty-six years ago, that book was published in English, and within those years have been progressively fulfilled many plain and definite pre dictions that are therein recorded, insomuch that a professed infidel, one who had not before believed in Jesus Christ nor in the Bible, may easily comprehend that the things predicted in the Book of Mormon, many of them, have demonstrated themselves by their plain, literal, simple fulfillment. I will mention one thing among a thousand. When that book was printed in English, an ancient prophecy in it stated that it should come to the knowledge of the Gentiles in the latter day, at a time when the blood of the Saints would cry from the ground because of secret murders, and the works of darkness, and wicked combinations. And not only the blood of Saints, but the blood of husbands and fathers should cry from the ground for vengeance on the workers of iniquity, and the cries of widows and orphans would come up before God, against those that committed those crimes.

When that book was translated by Joseph Smith, and published in English, we were living in a constitutional Government, the laws of which guaranteed liberty of conscience to every man in his religious belief. It was at a time when no man had been seriously injured because of his belief; and it was as incredible and unlooked for that a Saint would be slain for his religion as that the Government would be broken up; and nobody believed that it would be broken up; for the principles of truth had ruled, guaranteeing liberty and protection to all parties. No man had been persecuted to death for his religion, under the effectual working of that Constitution. Hence, I want those persons who have not faith in the Book of Mormon to tell how Joseph Smith could think of such things; and if the ancient Prophet did not foretell those things, Joseph Smith did.

How came he to tell that the people of his father’s house would suffer? or that husbands and fathers, widows and orphans would send up their cry for vengeance on the wicked of our day? You that do not believe in the Book of Mormon, I want you should account for that prediction. It is plain and simple. I read it in 1830, and no man had then suffered a violent death for his religion in this generation in our nation.

Now, then, imagine yourselves living in the United States twenty-eight years ago, and causing to be printed such a production as the Book of Mormon, and I want to know how you would know of any such thing as is there predicted? I say there was no probability that it would be fulfilled, but yet I say that it has been very remarkably fulfilled, so that every public minister and officer knows that it has been fulfilled, and that the Union is trembling and being threatened, and our right to law and protection being questioned.

The blood of innocence cries for vengeance, because its enemies have not administered justice. They have not carried out the constitutional guarantees, but have suffered innocent blood to flow. They have not administered justice nor law in the case, but have allowed wholesale murderers to run at large in Missouri and Illinois. And many of the people and of their rulers have consented to the shedding of that innocent blood, and the result is that the cries of widows and orphans ascend to God. I wish those who do not believe the Book of Mormon to tell me by what power or foreknowledge that prediction was published in 1830.

I used to read an epistle which stated that if the Gentiles should reject the fulness of the Gospel contained in the Book of Mormon, and become filled with all manner of iniquity and murders, priestcraft, whoredoms, and lying, the Lord would take the fulness of his Gospel from among them, and send it into the midst of the remnant of Israel. What have we been doing these ten years past? Ten years ago, a good portion of this people lived in the old settled States, and they were in so many places that a man had to dodge or hide up somewhere, to keep from hearing the fulness of the Gospel. It was preached in their cities, at their capital, in their villages, in town and in country, in the groves and in their courthouses; and thousands upon thousands in the United States flocked to hear the fulness of the Gospel, which was preached everywhere.

How is it now? With the exception of a few, who are on missions or business there, a man might travel from Maine to Louisiana, and scarcely have a chance to hear the fulness of the Gospel; and if he wished to hear the Gospel, he would have to come here. Thus we see the literal fulfillment of that prediction. I read it in 1830, and used to wonder how it would be fulfilled. But notwithstanding the jealousy that existed in the United States in regard to this people, the Book of Mormon was so common and preached so extensively, that some of them, right in their wickedness, Herod-like, happened to discover the prediction in regard to the fulness of the Gospel’s coming to the remnants of Joseph, and happened to understand it in part.

So Herod, in his wickedness, when he heard of the rejoicing of the Jews and that their Messiah was born, when the wise men read the prophecies to him, believed those prophecies and tried to hinder their fulfillment. For that purpose he issued an order to murder all the young children of Bethlehem of two years old and under. He must have believed the prophecy, or he would never have undertaken to hinder its fulfillment.

In like manner, the people in the United States were afraid that “Mormonism” was true, and in their sins they partly believed it; wherefore the proclamations for murders and for banishment, for mobbings and plunderings, with a view to hinder its accomplishing what was predicted it would, and to prevent the fulfillment of prophecy. Were you to ask them the reason for all this, their truthful reply must be, “We were afraid that the ‘Mormons’ would fulfil a prediction of the Prophets, and carry the Gospel to the remnants of Joseph.” They considered that, Herod-like, to be treasonable. Some have wondered that a king’s being born in Bethlehem should be treason, not understanding that the kingdom of God meant an eternal kingdom. And in speaking of the United States and “Mormonism,” they said, “If the fulness of the Gospel should be preached to the remnants of Joseph, it would be awful,” and tried to prevent its being so, but failed in the attempt.

Myself, Elder Oliver Cowdery, and others crossed the Missouri line, into what is now called Kansas, and preached the Gospel to the Delaware Indians. We presented them with the Book of Mormon, and left a copy or two with those that could read it and interpret to others. At that time “Mormonism” had not been heard of any further west of Ohio than we carried the news, and lyings and misrepresentations concerning it had not preceded us. But there were sectarian missionaries on the frontiers, Methodists, Baptists, &c., striving to gain a foothold among Indians; and they all joined against us. Such was the envy and jealousy of the spirit in them, they knew not why, that we were ordered out of the Indian country, on penalty of having the Militia take us out.

In Missouri the Saints were watched like thieves, and, when we became more and more known among the people, were mobbed and plundered again and again, till eventually we were driven into Illinois.

At those times, I used to wonder how that prophecy would be fulfilled, contained in the Book of Mormon, which reads, “If the Gentiles reject the fulness of my Gospel, and are full of all manner of evil and wickedness, I will bring the fulness of my Gospel out from among them, and will establish it in the midst of the remnants of Joseph.” I watched it for years, looking for it to be fulfilled, and marveled. But we were again mobbed, and they continued to mob us for eight or ten years, thus helping us to fulfil that very prophecy. They were made the instruments to annoy us, till we could have no peace without leaving them and coming out here into the wilderness.

We loved home so well, and our houses, and temples, and farms, that we would not willingly leave and accomplish the work laid upon us; therefore we were made to be willing—made to do what we were pleaded with to do before. You know that an ancient Prophet said, “My people shall be willing in the day of my power.” Here we are; and just as sure as the things in the Book of Mormon have been progressively fulfilling until now, and as sure as all the powers of the Saints and of their enemies have tended to that point, just so sure will every remaining item be fulfilled in its time and in its place.

Again, the man that believes “Mormonism,” believes in the gathering of the people of God and in the keys of the Priesthood and Apostleship, and that through those keys the people are to be built up, preserved, sanctified, and prepared for the coming of the Lord. Let me ask many that have been gathered through the instrumentality of those keys, do you believe that to scatter again is disobeying them? No, many of you do not.

Some folks think that “Mormonism” is a certain set of doctrines found in the books, together with certain ordinances, and think that one is a Saint if he credits those doctrines and those ordinances. Suppose an island peopled by persons who by some providence had the Book of Mormon and the Bible, or either of those books, but no Priesthood. They are not members of the Church, even though they be most strictly honest. They may have read the sacred records and believed them, all the principles contained therein, and desired to serve God; but the question is, could they obey the Gospel of which they read in those books, organize themselves into the Church of Christ, and be governed by the principles of the kingdom of God, and be accepted of God as his Church? I say, they could not.

What could they do? They could believe in Jesus Christ, and pray to the Father in his name, and observe his moral precepts. But to obey the ordinances of God—to become his Church and kingdom, is something which they could not do, unless their prayers of faith prevailed upon the Almighty to in some manner bless them with the Priesthood. Otherwise, all they could do would be to rejoice in the truth, worship God, obey his moral precepts, and wait for some messenger to come and organize them; and if they were obliged to live without the Priesthood, they would have to receive its ministrations in the next world.

In what manner was the Priesthood restored to this earth in our day? Angels ministered from heaven—men who had died holding the Priesthood of the Son of God, and revealed the Book of Mormon, and conferred the Priesthood upon our first Apostles, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When they were baptized by the command of the angel, had received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and been ordained according to the command, they continued to receive commandments, from time to time, to ordain other Apostles and other Elders.

In the year 1835, in Kirtland, Ohio, they ordained our President, Brigham Young, also Heber C. Kimball, your servant that is now addressing you, and many others, by the word of the Lord. Thus our President and others received the keys of the Apostleship, and we magnified it until Joseph’s death, when two of his Quorum of Three went behind the veil, and the third, Sidney Rigdon, who had got in the background, became an apostate. The First Presidency was reorganized, under the authority proceeding from the Almighty through Joseph Smith, in the persons of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards; and they, by virtue of the keys lawfully in their possession, filled up the vacancies occasioned in the Quorum of the Twelve, and also the vacancy made in their Quorum by the death of our beloved brother, Willard Richards.

Had we undertaken President-making in this Church simply by our uninspired notions, Brigham Young held more keys than all our votes put together; and had we voted against him, we would have voted ourselves out of the kingdom of God. He and those that stood by him would have held the keys of the Priesthood, as they have and do, and would have built up the kingdom, while those who opposed them would have been like salt that had lost its savor. It was not in our power to manufacture this Presidency, but only to uphold and cleave to it; and blessed are we, inasmuch as we have done this thing.

These keys came from Joseph Smith, who received them from Peter, James, and John, who received them from the risen Jesus, the Redeemer of men. If we hearken to these keys, we shall be saved, and inherit celestial glory and exaltation; if we do not, we shall be damned, and fall short of all the blessings promised to the saved.

Such is my faith; this is my knowledge, this is my testimony, and these are my feelings and real sentiments. God being my helper, giving me his Spirit, and counting me worthy to abide in his kingdom, I mean to continue to the end in upholding those keys, and, by my prayers and works, to stand by them and live in obedience to them as long as I live on the earth. If I abide in the vine, I will have strength, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to magnify my calling and to inherit a crown of celestial glory: if I do not, then I will fall, and, I had almost said, become like another man: but not so; for then I will only be fit to be cast out and trodden under foot, like salt that has lost its savor.

I crave the privilege of remaining within this kingdom; and I ask for your prayers, your blessings, your faith, and your assistance, as a people, and for the assistance and watchcare of the angels of God, and for the blessings of my brethren that preside over me. I crave these things, and the privilege of serving God unto the end.

If I go forth and testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith as a Prophet, a Revelator, and an Apostle of the living God; also of Brigham Young, Heber C Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant, and the rest of my brethren that hold the keys of this kingdom; and call upon the people to repent and forsake their follies, their priestcraft, their adulteries, and their errors, and to obey the Gospel under the hands of the Elders sent out by these men; and tell them to gather together and obey those ministers of Christ as long as they live, and then obey their successors in office—if I do all this, and live faithful, and set a good example, it will be the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of God unto all that receive it. If I do not do this, it will not be the Gospel, but it will be something else. It is appointed unto all men, whenever this Priesthood is on the earth and comes within their reach, to repent and be baptized under the hands of this Priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ, and to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by the servants of God, and to break off from their sins and bring forth fruits of righteousness. If they do this, and endure to the end, they will be saved; but if they do not, they will be damned.

May God bless you all, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.




A Visit, By P. P. Pratt, to the Southern Settlements—The Power of the Priesthood—Union Among the Saints—A Miracle

A Discourse by Elder Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, June 29, 1856.

Brethren and Sisters—It is with no ordinary feelings of joy and thanksgiving that I have the privilege of again standing before you, in a good degree of health.

I have been absent some five weeks, on a mission through the southern settlements. Many of you will remember that I had been very low with sickness previous to my departure, and I thank God this day that I have, in a great measure, recovered my health and strength.

I have had a good visit among the Saints throughout the south, from here to Washington county, distance 300 miles. The hot weather, prevailing south winds, and the dust, rendered our traveling somewhat disagreeable and fatiguing; nevertheless, I have enjoyed myself well.

The Saints among whom we have labored received us with hospitality, the best they were capable of; they could have done no better if angels from heaven had visited them; and I feel to bless them for it.

I will say a word about the crops and the industry of the people south, as I presume you are all anxious on that subject. I know of no particular drawback in any large portion of the settlements in the way of good crops.

They are later in the south than here, the climate being a little colder; but in every settlement a peculiar spirit of industry characterizes the Saints; they seem to strain every nerve to put in crops and to take care of them, and with some few exceptions in small places, there is every prospect of good crops, good gardens, and good grain, and I hope, with the blessing of the Lord, that the people in these distant regions will be able to produce sufficient for themselves and those who are coming this season, and I think the most of them will take care of it.

If we do the same, and all the other settlements, we will be enabled to live, and to enable those of our brethren to live who may come to us. I found it true, as our President said this spring, that there was four times the destitution in this city that there was out of it.

When I arrived as far as Nephi, and from that onward south, I heard of but very little scarcity, but very little want, but they all seemed to have enough to eat, and occasionally some to spare.

I mention these few things for your comfort, as we are one body and rejoice in each others welfare.

I would also mention that a good spirit, the spirit of union and peace, seems generally to prevail so far as I could tell; and as to myself, I have enjoyed myself well and felt a good portion of the Spirit during my ministry in the south, and feel to thank my Heavenly Father for all these things.

I have been led to reflect in viewing the unanimity of the people, and the extent to which they can endure and suffer for the sake of their religion. I have been led to reflect upon the power of the Gospel, the ordinances ministered for this people, and the spirit received in connection therewith.

Some people inquire after miracles, and signs, and wonders; I will mention one sign, and wonder, and miracle, that I have reflected upon of late; it is very public, and before the eyes of this people, and hence I have pleasure in referring to it.

It is this: here are a people congregated in the capacity of civil and religious governments in the valleys of Utah, made up of almost all nations and languages, comparatively speaking, or of many nations, having brought with them a variety of manners and customs, as well as many peculiar opinions and nationalities. And besides these, religiously speaking, they have been gathered out from almost every sect and creed under heaven or at least from many of them. A miracle, a sign, and a wonder, is this!

How came this? When found among all nations and languages, and religions, I say how came they to be made one, not that all are perfect in one, but so far as they are? And if anybody doubts this being a miracle, a sign or wonder, what we ask of them is, to produce the same, if they can.

If anybody needs a miracle, this is one for them. Has any person, or I might say, have all persons power upon natural principles, by their own wisdom and power, to take people of different nations, and languages, and tongues, habits, customs, and religions, and unite them in one common band, civil and religious, and then govern them in a great measure as a unit? I ask, have they the power? I would like to see it tried somewhere, either in Kansas or in some part of the United States, or elsewhere.

If the union which exists in Utah cannot be effected by others, and elsewhere, with similar materials, then all must acknowledge a miraculous power existing and operating in these valleys.

A great many throughout the nations, learned men, philosophers, rulers—those that have studied the science of government, would fain inquire by what means or power this miracle is accomplished over so many conflicting elements.

Well, suppose we touch upon a little key, or give a clue to it, for the benefit of those to whom it was and is a mystery, and also for our own satisfaction.

Then, in the first place, we say that it is by the power and keys of the holy Priesthood, and the ordinances and spirit thereof.

This people, composed of diverse nations, tongues, habits and religions, have all been baptized by one Spirit into one body. So far as they have, in all honesty repented, and been baptized, they have all received a portion of the Holy Spirit of promise by the laying on of the hands of the Priesthood, in the name of Jesus, and they have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Holy Spirit, and one God and Father of all. This is as it was said by the ancient writer in relation to the ancient Saints.

Is there power in the Priesthood as there was anciently? We say the Priesthood has been restored by the ministration of angels to Joseph Smith and others, and confirmed and ordained upon the heads of others by that same authority, by him and the word of the Lord through him.

Is there power in it? If not, how came this people to be concentrated and united, after being gathered out of many jarring elements, from the United States and from Europe?

Although they are very far from being perfect in this union, yet we say that by the power of the ordinances and by the power of the Spirit that accompanies the ordinances, this great miracle has been done in the name of Jesus Christ.

We take, for instance, a Presbyterian Methodist, a Quaker, a Baptist, and an Infidel, as they are called, or whatever name, community, or creed they belong to, and on their profession of reformation and faith in Jesus Christ, we bury them in the water, in the name of Jesus, for the remission of sins; they rise again out of the water in newness of life, that is, with a fixed purpose of leading a new life; and after receiving instruction at the hands of the authorized Priesthood, we lay our hands upon them, accompanied with prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, for the gift of the Holy Ghost; and if they do not receive that Spirit, you may know that they have not obeyed this Gospel from the heart.

Was there any power in the ordinances anciently, in the ordinances of God administered by proper authority? And is there power now? Let us look at it for a few moments.

Moses, being about to depart from his great responsibilities in the midst of Israel, laid his hands upon Joshua by the word of the Lord. After this Joshua was filled with the Spirit of God and of his calling. His works in leading Israel into the promised land, and there defending them and settling them according to the word of the Lord, go to show that he not only received a form under the hands of Moses, but he actually received the power and spirit of that form.

Saul, king of Israel, was anointed by the direction of the word of the Lord under the hands of a Prophet; literally anointed when he was a young man, to be king over Israel. He was a poor, inexperienced young man, and probably knew no more of inspiration than other youths. But soon after his anointing, the Philistines made war against Israel, and would not make peace only on condition that every man of Israel would consent to lose his right eye. Saul, on hearing of these humiliating proposals, felt the power of his anointing. The Spirit of God came mightily upon him; he raised an army, conquered the haughty foe, and saved his country.

But by and by this man, Saul, so far transgressed, that the word of the Lord came to him through Samuel, the same that anointed him, and said, the kingdom is rent from thee, and given to thy neighbor, who is better than thou art.

And after that he did not have the Spirit of the Lord to guide him, and shortly after that he got into trouble with the Philistines, whose armies were placed in battle array against him.

I have mentioned these circumstances to show you that there is power in the ordinances of the Almighty, when administered by authority. There are a great many other circumstances, but I name these few to illustrate the question under consideration.

Well, was there power in the ordinances of the kingdom, when administered by Joseph Smith? We say there was power in all that he did.

Well, he ordained men to be Apostles, and Prophets, and Elders, and they went forth to administer in the sacred ordinances of the house of God; and I ask, is there power in their administration?

If not, how came these Americans here, and Britons, and Irishmen, and Scotchmen, and Danes, and French, and more nations than my memory will serve to name, coming together as a unit, scarcely anything occurring to mar their happiness?

You do not hear a man say that he is a Dane, or an Englishman, or of any peculiar nation, but losing his nationality, and all blending into one mass, with a united heart to build up the kingdom of our God, and to become one great nation, Americans to be sure, if you wish to call it so, as it is in that country.

How came this to be, if there is no power in the modern Priesthood and in the modern ordinances? As I said before, if anybody disputes this power being with us, will they set us a similar example?

Leave out their nationalities, and the variety of jarring politics, and our political predispositions and prejudices; leave that out of consideration, and I just come to the advantages and disadvantages in our traditions that have come down from our fathers, and are now held sacred by us, so much so, that I heard a person who was brought up in New Hampshire say that he grew up in the world among all the jarring of politics, and to use his own language, “I was brought up to believe that my father was right in both religion and politics.” “What was he,” said I? “O, he was a Whig in politics, and a Congregationalist in religion;” and, says he, “I was so glad that my father was so lucky in both as to be right.” “What is the proof,” says I, “that your father was right in both?” “Why, the proof is, he was my father, and therefore he must be right, in both his religion and politics, for my father could not be wrong!”

Well, fortunately or unfortunately, we have all had fathers; and, of course, because they are our fathers, they must be right in politics and religion, no matter which it is. Such has been our strong prejudice with reference to our fathers.

Well, now, how do we stand now: have we got rid of all this? How came we to have one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, and one Holy Spirit, as it is in a great measure this day? Probably there my be few exceptions, persons who have got the opposite spirit; like Saul when the Lord rejected him through rebellion. How came this to be, as I said before, when we turn from our errors and sins as well as we can? How is this? We came forward, when we see our sins, with honest hearts, determined to do right, believing in Jesus Christ; then some Apostle or Elder that had received the Priesthood through the ministration of Joseph Smith, or that grew out of his administration, took us and buried us in the waters of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and we then resolved to lead a new life.

It expresses a covenant, whether they said it in so many words or not —they promised to lead a new life. Then just as soon as they could re ceive sufficient instruction, the Elders laid their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and they could receive their blessings; and the Elders confirmed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the power thereof. And, by and by, many others were ordained to holy and important callings, and were anointed to take part in the work, and partake of the power of the holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, and it is this power that unites us together in one. The world do not believe this I am aware.

It is really so long since I was among the sectarian world, that I had almost forgotten that I was a sectarian of any kind, and that I was a political partisan of any kind. I have been so long removed from those scenes which characterize the numerous parties of the world, I had almost forgotten whether there was a whig or democratic party, or whether parties existed; I say, I had almost forgotten whether I had ever belonged to any sect or party, and I had almost forgotten my nationality. It is true that I do not speak a different language from what I did in the world, but I had almost forgotten that, but I feel that I am with the Priesthood, and with all good men, I am one with them, to be used nationally, politically, morally, and religiously, to hold fast our faith, to build up a righteous people from every country, to preach and establish righteousness, and union, and peace, to all people in every country, for the benefit of all men that will obey it, without regard to persons.

Well now, this, so far as I can tell it in a few words, is the great secret, or one secret out of the great mystery, or rather one mystery out of another, which exists in the minds of the people, that do not know it. How is it that this people, that are come up of so many parties, and tongues, and people, and creeds, are measurably become one in faith and spirit? And what is further to increase in them this oneness? Being careful to live to our righteous religion, and to do right continually so that we become one in heart and mind. We are required to overcome our faults, and be careful to increase in and learn the truth, and put in practice, and to pray for the Holy Spirit of promise, and to be careful to keep the commandments of God, careful to do nothing to our neighbors, but what I would have them do under the like circumstances and be perfectly willing for them to do to me.

By adopting these means we are sure to progress in that oneness, and in that union nationally, religiously, politically and socially, and in every way to learn to cooperate, and to be more and more in the spirit, one in heart and in mind. Well, then, a great reward lies before us upon conditions of obedience, but there is still a mighty work to be done. I have taken but little praise for what has been done, though much has been done, still much remains to be done, not only to convert the honest in heart, but to build up cities, and make farms. We have much to do with each other in order to bring us into union more perfectly as families and communities, as we will have to form ourselves and be prepared to form a more intimate union with the powers that have gone before us, even the powers of heaven, because there is a work to be done, and we have been called to help to do it. We are called upon not to do it alone, for the Prophets that have gone before us, that have fallen martyrs to it, are to help in the work.

We have never said that we would do it alone; but rather that the powers of the heavens that have gone before us and been perfected in the same Gospel, were engaged in it, and wish to help to do it. Nothing short of this fond union of the Saints who have gone before us with the living Latter-day Saints, will ever bring about and complete that great restoration that we have all been looking for, and believing in, that all the Prophets have prophesied of since the world began; nothing short of these united powers can possibly attain to that which is designed, hence they in the other world will attend to their part of it; they are doing it now. But by and by they will have to be ministers on the earth, and to the Latter-day Saints, and we have to be prepared to have the veil rent, and to be united more perfectly in our cooperations with them, and they with us; and we should endeavor to do our part of the work, to prepare for that which is to come, progressively, and be ready to enter into the kingdom of righteousness and truth, act so that we can be worthy and ready to be wrought upon by the Spirit of God.

We should prepare for the ministration and society of the pure in heart, for they are preparing to meet the people down here. And I know not but that some among us are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to appear very shortly with all his Saints and angels publicly. Well, I am looking for it too, but it is not the first thing that I am looking for, but I am looking for it when all things are ready, and when all things are prepared, so that when coming he will not break one jot nor tittle of the prophecies, but they will all be fulfilled in their time and place. If the coming of the Savior is the next thing in order, I consider that it would become all of us, so imperfect, so unprepared, so far from being perfectly united in righteousness, to become sanctified and made ready for his appearance. There will be people on the earth that will be ready when he does come, and how will it be at his coming? There are a great many that stand between us and Jesus Christ, and who stand in more immediate relationship to this work, and also to us. There is our leader, and many others that are leaders, and who hold the keys, and who have gone before us; and they stand between us and Jesus Christ, they hold keys between him and us, and then again there are others of the former-day Saints, such as Peter, James and John, and they hold keys which are ahead of our leaders that are dead, our Prophet, for instance? Yes, they hold keys between him and Jesus. Here we all see that we have only got a portion of the Priesthood and the keys, the others are in the possession of the congregations of Saints in the heavens, and before we are prepared to be ministered to by them and enjoy their society, we must alter considerably. Some say, why, the coming of the Lord is nearer than some of you suppose. Well, I would not wonder if it was further off than some of you suppose, from the fact of the things that have to be accomplished.

If we were to say that before the coming of the Lord many great things await us, and that we are to be prepared for all the changes which have to take place, and that they are nearer at hand than we would imagine them to be; and if we should say that that event was much nearer than many of us suppose, and that we have already received many warnings, most certainly we ought to prepare to receive greater covenants, to become more closely acquainted with the Spirit of God, to be more perfect in union, to know how to act more in concert, to overcome our weaknesses and errors of judgment, and ignorance and follies, learn to be happy and to come up to the mark, and be sanctified before the Lord, that peradventure some portion of the keys and powers from the eternal world may be more fully bestowed upon us, that we may be prepared by gradual experience from time to time, that we may progress in the science and plan of salvation, and be prepared for the greater things that await us.

I will not complain of our deficiencies for we have to be satisfied with the things which we have accomplished, but we have full confidence in the union and power that attends this work. It is for us to prepare ourselves and to repent of all our errors, and follow our leaders until we reach ce lestial glory. The powers of heaven are neither ashamed nor afraid, but they have confidence in us and will dwell in our society. There are a great many keys, and manifestations, and preparations, and associations between us and that great and perfect day, when the Lord will come in the power of heaven.

Let us all do our duty, and be faithful to our covenants. May God bless you all. Amen.




Progress of the Latter-Day Church—The Saints of All Ages Cooperating for the Success of the Kingdom of God on the Earth

A Discourse by Elder Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 7, 1856.

My brethren, sisters, and friends, I have rejoiced in the return of this anniversary of the rise of the Church, and to see so many of those that we have reason to believe love the truth, assembled in general conference; in beholding and seeing the faces of so many as were assembled on yesterday, and as are here today; to feel the spirit, behold the unanimity, and the good feeling that appear to exist, and the dispatch with which we are enabled to transact business; and in reviewing the past, looking at the present, and contemplating the future, my heart has been cheered.

I have been highly edified and interested, and have had reason to rejoice in looking at the Saints gathered in from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, who have met to rejoice and reflect upon the things of God. I have rejoiced while listening to the edifying discourses which have been delivered. I have not heard anything more useful and more to the point for a long time than the discourse on yesterday in the forenoon; it was practical and instructive in all its points, just the advice and counsel that are needed at the present time; nor have I been less edified and instructed in the remarks made, as I conceive in the spirit of prophecy, in a great measure, that flowed from my brother yesterday in the afternoon, a parting discourse as we may call it, as he expects soon to depart to a foreign land on the other side of the ocean.

