“Truth is Mighty and Will Prevail”—Introduction of the Principles of Eternal Truth—Fulfillment of Prophecy in Our Own Time—Principles of the Gospel Worthy of Consideration—Their Unpopularity—Peculiar Position of the Latter-Day Saints—The Kingdom of God Predicted By the Prophets—Joseph Smith—No Power Can Stay the Hand of Almighty—The Gospel of Christ is the Law of Salvation—Persecution—Polygamy—Treat Our Fellow Men Aright—Commencement of the Millennium—Warfare Between God and the Devil—Faith—the Secret of the Strength of the Saints—Responsibility of Rulers, Etc.—Responsibility of the Saints

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 6, 1884.

There is a proverb or saying which I have heard a good many times in my life, and which I think bears a great deal of weight, and that is, “truth is mighty and will prevail.” I think this has been manifested in every capacity in which truth has been used, whether applied temporally or spiritually; whether applied in the capacity of nations, or families, or individuals; whether applied to the world or to the kingdom of God. I think that in every age of the world, truth, whether it has been popular or unpopular, has proved itself, in the end of its labor, to prevail in all cases. When Columbus was moved upon by the Spirit of God, to cross the ocean to find a new continent, his object and desires were unpopular with those by whom he was surrounded, and it was only after a good deal of labor that he gained favor in the eyes of any of the rulers of the nations whereby to receive assistance sufficient to carry out his wishes. But in the end he prevailed. He found a new world, as it were, which today contains a population of the Anglo-Saxon race, numbering fifty millions of people. The commencement of Columbus’ project was certainly unpopular, but the result has proved it true. And so in all cases, whenever men have been inspired to receive truth, or to promulgate any principle, which would be a benefit to the human family, they have generally been unpopular. When Robert Fulton undertook to demonstrate the power of steam in a steamboat, the crowd which gathered to behold the event, did not gather to see success; they gathered there to ridicule, to see a man fail in performing a work which they considered impossible. But when the steam was applied to the vessel it moved. The invention was certainly very crude, but there was truth in it, and it has prevailed to a great extent; for steam is the great motive power of all the machinery in the world, in a great measure. And so with a Scottish Earl when he announced that there was a man going to try and light the City of Edinburgh with smoke. The man was looked upon as crazy. But there was truth in that smoke, and it lit the city, and it has given light to a good many other cities since. The principle prevailed, and is now adopted throughout the world. So with Mr. Morse, the electrician. He unsuccessfully in the first instance [in 1837-8], sought aid both from the American Congress and the English government to enable him to carry out his ideas; but, ultimately [in 1843] he gained assistance from Congress, and his invention of telegraphy was demonstrated a success, and is now made use of throughout the civilized world. And so we might go on to show that in almost every instance when men have undertaken to introduce new principles—principles of truth—principles that would benefit the human family—they have generally been very unpopular, until the truth was made manifest to the world.

The same thing may be applied to the introduction of the principles of eternal truth pertaining to the salvation of the human family in a spiritual point of view. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, stepped forth into the world to occupy the position to which He had been ordained of God, there were but few individuals who had faith in Him, or who were looking for the coming of the Son of Man in fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus, all His life, it may be said, from the manger to the cross, was very unpopular with the mass of the human family, more particularly the inhabitants of Jerusalem. His history is before