I have also been led to reflect much in contemplating that this is the twenty-sixth year since the restoration of the Church of God, visibly as an organization upon the earth. Twenty-six years have rolled away in the experience of this Church, and it naturally leads the mind to contemplate upon the past, and past events will rise in review, the memory will fall back upon them and whether we look at the past, the present, or the future, the mind cannot but view it, if it is constituted like mine, or influenced by the same spirit that mine is influenced by, with pleasure and delight.

Twenty-six years ago, the coming summer, mine eyes glanced over the Book of Mormon, and I afterward heard the voice of the servant of the Lord and enjoyed the smiles and the blessings of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and received under their hands and those of Oliver Cowdery the Priesthood, or a portion of it, and the keys and power of the same, they having received it by the ministering of angels, to be carried through to all the people of the earth; and at that time all the people of this Church upon the face of the earth, could have been assembled in the vestry of this Tabernacle without being much crowded.

The joy which filled my bosom in reading that sacred record, waking up our minds and giving us the knowledge of the past dealings of God with the inhabitants of this vast western hemisphere, and of a nation of people as ancient as that of Abraham or of the Jaredites, and giving us a knowledge also of a branch of scattered Israel led away from the land of their fathers 600 years before Christ, and the glorious fact, the most important of all others in the book, that the risen Jesus in his glorified immortal flesh and bones set his feet upon this western hemisphere and ministered publicly to thousands and thousands of the Nephites, blessed them, revealed to them his Gospel in its fulness, and was glorified in their presence, and thousands of them had the privilege of bowing at his feet, of bathing his feet with their tears and of kissing them, and of handling him and seeing and beholding the wounds that were pierced in his side and his hands and feet, and of hearing the words of salvation and the commandments of God from his own mouth, and then from day to day they had the privilege of assembling in general conference and hearing his prophesyings, and his remarks on the prophecies of the Prophets referring to himself and to others, prophecies also concerning this our day, and the coming forth of this work to us, and the visions that should appear and be given at the opening up of this dispensation; all these things received in faith in my heart, and by the spirit of knowledge and of light and of understanding, and of hope and joy, and charity filled my heart in a way that I never can express to any being; to have the same joy understood, it must be experienced.

Nor have I been disappointed in my hopes since I embraced this Gospel. After twenty-six years of progress—progressive fulfillment of the things spoken by that Redeemer to the Nephites, and the things written by his commandment and brought forth unto us, I not only believe but I realize and know by the Spirit of the Lord as well as a man knows anything that he sees and hears, and better too, for a man might be deceived in seeing or in hearing, but I know these things by that light that reflects on the understanding, and in which there is no mistake, nor deception; by that I knew that the work was true and that Joseph Smith, the finder, translator, and the restorer of the Priesthood upon the earth, was a Prophet and an Apostle of Jesus Christ—a restorer, raised up according to that which is written, to bring back and commit unto the person appointed, those covenants, those keys, those ordinances, that Gospel and plan of salvation which were had in old times, but which had been suspended and lost from the enjoyment of the people; I say, that he was such, I had a knowledge and an understanding.

He was only about twenty-four or twenty-five years old when I first met him, and I became intimately acquainted with him and his brothers, and with his father’s house, and I remained so, as far as I was not separated by foreign missions, until his death; and did I not know, and do I not know and bear testimony that he lived and that he died an Apostle and Prophet of Jesus Christ? And from the day of his death, or long before that until the present, I have been intimately acquainted and associated with the Apostles of this Church and kingdom under all circumstances, whether in sickness or in health, whether in the midst of life or in death, whether in prosperity or adversity; whether abounding or suffering want; whether by sea or land; whether in the midst of peace or of mobs and oppression. And do I not know that President Young and his counselors and the other Apostles associated with him in this Church, hold the keys of salvation? That they hold that authority which administers life and salvation to the obedient and the humble, and which to reject is condemnation, wherever it exists, to every soul of man upon the earth? Yes, I do know it, and I do this day bear testimony of it, and of that glorious Gospel in its fulness which was restored to the earth twenty-six years ago, that filled my heart with joy and charity and love for my fellow men, and with a desire to do good, and to impart the truth as it is revealed.

Has it become dim and waxed cold in my heart, or departed from it? I say unto you no! But if it be possible for a man to rejoice more than I rejoiced twenty-six years ago, I say if it be possible, then I rejoice more today than I did on yesterday and more than I did twenty-six years ago—and why? Because my heart is larger; it was full then, it is full now, and although outwardly and according to the flesh, and in the world I may be in tribulation and sorrow, and care, and labor, and anxiety, yet in Jesus Christ there is peace, in the fulness of the Gospel there is joy, in the Spirit of God there is gladness; and whether we look to the past we rejoice with thanksgiving, and whether we look to the present our hearts seem to grow larger, and whether we look to the future there is hope and a fulness of joy, and we increase in understanding—and why? Because the Spirit that is in us sheds forth in abundance in our souls joy and satisfaction, and the Gospel inspires us with a degree of knowledge and light, and certainty in regard to what we are about, in regard to the work we are engaged in and the prospects that lie before us.

We know for what we labor, although in the flesh, subject to mortality and its weaknesses, we may be partially asleep, or in other words we may know in part, comprehend in part, prophesy in part, and hope in part, not seeing and realizing the fulness, nor the thousandth part of the fulness that will be consummated in the progress of this work. But after we see enough of it to serve us for the time being, and we enter into it with sufficient comprehension to rejoice with a heart full of joy and of satisfaction, it inspires us to act with all our heart, might, mind and strength.

I have often been reminded by the faithful laborers in this Church, the Presidency and others, of the parable in the Book of Mormon that these latter-day laborers should be called to prune the vineyard of the Lord. It says that “Their numbers were few, but they did go to labor with their might,” and it says, “The Lord labored with them.”

Well, do they not do so? Do not the old Prophets and Apostles help us? Have we not their aid and their influence in our favor? Zenos and many other Prophets are helping us. Lehi and all the Prophets understood the principle of union and concentration that would be necessary in the last days. And Nephi in bringing up this prophesy which was uttered by the Prophet Zenos and putting it in his book, shows that he considered it of importance to the people of God, and it is written there that we might see and understand how it was that the great work of the last days was to be fulfilled.

Is it not being fulfilled every whit? Have not the eleventh hour laborers been called? Are not their numbers few? And have they not labored with all their might, many of them? We won’t say all, because there are many called but few chosen, but those chosen men that have been faithful, have not denied the faith, nor departed from the labors assigned them, nor forsaken the cause, but have held on and held out all the day long; and many more laborers of more recent date, have they not labored with all their might, temporally, and spiritually? Verily I say unto you, yea, and the Lord has labored with them; and if you want the proof look around here! What else but the power of these laborers and the powers of the Almighty God with them could have led these thousands and tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints over seas, deserts, through the mountains, overcoming every obstacle and then have sustained them in these Valleys? Did not the Almighty labor with them when He clothed them and fed them? Was not His eye over them in providing circumstances through which they might be fed and clothed, and have the necessary comforts of life? When He caused them to flourish in the midst of a desert country? When He inspired the Gentiles to pass through here with all kinds of tools, clothing, shoes, seeds, with cattle and horses, flour, bacon, powder and lead, from the frontiers of the United States, and throw them down at the feet of this people cheaper than they could buy them where the articles were produced?

Did not the Lord labor with His servants and with this people? Yes, He did. And when they had made the track where neither wagon nor horse tracks had been seen for hundreds of years and for hundreds of miles of the journey, and made the bridges and crossed the streams, they had not more than made a commencement on their journey when five hundred men were called for by the United States to go to the seat of the Mexican war; and these men took California and made it secure to the government of the United States.

When these men were discharged from government service, two thousand miles from their friends and without means to return, did not He guide them to bring forth the treasures of the earth, to bring forth the shining dust, and turn the world upside down? And did He not cause persons from all parts of the earth to follow in their wake, with their implements, their provisions, and their various kinds of tools, from the United States to this country, and when they came here they found themselves too heavily laden, their animals worn out; but they were bound to press onward, and hence they stripped for the race and harnessed for the battle, to see who would reach the gold mines first.

Well, suppose a man had stood up and prophesied before the Battalion went to California, or when we were first driven out from Illinois, that we should ever be prospered, clothed and fed until we could come here into these mountains and raise food for our own sustenance, who would have believed it?

And suppose a man had prophesied thus—“The Gentiles will follow you like a flowing stream by scores, and hundreds, and thousands, and they will bring their flour and bacon, their sugar and dry goods, their tools and implements of husbandry, their iron, and everything that is of use and pour them out at your feet, so that your every want will be supplied, and the treasures of the earth will open under your feet, and the treasures of the ancient mountains shall be opened unto you, and the clouds shall drop down their rains. “Suppose that all this had been prophesied; also that Great Salt Lake City would become the great central seat of government for this country, and that the Gentiles would come like a mighty flowing stream, and that we should after all our difficulties be sustained, who would have believed it? Why someone would have said, this is wild enthusiasm; it is too good to be true.

Well, this people came, sustained themselves on the journey, and arrived in this desert country, plowed up the parched earth and put in their seeds, after bringing them more than a thousand miles, besides what they had to bring to sustain themselves on their journey, and they have lived until now on what they could raise in these deserts. Who ever heard such things? And yet the very moment that we are tried, some of us are complaining, and you will find that our stores are not overflowing with plenty, and the insects eat our grain, nearly everything is destroyed by the grasshoppers and drought, and we are then brought to ourselves.

For these trying times some will begin to say in their hearts that the Lord has forsaken us, and the Lord has forgotten us, but He will show that He hath not. Can a mother forget her suckling child? Say, mothers, can you forget your infant children? Peradventure you may, but it is not likely; yet though a mother may forget her child when it cries with hunger, yet the Lord says He will not forget Zion. He may show that He is displeased with the acts of some, He may hide His face from them in His justice, yet in His loving kindness He will chastise them, but He will make a way for their escape. Brethren, will His friends ever forsake Him? Or will He ever forsake them? No, never.

To sinners He has never made any promise, but that they shall be rewarded according to their works; but to the Saints that keep the commandments and abide in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to them that do believe and know His will, He has made these; but those who have known Him and in the day of tribulation forsaken His laws will be beaten with many stripes. To all those who stand firm and steadfast when the love of many shall wax cold because of the famine and pestilence, and great trials with which the Saints of God are to be tried before the judgments pass from the house of God to the wicked, to all such He has made precious promises, and they will be fulfilled; and the promises concerning things to the house of Israel as well as to the Saints of the Most High will surely be fulfilled, for those promises hold good to the other side of the veil; for although the remnants of Israel are not yet in the Church, although not in the covenant, yet they are beloved for their father’s sake, and the promises have claim on them because of the promises made to their fathers; and though these their children do not understand it, and though they are in a state of ignorance, not knowing the Lord, ignorant in relation to the promises obtained by the obedience of their fathers, yet the promises extend to them as well as to us Latter-day Saints.

Do you suppose these promises will be fulfilled? I know they will. I knew they would twenty-six years ago this summer; I knew it then, I have testified to it ever since; I know it now, and though heaven and earth should pass away, yet not one jot nor one tittle of the promises of God concerning the Latter-day Saints, concerning Zion, concerning Jerusalem, concerning the Jews, concerning the Lamanites, concerning the remnants of Joseph, concerning the seed of Lehi, or concerning the ten tribes of Israel, or any of the branches thereof—not one will fail, but they all will be fulfilled in their time and in their season.

The work has rolled on progressively up to the present time; not one jot or tittle has rolled out of its place, but it has moved on harmoniously, and it will continue to progress, and all the promises will be fulfilled.

In order to aid in their fulfillment, the Latter-day Saints, the faithful, those who hold the keys of this ministry, must fill their storehouses with grain, their treasures with the comforts of life, their cellars with vegetables and all kinds of food, which can be preserved, and this will be done in the own due time of the Lord.

Whatever straits, whatever poverty, and however long they may last, yet the Lord will smile upon us and we shall again have plentiful harvests; and however much there may appear to be in the world at the present, yet in the own due time of the Lord they will need bread and provision, and the necessaries of life, and if faithful to the counsel given, we shall be able to succor the poor, and have means to help the laborers and the mechanics, and to supply the wants of the needy.

We shall be able to call into requisition the skill of the able mechanics, to have the benefit of machinery, and we shall have all the skill, and all the power, and all the wisdom, and all the treasures, and all the means necessary to build up Zion, gather the people, redeem Israel, fulfil the promises, and build the holy temples and cities of our God; redeem and bring about the restoration of the living, and administer for the dead, and do all things necessary to accomplish the purposes of God whereunto we are called.

Who will live to see it? We will live to see a great deal of it before we die, but in one sense of the word, we all will live to see it, for we will never die, but we shall part with our bodies, and beyond the veil, we shall then be no less interested in this great and glorious work.

I know some people are apt to think, while the Latter-day Saints are a small people, and considering what we sift out, and what go to California and the States, and with one thing or another, that we do not increase very fast, and that we cannot accomplish all these things that were predicted.

Well, I do not expect that the Latter-day Saints will accomplish the work; I never thought they would. I will tell you my opinion, no, my knowledge, and my testimony; call it opinion if you please. The Latter-day Saints never expect to do it all themselves, but they expect reinforcements of the former-day Saints, and that the two will carry it all out.

You know the prophecy of Daniel about the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens being given to the Saints of the Most High God to possess it forever and forever; you have read it and no doubt understand it.

Well, a mock court under the administration of Austin A. King, since governor of Missouri, while Joseph Smith and others were taken by a mob and were made subject to this inquisition, and to a mock trial, and while undergoing this mock trial the question was put to a witness, “Do these people, these ‘Mormons’ believe in this verse in the Prophet Daniel?” and at the same time quoting it. “Yes,” said the witness. “Put that down,” said the judge, “it is a strong point for treason.” “But,” says one of the lawyers in defense, “Judge, you had better put the Bible down for treason.”

That was a very suitable reply; but mind you the text does not say that the Latter-day Saints would possess the kingdom, but it says that the Saints of the Most High, and of course that includes the Latter-day as well as all the former-day Saints from Adam down to the end of time.

Well, then, when the former-day Saints reinforce the Latter-day Saints, and all the powers of heaven are in the midst of Zion, and all the people from Adam and from Jesus Christ, and from the least and last Latter-day Saint all combine their faith and their works, and their powers, and their gifts, I would leave it to any intelligent person in Christendom whether or not they will be able to do this.

I say they will; I know it; but to say that the Latter-day Saints ever undertook it is not correct, for they never undertook any such thing. It is, as I told them in California, in public debates and everywhere throughout the State where I had an opportunity of speaking to them, and while they were threatening the sword because they could not get the governor out of the chair. I told them to their faces that they need not worry themselves about the Latter-day Saints undertaking that job, for they never would, and they never would be strong enough; but the Saints of the Most High had undertaken it, and I told them that these would reinforce the Latter-day Saints, and then they will all combine together, and they will do it, for it has to be done, and it will be accomplished; and this is what we are here for today; it is for what we are assembled at this conference, and we never had but that one object in view, neither have we now, whether we come together to sing, pray, prophesy or bless, to saw wood or to chop it in the canyon; if we are Saints we never had but this one object in view.

Just so with the former-day Saints, they never had anything in view, in heaven or on earth, but this one object in relation to the earth and the inhabitants thereof, and that was to rule and reign on the earth and over it, and over the elements, and over the people, and over all kings and all presidents, and all governors, and all rulers, and all powers that exist upon this planet, and finally over death, and hell, and the devil, and all his hosts, and the last enemy that will be conquered on this earth is death; so it is written.

Well, that is the object, brethren, is it not, of our coming together into these mountains? This is the object, and we have armed forces enough to do it, and they will be brought to bear, and our part of the business is to get ourselves ready. The powers of the heavens will not cooperate with unholy powers directly, and fully, and immediately; of course we as a people are not yet holy, we have not yet gained that fulness of the Gospel and of righteousness, but hardness of heart and blindness of mind do prevent us from rending the veil, and it doth cause us still to measurably remain in that state of blindness spoken of by the Prophet.

We have not yet learned all things as they are, and to entirely overcome iniquity, and because of this the powers of heaven, although ready, cannot fully commune with us, for we are not ready. For this cause your President labors, and for this cause his counselors preach here, and lift up their voices from day to day, and from time to time, and for this cause the Apostles labor and toil amongst you; it is to get a modern people, a latter-day people, a latter-day kingdom or Church ready, united, sanctified, enlightened, made holy, and prepared for the glorious union, and immediate presence and cooperation of those who have gone before us; for the conquest of the earth, the elements, and all the powers connected therewith, to put down iniquity, to put down Satan, to put down sin, to put down corruption, darkness, and error, and misrule, that the cause of light and truth, and the principles of virtue and rectitude may prevail, and the reign of peace and righteousness be ushered in.

This is the object, and now, is it not worthy of our attention and of our suffering a little? Why, the Almighty God will chasten His people from time to time, because He loves them, and He will purge out the sinners from among them, and some will repent and become righteous, and a great many who promise themselves that they are going to repent and become first-rate Saints, but do not begin, need not flatter themselves, for they never will do so in that manner.

When you see men that are not ready to repent, to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, but say, I want to indulge in sin a little longer, and then I am going to turn round and be a first-rate good Saint, I will tell you they are deceiving themselves, for they will not do it, for every time they think of doing it they will love sin as much as they did before, and they will continue to love sin, and why? Because, when He (the Lord) spoke they would not hear; when He sent His servants they would not listen, and they would none of His reproof, and because of this He will laugh at their calamities and mock when their fear cometh, and when they call He will not hear, and when they seek Him earnestly they will not find Him.

A man cannot be righteous of his own will and without the Spirit of the Lord; there is no assurance for men, they cannot have the Spirit unless they determine to walk in the light as fast as they see it. Those who promise to repent, but want to indulge in sin a little longer, do not repent, and their hearts are not fit for the kingdom of God.

That man is on the right track who always loved the truth, and lived up to it, as far as he could, with all his exertions, and walked in the light thereof every day, and every time he saw a little more truth obeyed it, and if he did anything at all it was his purpose continually to avoid error and walk in the truth. If he failed at any time it was his weakness, his error of judgment, his mistake, his temptation; it was not because he did not want to do right, or to put it off purposely and choose sin; but it was through his weakness and temptation.

I tell you there is a poor prospect of a man that makes no progress; there is a more promising prospect of a man that has no light, yet lives in the practical duties of his religion, that man or that woman must be happy. Why, bless your souls, there is hope with such a man, and though he may err in judgment and make mistakes, and though he may trespass, and though he may sin many sins that are not unto death, make many mistakes through weakness, and have to be borne with a long time, yet I tell you there is hope of such a man, because if he lives he learns to see his duties, and if he stumbles and falls down, what of all that?—he will get up again and start on his journey, and when he starts the next time he will start well.

Brethren, don’t seek to discourage or crush such a man; it will not do to destroy a man because he makes one or two blunders; it will never do to cry for spilt milk, but try again; and if you cannot overcome at first, try again, and keep trying until you overcome.

But when a man is not trying, but loves to live in sin, but still says every day, “I am going to be a good ‘Mormon,’” I have but little hope of such a man, and I generally say to him, you will not do it, for the Lord will not give you His Spirit when you please to get ready to repent.

But the honest man says, “I have been brought to see the truth, and I will do the best I know, though I have a thousand traditions, and though I make a thousand mistakes, and my brethren have to bear with me, yet I will do the best I can, and will be willing to try again; and if I find myself weak and unable to progress and overcome, I will pray that the good Spirit and the strength of the Lord may help me.” When a man talks in this way, there is hope in his case; I don’t care how such traditions have been entwined around him, or how many blunders he may make; I say there is hope in those who seek diligently to learn their duties, and endeavor to live up to them; and this makes me have hope for this people and for myself.

But when a man is careless and indifferent to the blessings of providence, and keeps putting off his repentance, and is continually looking after the things of this life, the Lord don’t want such a man; he has no use for him, and damnation awaits such a man, and he will have to wait patiently for the return of the good Spirit to again lead him to repentance. Such a man won’t prosper, for a man that will fix his own business first, and then serve God, he is not worthy of Him. He has no business with his own business, his business is to serve God, he has no other business; as I said, whether preaching or whatever place he may be in, he should have but one object in view—the kingdom of God. In whatever part of the earth he may be located, whether among the Saints or in the very midst of wickedness, and where the power of the devil holds sway, it is his duty to preach righteousness faithfully before the people.

Well, brethren, I bear testimony that Joseph Smith and the witnesses to the Book of Mormon were, and, so far as they held out faithful, are men of God, holding the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is calculated to lead the people out from the iniquity and abominations of this lower world; and that their successors, the Apostles, your President and his Counselors, received the keys under the hands of the Pro phet Joseph. They are the Apostles of Joseph Smith, and holding the keys of a dispensation which will never come to an end, for although all other institutions on the earth come to an end, this will stand forever.

They are faithful and they labor diligently, and I bear them record that they labor with all diligence, and God is with them, and their counsels will lead to exaltation, and to celestial glory and eternal life, and those that are with them bear a portion of the same keys; they are men that have been faithful and true, many of them have been proved to be such through a long series of years, and they would lay down their lives for the cause; and they, I say, hold a portion of the keys of this kingdom, which they received under the hands of Joseph the Prophet and others of the Apostles, and they will bear those keys and this ministry triumphant to the nations, and while they live they will live for this purpose; whether the flesh lives or not, they will never cease in this world, nor in the spirit world, nor in the resurrected world; whatever their circumstances may be, they never will cease to labor until they accomplish that which they have undertaken; they will labor for this worthy object.

I am not speaking of the eternities, but they will labor for this earth and every creature therein until the conquest is achieved, and death swallowed up in victory; for the powers and keys of endless life, without beginning of days or end of years, have undertaken the great work of the redemption of this earth; they have not and will not pass to others until they have redeemed this little world. Christ offered himself a sacrifice for this earth, for men, for the animals, for fishes, and the creeping things. Christ died for the earth and for the elements; Christ died for all mankind upon its face. Christ died, his blood was spilt, the Priesthood was given, and the labor will continue with the Priesthood from generation to generation, until the kingdom will finally be given to the Saints to possess for ever and ever. He died to accomplish the salvation of all except the sons of perdition, and they have had all these blessings applied to them, and have partaken of them, known them, and then turned enemies to them, and there is not anything greater that you can do for them, and they perish, for after the blood of Christ has been shed and they despised it, nothing more can be done for them than already has been, for they have rejected the means of salvation.

If salt won’t save me, what else will? If salt loses its saltiness, what will salt the earth? All this was undertaken, and it will be carried through until every son and daughter of Adam have an opportunity of participating in its benefits.

Then here is my heart, and here is my hand to every good Saint in this world, in the world of spirits, in the resurrected world, and in all the worlds connected with this warfare and this work—here is my heart and hand! Depend upon it, if I am counted worthy, I will be somewhere about, whether I stay here or go there, whether I stay in the flesh or go into the spirit world, or whether in the resurrected world, depend upon it, while my name is Parley P. Pratt, I will be somewhere about, and while I am, I will have that one object in view, and if I go into heaven, I shall think of nothing else until this is done, nor act with any other view, and I want to be counted worthy, and I mean to try to be, and trust in God for the rest. God bless you all. Amen.




Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy—Destruction of Jerusalem—Restoration of Israel—The Coming of Christ

A Discourse by Elder P. P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, October 7, 1855.

We wish the entire attention of the congregation; the assembly being so vast, it will almost be impossible for the speaker to be heard unless there is great order and strict attention. We wish no disturbance on the outskirts of the assembly, as we wish all to hear.

I will read for the edification of the assembly, a portion of the 2lst chap. of Luke, contained in what is called King James’ translation of the New Testament, from the 5th to the 36th verse.

I will remind those who hear me this day of one fact which can be clearly demonstrated to the mind of every careful reader of the Scriptures, and which fact is a guarantee, as it were, to the rational mind, for the manner of the fulfillment of that which is future; it is this, that the prophecies contained in the Holy Bible, spoken by Moses and the Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles, have been fulfilled literally and naturally, so far as they have been fulfilled at all. Not in the sense, however, that modern blindness and priestcraft have tried to throw over them, but in a plain and common sense, as plain as if a man were to rise here and tell that the wall around this Temple Block would be overthrown, and not one stone left upon another, and then tell the circumstances that would transpire before it, and in connection with it, and after it, and then it afterwards be fulfilled and recorded in history; so plain, so clear, so full, and so exact have the predictions of the Prophets of God, and the Apostles of God, and of the Son of God been fulfilled, except such portions as remain to be fulfilled.

Keep that one fact in view, and then search the prophecies, and trace them out; search history for their fulfillment, and give diligent heed to the things that are written, for these are the commandments not only of the ancient Apostles and Prophets, but of the Apostles and Prophets of the last days.

Jesus himself, while he traveled upon the earth in his mortal tabernacle read the Scriptures to the people, “he opened the book and taught;” his manner was to do it in the synagogue every Sabbath day—he exhorted them to search into the things that were written.

And after he had risen from the dead, and received all power in heaven and on earth, he referred his disciples to that which was written.

On a certain occasion he said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe that which the prophets have written.”

When he appeared to the Nephites, in his risen body, as you will find it written in the Book of Mormon, he took pains to refer them to the written prophecies of Isaiah and many others, and quoted many of them, and exhorted the people to search the things contained in the prophecies of Isaiah diligently, bearing testimony of their literal fulfillment; and said he, “A commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently,” for they have been fulfilled, and will be fulfilled according to that which is written, not in some other way.

Not only are we included in these general exhortations and commandments of the ancients, and of Jesus Christ himself, but the same commandments have been renewed to us by our great Prophet and founder, Joseph Smith, and by our Prophets and Apostles that still live.

How often have they told us to treasure up the words of God, those things that are written for our profit and learning, and to search diligently and treasure up in our hearts continually words of wisdom from the best books.

Says the word of God through Joseph Smith to this people, search the Scriptures, treasure them up in your hearts, put them in a good storehouse—the storehouse of your memory; then the Holy Spirit will be at liberty when you are called up to teach others to select from that well-stored treasure things new and old.

It is not to study up what you shall say particularly, but to treasure up truth in your hearts, to have them well filled with it, kept well stored, and then give free liberty to the Spirit of God to operate upon you, to collect out of that treasure that portion which will be best suited to the wants and condition of men who do not treasure up the words of life.

If the Holy Spirit should come upon a man of that description to select out of that storehouse, he would find it empty, and he would have the trouble of putting it there, or it would not be there; hence he would be barren and unfruitful.

Search the Scriptures, ye Saints of the Most High; among all your cares, and all your duties, search the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, of the Book of Mormon, and the revelations of God that have been written for our profit and learning.

And to the young people among us, a generation brought up amid the hurry, toil, and cares of a new country, I say do not neglect to treasure up in your hearts the history, and the prophecies, and their fulfillment, and the promises, and hopes shadowed forth therein, and the doctrines, and principles, and examples left on record.

You may say you have not time; take those portions of time you would otherwise devote to something less useful. We all have time to do it. I have been as hard working in my day as any other man, perhaps, and I always had time to do it, and always have done it, and it was by the light that shone in a dark place, diligently and prayerfully searched out, and the Holy Spirit that shone upon the understanding, through the prayer of faith, and through diligent search, that caused me to see, and understand, and lay hold on certain things that came in fulfillment of these prophecies.

If anyone asks how I came to be a Latter-day Saint, or what some people would call a “Mormon,” a follower of Joseph Smith, the modern Prophet, I answer, it was be cause I had given heed to the sentiments of truth from my early youth, carefully and prayerfully searching and believing them; it was because the Holy Spirit rested upon me, and opened my understanding to the same through the prayer of faith, and diligent search. It was because that the Holy Spirit gave me clearly to understand that this modern Prophet, and the fulness of the Gospel restored by him, had come in fulfillment of certain promises made by the ancient Prophets and Apostles; that is the reason why I really embraced the fulness of the Gospel which the world calls “Mormonism.”

Let us review the things we have read, and make a few remarks upon them.

Some of the disciples, feeling proud of their great temple, or national house of God, and feeling to rejoice in its workmanship, beauty, grandeur, and probably flattering themselves it would endure forever as the great center of the Jewish worship for all nations, they called the attention of Jesus to it, saying, “Master, see what manner of stones and buildings are here.” “Why,” said Jesus, “the days will come when there will not be left one of these stones on the top of another.”

Does that need spiritualizing? Does it need some learned man from a college to tell you what that means, and give you the spiritual sense of it? It had but one sense, and that a child could understand.

“The days will come when there will not be one of those beautiful stones left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” In the Indian phraseology they inquired how many moons first, or in other words, “Master, when shall these things be, and what sign will there be when these things transpire?” Jesus begins to tell them some of the things that would immediately happen in their day.

The first thing he calls their attention to, among the things that had been transpiring, was, that a great many deceivers should come and profess to be Christ, saying, “I am Christ, but do not go after them, take care and not be deceived by them.”

The reason of this was that the Jews were looking for a Messiah, and for a deliverance from the Roman yoke, and for their national independence to be restored to them; and for their city, and temple, and nation, to be the seat of government for all nations, a universal theocracy.

They were looking for this, and they had rejected the true Messiah, and were about to kill him, and were looking for another to fulfil what all men were in the expectation of; for the old Prophets had told them that such a day would come, in relation to that nation, and their city Jerusalem, and the temple; that the throne of God would be there; that the tabernacle of God would be there; that there would be one king and one Lord, and his name one; that all the nations of the earth would come up to worship—the nations they were acquainted with in that country.

They had reason to look for that day, because the old Prophets had foretold it, and John the Baptist came along as a special Prophet, and nearly all that people had received him as a Prophet, professedly, though in reality, some of them received him, and he told them some of those things were about to be fulfilled.

He had told them about their king, about the Lamb of God, about the Messiah, and that they must repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins, and make his paths strait.

With this double assurance, first the testimony of their old Prophets, and secondly the renewed testimony of a new Prophet, to immediately prepare for the fulfillment of some of the old prophecies; with this double assurance they were looking for some body to do something, and that pretty largely too; and as they had rejected the true king—the true Messiah, of course they would be looking for somebody, that ambitious spirits would enter, and they would rise up and tell the people, “I am he you look for; set me up, and I will deliver you from the Roman yoke, I will break your fetters, and bring about the restoration of your national independence.”

“Don’t you be deceived,” says Jesus, “for many of those who would not hearken to me will come, saying, I am Christ, but do not go after them.” These very things happened in those days, for which you may read history.

“When you hear of wars and commotion, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet; Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”—which had been a common thing, and was then—“great earthquakes, and famine, and pestilence, and great sights from heaven.”

Go and read Josephus, and read about these things being fulfilled in that same age.

“But before all these things shall take place, they shall lay their hands upon you.”

Some people have been in the habit of trying to apply every scripture to everybody in every age; they had need to give heed to the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, “Show thyself a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, giving to everyone their portion,” not everything that is written for everybody in every age.

Jesus was talking to Peter, James, and John, and to the rest of his immediate followers. “They will lay their hands on you, Peter, on you, James, and on you, John, and also upon others, and they will persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, and you shall be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” And of which, I need not observe, was literally fulfilled in that age, the New Testament itself bearing record of it in part; “this shall turn to you for a testimony.” That is as much as to say, when this happens to you that I have foretold, it will be a witness and a testimony—it will be another proof; therefore, instead of mourning about it, and feeling downhearted, understand that I have before told you it must be. And when you are brought before rulers for my name’s sake, do not study up a speech beforehand to speak in self-defense, for I will give you a mouth, and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Read the New Testament—the history of Peter and the Twelve, of Stephen and of Paul, and see if they had not a mouth and wisdom that confounded their enemies when they were afterwards summoned before the different authorities, and kings, and magistrates, in fulfillment of this promise.

“Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” This was fulfilled in the circumstances of James, the brother of the Lord, whom they killed with the sword, according to the New Testament. It was fulfilled in the case of Peter, in the case of the stoning of Stephen to death; it was fulfilled literally in many instances in that age.

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” Nations were not singing the name of Jesus then as they are now by tradition, but the bare mention of his name gave a shock to the wicked, to kings and rulers.

Go to Illinois and Missouri, and mention Joseph Smith to the mob that tried to butcher and kill him and drive the Saints; go where they reside, and say, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and it would not cause a greater shock, greater rage and hate, more bitter feelings than it would in those days to mention the name of that crucified Nazarene; “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake,” that is, because you will be running from place to place, making use of my name—making mention of what nearly everybody considers the name of an impostor and deceiver.

“That deceiver said, he would rise again from the dead on the third day,” said some of those pious Jews after they had killed him, applying the same terms they now apply to the modern martyrs.

To go about and preach his name then was not that pleasant thing it is now in Christendom; I assure you, it was a cross, and nothing but the Spirit of truth, inspired in the heart of man, would give him boldness enough to do it. “But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience, possess ye your souls.”

Now, then, comes the thing the Apostles asked about, after he had told them the preliminary leading to it; filling up the interstices of time, he gets at length to the destruction of that temple—to the throwing down of those beautiful stones. “When ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know the desolation thereof is nigh.” Does that need any spiritualizing?

Go and read Josephus, read the history of the Roman army under Titus, the Roman general, who came up and laid siege against that city and surrounded it with the Roman legions; and then read the history of the war. It took place at the time when almost the whole nation had poured into that devoted city, just as you have poured into Salt Lake City, only we are a mere handful compared with that great nation; they had come into one of the great Conferences that happened about once a year; it was during the time that tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands that come into Jerusalem, from all the surrounding country, that they were laid siege to by the Roman army.

The city was blockaded—none could escape. Besides this there were several factions within the city; Jews were at war with Jews under different leaders. This made a desolating war within, while the enemy was encamped without; and besides all this, famine overtook them, and pestilence caused by want; and by being crowded and shut up in the city, and by the dead bodies with no place to bury them.

Hence with sword, famine, pestilence, &c., Jerusalem began to be desolated. “Now when you see this, understand that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”

Some of our Sectarian friends tell us that Jesus Christ did not preach a gathering; he only preached the Gospel, and then let the people live right where they had a mind to. But here is a positive revelation from the Son of God, to those that would give heed to his warning voice, to actually remove to the mountains in order to escape the war, the troubles, and pestilence that awaited the Jews and Jerusalem.

Now if we had all the history of those times; if we only had what the Apostles have written, in full, instead of a little of it, we should have the particular place where they did go, and where they lived, you would have an account of the organization of a gathered people taking care of themselves, while war desolated the nation. We have not got this part of ancient history, but we will have it, for there is nothing secret but what will be re vealed—hid but what will be brought to light.

When God sees fit we will have the record of the fulfillment of this gathering; of every man, woman, and child that heeded the warning of the blessed Jesus. About seventy years after the birth of Christ, which was about the date that the Roman army compassed Jerusalem, I warrant you they left Judea and Jerusalem, and gathered into the mountains to take care of themselves. This is the very period of Christian history I would very much like to read—how they conducted themselves when they were gathered together, and how they maintained themselves when their nation and temple were crumbling to the dust.

“Let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter thereinto.” We are given to understand that there was a little time after the Roman army had laid siege to Jerusalem, in consequence of a certain movement of that army, that gave a chance to the people in the city that were wide awake, to gather. If they would give heed to the warning voice of Jesus, or to the words of his Apostles, not to come down from the housetop, or stop to get their bed, but run with all their might, they could escape. A little moment of relaxation, an advantageous position of the army, made escape possible to those who would not stop to take their clothes out of the house, their bed, or anything else, but flee at once.

“For these be the days of vengeance.” Vengeance on what? On the people of the Jews and on all the people of Jerusalem that had rejected the Gospel, that had rejected and killed the true Messiah, and persecuted and killed the Apostles, and his disciples.

“These be the days of vengeance.” What for? That all things that were written may he fulfilled, not spiritualized, nor transformed, nor done away, but absolutely fulfilled.

What did he mean by that saying? Go and read Moses; I shall not trouble myself to give chapter and verse; go and read Moses and the Prophets and see if they do not predict the horrors of war to that age, and desolation, even to the eating of their own children for mere want, because of the pressure of the famine; “even the tender and delicate women,” says Moses, “who would not venture to put the soles of their feet on the ground for tenderness and delicacy, should eat their own children in the siege and the straitness, whereby your enemies shall distress you in all your gates, if you will not hearken to my words.” He also predicted that the Lord God would raise up a Prophet like unto him, and the people should hear him in all things whatsoever he should say unto them, and every soul that would not hear him, should be cut off from among the people.

What do our enemies complain of us about? For believing we must hearken to the Prophet of the Lord which we profess to have among us—Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young, or whoever it may be. “They believe,” say our enemies, “that they must hearken to their Prophet in all things whatsoever he shall say unto them.” Just as though it was a new thing; that is what they are mad at us about; it is the main point that is found fault with from California to Maine, and throughout Europe, by editors and priests.

Everywhere the word is, “what is the matter with the Mormons in Utah? They hold to that abominable principle of hearkening to all things the Prophet of God says to them.” O dear, what hurt does that do? It gives them power—they will all vote one way.

We are not the only people that are troubled with that doctrine, and this is not the only, age that has had that kind of trouble to contend with.

Moses had laid it down, that they should not only give heed to his word, and if they did not they should be destroyed, and have to eat their own children while their enemies besieged them, but that they should give heed also to another Prophet that should arise, and that too in all things whatsoever he should say unto them; and if they did not, they should be cut off from among the people.

But that part of “Mormonism” is very ancient, and applied to Moses, and to Christ, and to every Prophet that has ever been sent to lead the people.

“These be the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled.” I have quoted a little of what has been written.

“But woe unto them that are with child, and to those that give suck, in those days!” What kind of a woe is this? “Eternal hell,” says one. That is not the meaning; but the language signifies that it will be hard on those who are in that situation in those days; they will have trouble because they will not be in circumstances to flee from their enemies; it will be very inconvenient indeed for them to escape; therefore sorrow to them; it will be hard on them; they are to be pitied.

I used to think, when I was a boy, that every time the Scriptures said woe, it meant eternal hell. I did not understand very much of the Scriptures then; in this instance Christ was simply speaking of the trouble and inconvenience it would be to those who had little children.

I have often thought how much more merciful God is to the Latter-day Saints, in telling them not to go in haste nor by flight, without stopping to get their coat, their garment, or their bed; he has not told them to escape empty-handed; I feel thankful for this mercy.

On the other hand, I have thought that we have had some burdens to bear, over and above what they had, which makes the thing about even.

“For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” That is, in the land of Judea, upon the Jews, and in that city.

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and they shall be led away captive among all nations: and Jerusalem”—what will become of it finally?—“shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until”—that is a big word, and means much in the position it occupies here—“UNTIL”—on that word is suspended that nation’s fate, and the fate of all the neighboring nations—“Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

I tell you there is meaning in these words, contained in that single line. O ye nations of the earth, if I had the voice of an angel’s trump, that I could be heard to earth’s remotest bounds, by kings, rulers, captains, generals, armies, and nations, I would wish to read that one line in their ears, and tell them the things that are summed up in it.

“Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” What is meant by it? One thing we know certain, we have no need to conjecture, that is, that all these things happened literally. The Roman army on the outside, and the three factions on the inside of the city of Jerusalem, and the famine, and the pestilence helping it on, performed their work until finally it came to an end by the city being taken by the Romans, the temple set on fire, and burned, and the whole city desolated, and brought under Gentile rule, namely, Roman rule. And it is said, in the history written by Josephus, that one million and a half of Jews perished in that siege, that is, in that one city, in putting an end to a national polity; a national corrupted form of government, a national priesthood, a national house of worship.

One million and a half perished! They fell by the edge of the sword, by pestilence, and by famine, and the remnants of the Jews were carried captive among all nations. To remain how long? As I have said, we know this prophecy has been literally fulfilled, for we see them scattered among all nations to this day.

I have seen them in San Francisco, in Chile, in Scotland, in England, and in every part of the United States, and Canada; and wherever my brethren, the Elders of this Church, have been; I can assure them of one thing, if they have looked about them they have seen a Jew or Jews. Wherever there is a nation to be found, or a people of commerce, ships, camels, or any other means of conveyance, there will be found Jews; that we know.

But about one stone of the temple at Jerusalem not being left one upon another—the fire itself would not do this—but history has informed us that the Jews concealed their treasures under the stones of the temple, and the Roman army went to work, and tumbled them about, and did not leave one stone upon another, and finally they were removed.

In fulfillment of another scripture, they took a plough and ploughed the temple site—so completely was the scripture fulfilled.

Had I time I would quote the chapter and verse of this plowing, and the history which refers to it.

Now then this last line I have read has been fulfilling until now; that is certain. The Jews are among all nations, in captivity—without being organized and nationalized; without being restored; without having returned to the God of their fathers; to His matchless power; to the administration of His Holy Spirit; to the enjoyment of heavenly communica tion, through Holy Prophets, by the revelations of God; to the administration of angels; to the enjoyment of the religion of their fathers, and to the power of God to defend them, and deliver them from their enemies.

They have been 1,800 years without these blessings. This is a fact foretold in this chapter, and literally fulfilled before the eyes of all men. All the nations know it that know anything about the Bible or about history.

Now there was a time allotted for the Gentile powers to reign, for their corruptions to bear rule, and during the time here designated as the times of the Gentiles, the times of their polity, of their nationality, their religion, and to prove them and to see what they would do with the power committed unto them—the times spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, in which the fourth monarchy, namely, the Roman, and all those divisions, and subdivisions that should grow out of it in modern times, the times when these divided powers should bear rule.

There is just as much a time for these to have their day and prove themselves, and bring forth the fruits of their rule, and a time for them to come to an end, as ever there was a time for Jerusalem to rule or for the Jewish polity to come to an end. Now when that time arrives, ye nations look out, for there is a prophecy gone forth about you; it is in these words, and recorded in the Old Testament: “Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet will I not make a full end of you,” speaking of Israel.

Now, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled there will be an uprooting of their governments and institutions, and of their civil, political, and religious polity. There will be a shaking of nations, a downfall of empires, an upturning of thrones and dominions, as Daniel has foretold, and the kingdom and power, and rule on the earth will return to another people, and exist under another polity, as Daniel has further foretold. But let me read it here, let Jesus speak in his own words, or the writer for him. Now understand that we have got down to the present time, that is sure with this prophecy, no man can mistake it. Jerusalem has been overthrown, and not one stone of that magnificent temple has been left upon another. A great portion of that nation fell by the edge of the sword, and the residue went captive among all nations, and their city has been trodden under foot of the Gentiles, and will be until their times are fulfilled, that is, until they have had their reign out. Then what will happen? We will read; “And there shall be signs in the sun.” Has anybody seen them?—not away back among those other things; there were signs in the air then; Josephus tells you about it, and this book tells you about it, as I have been reading today in this chapter, about the signs which happened as a forerunner of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jews as a nation. Now after the Jews have remained among the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, as a forerunner of this latter overturn, “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon.” Have any of you seen them during the last 30 years? I have. “And in the stars.” Have you seen any signs in the stars? Think back for the last 30 years. “And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And THEN”—not some other time. Are there any Millerites here who have been setting a time for the Son of Man to come? “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Not you, my disciples, whom I told a little while ago should be delivered up to the synagogues, and to prisons, and be beheaded, and suffer many things; not you whom I have warned to take heed lest you are deceived by false Christs that shall come to you; and when you should hear of wars and commotions to be not terrified, &c.; but Jesus Christ now directs his attention to another age; this does not refer to you my followers, you will be dead, and in paradise when these things that I now refer to shall take place. But THEY. Who? The people who shall live when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled—when their reign is about to come to an end, the generation that will be alive when Jerusalem and the Jews are about to be restored, and the full end of all Gentile polity is about to usher in. “Then shall they see,” those that shall live in those days. And what shall they see? “The Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

That is the proud sight that is to be seen in connection with the end of the Gentile rule, or the breaking up of the Gentile nations, when their times are completed; when Jerusalem is to be rebuilt, to be no more trodden down nor governed by them, when the Jews are to be restored; and when there are signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth, men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after the things that are coming, then shall they see, not the crucified Jesus hanging upon the ignominious cross, mocked by the wicked Jews, not persecuted by a Herod, clothed in all the pomp and pride of Gentile authority, not a Roman army to overthrow and succeed the Jewish polity, but they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud clothed with great power and great glory.

Do ye believe this, ye young people, ye boys and girls? Do ye believe this? All the prophetic sayings contained in this chapter have been fulfilled, down to this day. Do you believe that portion of it which is yet in the future, ye people of New York, of San Francisco, of China, of London, of France? Do the Gentile nations believe this? You see the Jew among you, and the Gentile bearing rule; do you believe that this is a true prophecy? You ought to believe it, for it is right before your eyes in its fulfillment, and if you do, do you expect to see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory? That is a sight some of you will see; you have only to live until the time comes, and you will see it.

Whether there has been signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations and perplexity, men’s hearts failing them for fear, in the last few years, I will leave each one to draw his own conclusion. If this has not already been sufficiently fulfilled, one thing is certain, it is being fulfilled, and when it is sufficiently completed the Son of Man will be seen in heaven with power and great glory, as sure as you ever saw a Jew, that is, it is a fact. “And when these things begin to come to pass,” for that is an important point, “then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Does it not appear a little strange that Peter, and James, and John, and the Jewish nation have to wait until then for their redemption, and the dead and the living, as well as the Latter-day Saints? They have to wait until then, whether in this world or in the other, for the redemption of their bodies, unless they died before Christ, and rose from the dead when he did, and the Jews must wait until then for the redemption of their nation and national polity, and for their triumph over their enemies, and for the putting down of all other power, and for the establishment of the reign of righteousness on the earth, the redemption of their friends, and vengeance on all those who have shed the innocent blood, whether of Latter-day Saints or Former-day Saints. This is the day of their redemption, be in what world they may, they are preparing for it. “Lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” When? Not when Jerusalem is compassed with armies, not when they (the Jews) are destroyed by the edge of the sword, not while wandering among the nations of the earth from age to age, not while the Gentile powers bear rule, but when the sun, moon, and stars shall put forth their signs, the heavens shake, and men’s hearts failing them for fear, looking for the things that are coming upon the earth—then is the time to begin and look up, to lift up your heads and rejoice, ye spirits that are waiting for redemption, whether ye are in this world or in the other, straighten your backs in your hard toil, and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.

“And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.” We have not any fig trees here, but they had there. “And all the trees,” embraces trees we have here. “When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.” You do not need a Prophet to come along and prophesy that summer is nigh at hand, for even the children may know it. “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”

O ye Millerites, ye made a great mistake; you thought the first thing was the coming of the Lord in power and great glory; you were going to have him come immediately, without any kingdom to come to, without a forerunner in the shape of a Prophet, but just by men guessing, and predicting, and remarking, and commenting on the prophecies; but so far as the coming of the Lord being the first thing you knew, you will “begin to see these things come to pass, and then know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” and we have to be born again or we cannot see it.

People hear of “Joe Smith,” as he is called, of the Book of Mormon, of angels coming from heaven again; of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; of modern Prophets and Apostles, and martyrs, and they think, “what under heaven does all this mean, we have no reason to look for anything of the sort, but we expect the Lord here every minute.” They have no idea of a modern Prophet; of angels visiting the earth in the latter times; of modern inspiration; of a modern Church that will hearken to the voice of a Prophet in all things that he shall say unto them; it is all new to them, they are astonished, and say, “what does it mean, I wonder what is this Mormonism coming to?”

The Lord will never come until he has organized his kingdom on the earth, and prepared his people by sending a messenger to prepare the way before him; that messenger has come, and the man that delivered it has been slain, namely, Joseph Smith, and by the instrumentality of that messenger, here sit the Apostles and Prophets, ordained to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

If the people had read the Scriptures they would have been looking for all this, if they had not listened to a set of blind guides, who have hired out for money to tell them the Scriptures mean something else.

When you see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Says one, “for my part I believe the kingdom of God was set up 1,800 years ago, and is not going to be set up again; he is not going to have it set up twice, or I do not know what you are going to do with the Scriptures, you had better burn them up as a thing of no account, because John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventies all agreed in their former testimonies that the kingdom of God was then nigh at hand, it must therefore have been immediately set up, or they were all false witnesses; and if it was immediately setup, as an event following their predictions, namely, on the day of Pentecost, when the power of God was shed forth, and the Apostles that held the keys of it organized it upon the earth; if that event did really follow what John the Baptist, Jesus, and his Apostles had predicted, then of course it was set up in those days.”

We say there will be another time when it will be at hand; how do we prove it. By the words of Jesus himself in our text, for he did not only state that the kingdom was then at hand when he first began to preach, but he also said it would be at hand when we should see these modern signs here referred to. What did he say should come? False Christs, and the Apostles were to be betrayed, and hated of all nations, and some would be put to death; He told them they should be brought before kings and rulers; that the Roman army should compass Jerusalem, and there should not be left one stone upon another of their temple, and the Jews should go captive among all nations; that they should remain there for a certain time during which the Gentile power should rule; that after all this there should be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, and perplexity, men’s hearts failing them for fear; when these thing come to pass, then know that the kingdom of God is at hand.

What does this make out? That there were two distinct times, or ages, varying in circumstances, in which the kingdom of God would be introduced to the inhabitants of the earth; the one should immediately follow John the Baptist, and Jesus, and Peter, who held the keys of it, and the other should be looked for and ushered in, in connection with these modern signs; in short Jesus and Peter held the keys of the one, and his brother Joseph Smith, and his Apostles hold the keys of the other.

Now I think you can understand both predictions; one by John the Baptist, and all the holy Prophets, and by Jesus and his Apostles, and the other was predicted by Jesus Christ and all the Holy Prophets since the world began, and both of them fulfilled right here before your eyes this day. The one in the events recorded in the New Testament, the other in the history of Joseph Smith, and what follows.

I have already been lengthy; having got at the main review, I will close by reviewing one more sentence. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

Now I know the habit of praying always in Christendom, that is certain portions of them, they pray in their families and in secret, and have prayer meetings; they pray for this, that, and the other, and say the Lord’s prayer and a great many prayers, but the question is do they pray always? He did not tell them to pray the Lord’s prayer always, particularly, neither did he tell not to; but this one prayer he did tell them to pray always, and causes it to be written; do WE fulfil it, and do they; it is not to pray always nor to watch always, but it is to pray this particular prayer always—that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and stand before the Son of Man.

Whatever else they might pray in all the varying circumstances of their lives, all right, but this one thing they would be sure to need, to be accoun ted worthy to escape all those things Christ foretold, and stand before him.

And why should they pray this always? Because it is not only the living generation that had to meet it, and had need to be prepared, but it was a chain of prophecy that would be gradually fulfilling from that time until he comes, and whether they passed through the veil or remained in the flesh, one thing was certain, they would all have to meet some part of it; if they lived in Jerusalem they would have some part of it to meet; or if they were scattered among all nations they would have some part of it to meet; and if they live until there should be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, they would have some part of it to meet; therefore whether they lived in modern or in former times, behind the veil or on this side of it; it was necessary to pray always to be accounted worthy to escape all these things and stand before the Son of Man.

This would have cautioned the drunkard a little, and the miser a little, the man who is engaged head, heart, and hand to accumulate all the riches of the world and heap them up to himself, and not use them to build up the kingdom of God; it would have told him not to have his heart overcharged with the cares of this earth, or with surfeiting and drunkenness, if these words do not say so exactly, another writer does, who writes on the same subject.

Take care how you get drunk, how you are a glutton, how you are wholly swallowed up in the cares of this world, in accumulating riches, and take care to pray that you may escape all these things, and stand before the Son of Man.

It would not do for me to talk always, but I want to tell you how to prepare; and I trust my brother Orson, or someone who will follow me in the course of the day, will enter upon that subject more fully, and illustrate the Gospel; the remission of sins; the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the ordinances pertaining thereto, as well as a good, moral, prayerful life, all of which would open up an extensive field for reflection, had we time to enter upon it.

If we had time, and it was expedient we could show you that in order to restore the kingdom of God, and prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man, the Gospel would have to be restored in its fulness, baptism, and repentance for the remission of sins preached, and a messenger like John the Baptist sent of old to prepare the way; but we will leave the subject unfinished.

I expect to go where Jesus did and tell the spirits in prison the good news that their redemption draweth nigh, and the good news of the Gospel, my mouth never can be shut on that subject, in heaven, earth, or hell, if I am at liberty to tell it, and the Holy Spirit given to me to direct.

I leave the subject praying God to bless you all, and all those that watch and pray always to be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are coming to pass, and stand before the Son of Man. Amen.




Mahometanism and Christianity

An Address by Elder Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, September 23, 1855.

My brother, George A. Smith, has wished us to excuse his Mahometan narration, but I would feel more like giving a vote of thanks to the Almighty and to His servant for so highly entertaining and instructing us.

I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we, as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked upon the history of Mahomet, or even the name; and even now we may think that Mahometanism, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful, and the other we look upon as something very pretty, only a little crippled; and for my part, I hardly know which to call the idolatrous side of the question, unless we consider Mahometanism Christianity, in one sense, and that which has been called Christianity, heathenism.

Mahometanism included the doctrine that there was one God—that He was great, even the creator of all things, and that the people by right should worship Him. History abundantly shows the followers of Mahomet did not take the sword, either to enforce their religion or to defend themselves, until compelled to do so by the persecutions of their enemies, and then it was the only alternative that presented itself, to take up the sword and put down idolatry, and establish the worship of the one God; or, on the other hand, be crushed and cease to be, on account of the idolatrous nations around them; they seemed to act on the defensive, although it might legally be considered aggression.

The Greek and Roman Churches, which have been called Christian, and which take the name of Christians as a cloak, have worshipped innumerable idols. On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should rather incline, of the two, after all my early traditions, education, and prejudices, to the side of Mahomet, for on this point he is on the side of truth, and the Christian world on the side of idolatry and heathenism.

In the first place, the latter lay it down as a point of theology, and it is a foundation point too, that there is one only true God, consisting of three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but without body, parts, or passions. Here is the exact image and likeness of an idol established through the principal creeds of Christendom, that is, if it is an image at all, or if it makes a shadow at all, it is that of an idol: it is a being that never existed in heaven, earth, or hell; it will not make even a shadow. Indeed, it is a thing literally motionless and powerless, as much so as any term that can be used to mean nonentity.

Jesus Christ, whom we worship as the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, has body, parts, and passions, and he is like his Father; he is the express image of his Father’s person and the brightness of His glory, whom we also worship. They are individual personages organized as a pattern after which men were created; they have tabernacles, and are in every way personages and intelligent beings.

Therefore, that something, or that nothing, that imaginary being, that idol that is recognized in the creeds of Christendom in general as a god without body, parts, or passions, has nothing to do whatever with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or with the Son of God that came in the meridian of time, who was crucified, died, and rose again from the dead, and ascended on high to lead captivity captive, and give gifts to men. Inasmuch as he and his Father are organized with body and parts, with limbs, joints, flesh, and bones, that are immortal and eternal, they have no part or lot, or communication whatever, with that imaginary being which is recognized in the principal creeds of Christendom as their God, viz., a god without body, parts, or passions. Therefore, in that sense, in the very foundation of their creeds they are idolaters; and instead of saying that Mahometanism prevailed against Christianity, and that Christianity was in danger of being done away by its prevalence, we would rather say, that where Mahometanism prevailed, it taught and established one truth at least, viz., the true and living God, and so far as this went, it did preserve people from worshipping idols. And had the crescent waved on the tower of London, or on the church of St. Paul, instead of the cross, and had the Mahometan religion been enforced instead of the Roman religion that was enforced for a series of generations, and had tradition riveted what the sword enforced, then that nation and the surrounding nations would have been worshippers of one true God instead of idols; they would have recognized it in theory at least, whether they would have worshipped Him in spirit and in truth or not. But now they do not recognize Him in theory, for they acknowledge as their god an imaginary being without body, parts, or passions.

Setting aside this one point, they acknowledge and worship innumerable idols, pictures, images, &c., amounting almost to an infinite number, in every place where Christianity has been blended with the civil power, and enforced and established by law under the one great standard called Catholic—imaginary deities that are the works of men’s hands, and to which they actually and literally bow down. This may not be the case so fully in these United States, where there is a kind of balance of power, and religion, and population, and influences of various kinds acting as checks upon each other; but go to those countries where there are no such checks or balances of power; go to Chile, Spain, or any other of the states or nations where the Roman cross, instead of the crescent, or any other ensign, is the standard, where there are no Protestant influences and Protestant dissensions to interfere with the prevailing power, and, as a matter of course, all the subjects of that realm have by law one religion prescribed to them, supported and enforced by civil authority, to the prohibition of all others. In such countries, you can contemplate that religion in all its open and unveiled idolatry; it is there you will see more fully exhibited the practice of worshipping images, of bowing down to dumb idols in the shape of pictures, images, saint worship, angel worship, &c., &c.

I have seen all this with mine eyes, and heard it with mine ears. They will pray to the Virgin Mary, so called, in the form of a painting, which they set up to be prayed to. They also set up other canonized saints in like manner, painted on canvas and other substances.

But I will not confine this practice to those countries alone, but in a city of the United States I have beheld a public procession of a vast majority of the populace united in one grand bowery, extending around the public square, and pictures and images of saints were posted in the roads, and an extra bowery was prepared for each of those images or paintings, decorated in all the pomp and splendor the people could command, and while in procession they would kneel down in the dirty streets and public squares, though dressed in the richest silks and satins that money could purchase; persons so richly attired were bowing down on their knees, or prostrating themselves in the dirt and dust at every place where there was an image, and were devoutly offering up prayers.

This is the idolatry that prevails more manifestly in the countries where religion is the law, but it also prevails right in our own country, because there is a liberty of conscience to worship what you please.

Now, if we take Mahometanism during those dark ages, and the corruptions that are so universally prevalent over the earth, and the idolatrous systems of religion, falsely called Christianity, and weigh them in a balance; with all my education in favor of Christian nations and Christian powers, and Christian institutions, so called, with all my prejudices of early youth, and habits of thought and reading, my rational faculties would compel me to admit that the Mahometan history and Mahometan doctrine was a standard raised against the most corrupt and abominable idolatry that ever perverted our earth, found in the creeds and worship of Christians, falsely so named.

It might not have been a very pure standard, for the fulness of the Gospel, with its Priesthood, ordinances, powers, and gifts were not there, be cause that pertained to another branch of Abraham’s family.

Ishmael and his descendants were blessed by the Lord, who said, “I will make of him a great nation, and kings shall come of him, and he shall have dominion;” yet there was one thing not said on the head of Ishmael. It was not said that in him should the elect seed be chosen, who should bear the keys of the eternal Priesthood, and salvation, in which all nations should be blessed: this was said on Isaac, the brother of Ishmael, the heir; and it was also said of Jacob and of Abraham; therefore, the blessings that were peculiar, that pertained to the fulness of the Gospel, that pertained to the eternal Priesthood, that pertained to the coming of Christ, and to the things of his ministry, and to those that were called with the same calling, and in which all nations should be blessed and redeemed, could not be given to Ishmael and to his descendants, but they belonged by election to the chosen seed to whom the promises were made, viz., the children of Abraham through Isaac, and through Jacob; but the Lord said of Ishmael, “I will make of him a great nation, because he is thy son; I will bless him because he is thine, and kings shall come of him.” So the Lord seems to have fulfilled, more or less, from those early days until the present, the promises that He made to the children of Abraham, that were not particularly designed to hold the keys of the Priesthood.

All that a nation could have, without the keys of the everlasting Gospel, without the gifts and powers pertaining to those keys, and without the fulness of the Gospel, the people of the East seemed to have been blessed with, so far as the Lord saw fit to bestow upon them blessings during those dark ages.

A great portion of the oriental country has been preserved from the grossest idolatry, wickedness, confusion, bloodshed, murders, cruelty, and errors in religion that have overspread the rest of the world, under the name of Christianity, or mystery of iniquity.

An open defiance of God is no mystery; open drunkenness, and reveling debauchery, and all manner of wickedness and immorality professed by sinners who profess to be nothing else, are no mystery; they do not deceive anybody; but when all manner of wickedness, idolatry, drunkenness, and corruption is cloaked under a sacred name, under an outward sanctity and holiness, and under as high and dignified an appellation as Christian, it is a mystery of iniquity; and that has overspread a great portion of the world, and has borne rule until the present day, sometimes under the name of Roman universality, sometimes under the name of the Greek Church, and at other times under various classes and names.

Many that were honest have been deceived by this mystery of iniquity, who have esteemed things to be sacred, which were abominably corrupt; and corrupt superstitions have been revered because of the great names and sanctified professions that were attached to them.

If such institutions actually professed wickedness, they would go for what they were worth; but when a thing professes to be holy, and takes the name of Christ as its founder, and the holy Prophets and Apostles, to carry out all manner of oppression, all manner of idolatry and idol worship, all manner of priestcraft and kingcraft, and more or less instigating division among nations and governments, all to carry out bloodshed, cruelty, the rack, the inquisition, and holding of men in bondage, ruling them with a rod of iron, it is a mystery of iniquity calculated to deceive millions. The Apostle John, speaking of this same power, says, “By thy sorceries were all nations deceived!!”

The Mahometan operations, in the hands of the descendants of Abraham and Ishmael, seem to have warded off that deception and mystery of iniquity in some measure, so that it has not entirely overrun their country, morals, and institutions.

Though Mahometan institutions are corrupt enough, and need reforming by the Gospel, I am inclined to think, upon the whole, leaving out the corruptions of men in high places among them, that they have better morals and better institutions than many Christian nations; and in many localities there have been high standards of morals.

There are, no doubt, sections of country, and different localities in Asia, where the people have not walked strictly according to the regulations and laws given by Mahomet, and observed by his true followers.

But returning to the general corruption that has prevailed nationally, politically, and religiously, under the name of Christianity, leaving out Christ and his Apostles, I do think there has been no idolatry in the world, under any form or system, that could surpass it. It is the mystery of iniquity, the great whore of all the earth. It has brought the whole earth under a lasting curse, having departed from the laws of God, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant, in consequence of which the earth is destined to be burned, and few men left.

So far as that one point is concerned, of worshipping the one true God under the name of Mahometanism, together with many moral precepts, and in war only acting on the defensive, I think they have exceeded in righteousness and truthfulness of religion, the idolatrous and corrupt church that has borne the name of Christianity.

There is one thing for which I like Mahometanism better than the present Christianity of the world; if prisoners are taken by them, no matter of what country or religion, and they become lawful captives, doomed to slavery, according to their rules, they will take them from their labor, order them to wash their bodies, and put on clean clothes, give them plenty to eat to refresh them, until they have rested and have full power and vigor of both body and mind to investigate and study the Mahometan religion. If the captives embrace the true religion, as they call it, they are set free from slavery, and permitted to marry among them. But if the captives still reject the religion of the Mahometans, they are made to return to their slavery.

I want to know where the Christian nation is that does this—that will take their lawful captive that may have some other religion, and set him free from servitude, and give him time to wash and clothe himself, and think, and investigate, when both body and mind are enjoying their full power, and if they embrace their religion, then permit them to become citizens.

I will not detain you; I have been more lengthy now than I intended. We would do well to look into the bearings of the history of nations, and the dealings of God with them, as impartially as we can, at all times, and cull out all the good there has been, is, or may be, and acknowledge the hand of God in all things, in His dealings with the nations as well as in other things. I acknowledge His hand even in this Gentile reign, whose corruption I have been hinting at. It has had its day, which has been a long and dark one; the nations have groaned under its sway; all nations have felt its withering power; all nations have been deceived by its darkening and mysterious influences; they have groaned in ignorance and corruption under the hand of oppression, and tyranny, and wrong, until the head and heart are sick, and they are ready to wake up and seek something better.

I acknowledge the hand of God in it; it was to have its day, that the nations might know fully, and experience the difference between light and darkness, mystery and truth, peace and war, liberty and oppression; between truth and falsehood, between the rule of Satan, of priestcraft and kingcraft, and the reign of the kingdom of righteousness; that they might have enough of their own way, and be filled with it until they would be glad to seek the Lord.

That same God has promised His Apostles and Prophets a day when there should be an end of superstition, and ignorance, and falsehood, of priestcraft and kingcraft, an end of Gentile polity; that their fulness would come in, and the prophecies of the holy Prophets would be fulfilled, and the reign of iniquity would complete its time; and then what? A chaos? No, but an organization, a kingdom, a government, a power which should stand forever, and no more pass away; and what was that? Why, the God of heaven should set it up; suffice it to say, the kingdom of God.

May the Lord bless you all. Amen.




The First Principles of the Gospel

A Discourse by Elder Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 26, 1855.

I rise before you this morning, my friends and brethren, to preach to you the everlasting Gospel, for as my calling has been for the last quarter of a century to proclaim this Gospel, I have always endeavored to do my duty both before you and others, here and in many other places.

Before I came here this morning, I was thinking, what shall I say to the brethren and sisters, if called upon to speak, and after a moment’s reflection, I said, I will preach the Gospel, and when brother Kimball called upon me to address you, he said, “Brother Parley, we want you to preach the Gospel to us.”

The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the only system whereby man can be saved, and his being the only name whereby we can approach our Father in heaven with acceptance, the only name in which remissions of sins can be obtained, and the only name whereby man can have power over unclean spirits, over devils, over diseases, over the elements, and over everything this side of the celestial kingdom, and its influences, it is of the highest importance, therefore, that this message of life should be declared to all the world.

This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was once born in Bethlehem, crucified on Calvary, risen again from the dead, and having ascended to his Father and to our Father to lead captivity captive, and give gifts unto men, his name has become the only name under heaven through which man may be saved—receive everlasting life and exaltation. It is the only name by which man can get remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all its attendant blessings. It is the only name by which we may approach our Father in heaven and invoke His blessings—the only name by which we may control disease, and the very elements, by the power of His Spirit and the authority of His Priesthood.

This same Jesus, after having risen from the dead, after having received all power in heaven and on the earth, gave a mission to his Apostles, Peter and others, to go into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and gave commandments that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, in all the world, beginning at Jerusalem.

Having given these commandments, and instructed his Apostles that they should teach all things whatsoever he commanded, he ascended up on high, and took his seat upon the right hand of God his Father, and he then shed forth the gift of the Holy Ghost, and bestowed gifts upon men.

Those Apostles began at Jerusalem to perform the duties of their mission, for it had been said that they should tarry there until they were endowed with power from on high; and after receiving this power they stood forth and preached to the people, on the day of Pentecost, the crucified and risen Redeemer, and when the people were convinced of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and wished to know what to do to get rid of their sins, and become acceptable in the sight of heaven, Peter told them to repent and be baptized, every one of them, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and he then added, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

This being written in the 2nd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, in the New Testament, as the first instructions given by Peter and the Apostles, at the place appointed, and at the time appointed, and under the circumstances appointed, and this being the first attempt to carry out the great mission—“to preach the Gospel to the world,” hence we conclude that the Gospel there preached was the same Gospel that was to be preached in all the world, and that was to be efficacious to all the world, it mattered not what color or country, what nation or language, learned or unlearned, Hindoo or anything else, it was the everlasting Gospel given by the Savior, at the place appointed, and at the time appointed, when they were endowed with power from on high, the Holy Ghost descending upon them agreeably to the promise.

Consequently, at that time and under those circumstances, which I have briefly named, the Apostles made that proclamation, viz., that all should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and they were told that all who would do this, should receive the remission of sins, and that the Gospel, with its promises, should go to every creature; and whether in some distant age or country that mankind should be found, it mattered not; there the Lord should send His Gospel with the promise of remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, through obedience to the Gospel. Yes, in every place and among all people the promises should hold good, and the signs follow them that believe.

This Gospel, its history, and characteristics, are clearly recorded in the New Testament, in the English version, translated by the order of King James, and handed down to us by our fathers; and it is also given to us by our fathers, in the Book of Mormon, and in many other good books, and in the words of many other good men who lived in ancient times, and in the words of many modern men, and many of our young men are made partakers of it by becoming members of the Church of Christ, and they know what it is to become members of the body of Christ, and to be justified, freed from sin, and to stand before God with clean hearts and pure minds.

We have to know these things, and to be made sensible of what it is to feel the satisfying influence of His Holy Spirit.

Mind you do not forget, when we preach this Gospel, that it is a Gospel of repentance; do not slip over part of it, but while summing it up, look at it item by item. It is the Gospel of repentance, not a mere Gospel of baptism, but a Gospel of repentance, and remission of sins, to be preached in all the world.

Why have any people a notion or disposition to obey this Gospel? How can the people determine whether this Gospel is good, whether it is of any value to them, or what it will do for the people generally if complied with? What would this Gospel do for the people of any age if they would obey it as a people? Whether it were a neighborhood, a town, a city, a nation, or a world, or a million of worlds, I ask what would it do for that neighborhood, that people, that city, that nation, or that world? I will tell you. There would be no thieving there any longer, there would be no lying there any longer, no cheating, no deceiving, no intentional breaking of promises, no wrong dealing, no extortion, no hatred, no envy, and no evil speaking. But why would all these things cease? Simply because they obeyed the Gospel; because obedience to the Gospel implies repentance, which means nothing more nor less than putting away all our evils, and ceasing to do them. Among the people that obeyed the Gospel there would be no longer adulterers, nor fornicators, nor any other evil that you can name.

Now what cause of objection can people have in any age, among any nation or language—in England or in Texas, or anywhere else, to a Gospel that would have a tendency to put away all those evils from among men? But, say you, “Are there no evils where this Gospel is obeyed?” No sir; where this Gospel prevails in the heart of an individual, that individual ceases from those things which are evil, for he is cleansed from them; he refrains from all that tends to evil. As the Gospel influences a man’s heart, he ceases to countenance all evil practices, and where the Gospel influences his family, there is a family without those evils, and if a town or a city can be found that is influenced by the Gospel, there you will find a town or city without those evils which I have named, and you will find them gradually putting away those which may be amongst them, as fast as they perceive them.

“But really,” says one, “in Utah, I thought the Gospel was pretty well obeyed, and yet we are not without those evils, we are not entirely free from those sins.” Allowing such to be the case, that does not make these words false. Show me a man that is guilty of false swearing, a man that is found traducing his brethren, or that is found evil speaking, or that is a fornicator or a thief, and I will show you a man that does not obey the Gospel; he may call himself a “Mormon,” a Latter-day Saint, or a brother in Christ, but that is not proving that he has repented of his sins, but as repentance is a part and parcel of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, and without which we cannot be benefited by his atonement and his mercy, we cannot have the blessings he purchased without we associate repentance with our faith. I say, as repentance is an essential part of the Gospel, that the man who has not put away his sins has deceived himself, because this repentance is one of the first principles of salvation. If I have other sins, and then add the sin of neglecting repentance, my case is still worse than it was before.

I have known the Gospel, as I remarked, for 25 years, and in that time I have materially altered my views upon some points. I then thought that they came into the Church for the purpose of repenting and forsaking their evils, and receiving the Gospel with all their hearts and with a resolution to do right. Well, it is true that there is a oneness, as far as repentance and faith is concerned, in the outward acknowledgment, but do all who in word acknowledge the Gospel forsake their sins? We would all like to see such a state of things in the world, we would like to see our neighbors forsaking their sins, even if we could not forsake and overcome our own dear sins. Suppose we happen to repent and leave off our sins, would not that be about right? Would not that answer for us without waiting for others? Or can we have some ceremony performed that will do as well, something besides leaving off our sins and leading a new life?

Perhaps we may not come to the repentance of fear, or feel afraid of doing wrong, but the other part we will come to, says one, “For instance the baptism for the remission of sins given by the Savior, in whose name we can receive every good gift, and without whose name we cannot receive any spiritual gift.” Then seeing that he, with all this power in his hands, and he, knowing all things that would be good for man, not only ordered that repentance should be preached in his name, but that the Apostles should baptize the people in his name, and to fulfil this mission they did baptize the penitent believer for the remission of sins; and they exhorted the people, every one of them, to repent and obey this ordinance for the remission of sins; and they also assured them that if they would do so they should have the gift of the Holy Ghost; and the Apostles further assured them that this promise was to them that were afar off, to all nations and countries—it extended to every creature.

And now, what objection can a man have to obeying one part more than another part of the Gospel? Why should men have such various opinions about the Gospel when it is so plainly set forth? One man says, “I suppose that baptizing or sprinkling me when I was an infant was sufficient, for that was the custom in those days, and I suppose they called that baptism.” Well, have we not shown you that repentance was of God, and therefore that all men must repent? Jesus Christ did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, and he also commanded his servants to go forth testifying to those that were seeking the kingdom of God, and gave them power to heal the sick and cast out devils.

Can little children commit sins? Can they hear the Gospel and receive it in their hearts? Can little children reason, think, repent, and bring forth fruits meet for the kingdom of God? Can little children be instructed to obey the Gospel in their infancy? To all these questions every rational man would answer—No! Well, then, what have we to do with the Gospel as it pertains to little children? We are willing to carry out the instructions of the Savior where we are told to bless them, and this we are willing to do wherever we see them, and to pray for them, but to sinners that are sufficiently grown to be free to act for themselves—persons who are sufficiently grown to be accountable before the Almighty, and to be capable of conceiving sin in their hearts, and of bringing forth the fruits of it, to such was repentance and baptism, and therefore the Gospel could never be applied to little infants; it was a Gospel of voluntary obedience, and therefore it could not apply to the infant in its mother’s arms.

Go and “teach” all nations, and baptize the people; not the teaching to “follow” baptism, but teach them to observe all the things spoken by Jesus. Well, now, if you baptize a little infant, then remember to tell it all the things; teach it, then baptize, after which, you must teach it to observe all things.

But you see it won’t require a dead form to carry out the Gospel of Christ, but an infant could not ask, what is the word? Persons have been used to trust to a dead form and have their children sprinkled, but if any of you were sprinkled, it was at a time when you could not help yourself, and hence you do not know anything about it, only, that you have been told that somebody sprinkled you when an infant.

Then, notwithstanding your infant sprinkling, you never obeyed the Gospel because it was a Gospel of repentance, and is to be so when carried to all whom the Lord our God shall call. The Gospel, which we have to preach, is a Gospel of repentance and of remission of sins, to everyone that will obey it, including a baptism, a voluntary baptism, which is applicable to all the truly obedient, in every nation, who are determined to lead a new life, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, and what was it? The Apostle, in the New Testament, informs us that it was to be buried with Christ by baptism into his death, and rise to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection.

In my travels abroad, I sometimes meet, among many others, members of the church of Rome, so called; I believe they call themselves such. I say to them, “Are you sure there was such a church as that in the days of the Apostles, and that you are members of that church?” “If there was such a church,” says I, “it is spoken of in the New Testament. Well are you sure that you are a member of the church of Rome that is spoken of as having grown and swelled and perpetuated itself? How have you become such?” “By being baptized,” is the answer. “Then you would think an unbaptized person was not a member of that church?” “Yes, we would consider all such persons aliens.”

“Well, then, I will convince you that you are not a legal member in the church of Rome, baptism being the initiatory right into that church.” “How will you do it,” says he, “Because the Apostle in his epistle gives instructions and directions how every member was initiated into the Church, that was established by himself at Rome.” He says that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, and if ye have put on Christ, then are ye Christ’s.”

“He also says, ‘Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.’” Romans, chapter 6:3-6.

“Now,” says I, “remember that every one of your members of the Church of Rome have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, and hence you must have risen to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection. So writes the Apostle to the true Church of Rome, and you will find it in the New Testament, as before stated.”

“Now then,” says I, “you have acknowledged that no man is a member of the Church of Rome, unless he has been baptized, and the Apostle himself says that ‘every member of the Church of Rome has been buried with Christ by baptism, and has risen again from that grave into the likeness of his resurrection.’ Where, Sir, were you buried with him, and when did you rise from that grave in the likeness of his death and resurrection? And have you ever led a new life, avoiding this sin and the other which you before were guilty of?”

“Well,” says the professor of Roman religion, “You have got us in a curious position, I must acknowledge; I will have to give it up, for that is true; it is the written word of an Apostle of God. I have never become a member of the Church of Rome, and am consequently an heathen, according to the views of the Roman Catholic Church.”

I have conversed with men who have come out as honestly as men could in their positions. Members of the Catholic Church have come out as honestly as I have stated, and said that they must give up, but the Protestants are very tenacious, and will stick to their creed, often in spite of reason. I presume they are like all men in reference to tenacity, they would stick to their oath, that, if possible, they might gain converts to their faith.

The question is often asked, “Are there any honest people among this sect, and the other party?” I tell you there are honest men in every sect of religionists, and if you try to classify men, you will have a difficult job, for you will find honest men in this class and the other, and, in fact, among all classes and sects of men.

You need not suppose that honesty depends upon our traditions, or upon where a man was born; but there are honest people in every community, and in every sect under heaven, and there are those that hate the truth, and that would not aid in the spread of light and truth, nor lend their in fluence to any servant of God under the heavens.

Well now, I love a man without regard to his country, or where he was brought up, without reference to color or nation. I love a man that loves the truth, and I do not blame any man under heaven for having been born and brought up in any particular town, city, or nation. You might as well blame a man for being brought up under certain traditions, in countries where they have not had the opportunity of discoursing with others, no discussions, no free press, where they never could know anything else but tradition through life.

You might as well blame them for their country as for their traditions. Circumstances might come round, and so order the course of a man’s mind and his mission as to give him a new channel of thought, and prevent his making any distinction, as it was with the Apostle Peter.

There are whole nations, and generations of them, that have lived and died with the same knowledge right before their eyes, and that without the opportunity of thinking of any other degrees of knowledge. Well, what did Peter do with regard to those he was called to visit and preach to? When he preached the Gospel under the instructions of a risen Jesus, when he undertook to preach the Gospel—repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Ghost, he said, “The promise is to you;” meaning that present generation, and he thought a little more, and then said, “It is to your children;” meaning the next generation, and finally his heart enlarged a little further, by the Holy Ghost that was in him, and he uttered its dictation, “To all that are afar off;” and then he happened to think that they might count those that had been brought up in some other country, with different tradition, and he limited a little, and said, “Even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Although the mind of Peter was liable to be too contracted, he knew one thing, viz., that the Lord their God was in the habit of communicating with the people, and he understood that He always would be, for he knew that God lived, and he also knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was alive, for he had seen and talked with him, and had handled him, and he had seen him ascend up on high; and he had heard him testify that he had all power given him in heaven and in earth, and he knew that he would have power to send the Gospel to every creature, for he had the keys to send the Gospel wherever he pleased, to all tribes, nations, and languages, in worlds without end, therefore when he made the promise he only limited it, or gave it a certain jurisdiction, recollecting where it belonged.

The promise he gave of the Holy Ghost was to all that are afar off, to those whom the Lord our God shall call. To express it in language more appropriate than any other, perhaps, the promise of the Holy Ghost is, to wherever the Lord sends forth a revelation, wherever He makes proclamation of the Gospel, wherever He commissions men and sends forth the keys of the kingdom of God, and authorizes men to administer those ordinances in His name. It matters not whether in Judea, or America, or whether it be in Samaria, or England, whether to the heathen, the Jew, or the refined philosopher. It matters not whether we apply it to ancient days or modern times, wherever the Almighty God or Jesus Christ His Son, sees fit to reveal the fulness of the Gospel, and the keys of the eternal Priesthood, and the ministration of angels, there the promise contained in the Gospel was to hold good; and the nation or people obeying that call should receive remission of sins in his name, in obedience to his Gospel, and be filled with the Holy Spirit of Promise—the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of prophecy and revelation, and also includes many other gifts.

Is that Gospel any less true because it was revealed to Mormon, and was preached by him? Is that truth any less true because it has been hid up in the earth, inscribed upon plates, and has come forth and been translated in this age of the world? Was not that Gospel as good when preached to the Nephites in America, as it was when preached to the Jews in Palestine?

And if as good why not write it? And if good enough to be preached and written, why not have those writings and read them, and rejoice in the spirit and truths they contain?

Rejoice because it swells the heart, expands the mind, gives a more enlarged view of God’s dealings and mercies, shows them to be extended to all extent, published in different countries, and upon different continents, revealed to one nation as well as another; in short, it gives a man that feeling when he contemplates the bearing and extent of that Gospel; it gives a man a feeling which affords joy and satisfaction to the soul; it gives a man that feeling which angels had when they sung in the ears of the shepherds of Judea—“We bring you glad tidings of great joy”—which shall be in a few countries, and to a few people? No, that was not the song, though they were singing to those who had a few traditions in their families; which they had received from their forefathers.

The shepherds were astonished, and well they might be, and they brought everybody to this text throughout the whole of Judea. Still those angels were honest enough to sing the whole truth, notwithstanding the Jews looked upon all Gentiles as dogs, and I think I hear the shepherds saying, that brought glad tidings to everybody—“To these dogs?” Still the angels—a choir of them—were bold enough to sing, “We bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!

What a big saying for Jewish shepherds! Why they must have enlarged their hearts, and wondered at this very strange news! Why Peter had hardly got his heart sufficiently enlarged to believe these glad tidings, many years after they were proclaimed, although he had preached so much.

It swelled by degrees, and contracted again, I suppose, and at last he had to have a vision, and a sheet let down from heaven, and things shown him, and explained to him over and over again, to get him to realize the truth of the glad tidings sung by angels at the birth of the Savior.

It was showing so much, it was too broad a platform, such a boundless ocean of mercy! It was making such a provision for the human family that Peter could not comprehend it. If the angel had said it was for the Jews, for the peculiar people of God, these that could receive the new revelation, why then it might have done; but to throw off their traditions, they who were the peculiar few, as they considered themselves, to believe that the glad tidings of the Savior’s birth was for those Gentile dogs, they could not endure this for a moment. They were of the house of Israel, the seed of promise.

This was indeed a peculiar vision, bringing the glad tidings of the Savior’s birth—for that was the peculiar mission of those angels—hence they did not bring the Gospel, they did not say anything about baptism, nor repentance, nor remission of sins, but they simply brought glad tidings of it. They announced the fact that a Savior was born at such a date and place, told the birthplace and events of a Savior being born in Bethlehem, under the circumstances named at that time, and declared that this news, this glad tidings, should go to all people.

What was the result? Why it went through Judea; it was sounded through Samaria; it went to Rome and to Greece; it went to Ethiopia; it went to the uttermost parts of the earth; it soon bounded over the sea; the angels of God that sung that song could never contradict their words. If then they had to carry it over the seas, to every country and continent where the seed of promise was, they were bound to fulfil that mission, and they swiftly flew to America, and proclaimed the glad tidings there.

They found the people there shut out by a cloud of darkness, from the light of truth. They found a people there called the Nephites and Lamanites who were a branch of the house of Israel, that were cast off, or rather brought over the great waters from their country, and they bore the glad tidings to them (you have read it in the Book of Nephi), and they informed them that at such a time and place the Savior was born.

By and by the Savior himself came over here, and told it to the people; but this was after his resurrection, for the work was too much, and the field too large for his mortal life; for he had but a few years to preach the Gospel to the Jews, and part of that short life of 33 years was he a child—a boy, and hence, he had to be limited to that country where he had a mortal body, and could be borne by the mountain waves that might separate one country from another. But after his resurrection, he was as independent of the waves and mountains as he was of those who crucified him; for then he could rise above their power; he was able to pass from planet to planet with perfect ease; he was as able to ascend up and go from continent to continent; he was as able to ascend to his God, and to our God, as he was to appear to his disciples.

I say, Jesus could not be held in Palestine; the mountains, nor the rolling seas had not power to stay his progress, for he had told his disciples, while he was yet living, that he had other sheep which were not of that fold, and, said he, “They shall hear my voice.”

In fulfillment of this, and according to the nature of his grand commission, the Savior of the whole world, not half of it, in his glorified body, showed himself to the Nephites in America, and bestowed upon them the Priesthood, with all its gifts and qualifications—that same glorious Gospel that he had just before given to his Prophets and Apostles at Jerusalem—and he told those whom he selected to hold the Priesthood upon this continent, to go forth and preach the same glad tidings of salvation to all their world, fulfilling in part the words of Peter, “For the promise is to all that are afar off.”

And Jesus called to those Nephites, when he descended, and they fell at his feet, as many as could get near him, and they bathed his feet in their tears, and they examined his wounds, and heard the gracious words of his mouth, and they saw him ascend, and descend again, and they felt so large in their charity and affections, and the light of truth was so large and extended in its benefits, and benevolence; and the testimony so strong, that they feasted upon the blessings that were bestowed, and he then commanded them to write his sayings, and an account of the miracles he wrought among them.

They did this as he commanded, and they liked the writings so well that they handed them down to each succeeding prophet, until Mormon, who was born three or four ages afterwards; and he could not hand those sacred records down any further because of apostasy, and the blasphemy and wickedness of the people, and because of the wars and troubles that spread among the people; so he made a secret deposit of those writings, and put them in the earth, and he also wrote a book and called it the “Book of Mormon,” which was an abridgment of the other records, and this was hid up to the Lord, and through the interference of the Almighty, a young man, Joseph Smith, by the gift and power of God—I say, through that young man, and the ministration of holy angels to him, that book came forth to the world, and it has since that time been preached and read in our language, and many others, and we rejoice in it, and have borne testimony of it in the world.

It is through that blessed Book of Mormon, with that blessed Gospel in it, that we have the testimony which we have in reference to the death and resurrection of the Savior of men.

It is true, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and as preached upon this continent, and it is true as written in the New Testament, and as it was preached to the Jews in Jerusalem, and as preached to the Ten Tribes, though we have not got their record yet, but we will have it, and we shall find that the blessed Jesus revealed to them the Gospel, and that they rejoiced in it.

And their record will come so that we will know of a surety, and of a truth, that they had the everlasting Gospel as well as their brethren in Jerusalem, and upon this continent.

When these things come to pass we will have three ancient records, delivered in three different countries. We have in the Old and New Testaments, and the Book of Mormon, and other good books, all we at present require.

We shall eventually have the history of the Ten Tribes in the north, of the Nephites in America, and of the Jews in Jerusalem, and their written testimony will become one, and their words will become one, and the people of God will be gathered, under testimony, into one body, and the testimony of the Latter-day Saints will become one with that of the Former-day Saints (and it is now so far as it goes), and the testimonies of those shall sweep the earth as with a flood, and by the voice of men and angels, and eventually by the great sound of a trumpet, and none shall escape.

Prior to this great destruction, the everlasting Gospel will be taught to them by the servants of God, by the testimony of men and angels, and by the testimony of Jesus Christ, and by the testimony of ancient and modern Prophets; by the testimony of Joseph Smith, and of the Apostles ordained by him, and by the testimony of ancient and modern Saints; by the testimony of the Ten Tribes; by the testimony of heaven and the testimony of earth; then shall the wicked be sent to their own place, and truth shall be established in the earth; and the voice of joy and gladness shall be heard with the meek of the earth.

Those that forsake their sins shall have abundant cause to rejoice with those that love the truth, and are made pure in heart by it.

Joy and gladness shall be heard, and there shall be glad tidings to all the meek, and to all the pure in heart; to all that love instruction; to all that will not harden their hearts; to all the sinners that will be obedient and refrain from their sins, and live a holy life.

The cry will no longer go forth, “They will not repent and be converted, that I may heal them;” for the Lord God, the blessed Savior, who is full of virtue, power, and love, and healing, with his Priesthood will bless them, and they will find comfort, for he will heal them.

From the fact that Jesus complains of a people that will not be converted, lest he might heal them, we would conclude from that, that conversion was a condition of the healing power. Why, says he, “They will not turn from their sins and be converted, that I may heal them.” But when they are converted and grown up into one, the day of his power comes, and then says he, “They are converted, and I will heal them.”

Don’t you see that he came to the Nephites (you have read it in the Book of Mormon), and he said, “Bring forth your halt, and blind, and dumb, and I will heal them, for I see your faith is sufficient and I will heal them all;” and he healed them every one as they were brought to him. That day of general healing came to them, for the more wicked part of the inhabitants had been cut off, and I would to God that that day would come among us.

Well, let us be converted, and those that have been converted and have held on to it, be converted a little more, for I tell you I like conversion pretty often. I don’t mean that I like people to turn round from the truth and then repent, and say, I am sorry; but I mean that a man needs converting today, and the next day, and the day after, because a man that is progressing learns by degrees. Today he gets to understand that a certain principle or practice of his is wrong; and when he finds himself wrong, and learns his error, he turns from it; but even then he does not understand all things pertaining to right and wrong. He has not learned all things that might stand in the way of building up the kingdom of God, and hence, he wants or needs to be converted today, and the next day, and the next, and so on until he is converted from all his bad habits, and from his impurities, and he becomes just such a man as the Lord delights in.

And Jesus said, “Be ye as I am, and I am as the Father.” He contrasts himself and them with the Father, and then says, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you such as I am, and I am as the Father is.”

It is for this purpose that we came into the world, that we might become like the Father; and that we may become like Him, we need converting every day, or at least until we are free from all evil, even if it be five hundred times—not to turn away from the truth, but keep going on to perfection.

We need converting until we feel that indeed the promise of the Holy Ghost is “to all that afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The Lord calls the Jews, the Christians, the “Mormons,” the Gentiles; He calls the Ten Tribes; and He has called us also; God has called brother Joseph, brother Hyrum, and brother Brigham, and His Apostles, and the Elders who hold the Priesthood in this age, and He calls the people of America and of Europe, and the whole human family. Some He calls by His angels, and by His own voice out of the heavens. In this way He called Joseph and his associates, and revealed to them the fulness of the Gospel, put upon them the powers of the eternal Priesthood, after the same order as Himself, and told them to go forth and call others to assist them.

They did so, and others obeyed the Gospel; they laid their hands upon them, after they had baptized them and confirmed them; and they ordained them to bear testimony of their calling, and the restoration of the Gospel in its fulness—that a new call had been made to the nations of the earth.

And it required another call in our day, for Peter had gone the way of all the earth, and also his brethren who were his contemporaries; and the brethren among the Nephites had gone, or had been taken away; and those holding the authority among the Ten Tribes had gone the way of all the earth.

And it was this that brought those glad tidings and those messengers to us; and those were the ones that brought the light of heaven to our beloved brother Joseph Smith.

Well, if I have been made a high witness of these things, what brought the truth to me? It was through the ministration of angels, under whose hands these my brethren have been ordained to the holy Priesthood, and it brought down with it the blessings of the everlasting Gospel, for it could not be in the world without a call; for those who previously held it had gone to another sphere.

The Gospel was revealed to ancient men in different climes and countries, whenever there were men to be saved, and it was revealed to modern men, because there were modern men to be saved by it. The Gospel was to all whom the Lord our God should call, in every age and country, and but for this call we would have been as blind as bats in the traditions of our fathers, led away by divers creeds and by the cunning of men who lie in wait to deceive. Where would we have been if it had not been for this call? We might have been good men enough, perhaps, but where would we have been?

The introduction of the Gospel was worthy of an angel, yes, the errand was worthy of a corps of them—it was worthy of a host of them! It was worthy of a God! It was an object of importance that called Jesus from the bosom of his Father in the eternal world. A call was necessary then; faith was necessary, and faith comes by hearing the word of God; and how could you have heard it, if nobody had been called to deliver it? We were in the midst of darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. We could see revelations given in other ages, but we want them in our age; but we wanted a call.

I am aware that some will be thinking of their grandmothers or grandfathers who died in the middle ages, and who died in hope, as far as they could get at it. I know they will be querying all the while to know what has become of them.

Well, it is no matter; it is for us to attend to our own business, and see to our own salvation; if we do this, we shall have no condemnation. We do not know but as we progress in righteousness, that in the provisions made by our great Father, we may have to serve them, and to do for those good old fathers and mothers of ours, who did see the light afar off, but could not come at it for want of a call—for want of a Priesthood, which is without beginning of days—and men holding the authority of heaven; yes, we may have to do for them what they have not had the privilege of doing for themselves.

Well, what is the provision? Why did I not just name to you, that this eternal Priesthood is without beginning of days or end of life, after the order of the Son of God? Do you suppose that when a man passes beyond the veil, he is any less a Priest? If angels or men, by the spirit of prophecy, have laid their hands upon him and ordained him to an office in the Priesthood of the Son of God, and have given him a call in the name of the Lord to give salvation to others, do you suppose that by passing the veil he becomes unordained?

What did Jesus say to the Jews? Says he, “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the God you profess to worship; but,” says he, “I want you to understand that He is not the God of the dead, for what glory would their be in that? But,” says he, “He is the God of the living.” He was speaking to the children of Abraham who were dead, as much as to say that Abraham was living then.

Well, then, when a man holding the eternal Priesthood passes the veil, he still holds his authority, and his heart is full of affection and love towards God’s creatures, and he is clothed with the power of God, and he is His Prophet, Apostle, and Elder. It is impossible to keep a man silent who is filled with the testimony of Jesus. I would as soon undertake to shut up fire in dry shavings, as to shut up in that man’s heart the good news, for He has his mission, which is to preach the Gospel to those that were and are in darkness.

The good old fathers and mothers who had not the privileges and blessings of the Gospel—for instance—go to deliver your message to them, that they may come to the light of truth, and be saved.

The Apostle, when addressing the Saints, says, “But ye have obeyed from the heart, that form of doctrine which was delivered to you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Rom. vi. 17 and 18.

There was the freedom of obedience to that form of doctrine delivered to them. Obedience to that form of doctrine made them free, but it did not prevent them from acting as men, in a temporal point of view.

The Apostle also speaks of passing from death unto life, because they loved the brethren. Passing the veil does not alter a man; it certainly takes him from the eyes of flesh, but the capacity, the intelligence, the thinking powers, are all alive and quick; and if they hear the Gospel, they will be glad, and the promises are made to them, and they will rejoice in them.

Let a man pass the veil with the everlasting Priesthood, having magnified it to the day of his death, and you cannot get it off him; it will remain with him in the world of spirits; and when he wakes up in that world among the spirits, he has that power, and that obligation on him, that if he can find a person worthy of salvation, why, as soon as he ascertains that, and he remembers what he may teach and who he may teach, he then discovers that he has got a mission, and that mission is to those souls who had not the privilege which we have in this world, that they may be partakers of the Gospel as well as we.

And herein, when fully carried out, are the keys of the “baptism for the dead,” and the salvation of those not on the earth, a subject into which I need not now enter, although it is among the first principles of salvation; but they are so lengthy that we cannot dwell upon them all at one time.

But suffice it to say, that when the Lord made provision that there should be one name by which man should be saved; and when He planned glad tidings of great joy to go over the islands and continents, and to the four quarters of the earth, He also remembered the spirits in prison, and He made provision wide as eternity, that it might reach the case of “every creature,” under every circumstance that could arise within the reach of mercy.

He so ordered it, that “all manner of sins and blasphemies, in due time, might be forgiven, except that which could not be justly forgiven in this world, nor in that which is to come.”

The plan was so devised that every man might have repentance and remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, in his time and in his place, if he would; but if he would not, very well then, he might do as he pleased, whether in this world or any other, according to the clear freedom that he lives under.

You know you cannot compel one of the dumb animals to drink; you can lead him to the water, direct his attention to the clear, crystal, pure stream, but still he may die of thirst. And men may die because they will not leave off their sins, and lay hold of the cross; and if they will die of thirst, and will not lay hold of the salvation offered by a bleeding Savior, they may die the death of the wicked.

And if, because they will not give up their freedom to do right, they can go; they will die to all eternity, and never be compelled to obey the truth.

Well, friends, here is the Gospel; and where is the man’s heart so hard that he will not see and embrace it? A man must be hardened in wickedness, that will not abide the law of the Gospel. And that portion of you who have not obeyed, my invitation is to you all; and all of you in the Church, who have not obeyed the Gospel in its fulness, see that you obey it in its fulness; I mean, to every day, attend to the repentance part of it—the leaving off part—forsaking your evils—the conversion part, and bring forth fruits suited to a new life.

I will have to be judged for my preaching, and you for your hearing. I shall be pretty careful for myself; I can do that, I think. I shall look into things, prepare my mind to discern between the right and the wrong; otherwise I might neglect; and it will keep a man pretty busy to repent and bring forth fruits for a new life. There will be a good deal of watching and praying, and he will have to be pretty careful to live so as to get the Holy Spirit, so that it will not leave him, and he will be, without it, like a fish out of water, or like a person in hot weather destitute of pure air. If he once loses the Spirit, after having received it, it will keep him pretty busy to get it again.

That repentance, and that burial in the name of the risen Jesus, wants a good deal of humility and perseverance; for there is the old man with his deeds to put off, and lay aside, and to walk a new life.

It does not only mean something, but it is shown forth in the actions of the man. Well won’t that keep a man pretty busy? I think it will in such a world as this. Well, in this sense of the word the Saints are called upon to obey the Gospel and repent, all the while; but we talk of dying unto sin and of walking in newness of life. The dying unto sin and rising in the new life, and the baptism were to be for a moment, but the stream that flows from obedience is perpetual.

Well, those out of the Church are certainly called upon to obey the Gospel; and when people are careless and indifferent respecting their duties, then it is that wicked people rise up amongst us, and we are then called upon to repent and obey the Gospel. I will clear my garments, as far as one day will do it, before I sit down. The little children are called upon to obey the Gospel, such as are capable of being taught, and they ought to be taught by their parents, so that they may understand it by the time they are eight years of age. Then they are called upon to repent, to understand and bring forth the fruits meet for the kingdom of God, and be buried in the likeness of death as Jesus was, and then leave off all their foolish and sinful ways, and rise out of their watery grave, understanding that Jesus rose again from the dead—from his grave, and knowing this they should then take up their cross. This is a figure to show us that then commences a new life.

Now you folks that have been brought up in the Gospel, in the light of heaven, but have been careless or wicked, rise up and obey the Gospel, and don’t you be baptized without you repent, for all you hear of the Gos pel and attend to, unless you are as humble as a little child, it won’t do you any good, and remember that it is through the name, and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, that you can have remission of sins, through the ordinance of baptism which represents the burial. And those people that have not been brought up within this call and influence, I say, come and obey it and do not call yourselves outsiders and aliens, but fellow heirs to the promises made to Abraham, and which were established by him and given to him for an everlasting covenant.

You may suppose that it was a part of the law given to Moses, and therefore done away in Christ. Let me tell you that the everlasting covenant made with Abraham, and mentioned in the Scriptures, was made four hundred and fifty years before the law was thundered from Mount Sinai. Separate and apart from the Gospel, the law was given to Moses, but not to disannul that covenant, and when the Lord Jesus Christ came he never disannulled it, but commanded his Apostles to preach it. It is much older than the law, for it applied before Moses was born and also afterwards, and all we have to do is to come into it, and be faithful as Abraham was faithful, and then we shall become sons, and if sons, the sons of Abraham, and if daughters, the daughters of Sarah, because we have embraced the same Gospel and principles. And then when we get into heaven with Rachel and Leah, they will not be ashamed of us, and what is more we will not be ashamed of them. Then we shall be hail fellows well met, and we shall sit down in the kingdom of God, and go no more out forever. “And many will come from the east and from the west, and will sit down in the kingdom of God,” and unless we are faithful we shall be shut out. Therefore I wish you to understand that the promises, that are special, will not apply to us, and where they go we cannot come, except by adoption.

May the Lord bless you. Amen.

I like preaching the Gospel this morning. Before I came here I thought, what shall I say if they call on me to speak today? And the thought came into my mind, I will preach the Gospel, and the moment I came brother Kimball said, “Brother Parley, come preach the Gospel to us;” I replied, “That is just what I was thinking of.”




The First Principles of the Gospel

Discourse by Elder Parley P. Pratt, delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, August 26, 1855.

I rise before you this morning, my friends and brethren, to preach to you the everlasting Gospel, for as my calling has been for the last quarter of a century to proclaim this Gospel, I have always endeavored to do my duty both before you and others, here and in many other places.

Before I came here this morning I was thinking what shall I say to the brethren and sisters, if called upon to speak, and after a moment’s reflection, I said, I will preach the Gospel, and when brother Kimball called upon me to address you, he said, “Brother Parley, we want you to preach the Gospel to us.”

The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is the only system whereby man can be saved, and his being the only name whereby we can approach our Father in Heaven with acceptance, the only name in which remissions of sins can be obtained, and the only name whereby man can have power over unclean spirits, over devils, over diseases, over the elements, and over everything this side the celestial kingdom and its influences; it is of the highest importance, therefore, that this message of life should be declared to all the world.

This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was once born in Bethlehem, crucified on Calvary, risen again from the dead, and having ascended to his Father and to our Father to lead captivity captive and give gifts unto men, his name has become the only name under heaven through which man may be saved, receive everlasting life and exaltation; it is the only name by which man can get remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and all its attendant blessings; it is the only name by which we may approach our Father in heaven and invoke his blessings—the only name by which we may control disease and the very elements by the power of his Spirit and the authority of his Priesthood.

This same Jesus, after having risen from the dead, after having received all power in heaven and on the earth, gave a mission to his Apostles, Peter and others, to go into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and gave commandments that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name in all the world, beginning at Jerusalem.

Having given these commandments and instructed his Apostles that they should teach all things whatsoever he commanded, he ascended up on high and took his seat upon the right hand of God his father, and he then shed forth the gift of the Holy Ghost and bestowed gifts upon men.

Those Apostles began at Jerusalem to perform the duties of their Mission, for it had been said that they should tarry there until they were endowed with power from on high; and after receiving this power they stood forth and preached to the people on the day of Pentecost the crucified and risen Redeemer, and when the people were convinced of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and wished to know what to do to get rid of their sins and become acceptable in the sight of Heaven, Peter told them to repent and be baptized every one of them in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and he then added, for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.

This being written in the 2nd chap. of the Acts of the Apostles, in the New Testament, as the first instructions given by Peter and the Apostles at the place appointed, and at the time appointed, and under the circumstances appointed, and this being the first attempt to carry out the great mission “to preach the Gospel to the world,” hence we conclude that the Gospel there preached, was the same Gospel that was to be preached in all the world, and that was to be efficacious to all the world, it matters not what color or country, what nation or language, learned or unlearned, Hindoo or anything else; it was the everlasting Gospel given by the Savior at the place appointed, and at the time appointed, when they were endowed with power from on high, the Holy Ghost descending upon them agreeably to the promise.

Consequently, at that time and under those circumstances which I have briefly named, the Apostles made that proclamation, viz., that all should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and they were told that all who would do this should receive the remission of sins, and that the Gospel with its promises should go to every creature, and whether in some distant age or country that mankind should be found, it matters not; there the Lord should send his Gospel with the promise of remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost through obedience to the Gospel; yes, in every place and among all people the promises should hold good and the signs follow them that believe.

This Gospel, its history and characteristics, are clearly recorded in the New Testament, in the English version, translated by the order of King James, and handed down to us by our fathers, and it is also given to us by our fathers in the Book of Mormon, and in many other good books, and in the words of many other good men who lived in ancient times, and in the words of many modern men, and many of our young men are made partakers of it by becoming members of the Church of Christ, and they know what it is to become members of the body of Christ, and to be justified, freed from sin, and to stand before God with clean hearts and pure minds.

We have to know these things, and to be made sensible of what it is to feel the satisfying influence of his Holy Spirit.

Mind you do not forget when we preach this Gospel that it is a Gospel of repentance; do not slip over part of it, but while summing it up, look at it item by item. It is the Gospel of repentance, not a mere Gospel of baptism, but a Gospel of repentance and remission of sins to be preached in all the world.

Why have any people a notion or disposition to obey this Gospel? How can the people determine whether this Gospel is good? Whether it is of any value to them, or what it will do for the people generally if complied with? What would this Gospel do for the people of any age if they would obey it as a people? Whether it were a neighborhood, a town, a city, a nation, or a world, or a million of worlds. I ask what would it do for that neighborhood, that people, that city, that nation, or that world? I will tell you. There would be no thieving there any longer, there would be no lying there any longer, no cheating, no deceiving, no intentional breaking of promises, no wrong dealing, no extortion, no hatred, no envy, and no evil speaking. But why would all these things cease? Simply because they obeyed the Gospel; because obedience to the Gospel implies repentance, which means nothing more nor less than putting away all our evils and ceasing to do them. Among the people that obeyed the Gospel, there would be no longer adulterers, nor fornicators, nor any other evil that you can name.

Now what cause of objection can people have in any age, among any nation or language—in England or in Texas, or anywhere else to a Gospel that would have a tendency to put away all those evils from among men? But say you—Are there no evils where this Gospel is obeyed? No sir; where this Gospel prevails in the heart of an individual, that individual ceases from those things which are evil, for he is cleansed from them; he refrains from all that tends to evil; as the Gospel influences a man’s heart, he ceases to countenance all evil practices, and where the Gospel influences his family, there is a family without those evils, and if a town or a city can be found that is influenced by the Gospel, there you will find a town or city without those evils which I have named, and you will find them gradually putting away those which may be amongst them as fast as they perceive them.

But really, says one, in Utah, I thought the Gospel was pretty well obeyed, and yet we are not without those evils, we are not entirely free from those sins. Allowing such to be the case, that does not make these words false. Show me a man that is guilty of false swearing, a man that is found traducing his brethren, or that is found evil speaking, or that is a fornicator, or a thief, and I will show you a man that does not obey the Gospel; he may call himself a Mormon, a Latter-day Saint, or a brother in Christ, but that is not proving that he has repented of his sins, but as repentance is a part and parcel of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, and without which we cannot be benefited by his atonement and his mercy, we cannot have the blessings he purchased without we associate repentance with our faith. I say, as repentance is an essential part of the Gospel, that the man who has not put away his sins has deceived himself, because this repentance is one of the first principles of salvation. If I have other sins, and then add the sin of neglecting repentance, my case is still worse than it was before.

I have known the Gospel, as I remarked, for 25 years, and in that time I have materially altered my views upon some points. I then thought that they came into the Church for the purpose of repenting and forsaking their evils, and receiving the Gospel with all their hearts and a resolution to do right. Well, it is true, that there is a oneness as far as repentance and faith are concerned in the outward acknowledgment, but do all who in word acknowledge the Gospel forsake their sins? We would all like to see such a state of things in the world; we would like to see our neighbors forsaking their sins, even if we could not forsake and overcome our own dear sins. Suppose we happen to repent and leave off our sins, would not that be about right? Would not that answer for us without waiting for others? Or can we have some ceremony performed that will do as well, something besides leaving off our sins and leading a new life?

Perhaps we may not come to the repentance of fear, or feel afraid of doing wrong, but the other part we will come to says one, for instance, the baptism for the remission of sins given by the Savior, in whose name we can receive every good gift, and without whose name we cannot receive any spiritual gift. Then seeing that he, with all this power in his hands, and he knowing all things that would be good for man, not only ordered that repentance should be preached in his name, but that the Apostles should baptize the people in his name, and to fulfil this Mission they did baptize the penitent believer for the remission of sins, and they exhorted the people every one of them to repent and obey this ordinance for the remission of sins, and they also assured them, that if they would do so they should have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the Apostles further assured them that this promise was to them that were afar off, to all nations and countries, it extended to every creature!

And, now, what objection can a man have to obeying one part more than another part of the Gospel? Why should men have such various opinions about the Gospel when it is so plainly set forth? One man says, I suppose that baptizing or sprinkling me when I was an infant was sufficient, for that was the custom in those days, and I suppose they called that baptism. Well, have we not shown you that repentance was of God, and therefore that all men must repent? Jesus Christ did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, and he also commanded his servants to go forth testifying to these that were seeking the kingdom of God, and gave them power to heal the sick and cast out devils.

Can little children commit sins? Can they hear the Gospel and receive it in their hearts? Can little children reason, think, repent, and bring forth fruits meet for the kingdom of God? Can little children be instructed to obey the Gospel in their infancy? To all these questions every rational man would answer—No. Well, then, what have we to do with the Gospel as it pertains to little children? We are willing to carry out the instruction of the Savior where we are told to bless them, and this we are willing to do wherever we see them, and to pray for them, but to sinners that are sufficiently grown to be free to act for themselves; persons who are sufficiently grown to be accountable before the Almighty, and to be capable of conceiving sin in their hearts, and of bringing forth the fruits of it, to such was repentance and baptism, and therefore the Gospel could never be applied to little infants; it was a Gospel of voluntary obedience, and therefore it could not apply to the infant in its mother’s arms.

Go and “teach” all nations, and baptize the people; not the teaching to “follow” baptism, but teach them to observe all the things spoken by Jesus. Well, now, if you baptize a little infant, then remember to tell it all the things; teach it, then baptize, after which you must teach it to observe all things.

But you see it won’t require a dead form to carry out the Gospel of Christ, but an infant could not ask what is the Word? Persons have been used to trust to a dead form and have their children sprinkled, but if any of you were sprinkled, it was at a time when you could not help yourself, and hence you do not know anything about it, only that you have been told that somebody sprinkled you when an infant.

Then, notwithstanding your infant sprinkling you never obeyed the Gospel, because it was a Gospel of repentance, and is to be so when carried to all whom the Lord our God shall call. The Gospel which we have to preach is a Gospel of repent ance and of remission of sins to everyone that will obey it, including a baptism, a voluntary baptism, which is applicable to all the truly obedient, in every nation, who are determined to lead a new life, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, and what was it? The Apostle in the New Testament, informs us that it was “to be buried with Christ by baptism into his death, and rise to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection.”

In my travels abroad, I sometimes meet among many others, members of the Church of Rome, so called; I believe they call themselves such. I say to them—Are you sure there was such a church as that in the days of the Apostles, and that you are members of that church? If there was such a church, says I, it is spoken of in the New Testament. Well, are you sure that you are a member of the Church of Rome, that is spoken of as having grown, and swelled, and perpetuated itself? How have you become such? By being baptized is the answer. Then you would think an unbaptized person was not a member of that church? Yes, we would consider all such persons aliens.

Well then, I will convince you that you are not a legal member in the Church of Rome, baptism being the initiatory right into that church. How will you do it, says he? Because the Apostle in his epistle gives instructions and directions, how every member was initiated into the Church that was established by himself at Rome. He says that, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, and if ye have put on Christ, then are ye Christ’s.”

He also says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”—Romans, chapter 6.

Now, says I, remember that every one of your members of the Church of Rome have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, and hence you must have risen to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection. So writes the Apostle to the true Church of Rome, and you will find it in the New Testament as before stated.

Now, then, says I, you have acknowledged that no man is a member of the Church of Rome unless he has been baptized, and the Apostle himself says, that every member of the Church of Rome has been buried with Christ by baptism, and has risen again from that grave into the likeness of his resurrection. Where, sir, were you buried with him, and when did you rise from that grave in the likeness of his death and resurrection? And have you ever led a new life, avoiding this sin and the other which you before were guilty of?

Well, says the professor of Roman religion, you have got us in a curious position, I must acknowledge; I will have to give it up, for that is true; it is the written word of an Apostle of God.

I have never become a member of the Church of Rome, and am consequently an heathen, according to the views of the Roman Catholic Church. I have conversed with men who have come out as honestly as men could in their positions. Members of the Catholic Church have come out as honest as I have stated, and said that they must give up, but the Protestants are very tenacious, and will stick to their creed often in spite of reason. I presume they are like all men in reference to tenacity, they would stick to their oath, that, if possible, they might gain converts to their faith.

The question is often asked, are there any honest people among this sect and the other party; I tell you there are honest men in every sect of religionists, and if you try to classify men you will have a difficult job, for you will find honest men in this class and the other, and, in fact, among all classes and sects of men.

You need not suppose that honesty depends upon our traditions, or upon where a man was born; but there are honest people in every community, and in every sect under heaven, and there are those that hate the truth, and that would not aid in the spread of light and truth, nor lend their influence to any servant of God under the heavens.

Well, now, I love a man without regard to his country, or where he was brought up, without reference to color or nation; I love a man that loves the truth, and I do not blame any man under heaven for having been born and brought up in any particular town, city, or nation. You might as well blame a man for being brought up under certain traditions in countries where they have not had the opportunity of discoursing with others, no discussions, no free press, where they never could know anything else but tradition through life.

You might as well blame them for their country as for their traditions. Circumstances might come round, and so order the course of a man’s mind and his mission as to give him a new channel of thought, and prevent his making any distinction, as it was with the Apostle Peter.

There are whole nations, and generations of them that have lived and died with the same knowledge right before their eyes, and that without the opportunity of thinking of any other degrees of knowledge. Well, what did Peter do with regard to those he was called to visit and preach to? When he preached the Gospel under the instructions of arisen Jesus, when he undertook to preach the Gospel, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Ghost, he said the promise is to you, meaning that present generation; and he thought a little more, and then said it is to your children, meaning the next generation; and finally his heart enlarged a little further by the Holy Ghost that was in him, and he uttered his dictation—to all that are afar off; and then he happened to think that they might count those that had been brought up in some other country, with different traditions, and he limited a little—and said to as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Although the mind of Peter was liable to be too contracted he knew one thing, viz.—that the Lord their God was in the habit of communicating with the people, and he understood that he always would be, for he knew that God lived, and he also knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was alive for he had seen and talked with him, and had handled him, and he had seen him ascend up on high; and he had heard him testify that he had all power given him in heaven and in earth, and he knew that he would have power to send the Gospel to every creature for he had the keys to send the Gospel wherever he pleased, to all tribes, nations, and languages in worlds without end, therefore when he made the promise he only limited it, or gave it a certain jurisdiction, recollecting where it belonged.

The promise he gave of the Holy Ghost was to all that are afar off, to those whom the Lord our God shall call. To express it in language more appropriate than any other, perhaps, the promise of the Holy Ghost is to wherever the Lord sends forth a revelation, wherever he makes proclamation of the Gospel, wherever he commissions men and sends forth the keys of the kingdom of God, and authorizes men to administer those ordinances in his name; it matters not whether in Judea or America, or whether it be in Samaria or England, whether to the heathen, the Jew, or the refined philosopher, it matters not whether we apply it to ancient days or modern times, wherever the Almighty God or Jesus Christ, his son, sees fit to reveal the fulness of the Gospel, and the keys of the eternal Priesthood, and the ministration of angels, there the promise contained in the Gospel was to hold good, and the nation or people obeying that call should receive remission of sins in his name, in obedience to his Gospel, and be filled with the Holy Spirit of promise—the Holy Ghost which is the gift of prophecy and revelation, and also included many other gifts.

Is that Gospel any less true because it was revealed to Mormon, and was preached by him? Is that truth any less true because it has been hid up in the earth, inscribed upon plates, and has come forth and been translated in this age of the world? Was not that Gospel as good when preached to the Nephites in America, as it was when preached to the Jews in Palestine?

And if as good why not write it? And if good enough to be preached and written, why not have those writings and read them, and rejoice in the spirit and truths they contain?

Rejoice, because it swells the heart, expands the mind, gives a more enlarged view of God’s dealings and mercies, shows them to be extended to all extent, published in different countries and upon different conti nents, revealed to one nation as well as another; in short, it gives a man that feeling when he contemplates the bearing and extent of that Gospel, it gives a man a feeling which affords joy and satisfaction to the soul, it gives a man that feeling which angels had when they sung in the ears of the shepherds of Judea—“We bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be in a few countries, and to a few people?” No; that was not the song, though they were singing to those who had a few traditions in their families, which they had received from their forefathers.

The shepherds were astonished, and well they might be, and they brought everybody to this text throughout the whole of Judea. Still those angels were honest enough to sing the whole truth, notwithstanding the Jews looked upon all Gentiles as dogs, and I think I hear the shepherds saying, “that brought glad tidings to everybody—to these dogs?” Still the angels, a choir of them, were bold enough to sing—“We bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!

What a big saying for Jewish shepherds! Why, they must have enlarged their hearts, and wondered at this very strange news. Why Peter had hardly got his heart sufficiently enlarged to believe these glad tidings many years after they were proclaimed, although he had preached so much.

It swelled by degrees, and contracted again I suppose, and at last he had to have a vision, and a sheet let down from heaven, and things shown him, and explained to him over and over again, to get him to realize the truth of the glad tidings sung by angels at the birth of the Savior.

It was showing so much; it was too broad a platform, such a boundless ocean of mercy! It was making such a provision for the human family that Peter could not comprehend it. If the angels had said it was for the Jews, for the peculiar people of God, those that could receive the new revelation, why then it might have done; but to throw off their traditions, they who were the peculiar few, as they considered themselves, to believe that the glad tidings of the Savior’s birth was for those Gentile dogs, they could not endure this for a moment. They were of the house of Israel, the seed of promise.

This was indeed a peculiar vision, bringing the glad tidings of the Savior’s birth, for that was the peculiar mission of those angels, hence they did not bring the Gospel, they did not say anything about baptism, nor repentance, nor remission of sins, but they simply brought glad tidings of it, they announced the fact that a Savior was born at such a date and place, told the birthplace and events of a Savior being born at Bethlehem, under the circumstances named at that time, and declared that this news, this glad tidings should go to all people.

What was the result? Why it went through Judea, it was sounded through Samaria, it went to Rome and to Greece, it went to Ethiopia, it went to the utmost parts of the earth; it soon bounded over the sea; the angels of God that sung that song could never contradict their words. If, then, they had to carry it over the seas to every country and continent where the seed of promise was, they were bound to fulfil that Mission, and they swiftly flew to America, and proclaimed the glad tidings there.

They found the people there shut out by a cloud of darkness, from the light of truth. They found a people there called the Nephites and Lamanites who were a branch of the house of Israel that were cast off, or rather brought over the great waters from their country, and they bore the glad tidings to them (you have read it in the Book of Nephi), and they informed them that at such a time and place, the Savior was born.

By-and-by the Savior himself came over here and told it to the people, but this was after his resurrection, for the work was too much, and the field too large for his mortal life, for he had but a few years to preach the Gospel to the Jews, and part of that short life of 33 years he was a child, a boy, and hence, he had to be limited to that country where he had a mortal body, and could be borne by the mountain waves that might separate one country from another; but after his resurrection, he was as independent of the waves and mountains as he was of those who crucified him; for then he could rise above their power; he was able to pass from planet to planet, with perfect ease; he was able to ascend up and go from continent to continent; he was as able to ascend to his God, and to our God, as he was to appear to his disciples.

I say Jesus could not be held in Palestine, the mountains, nor the rolling seas had not power to stay his progress, for he had told his disciples, while he was yet living, that he had other sheep which were not of that fold, and said he, “They shall hear my voice.”

In fulfillment of this, and according to the nature of his grand commission, the Savior of the whole world, not half of it, in his glorified body, showed himself to the Nephites in America, and bestowed upon them the Priesthood, with all its gifts and qualifications, that same glorious Gospel that he had just before given to his Prophets and Apostles at Jerusalem; and he told those whom he had selected to hold the Priesthood upon this continent to go forth and preach the same glad tidings of sal vation to all their world, fulfilling in part the words of Peter, “For the promise is to all that are afar off.”

And Jesus called to those Nephites, when he descended, and they fell at his feet, as many as could get near him, and they bathed his feet in their tears, and they examined his wounds, and heard the gracious words of his mouth, and they saw him ascending and descend again, and they felt so large in their charity and affections, and the light of truth was so large and extended in its benefits and benevolence, and the testimony so strong, that they feasted upon the blessings that were bestowed, and he then commanded them to write his sayings, and an account of the miracles he wrought among them.

They did as he commanded, and they liked the writings so well that they handed them down to each succeeding Prophet until Mormon, who was born three or four ages afterwards, and he could not hand those records down any further because of apostasy, and the blasphemy and wickedness of the people, and because of the wars and troubles that spread among the people; so he made a secret deposit of those writings, and put them in the earth, and he also wrote a book and called it the “Book of Mormon,” which was an abridgement of the other records, and this was hid up to the Lord, and through the interference of the Almighty, a young man, Joseph Smith, by the gift and power of God, I say, through that young man and the ministration of holy angels to him, that book came forth to the world, and it has since that time been preached and read in our language, and many others, and we rejoice in it, and have borne testimony of it in the world.

It is through that blessed Book of Mormon, with that blessed Gospel in it, that we have the testimony which we have in reference to the death and resurrection of the Savior of men.

It is true as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and as preached upon this continent, and it is true as written in the New Testament, and as it was preached to the Jews in Jerusalem, and as preached to the ten tribes, though we have not got their record yet, but we will have it, and we shall find that the blessed Jesus revealed to them the Gospel, and that they rejoiced in it.

And their record will come, so that we will know of a surety and of a truth, that they had the everlasting Gospel as well as their brethren in Jerusalem, and upon this continent.

When these things come to pass we will have three ancient records; delivered in three different countries. We have in the Old and New Testaments, and the Book of Mormon, and other good books all we at present require.

We shall eventually have the history of the ten tribes in the north, of the Nephites in America, and of the Jews in Jerusalem, and their written testimony will become one, and their words will become one, and the people of God will be gathered under testimony, into one body, and the testimony of the Latter-day Saints will become one with that of the former-day Saints (and it is now, so far as it goes), and the testimonies of those shall sweep the earth as with a flood, and by the voice of men and angels, and eventually by the great sound of a trumpet, and none shall escape.

Prior to this great destruction, the everlasting Gospel will be taught to them by the servants of God, by the testimony of men and angels, and by the testimony of Jesus Christ, and by the testimony of ancient and modern Prophets; by the testimony of Joseph Smith, and of the Apostles ordained by him, and by the testimony of ancient and modern Saints; by the testimony of the ten tribes; by the testimony of heaven and the testimony of earth; then shall the wicked be sent to their own place, and truth shall be established in the earth; and the voice of joy and gladness shall be heard with the meek of the earth.

Those that forsake their sins shall have abundant cause to rejoice with those that love the truth, and are made pure in heart by it.

Joy and gladness shall be heard, and there shall be glad tidings to all the meek, and to all the pure in heart; to all that love instruction, to all that will not harden their hearts; to all the sinners that will be obedient and refrain from their sins, and live a holy life.

The cry will no longer go forth, “they will not repent and be converted, that I may heal them;” for the Lord God, the blessed Savior, who is full of virtue, power and love, and healing, with his Priesthood will bless them, and they will find comfort for he will heal them.

From the fact that Jesus complains of a people that will not be converted, lest he might heal them, we would conclude from that conversion, that was a condition of the healing power. Why, says he, they will not turn from their sins and be converted, that I may heal them. But when they are converted and grown up into one, the day of his power comes, and then says he, they are converted, and I will heal them.

Don’t you see that he came to the Nephites (you have read it in the Book of Mormon), and he said, bring forth your halt, and blind, and dumb, and I will heal them, for I see your faith is sufficient and I will heal them all; and he healed them every one as they were brought to him. That day of general healing came to them, for the more wicked part of the inhabitants had been cut off, and I would to God that that day would come among us.

Well, let us be converted, and those that have been converted and have held on to it, be converted a little more, for I tell you I like conversion pretty often. I don’t mean that I like people to turn round from the truth, and then repent, and say, I am sorry; but I mean that a man needs converting today, and the next day, and the day after, because a man that is progressing learns by degrees; today he gets to understand that a certain principle or practice of his is wrong, and learns his error, he turns from it; but even then he does not understand all things pertaining to right and wrong. He has not learned all things that might stand in the way of building up the kingdom of God, and hence he wants or needs to be converted today, and the next day, and the next, and so on until he is converted from all his bad habits, and from his impurities, and he becomes just such a man as the Lord delights in.

And Jesus said, “Be ye as I am, and I am as the Father.” He contrasts himself and them with the Father, and then says, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” “Verily I say unto you, such as I am, and I am as the Father is.”

It is for this purpose that we came into the world, that we might become like the Father; and that we may become like him, we need converting every day, or at least until we are free from all evil, even if it be five hundred times; not to turn away from the truth, but keep going on to perfection.

We need converting until we feel that indeed the promise of the Holy Ghost is “to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The Lord calls the Jews, the Christians, the Mormons, the Gentiles; he calls the ten tribes; and he called us also; God has called brother Joseph, brother Hyrum, and brother Brigham, and his Apostles, and the Elders who hold the Priesthood in this age, and he calls the people of America and of Europe, and the whole human family. Some he calls by his angels, and by his own voice out of the heavens. In this way he called Joseph and his associates, and revealed to them the fulness of the Gospel, put upon him the powers of the eternal Priesthood after the same order as himself, and told them to go forth and call others to assist them.

They did so, and others obeyed the Gospel; they laid their hands upon them, after they had baptized them, and confirmed them; and they ordained them to bear testimony of their calling, and the restoration of the Gospel in its fulness—that a new call had been made to the nations of the earth.

And it required another call in our day, for Peter had gone the way of all the earth, and also his brethren who were his contemporaries; and the brethren among the Nephites had gone, or had been taken away; and those holding the authority among the ten tribes had gone the way of all the earth.

And it was this that brought those glad tidings and those messengers to us; and those were the ones that brought the light of heaven to our beloved brother Joseph Smith.

Well, if I have been made a high witness of these things, what brought the truth to me? It was through the ministration of angels, under whose hands these my brethren have been ordained to the holy Priesthood, and it brought down with it the blessings of the everlasting Gospel, for it could not be in the world without a call; for those who previously held it had gone to another sphere.

The Gospel was revealed to ancient men in different climes and countries, whenever there were men to be saved, and it was revealed to modern men because there were modern men to be saved by it. The Gospel was to all whom the Lord our God should call in every age and country, and but for this call we would have been as blind as bats in the traditions of our fathers, led away by divers creeds and by the cunning of men who lie in wait to deceive. Where would we have been if it had not been for this call? We might have been good men enough perhaps, but where would we have been?

The introduction of the Gospel was worthy of an angel, yes, the errand was worthy of a corps of them; it was worthy of a host of them! It was worthy of a God! It was an object of importance that called Jesus from the bosom of his Father in the eternal world. A call was necessary then; faith was necessary, and faith comes by hearing the word of God; and how could you have heard it, if nobody had been called to deliver it? We were in the midst of darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. We could see revelations given in other ages, but we want them in our age; but we wanted a call.

I am aware that some will be thinking of their grandmothers or grandfathers who died in the middle ages, and who died in hope, as far as they could get at it. I know they will be querying all the while to know what has become of them.

Well, it is no matter; it is for us to attend to our own business, and see to our own salvation; if we do this we shall have no condemnation. We do not know but as we progress in righteousness, that in the provisions made by our great Father we may have to serve them, and to do for those good old fathers and mothers of ours, who did see the light afar off, but could not come at it for want of a call, for want of a Priesthood, which is without beginning of days, and men holding the authority of Heaven; yes, we may have to do for them what they have not had the privilege of doing for themselves.

Well, what is the provision? Why did I not just name to you, that this eternal Priesthood is without beginning of days or end of life, after the order of the Son of God? Do you suppose that when a man passes beyond the veil, he is any less a Priest? If angels, or men by the spirit of prophecy, have laid their hands upon him and ordained him to an office in the Priesthood of the Son of God, and have given him a call in the name of the Lord to give salvation to others, do you suppose that by passing the veil he becomes unordained?

What did Jesus say to the Jews? Says he, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the God you profess to worship; but says he, I want you to understand that he is not the God of the dead, for what glory would there be in that? But, says he, “He is the God of the living.” He was speaking to the children of Abraham who were dead, as much as to say that Abraham was living then.

Well, then, when a man holding the eternal Priesthood passes the veil, he still holds his authority, and his heart is full of affection and love towards God’s creatures, and he is clothed with the power of God, and he is his Prophet, Apostle, and Elder. It is impossible to keep a man silent who is filled with the testimony of Jesus. I would as soon undertake to shut up fire in dry shavings, as to shut up in that man’s heart the good news, for he has his Mission, which is to preach the Gospel to those that were and are in darkness.

The good old fathers and mothers who had not the privileges and blessings of the Gospel, for instance, go to deliver your message to them, that they may come to the light of truth, and be saved.

The Apostle, when addressing the Saints, says, “But ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”—Romans vi, 17 and 18.

There was the freedom of obedience to that form of doctrine delivered to them. Obedience to that form of doctrine made them free, but it did not prevent them from acting as men in a temporal point of view.

The Apostle also speaks of passing from death unto life, because they loved the brethren. Passing the veil does not alter a man; it certainly takes him from the eyes of flesh, but the capacity, the intelligence, the thinking powers, are all alive and quick; and if they hear the Gospel, they will be glad, and the promises are made to them, and they will rejoice in them.

Let a man pass the veil with the everlasting Priesthood, having magnified it to the day of his death, and you cannot get it off him; it will remain with him in the world of spirits; and when he wakes up in that world among the spirits, he has that power and that obligation on him, that if he can find a person worthy of salvation, why, as soon as he ascertains that, and he remembers what he may teach and who he may teach, he then discovers that he has got a Mission, and that Mission is to those souls who had not the privilege which we have in this world, that they may be partakers of the Gospel as well as we.

And herein, when fully carried out, are the keys of the “baptism for the dead,” and the salvation of those not on the earth, a subject into which I need not now enter, although it is among the first principles of salvation but they are so lengthy that we cannot dwell upon them all at one time.

But suffice it to say, that when the Lord made provision that there should be one name by which man should be saved; and when he planned glad tidings of great joy to go over the islands and continents, and to the four quarters of the earth, he also remembered the spirits in prison, and he made provision wide as eternity, that it might reach the case of “every creature,” under every circumstance that could arise within the reach of mercy.

He so ordered it, that “all manner of sins and blasphemies, in due time, might be forgiven, except that which could not be justly forgiven, in this world, nor in that which is to come.”

The plan was so devised that every man might have repentance and remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost in his time and in his place, if he would; but if he would not, very well then, he might do as he pleased, whether in this world or any other, according to the clear freedom that he lives under.

You know you cannot compel one of the dumb animals to drink; you can lead him to the water, direct his attention to the clear, crystal, pure stream, but still he may die of thirst. And men may die because they will not leave off their sins, and lay hold of the cross; and if they will die of thirst, and will not lay hold of the salvation offered by a bleeding Savior, they may die the death of the wicked.

And if, because they will not give up their freedom to do right, they can go; they will die to all eternity, and never be compelled to obey the truth.

Well, friends, here is the Gospel; and where is the man’s heart so hard that he will not see and embrace it? A man must be hardened in wicked ness, that will not abide the law of the Gospel. And that portion of you who have not obeyed, my invitation is to you all; and all of you in the Church who have not obeyed the Gospel in its fulness, see that you obey it in its fulness; I mean to every day attend to the repentance part of it—the leaving off part, forsaking your evils—the conversion part, and bring forth fruits suited to a new life.

I will have to be judged for my preaching, and you for your hearing. I shall be pretty careful for myself; I can do that I think. I shall look into things, prepare my mind to discern between the right and the wrong, otherwise I might neglect; and it will keep a man pretty busy to repent and bring forth fruits for a new life. There will be a good deal of watching and praying, and he will have to be pretty careful to live so as to get the Holy Spirit, so that it will not leave him, and he will be without it, like a fish out of water, or like a person in hot weather destitute of pure air. If he once loses the Spirit, after having received it, it will keep him pretty busy to get it again.

That repentance, and that burial in the name of the risen Jesus, wants a good deal of humility and perseverance, for there is the old man with his deeds to put off, and lay aside, and to walk a new life.

It does not only mean something, but it is shown forth in the actions of the man. Well won’t that keep a man pretty busy? I think it will in such a world as this. Well in this sense of the word the Saints are called upon to obey the Gospel and repent all the while, but we talk of dying unto sin and of walking in newness of life. The dying unto sin and rising in the new life, and the baptism were to be for a moment, but the stream that flows from obedience is perpetual.

Well, those out of the Church are certainly called upon to obey the Gospel; and when people are careless and indifferent respecting their duties, then it is that wicked people rise up amongst us, and we are then called upon to repent and obey the Gospel. I will clear my garments as far as one day will do it before I sit down. The little children are called upon to obey the Gospel, such as are capable of being taught, and they ought to be taught by their parents, so that they may understand it by the time they are eight years of age. Then they are called upon to repent, to understand and bring forth the fruits meet for the kingdom of God, and be buried in the likeness of death as Jesus was, and then leave off all their foolish and sinful ways, and rise out of their watery grave, understanding that Jesus rose again from the dead, from his grave, and knowing this they should then take up their cross. This is a figure to show us that then commences a new life.

Now you folks that have been brought up in the Gospel, in the light of heaven, but have been careless or wicked, rise up and obey the Gospel, and don’t you be baptized without you repent, for all you hear of the Gospel and attend to, unless you are as humble as a little child it won’t do you any good; and remember that it is through the name, and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ that you can have remission of sins through the ordinance of baptism which represents the burial. And those people that have not been brought up within this call and influence, I say come and obey it and do not call yourselves outsiders and aliens, but fellow heirs to the promises made to Abraham, and which were established by him and given to him for an everlasting covenant.

You may suppose that it was a part of the law given to Moses, and therefore done away in Christ. Let me tell you that the everlasting covenant made with Abraham and mentioned in the Scriptures, was made four hundred and fifty years before the law was thundered from Mount Sinai. Separate and apart from the Gospel the law was given to Moses, but not to disannul that covenant, and when the Lord Jesus Christ came he never disannulled it, but commanded his Apostles to preach it. It is much older than the law for it applied before Moses was born and also afterwards, and all we have to do is to come into it and be faithful as Abraham was faithful, and then we shall become sons, and if sons, the sons of Abraham, and if daughters, the daughters of Sarah, because we have embraced the same Gospel and principles. And then, when we get into heaven with Rachel and Leah they will not be ashamed of us, and what is more, we will not be ashamed of them. Then we shall be hail fellows well met, and we shall sit down in the kingdom of God, and go no more out forever. “And many will come from the east and from the west, and will sit down in the kingdom of God.” And unless we are faithful we shall be shut out. Therefore I wish you to understand that the promises that are special will not apply to us, and where they go we cannot come except by adoption.

May the Lord bless you. Amen.

I like preaching the Gospel this morning. Before I came here, I thought what shall I say if they call on me to speak today, and the thought came into my mind, I will preach the Gospel, and the moment I came brother Kimball said, brother Parley, come preach the Gospel to us. I replied, that is just what I was thinking of.




Education

An Address by Parley P. Pratt, Delivered at the Fourteenth Ward Schoolhouse on Monday, December 26, 1853.

My friends—As we are assembled on this occasion, I desire to speak upon the subject of education. I consider that we never lived in a more important time than we do now. The Lord has something for every member of his Church and kingdom to perform, for he has a great work to do. I consider that every faculty we possess should be called into action; and this work is so important, that no time should be lost. Hence we see the necessity of schools, that we and our children may be prepared to perform all that the Lord requires of us. What kind of a qualification is necessary for us to perform this work? The first thing necessary is for us to obtain the good Spirit of the Lord, and then keep it. Without this we cannot do much good. If the Lord wants a railroad built, or any great manual labor performed, which the Saints are not yet able to do, he inspires the nations of the earth to perform the work, as they have the means to do it with, notwithstanding the nations know not God, neither do they serve him. We are not prepared to do the work of God acceptably, unless we keep his commandments. In order to enjoy his Spirit, we must pursue a course of life that will meet his approbation—we must do the things that God requires of us. The people may be looking for some mysteries from me today; but the older I grow, I feel to be the more simple. What are the means ordained of God for the benefit of our children as well as ourselves? I do not now refer to the obeying of the ordinances of the Gospel alone, for that we all know to be necessary for both ourselves and children. But what were those means laid down in 1830? We are informed in the commandments and law of the Church given unto us, that, “It is the Teacher’s duty to see that the Church meets together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.” Do this people do this? No. Our children are or should be all members of the Church, for they should be baptized at eight years of age; but do they meet together often to pray and speak one to another, or even all the parents of children? They do not. Then they do not do their duty. All officers in the Church are Teachers, except the Deacons, and they are Assistant Teachers. Who should be exempt from meeting together often, if any exceptions should be made? It should be the mother with her nursing infant, who cannot go. All others should meet together often; and when they come together, the Teacher that presides should see that each one takes a part in their turn and do their duty. Can the Teacher find any member, either parents or children, that don’t pray. If so, he can find those that do not do their duty; for when you were baptized you covenanted to keep the commandments of God, and he has commanded us to pray. Yes, each member should take a part. Which of you can find a teacher in our schools that would spend all his time in hearing one or two children say their lessons and all the rest remain idle? You would turn such a teacher out of doors. The Lord is not less wise than man. He has so arranged the school for his children that each one is required to do his duty. As all officers are Teachers, it should be the duty of someone—the Bishop, or someone under his direction, to see that the children and young people, as well as all the others in each Ward, are collected together, and that they be taught to pray and to speak, and be instructed in all things that are necessary; for we and our children should learn and understand, and improve upon every branch of science, knowledge, and duty that is necessary for us, as well as to confine ourselves to any one of those branches. Moroni said it was necessary for the people to meet together often to pray, speak, and teach. When I go abroad, and the people ask me why some of our young people do not do any better, and are so wild, I do not know any better answer than that we do not do our duty to them. The question arises, What is the matter with our children? They are full of vigor and spirit, and they want some way to let it out. But if the Latter-day Saints will do their duty, and gather their children together and train their minds in that channel in which they have soon got to walk, in following the footsteps of their parents in bearing off the kingdom of God, we shall hear no more complaint about them. Is this a mystery—a new thing? No. It is according to the revelations and commandments of God, and it should be taught and practiced in every Ward in this city and in every Branch of the Church wherever it exists, lest we come under condemnation. The people of Zion once were told that they were under condemnation, and would remain under it until they remembered to do the things that were taught them. If we met together often and did our duty, what time should we have to be idle? None at all. If all men, women, and children met together to pray and teach, they would feel that they must live consistent with their profession, and they would in a great measure cease to do evil. Then how long would it be before the Spirit of God would rest upon our children? And how long would it be said that, “I am sorry that we have got to fort up, because the children of my neighbors are so bad that they will spoil mine?” Not long; but it would be said, “I am glad that we can be together—that we can have such good schools and prayer meetings; and the children have such a good spirit, that it encourages mine to good works.” We have to be called to this, for we have to be tried in all things; for if we were not, we should not differ from the Gentiles, who will neither borrow nor lend. The Gentile priests have not been tried in the canyons and many other places, as our Elders have; but we have been tried in a manner that it has taught us to help each other and teach each other. When our children meet to sing, pray, and speak, some may not want to do it. They may say it is too great a trial for them; yet they can do it. With a little practice, that feeling will pass away. Let the names of all in the Ward be taken and given to the Teacher, whether it be the Bishop or anyone that takes the lead of the school or meeting, and let him call upon each one in their turn to pray or speak. Should any young man say, “I wish to be excused, for I got drunk the other day, and would not like to speak,” you then are the very one that ought to pray, and repent, and do better. But what shall I say? Say that you got drunk, and ask the school to forgive you, and that you mean to do better (if you do intend to). This would be a good speech, if you could say nothing more. But if you don’t intend to do better, tell them so; say you intend to get drunk every chance you can get, and do all the mischief you can: then the Teacher will know what to do with you—cut you off from the Church, and have no more trouble with you. Let the child say, “I have been thinking of this work, and mean to keep the commandments of God,” or something of this kind, if he can say it in truth; but speak the truth at all times. You could say something, and you would increase in confidence. Someone may think, “If I should speak or pray, I should spoil the English language.” No matter. In your prayers you do not need to say a great many things to make a speech; but begin by saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven;” then ask for those things that you want and have faith to obtain, and not ask for a thousand things that you don’t expect to get. And how many things can we think of that we should thank the Lord for! No matter how broken your speech, you can ask for what you want of men. But the child does not often ask the parent for anything worth a hundred dollars, for they would not expect to get it; but they would ask for bread when they were hungry, in confidence, and get it. I would ask the Lord for things according to my wants and faith, as Elijah did when he asked for rain, when there had not been any for three years and six months. What would you think to hear brother Pratt pray, and saying, “O Lord, give me some bread today!” This I have had to do all my life. I ask God daily for those things which I want. Now, do not mock God by asking him for those things you do not expect to get.

When the children come to meeting, and anyone should stand out, and would not speak or pray, they will soon come to it, for they would not like to be out of fashion, and we should make praying, speaking, and righteousness fashionable. Then it would not be a trial to do our duty; then all could be taught, and our follies and errors be corrected. The Teachers should be very particular that all the members speak, pray, and do their duty. What, if we should neglect this branch of the kingdom, and our children should be called to make their first speech, and that should be before Congress or before any body of men where it required confidence, care, and wisdom to present their views in a clear, distinct, and understanding manner. I would not be in that situation for a thousand dollars. But let our children commence speaking together, and learn while they are children. And their minds should be stored with good things in the days of their youth; for what good would it do this people to live till the coming of Christ, if they were not doing the work of God and preparing themselves for it, but spending their time in amusement?

All of us may not be called to go on missions, but all should live in such a manner that they may be useful in the kingdom of God. Every woman should help her husband to fulfil his mission. If I am an Apostle, what then? Is my wife an Apostle? She may be engaged in helping in the apostleship. And every sister that desires it can find an opportunity of doing good in the kingdom of God.

How many of you in former days have spoken with delight of the work that was promised you should perform, in your patriarchal blessings—that you should teach and instruct the Lamanites, not only in the Gospel, but in domestic labors. This mission is now about to open before you. I hope all will be ready to fulfil it; and if all set a good example before them, it will do much good; but if some set a bad example before them, it will do great evil, and they will say, “Mormon like Indian; good Mormon and bad Mormon, good Indian and bad Indian.”

I have not said anything about our letters. The Regency are getting out a new alphabet; and when we learn our letters ourselves, we will teach others. We should improve all our time to a good advantage. We have no time to spend in reading novels or false things. Read the best books—the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and those things that contain truth. Do you think the people read those books enough? No. Now, do not neglect those things. We want the knowledge those books contain—the prophecies and doctrines, &c.

Is there one thing that we can neglect and do our duty? No; for while we neglect those things, can we pray for more in faith? No. Can we do our duty as parents, by reading novels or permitting our children to do it; and neglect history, prophecy, and the revelations of God, which contain his commandments unto us, and those principles whereby we become exalted and saved in his presence and be purified? We cannot. May God bless you! Amen.




Mormonism.”

A Discourse by Parley P. Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 10, 1853.

I hope the congregation will lend us their undivided attention, and exercise their faith and prayers for those that speak, that the truth may be drawn out to the edification of all.

I always feel diffident to address the assemblies of the people of God, at the seat of the government of the Church, knowing that there are many that can edify and enlighten our minds better than I can. I always feel that I would sooner hear than speak. But nevertheless, I feel it my duty to impart my testimony, and exercise my gift among my brethren, according to my calling; I therefore shall address you for a while this morning.

There may be many strangers assembled with us as at this season of the year; many are passing through this city from different parts of the world. The members of the Church need not complain, if I should address myself to the people as if they were all strangers, on the principles that are sometimes designated “Mormonism;” and confine myself to some of the plain, simple, introductory principles of that system. It will refresh the minds of those acquainted with them, and perhaps edify them, and at the same time edify others.

Suppose I were to ask a question this morning, as a stranger, “What is Mormonism?” I suppose it is known to most men at all conversant with principles classed under that name, that it is a nickname, or a name applied by the public, and not used officially by the Church so called. Mormon was a man, a Prophet, an author, a compiler, and a writer of a book. Mormon was a teacher of righteousness, holding certain doctrines. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are agreed with Mormon, as well as with many other ancient writers, and hold to the same principles; therefore their neighbors have seen fit to call those principles they hold, “Mormonism.” They might as well have called them, Abrahamism, Enochism, or Isaiahism; because the ancient Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles, held to the same truths in general terms, only differing in circumstances, in distant countries and ages of the world, and acted upon the same general principles, according to the particular circumstances that surrounded them. But the world, out of all the ancients, have selected one called Mormon, and all the principles held by all good, inspired men of all ages and countries they have seen fit to sum up, and call “Mormonism.” Well, it is as well as anything else, for aught I know; the name does not affect the principles.

The word of God, as written in the good old Book, designates the people of God by the name of Saints; which name is almost or quite as ancient, as any writings extant. Saint was spoken of by Enoch long before the flood. The same term was applied to the people of God by the Prophets, the Psalmist, and by the writers of the New Testament.

Not only was this term applied to Saints in ancient days, but the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles applied it prophetically, speaking of the people of God in the latter days, when the kingdom should be given to the people of God, and the principles of God should bear rule over all the earth. Daniel and the other Prophets, in speaking of this subject, always call them the Saints of the Most High. They do not call them “Mormonites,” Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Jews, Pagans, or Muhammadans, nor yet Catholics; but the language of the Apostles and Prophets is, that the Saints of the Most High shall prevail—prevail over the world, establish a true order of government, and, in short, rule the lower world, and that all the nations shall bow to him who is at their head, and to the principles held by them.

Why not this be continued and sustained, O ye people of Christendom, and, letting these party names go by the board, and be classed among the things that were in the darker ages, come to the proper and correct Scripture language, and when we speak of the people of God, call them Saints of the Most High?

Well, then, such is the name that the Church which I represent, do their business in. As such, they are known on their own records, and on the records of heaven, inasmuch as they are recognized there. But we know what the world mean when they say “Mormonism,” and “Mormon.” What are the principles called “Mormonism?” You may ask those who profess to be instructors of the people abroad in the States, and elsewhere—and very few of them will give you one correct idea in regard to the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. Indeed they have not informed themselves, but remain in ignorance on the subject; and when they would show others, of course they cannot inform them correctly on that subject. But you will generally be informed, that “Mormonism” is a new religion, that it is something new under the sun, and of course is an innovation—a kind of trespass on Christianity, on the Bible, or on the good old way. “O,” say some of the editors that ought to be the most enlightened, and that profess to be, “if Mormonism prevails, Christianity will come down.”

Now suppose that we examine, principle by principle, some of the fundamental principles of “Mormonism,” and see whether there is one item that is new, or that is in any way an innovation on Christianity.

What is the first start towards an introduction of these principles in this age, and the organization of a people? What is it that first disturbed the world, or any part of it, or called the attention of the people towards it, giving rise to the system now called “Mormonism?” It was the ministration of angels to certain individuals; or in other words, certain individuals in this age enjoyed open visions.

Now we will stop, right at this point; it is called “Mormonism.” Let us dwell on it. Is that a new principle? Is it adding something to Christianity, or taking something from it? Do not let our modern notions weigh anything, but come right to the fact of the matter. If Peter the Apostle were here today, and a person were to relate to him a vision wherein an angel appeared to him and said something to him, would Peter call together the rest of the Apostles, and sit in council on that man’s head for error? Would they say to that man, “Sir, you have introduced something here in your experience that is derogatory to Christianity, and contrary to the system of religion we have taught, and introduced into the world?” I need not answer this question, neither need I bring Scripture to show what were the teachings and experience of Peter and the rest of the Apostles on this subject. The Bible is too common a book, too widely circulated in the world, and the people of the United States, especially, are too well read in its contents to suppose, for a moment, that Peter or the rest of the Apostles would condemn a man because he believed in the ministration of angels, because he related an experience wherein he had had a vision of an angel.

Now that was the principle that disturbed this generation, in the commencement of the introduction of that which is now called “Mormonism”—a principle as common in the ancient Church as the doctrine of repentance. I will say more—it is a principle that has been common in all dispensations; it is a principle which was had before the flood, and fully enjoyed by the ancient Saints, or at least held to by them; a principle that was common among them; not that every man attained to it.

But where can we read, under the government of the Patriarchs, before the flood or after it; before Moses or after him; before Christ or after Christ—where can we read in sacred history of a people of God by whom the doctrine of visions and ministering of angels would be discarded, or be considered erroneous? It was common to all dispensations, it was enjoyed by the Patriarchs and Prophets under the law of Moses, before it and after it, and by the people of God among the Ten Tribes, and among the Jews. We will carry it still further. It was enjoyed among the Gentiles, before there was a people of God fully organized among them in the days of Christ. Cornelius had the ministering of angels before he became a member of the Christian Church, or understood there was a crucified and risen Redeemer. He prayed to the living God, and gave alms of such things as he had. He was a good man, and an angel came to him and told him his prayers were heard, and his alms had come up as a memorial before God.

It is astonishing then, to me, that the modern Christian world consider this a new doctrine, an innovation—a trespass on Christianity. No! It is as old as the world, and as common among the true people of God, as His every day dealings with man. We will leave that point, and say, it is the Christian world, and not the Latter-day Saints, that have a new doctrine, provided they discard that principle.

What next? Why, that man, by vision, the ministering of angels, and by revelation, should be called with a high and holy calling—commissioned with a holy mission to preach, and teach, and warn, and prophesy, and call men to repentance. That was one of the first principles introductory to what is now called “Mormonism” in this age.

Is there anything new about that, anything strange, anything that differs from the Patriarchal ages, from the Jewish economy, the Mosaic dispensation, or from the dispensation called Christian? Similar things happened before Moses, in his day, and after his day; and among the Prophets, and in different ages. Were not such things common in the days of Jesus Christ, and after that in the days of the Apostles? Was not John the Baptist thus commissioned? Was not Jesus thus commissioned. And were not His Apostles, Elders, and Seventies? After his resurrection, and ascension into heaven, were not others called, and ordained under the hands of those who were thus commissioned, and called sometimes by visions and revelations directing them to those who were thus commissioned in order to be ordained? That was no new doctrine, no innovation on Christianity, no perversion of the Scriptural system, nor was it anything new, unless you call the old principle new.

Well, then, that the man thus commissioned should call upon others to turn from their sins; and that an individual, a government, a house, a city, a nation, or a world of people should perish unless they did turn from their sins—is that anything new? No. Everyone conversant with the Bible will say, that such things took place frequently under all the different dispensations. The heathen were warned in this way. Individuals, households, cities, nations, and the world have to be warned in this way, and especially under the Christian dispensation. So there was a special commission given to the servants of God, to go to all the world, and call upon everybody to repent, or whole nations should become disfranchised, scattered, and millions be destroyed, as for instance the Jews at Jerusalem, because they would not hearken to it. It is nothing new, to cry to all men to repent, and warn different cities and nations of wars coming upon them, or that they will be damned if they do not repent. This is one of the early principles called “Mormonism.” Is there anything new in this? Is there anything strange or unscriptural? No; no sensible professing Christian will maintain such a point for a moment.

Suppose that some people should hearken, when the ministering of angels takes place. Among many men one certain man is commissioned by revelation to preach the Gospel, and cry repentance. Suppose that some persons hearken and repent, and he should take them and walk down to the water, and bury them in the water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and raise them again out of the water, to represent the death and burial of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the dead; and to represent the faith of the individual thus ministered to, that he does believe in Jesus Christ, that he died, and that he did rise from the dead, and that he, the individual, does put his trust and confidence in him for the remission of sins and eternal life—is that anything new? Would that be new to Peter? Suppose some person was to relate before Peter and Paul today, and the Christians with them, that lived when they lived—suppose they were all present, and this person told them that a man came along preaching repentance, and he called upon us to believe in Jesus Christ, and we did so, believing their testimony, and they took us and buried us in water, and raised us again out of the water unto newness of life—would Peter or John blame him? Would Paul say, “It is something new?” Or would he say, “Brother, thousands of us received the very same thing in ancient days?”

The Catholic Church profess to be the true Church—the ground and pillar of the truth, handed down by regular succession from the ancient Church, of which they are still members; and their priesthood and apostles are now of the very same Church which the New Testament calls the true Church at Rome. These Roman Catholics of modern times profess to be members of the very same Church that Paul wrote that epistle to. If they are, I will show you to demonstration, if the Scriptures be true, that this doctrine called “Mormonism” is not a new doctrine. Paul, writing to that Church, of which they profess to be members, says, Know ye not, brethren, ye Romans, that as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death, being buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ rose from the dead, even so ye may walk in newness of life? Now this epistle containing this doctrine was written by Paul to the Church at Rome, and which these modern people called Roman Catholics profess to be members of. If they are what they profess to be, every one of them have been buried with Christ in baptism, and have risen again to newness of life. We will, however, leave them to describe whether that is really the case, or whether they are contented to sprinkle a few drops of water on an infant’s face and call that a burial! Paul said that was a principle of the true Church of Rome that had been buried with Christ by baptism into death, and had risen to newness of life. Have these modern Roman Catholics gone forward repenting of their sins, and been buried in water, in the likeness of the death of Jesus Christ according to this pattern? If they have not, they are a spurious Church of Rome, and not real. Therefore, if they be the real Church of Rome, it will be no new thing to them when the Latter-day Saints inform them upon being buried with Christ in the likeness of his death, &c. If this is a new doctrine to them, they had better be looking about them to see if they have not got up a counterfeit Church of Rome, for Paul knew of only one, and the members of it were all buried with Christ in baptism.

If 500 persons here were to say they came repenting of their sins, and went down and were buried in the waters of baptism, and had risen again to walk in newness of life, Paul would say, if he were here, “It is just what we used to do in ancient times; and I wrote to the Church of Rome, telling them that as many of them as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death, buried with him by baptism into death,” &c.

Now if this doctrine is new to the church of Rome, then that is that Church, that priesthood, and those members that have introduced something new, who are departing from the old Christian religion, and not the “Mormons.”

This reasoning applies just the same to the Church of England. They have just as good a right to have a Church in England as anywhere else—to have a national Church of England by law established, but if they are a true Church of God, all of them have been buried with Christ in baptism, &c., or the Apostle must have been mistaken, or there are two different kinds of Gospel.

Now if I were speaking to the state church of England, or the state churches of the Catholic world, I would tell them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to repent of their new doctrine, and come back to the old standard spoken of by the Apostle, when he says, “though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,” &c.

I need not go through with this same application upon the Lutherans, upon the Presbyterians, upon the Methodists, and others, for all these people sprinkle infants; for the principle once carried out will apply to the whole. If they are Christians according to the doctrine of the ancient Church, they hold the doctrine of the Apostles, they have repented of their sins, after believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and have been BURIED with Christ by baptism into death, &c. If not, they may judge themselves, for I will not judge them. If they have got a new doctrine, different from that believed by the Apostles, and the Latter-day Saints have got the old one, why not say, then, “If sectarianism prevails, Christianity, as held by the Mormons will be in danger,” instead of saying the opposite? Why not turn the thing right about? If we have no one new principle in our religion, why are we considered innovators, and opposed to Christianity? And why is Christianity in the world in danger if “Mormonism” prevails? It is because that floating Christianity, called so by the world, is a spurious one; they have departed from the doctrine of the Apostles. Then, I ask again, why say, “If Mormonism prevails Christianity is in danger?” For if it is a false Christianity, the quicker it falls the better.

We have examined three general principles, to see if there is anything new in “Mormonism.” First, the ministering of angels. Second, the commission of ministers, Apostles, Prophets, and Elders to administer in holy things, by revelation and the authority of heaven. Third, that all those that hear them, believe their words, and repent of their sins, shall go down into the waters of baptism, and be immersed or buried in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and thus show that they do believe in a crucified and risen Redeemer, and in the remission of sins through his name. So far, I think, we have fairly stated some of the first principles of what the world calls “Mormonism;” and everyone who has heard us, must decide that there is nothing new in these principles, but rather, that those who have departed from them, are justly chargeable with introducing new things, and innovations on Christianity.

Now suppose that one, two, or a dozen, or a hundred thousand, or even millions of individuals thus baptized, should all come together, in their several congregations, and should unite in earnest prayer, and a man commissioned in the ministry of Jesus Christ should rise and lay his hands on them, praying the Almighty God to give the Holy Spirit, and it be given as in days of old, and he confirms that promise upon them according to the pattern in the New Testament—would that be something new? Would it be an innovation upon Christianity? Would it be right to say “this is Mormonism, come to do away with Christianity?” Why, no! Every sensible man at all acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, would laugh at the idea. If the ancient Saints were here, they would tell you that it was their ancient manner; they would ask you if you had not read over their history, which describes how the Holy Spirit was administered in days of old. Every man who has read the Bible, knows it.

Well, then, the different sections of what is called Christianity, never do this, and call it something new. When the “Mormons” do it, they are at once charged with innovation; and yet we have not got anything new in that respect, but simply a restoration of that which was. They are the persons chargeable with new doctrine, and not the Latter-day Saints.

Well, then, suppose that after this ordinance, the Holy Spirit falls upon these congregations, or upon these individuals thus baptized and confirmed, and fills them, and enlightens their minds, and bears testimony to them of the truth which they have received, and confirms them in the faith of it, and fills them with the spirit of utterance and prayer, and with gifts whereby they prophesy, or speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and they recover, in the name of Jesus, or whereby they are filled with the spirit of any gift, renewed in their utterance, strengthened in their powers of intellect, so as to be able to speak with eloquence to the edification of others by the word of wisdom, knowledge, and prophecy; or peradventure some one, two, or three of them have a heavenly vision, and happen to relate it—is this something new? Are these things an innovation on Christianity?

Let the Apostles of the ancient Church come up now, and be judges, not these innovators. O yes, Saints of ancient days, are these things new to you? “NO,” they reply, “but just exactly what we used to have among us; and you who have read the New Testament know it is so.” If this, then, is “Mormonism,” it is nothing new, but simply that which should have been in the world in order to constitute true Christianity.

Now suppose, after all these have been established, the people organize on them; and that in the enjoyment and cultivation of them, this people unite in their efforts, both temporally and spiritually, to build up themselves as a people, and each other as individuals, in righteousness upon the earth; and the Spirit of the Lord God into which they were all baptized, should make them very great in union—in union of effort, in counsel, in operation, in fellowship, in temporal things in a great measure, and in spiritual things, by which they are all of one heart and mind to a great degree, and growing in it every day—is this something new, because it is “Mormonism?” Or is this the very doctrine which was inculcated in days of old by the Apostles of Jesus Christ?

It was the main object for which the Holy Spirit was given, that they might all grow up in union, in fellowship, in cooperation, in holiness in the Lord. No man who has read the New Testament, will say this is new, when we say that the great object of the Gospel is, that we may all become one in Christ Jesus—one in knowledge, and in the love and practice of the peaceable things of God. Is it anything new? No. Well, it is a part of what the world calls “Mormonism;” and I would to God it was more perfected among this people than it is.

If any one of these principles in practice, should prevail over the whole world, it would be nothing new; but the world only hold this last as a theory; as to the practice of it, they are strangers.

We have examined five or six general principles, called “Mormonism,” and found nothing new in them. “But,” says one, “I heard you had got a new Bible; that is certainly an innovation.” But stop; suppose, on inquiry, you become as much surprised and disappointed as many have who have asked for a “Mormon Bible,” and when we have presented them with one, behold, it is King James’ translation of the Scriptures, the standard we read, containing the covenants, predictions, and hopes of the ancients, and the doctrines of Jesus Christ, just as we believe them, and hope for their fulfilment. Is that anything new?

“Well, if you have not a new Bible, you have certainly got a new book.” Is that anything strange? Have not other societies got new books? The Church of England have not only the Scriptures, but the Book of Common Prayer, and the time was when they did not have such a book, therefore when they made that, it was something new. They are not alone in that however, for the Methodists have a new book called the “Methodist’s Discipline.” One hundred and twenty years ago there was no such thing in existence. If having a new book be an innovation, then all are guilty of it as well as the “Mormons.”

“But those other people do not profess that their books are inspired, and we have learned that you have a book that you believe is inspired. What is it, anyhow?” This is all a fact, and if it is wrong we will cheerfully plead guilty. We have got another book besides the Bible, that was an ancient book, and profess that it is inspired, and was written by Prophets, and men that enjoyed the ministering of angels, more or less of them, and had communion with the heavens, and the spirit of prophecy. And moreover, we profess that this ancient book was restored to the knowledge of the modern world by inspiration, and the ministering of angels. Is that something new? It may be new to the world in its history, and in its bearings; in that respect it may be new to them; but suppose, after all, it should contain no new doctrine, no new principle, no new prophecy, that is, differing from or doing away that which is already extant in the Bible? Well, then, I do not say that it would be a new doctrine. Men had books revealed in the days of old.

“If it is no new doctrine, and if its predictions do not differ from those contained in the old and new Testaments, what is the use of it?” The same question was investigated in ancient times. A great conqueror had taken possession of an ancient library, when there were no printing presses, containing one hundred thousand volumes, all in manuscript comprising more history than was in any library extant in the ancient world. The conqueror was a Mahommedan. He wrote to the head of the department to know what to do with this library. It was invaluable in its cost and intrinsic worth. “What shall I do with it?” The reply was, “If it agrees with the Koran, we have no use for it; and if it does not agree with the Koran, it is false anyhow; so in either case burn it.”

“Now if these Latter-day Saints have a book extant among them, and it agrees with the Bible, there is no kind of use for it,” says the opposer, “for the Bible contains all that is necessary; if it does not agree with the Bible, it is false anyhow; so in either case burn it.” This was a principle of Mahommedanism, and may be a principle of what is called modern Christianity. I hope not, however.

“What is the use of the book in question, anyhow?” Why, in the first place, it differs in its history from the Bible. The Bible is a history of things that took place in Asia, principally, and a little of what took place in Europe and Africa. The Book of Mormon is a history of things in another hemisphere: The one book is the ancient history of the Eastern Hemisphere, in part; and the other is a history of the Western Hemisphere, in part. Shall we say, because we have the history of one part of the world, that the history of the other part of the world is good for nothing? Could the rulers of nations realize that fact, and could they only have a copy in their libraries at the cost of $100,000, they would appropriate it for this history of the Western Hemisphere.

Discredit it as you will, we have it in genuineness and in truth, written by the ancient Prophets that lived upon this land, and revealed in modern times by the ministering of angels, and inspiration from the Almighty. It is in the world, and the world cannot get it out of the world. It is in the world in six or seven languages of Europe. It is as important in its history as the Bible, and it is just as interesting and as necessary for men to get an understanding of the ancient history of America, as it is for them to get an understanding of the history of Asia.

“But are the merits of history all that it is good for?” It is good in doctrine also. If two or more writers, one living in Asia, and the other in America, and contemporary, have the same doctrine revealed to them, and both bear record of the same plan of salvation, who is he that shall say that the record of one is of no worth?

Is it not a satisfaction to sit down and read, that a country far removed from Bible scenes, from that part of the stage on which figured the Patriarchs of old, with Moses and the Jewish Prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and the Apostles, was also the theater of revelation, prophecy, visions, angels, of the ministration of the doctrine of Christ, of the organization and government of his true Church; that there too were angels, that there too were Apostles, that there too was the word of God, that there too faith came by hearing, and salvation by faith! Shall we say that such things and such good news are worth nothing, when that very news corroborates the song of the heavenly hosts, when they declared to the shepherds of Judea, in joyful songs, that they brought glad tiding of great joy, that should be to all people! And here comes a book informing us that these glad tidings were also to another hemisphere at the same time.

Now, stop a moment, and let us reason. Suppose yourself an angel of God at that time, full of benevolence, full of joy, full of a soul-inspiring hope, full of charity for poor, ignorant, perishing mortals, and you felt so full of poetry, and song, and gladness, that you could scarcely hold your peace. Suppose you had a bird’s eye view of our little, dark, benighted world, by soaring above it, and in a moment you could light down upon any part of it. You come to Palestine, in Asia; that part of the globe is rolling under your feet; you visit it, and sing to the shepherds the glorious tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: “for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” The earth rolls on about half way round, you look down again with a bird’s eye view, and you discover the Western Hemisphere, and it is full of people: I wonder whether your soul would still swell with the same glad tidings—or would your charity trove become exhausted? Would you not fly and declare these glad tidings to them also, and sing them a song of joy, and tell them what day the Savior was born, that would reach their case as well as the case of those who dwelt upon the continent of Asia? “Yes,” you reply, “if I were an angel, and had liberty to tell these glad tidings, I would never tell them to one part of the earth and go to sleep there, while the other part rolled under my feet unnoticed.”

Were those angels commissioned and endowed to bear glad tidings to all people, that the Savior was born? I say that the choir of angels which sang that song, had full liberty, not only to tell the plan of salvation to chosen vessels of the Lord in one country, but also to another country—not only that the Savior was born, in general terms, but the place where, and the time when, he was born. These were the tidings, “Go to all people.” An angel must be a limited being, or be very ignorant in geographical knowledge, or partake largely of sectarian feelings of heart, to bear such tidings to one half of the globe, and not to the other.

I knew an infidel once, who did not believe in the Christian religion, nor in the New Testament, nor in the Savior of the world. I asked him why he did not believe this. “Because,” says he, “according to the New Testament the manifestation of such an important affair was so limited. Here was half of the world, according to the New Testament, that never heard of it. A message so important should have been made more public.” “Well,” said I, “if I will produce you a record, and a history, as well authenticated as the New Testament, showing that angels, the risen Savior, holy inspired Prophets and Apostles, ministered in the western hemisphere, and preached the Gospel to every creature, and handed it down to ages, will you then believe?” “Yes,” he answered, “I will.” I presented him the Book of Mormon, which he perused. I inquired if he now believed. “Yes,” he said, “I do.” And he has lived a Christian until now, for aught I know. I have seen him in this congregation, and he may be here today. His name is Alger.

What objection have you to the hope of eternal life being as widely developed as the ravages of death, sorrow, and mourning? What objection have you to the angels of God, Apostles of God, the Son of God, or to the Holy Spirit of prophecy being poured out in more countries than one? You may say the keys of the Gospel were given to the Jewish Apostles, but they were so far off as not to be able to reach the western hemisphere, even if they had had a knowledge of it. Were there ships and steam vessels to bear them to this country? No. Was there any communication kept up, or was this country known to them? No. But the waves, and winds, and elements, and the great depths that intervened, even the unexplored ocean, said to the ancient Apostles, “Thus far shall ye go, and no further.” This ocean however was no barrier to the fleet-footed angel of God, to the risen Jesus, and to immortal man. They could come to this hemisphere, and reveal the things of heaven to the people, and could rejoice in the same glad tidings, whether it was here or in Jerusalem, or if it were in the uttermost parts of the earth.

Though Peter was crucified at Rome, and Paul suffered in the same manner; though Saints of the Most High were slaughtered by thousands and tens of thousands, and bled at the feet of Roman altars; yet a crucified and risen Redeemer, angels of God, and the Holy Spirit of truth that fills all things, were not thus curtailed and limited, but could minister truth to the uttermost bounds of the universe of God, where intelligences were mourning in darkness; wherever the ravages of death had spread sorrow, wherever there was a broken heart to be bound up, or wherever there was a despairing mortal to be inspired with hope, they could go and tell the glad tidings of life and salvation. The Book of Mormon says they did come to this continent. It is a history of their coming, and contains the doctrine taught to the people here by the risen Jesus, and by his predecessors. In short, the doctrine taught and practiced in ancient America is there portrayed, together with the history of the people.

Again, is this book of no interest with regard to the prophetic value? It reveals many things not noticed by the Jewish Prophets. Did the old Prophets touch upon every item that pertains to man in other countries? No, they did not, only in general terms together with the rest of the world. These other Prophets portrayed many things not in their book, though agreeing with it as far as it goes, but touching events on which their book is silent.

Has any person any cause to say that there has not been a multiplicity of revelations, testimony, prophecy, history, and doctrine developed in various countries by the same Spirit of God, and by angels? And is not all this of great worth, to compare, in order to blend it together, that we may see more clearly the principles of the doctrine of salvation, and understand prophecy more extensively, especially in an age when the mind has been obscured by priestcraft?

If these are the principles of “Mormonism,” where can you point out an innovation on Christianity? “But is this all?” No, this is not all, and I shall not tell it all today. I do not know it all yet. I have been twenty three years learning “Mormonism,” and I know but little of it. If anyone expects to learn all the doctrines of “Mormonism,” he must learn more than twenty-three years. For be it known unto you all, that “Mormonism,” instead of being confined to a few dogmas or general truths, opens the floodgates of all truth and knowledge, and teaches mankind to retain all the truth they can already comprehend, and comprehend as much more as they can all the time.

“Have you not other books?” Yes, we have histories and compilations of the dealings of God with us as a people. We keep a record, if you must know not only individually some of us, but as a Church, as a body, or community. We have revelation penned, revelations and visions penned, we have revelation and prophecy penned, we have knowledge penned, we have knowledge and principle penned, we have prin- ciple and history penned; the history comprising but a small portion, such as can be written, revealed to us Latter-day Saints, and practiced upon; so that our modern books are like the ancient books—a mixture of revelation, prophecy, history, and doctrine. Has any person any objections to this? I ask, should an angel administer to this or that man, or suppose an open vision was manifested to him, revealing many precious truths, would he not be a simpleton not to write it? If the power of God, and the ministering of God, and the visions of the Almighty are extant in the world, these will be written. The practical part of history will be written, for if all were written, the world would not contain the books. The ancient Apostles and Prophets wrote a few of the items revealed to them, and a history of the practical workings of the system over which they presided. Do we differ from them? No.

“Well,” says one, “to be plain with you, Mr. Speaker, we have been taught to believe that the one book, called the Bible, contains all the revelations that God ever revealed to man, therefore it is an innovation to offer anything else to the world as a revelation.” This is a tradition of your own, so I have nothing to do with it. The Bible never taught that to you, nor angels, neither did any minister of God ever teach it to you; and if it is a modern sectarian tradition, it is calculated to bind men into a cast-iron creed, and the sooner you break the fetters the better; burst them asunder, and come out into liberty and freedom, and know and understand that there is no such doctrine in the broad principles of eternal truth, that heaven is full of knowledge, and the earth ought to be full of Prophets, heaven and earth full of angels, and both full of inspiration; and if the inhabitants of all the worlds of the universe were scribes, every blade of grass a pen, and every ocean ink, they could not write all the doings of the Almighty, of His servants, and of His angels. If I were to live for millions of years to come, and then millions of millions more, I expect there would always be some being ready to reveal something new, and somebody would write it. The art of writing will never cease. We may not have pens and ink, but we may have something better. Suffice it to say, that the arts and sciences will not come to an end, yet man may have been traditionated to believe that one small book contains all that God ever said or did. Such persons are to be pitied, and not to be reasoned with.

What is “Mormonism?” It is a restoration by new revelation, by the authorities of heaven, by the ministration of angels, by the ordination of Prophets and Apostles, and ministers or Elders, by their testimony and ministry on the earth, by the organization of Saints, by the administration of ordinances, by the operations of the Holy Spirit; it is a restoration of these ancient principles revealed from heaven, for the government of man.

Says one, “You have said you are not going to tell the whole system today.” I do not know it all, and I shall not state the half I do know. What I have said are a few everyday items, a few of the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, as believed and practiced by the “Mormons.”

I will tell one more before I close. “Your marriages,” says the objector, “are founded upon principles entirely new, and different from the Christian world.” I say, without any hesitancy, I defy the world to establish that assertion. I say our marriage relations are nothing new at all. There is no man, or set of men, or nation of men, where the Bible is extant, and they are readers, but what know that the institutions of marriage contained in the Bible, and the organization of families, differ widely from modern Christianity. We differ from modern Christianity, but not from the Bible. Patriarchs of the remotest ages, that obeyed the Lord God in regard to their marriages and family organizations, have not disagreed with us, nor we with them, so far as we and they have obeyed the law of God. If there is any difference at all, it was more developed among them than it is among us, we being in our infancy. If it should happen to be, that the whole modern world differ from the Bible—have done away with the law of God, and we have come in contact with them, instead of with the word of God, then the boot is on the other foot, and in reality what is said to us applies to them. It is like the farmer and the lawyer. A certain farmer came to a neighboring lawyer, and frankly confessed that his bull had had the misfortune to kill one of his (the lawyer’s) oxen. The lawyer replied, “Thou art a very honest fellow, and will not think it wrong that I have one of thy oxen in return.” “But,” said the farmer, “I am mistaken, it was thy bull that killed my ox.” “O,” replied the lawyer, “that alters the case, and if, if, i-f—.”

Now, then, if it is the whole Christian world, from Catholicism down to the latest of her daughters, that have made void the law of God, and trampled under foot the institutions of heaven, the holy principles of matrimony and family government, and have made them void also, by their traditions, and introduced that which God never did, and “Mormonism” has restored the law of God, in theory and practice, then it is the so-called Christian world, and not us, that are wrong. Whether it regards family organization, the law of God, Patriarchal government, ordinances, principles, and prophecy, I know of nothing new, or of nothing wherein we are innovators.

As I said before, and I am able to maintain it when called upon, “Mormonism” is a system which was understood and enjoyed by the ancients, and restored unto us by revelation. And if carried out, what will it do? It will simply fulfill the sayings of the Prophets, both ancient and modern, put down all wickedness, abuse, proscription, misrule, oppression, ig norance, darkness, and tyranny, and restore mankind to righteousness, truth, liberty, law, and government, in which the Lord’s will will be done on the earth as it is in heaven. That is what “Mormonism” will do, when carried out.

May God bless you all. Amen.




Declaration of Independence—Constitution of the United States—Discovery, Colonization, and Progress of America—Despotic Nations—Influence of America for the Universal Prevalence of Liberty

An Oration by Elder P. P. Pratt, Delivered at Great Salt Lake City, 1853, on the Anniversary of the 4th of July, 1776.

Friends and Fellow Citizens—We have been edified and instructed today, our hearts have been warmed, and our minds entertained with a variety. Shall I say interspersed with music? No, for it has all been music, whether flowing from the hearts of our fellow citizens, or produced by the skill of our hands in the use of musical instruments. All has been music— music to the ear, and poetry to the heart. We have had a variety, all tending, however, to one point, all chiming in one common harmony, without a jarring string. We have had the gushing eloquence of youth, kindled as it were with liquid fire, portraying the glories of our country, and touching upon some portion of its history.

Our sympathies, and feelings of patriotism, have been moved in listening to the items relating to the “Mormon Battalion”—their sufferings upon the plains of Sonora, and the variety of scenes of joy, and sorrow, and patriotism; and the results in their march. We have had portrayed before us at one moment the opening of the treasures of the western mines, and the cause that led to it, pouring into the treasuries of nations, as it were, a stream of gold. At another moment we have been entertained with a view of the results of the actions of our fathers, and the causes that led to the great Declaration of Independence, and to the statement of the principles contained in that instrument, which was read today; contemplating, not only the direct bearing of those actions of our fathers in setting a nation free, but the indirect bearing and influences of such movements upon the whole world of mankind—upon the destiny of the race of which we form a part.

At another moment we have listened to the grave eloquence of official gentlemen, portraying the history of our fathers in the anxious movements that finally resulted in the establishment and in the maintainance of those great principles and truths put forth in the Declaration. In short, we have had a variety, and we have had entertainment that has been profitable to the mind, and that has caused us to reflect. And as to the display of eloquence, poetry, music, and above all of patriotic feeling, good sentiment, and wholesome doctrine, what is there left?

I, for one, feel, in rising under these circumstances, as though I would rather sit and contemplate, and reflect upon the history of the past, and the glorious prospect of the future. But on the other hand, I feel willing as a fellow citizen to contribute my mite, realizing at the same time my own weakness, and not having had time to prepare anything in writing.

I will express my ideas, or rather a few of them, in regard to the Constitution of our own country, and its political principles, of their effects, and of the results of the movements which gave rise to that Constitution. The longer I live, and the more acquainted I am with men and things, the more I realize that these movements, and particularly that instrument called the Constitution of American Liberty, was certainly dictated by the spirit of wisdom, by a spirit of unparalleled liberality, and by a spirit of political utility. And if that Constitution be carried out by a just and wise administration, it is calculated to benefit not only all the people that are born under its particular jurisdiction, but all the people of the earth, of whatever nation, kindred, tongue, religion, or tradition, that may seek to take a shelter under its banner. It seems broad enough, and large enough, to receive and protect all that may be in any way deprived of the common rights of man. It was doubtless dictated by the spirit of eternal wisdom, and has thus far proved itself adequate to the wants of the nation, and to the wants of all mankind that have seen fit to attach themselves to it, to come under its protection, and share in its blessings.

The great question, as has been before observed today more than once, is, not the operations of the instruments, the beauty of the writing, the formation of the language, or the principle of liberty guaranteed therein, but the administration of those prin ciples. For instance, paper itself cannot enforce its own precepts; and unhallowed principles in the people, or in the rulers which they choose, may pervert any form of government, however sacred, true, and liberal. They may overthrow and destroy the practical working of those very principles, which are so true, and so dear to us, and in which we so rejoice. It is the living administration, after all, that is the government, although a good form opens the way for good results, if carried out; but if not carried out, the form becomes a dead letter. Much depends on the feeling and action of the people in their choice of men and measures, and much depends on the administration of those they may choose.

In the principles of the Constitution formed by our fathers, and handed down to their children, and those who should see fit to adopt this country as theirs, there is no difficulty, that is, in the laws and instruments themselves. They embrace eternal truths, principles of eternal liberty, not the principles of one peculiar country, or the sectional interest of any particular people, but the great, fundamental eternal principles of liberty to rational beings—liberty of conscience, liberty to do business, liberty to increase in intelligence and in improvement, in the comforts, conveniences, and elegances of this life, and in the intellectual principles that tend to progress in all lives.

The more I contemplate our country, the providences which have attended it, the principles upon which it is governed, the principles upon which the Constitution is founded, and the practical working of it when properly carried out; the more I look at the spirit of our institutions; and the more I contemplate the circumstances of mankind in general; the more I realize that which before I had scarcely thought of, that which even the largest capa city had failed to grasp—the greatness of the destiny of those principles. One thing is certain, in the minds of all Christians who admit the truth of the Bible, and who have perused its pages, and that is, there is a day coming when all mankind upon this earth will be free. When they will no longer be shackled, either by ignorance, by religious or political bondage, by tyranny, by oppression, by priestcraft, kingcraft, or any other kind of craft, but when all will positively have the knowledge of the truth, and freely enjoy it with their neighbors. However they may do in other points, these points are clearly developed in that good Book which Christendom acknowledges. This is the destiny that the Prophets of old have predicted in regard to the race of mortals upon the earth. Whatever principles of darkness have united to obscure ages and generations; whatever of wrong and bloodshed might prevail; whatever of corruption, deception, or superstition might enslave the mind of man, and chain down his body; however the earth might be drenched in the blood of millions; however many might be the futile struggles of nations or individuals for liberty; yet, in the final result, the darkness which has covered the earth will be chased away, light will prevail, liberty triumph, mankind be free, the nations be brethren, and none have need to say to his neighbor, “Know ye the Lord,” or the truth, which is just the same thing; for all will know Him, from the least to the greatest. If such is to be the final result, how natural it is for men to look at the workings of the causes that will bring it about, and to contemplate the great things that are growing out of so little, comparatively speaking. When a single individual conceived a big thought, and formed a grand design of taking an unbeaten track, and penetrating the unexplored seas of the West, who could have contemplated the result that has grown out of it in about 300 and odd years?

On the other hand, when a few colonies, weak and feeble, settled on these western shores, called New England, when all the grain they had in their possession, in a little while after they landed, might have been measured in a pint cup, who then could have contemplated the result? Or when a few small colonies, weak and far separated from each other by dreary miles, without the aid of steam cars, or steam boats, or the convenience of the telegraph to convey news from place to place with lightning speed, were united, and by their representatives made this Declaration we have heard today, and pledged themselves, though few in number—only between two and three millions, to defend and carry it out, who could have contemplated the result even of that? And when these few colonies were once set free to manage their own affairs, and, having achieved that which they so bravely undertook to accomplish, and establish liberty, they came together to establish a capital that should be central and convenient for the colonies that were then strewed along the shores—at that time who could have contemplated a nation that would stretch its dominions and settlements from Maine to Florida, and from the northeast, washed by the Atlantic, to the very interior of the continent then unknown to civilized man? And that the shores of the Pacific would have formed our western limits, its seas been whitened with our sails, and the unnumbered millions of Asia influenced by our institutions?

Our hearts beat high for liberty. The valleys of the mountains, the backbone of the American Continent, are peopled with 20 or 80 millions of free people scattered over the land, and dwelling securely under the same banner, and now are we assem bled to celebrate the day on which freedom dawned.

Who can realize the present and future bearing of this? Mine eyes have beheld the downtrodden people of our ancient mother country—England. I have contemplated the working of European nations, not after the hearing of the ear only, but mine eyes have beheld it. I have also beheld a portion of the great Pacific, and seen our brethren of mankind at war with each other in Spanish America, for I have crossed the equator, and been far along the western shores of the Pacific. I have also seen thousands of people of Asia, from the most despotic government on the earth, swarming upon our western shores, dwelling under the common banner of freedom—I mean the Chinese.

We have heard something today about the prospects of annexation, or enlargement of the dominions of the Constitution of America. The principle of annexation of large countries is not important, but the influence of our institutions, the pattern we set, the working of these institutions, and their influence abroad will bring about the same results precisely, whether it is particularly by annexation or not. The Spanish American, who is he? He possesses a country and resources almost unbounded. Put that country and its resources with the United States, with the Canadas, and I will guarantee that every man that now stands upon the earth could be sustained by these resources, if the rest of the world were to sink.

The natural elements of the American continent, that are not developed, would sustain the world. The Spanish American possesses a country that is rich in everything that is desirable, as a climate in all its varieties. It is rich in mineral wealth and agricultural resources, in timber, and in all the elements of wealth and greatness, and is comparatively undeveloped and unoc cupied. But who are these Spanish Americans? They are in a great measure aboriginal inhabitants of this country, mingled with European people, from the pure white of old Spain, and in all its shades until you come to the full blooded Indian, or Redman.

What institutions are they under? They are said to have liberty, something after the pattern of the United States, but in many instances, I am sorry to say, only in part, not in spirit, nor in truth; for while they profess liberty, they themselves are in bondage to a religion established by law. While their institutions may be nominally free in many respects, they have this awful clause specifying a certain religion, that shall be the religion of the State, to the prohibition of all other religions, or public exercise of other religions. Hence the people are trammeled by priestcraft, by a yoke of bondage, first enforced upon them by the sword in the days of Cortez and Pizarro, and afterwards riveted by the traditions of three centuries. They know not how to appreciate liberty, they know not how to throw off the yoke that goads their neck.

As it has been observed today by one of the orators, mankind are progressive beings, and there are no obstacles that might be thrown in the way of their progress, that could not be overcome. This will apply to our brethren of every shade on this continent, and to mankind in general. It is hardly possible for one dwelling at home to realize the influence that American and English institutions, which are the best, exert over the nations, and among them. They look to America for instruction and example in the first place, and they next look to England; they look to these countries for everything that is yet undeveloped, of liberty, art, science, education, and improvement. You may say they are Catholics, but who blames them for this? The law of their coun try made them so, and tradition has fastened the bands, and makes them so yet. But when they speak to Americans, they speak with those whom they suppose can teach them. When they contemplate the United States, they contemplate a country that they suppose is setting them an example worthy to be patterned after. They delight to sit for hours and learn of our institutions, of our railroads, of our telegraph, of the speed by which we can convey ourselves and goods from place to place, and of our wonderful quickness of conveying news. They love to hear of our improvements in steam, of our navigation, of our schools, of our newspaper liberty, or the liberty of the press, of our liberty of conscience, of our universal adaptation of education, and of our system of paying for education out of the public funds, leaving the people to contribute freely according to their own judgment and desires for the support of religion. These things have a bearing upon their minds; they are ready to converse upon them, and when they have heard the description, say they, “It is good, far better than our own institutions,” and they are ready to condemn the priestcraft among them, but they have to follow it because they have nothing else. Their organs of thought are not accustomed to much exercise, they want the information to liberate themselves.

When we contemplate the designs of the country, and its influence, we contemplate not merely our own liberty, happiness, and progress, nationally and individually, but we contemplate the emancipation of the world, the flowing of the nations to this fountain, and to the occupation of these elements, blending together in one common brotherhood. They will thus seek deliverance from oppression, not in the style of revolution, but by voluntarily emerging into freedom, and the free occupation of the free elements of life. In contemplating the fulfilment of things so clearly developed by the Prophets, I do not view it as do many, who suppose a revolution should take place in France, in Austria, in Germany, and the other nations, and that one revolution following another, would gradually emancipate mankind in every nation, and give progress to the principles of freedom, to liberty of thought and action, and to the free circulation of intelligence. We have seen it tried, and tried in vain. The people are not able to throw off those fetters of bondage, and that heavy yoke. Circumstances are against them. But Providence opens the way whereby they may liberate themselves—I mean the first and best spirits from all countries under the heavens. They may leave the old constitutions to crumble down in their own rottenness, and emerge from them, and come out where they may enjoy sufficient of the elements upon free, good, and equitable principles; operate upon these elements, and increase their numbers and powers by the union of the best spirits of all nations of the earth.

On the one hand the Chinese emerges from the institutions of ages almost immemorial, from the antiquated creeds and regulations that he thought every man in the world had been governed by for thousands of years. He emerges from that superstitious government, and lands upon these shores, and learns principles of freedom faster than he does the English language—his old traditions are swept away, and he is a man. But take that whole nation, and they could not be brought to think of liberty as we do; take from ten to a thousand individuals and put them where they may think, and they will think; and as they think, their old traditions will vanish one by one. At the same time the Spanish American follows, and all the other nations in the train; the barriers will be bro ken, and they will begin to emerge into freedom. In short, all the people of the earth, though they cannot master their tyrants at home at one fell swoop, and burst asunder their chains and the fetters of priestcraft that have bound them down, and trammeled the free circulation of thought, yet one by one, family by family, can flow out from those countries, to where they have a right to the elements to sustain them. What is to be the result in the end? They will step on the other side of the big ship called the world, or in other words the Eastern Hemisphere, and take their stand together, at least upon general principles, if not upon particular items, and begin to think. It will be a long time, of course, before all things will settle into a state of harmony; it will be a long time before many will begin to think at all. They will ultimately begin to think, and think until they form habits of thinking, and perhaps after awhile they will learn to think truly. Men who are not in the habit of thinking are as apt to think wrong as to think right, but when the habit is once formed they will begin to discriminate, and use faculties with which they are naturally endowed. When they emigrate to this land, the first thing they think of is to improve the elements, and provide for themselves the means of subsistence.

But the stepping of the people on this side of the ship, or on the land shadowing with wings, in such numbers, would, to use a figure, almost turn the world over; they would, in other words, overbalance it, the same as a ship would be overbalanced by the shifting of the cargo from one side of the vessel to the other.

You take the people from the Eastern Hemisphere, and put them on the western, far away from tyranny and oppression, and let them use their individual exertions to improve themselves, mentally and nationally, and their influence will ultimately overbalance the world, they will overturn those institutions which they could not conquer in their own country.

Hence we contemplate that small beginning made by the American pioneers, by Columbus as the first pioneer, and by our fathers the pioneers of religion and liberty; we contemplate how that influence has spread and increased in the earth, influencing the feelings of individuals as well as national institutions, until among all the nations of the earth, a sufficient number are gathered together, and the elements sufficiently developed that now lie unoccupied, and sufficient light is infused for them to comprehend, to contemplate, to investigate, and interchange with each other the blessings of Providence, until by and by the rest of the world is overwhelmed, that it is obliged to bow to their superior greatness. “Do you mean that we shall return again to our fathers’ land, and compel them to be American citizens?” No. But to two hundred millions of people on the American continent, dignified by the principles of American freedom, Europe must bow, by the indirect influence which must necessarily be exercised on those despotic nations.

Suffice it to say the continent is discovered, the elements for life and happiness are known to exist, and are partly developed, and constitutions and governments formed, and principles beginning to be instituted and developed, and influences are at work of such magnitude and greatness, that language is inadequate to express the probable result; we can only borrow the language of the Prophets, which is also insufficient to convey the idea properly, that is, The earth shall be full of knowledge, light, liberty, brotherly kindness and friendship; none will have need to teach his neighbor to know the Lord, but all will know Him from the least to the greatest; darkness will flee away, oppression will be known no more, and men will employ blacksmiths to beat up their old weapons of war into ploughshares and pruninghooks. Their occupation will be to develop the inexhaustible resources of nature, improve the intellect, and lay hold of the Spirit of the Lord, and live by it. The world will be renovated both politically and religiously.

These are but partial ideas. To view the subject in its true light, would lead the mind to contemplate all the practical truths in the universe, that are within the grasp of mortal man; indeed it may reach into immortality. We will acknowledge the hand of God in the movements of men, and in the development of minds, the result of which will be the fulfillment of what the Prophet has spoken—the renovation of our race, and the establishment of a universal Kingdom of God, in which His will will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.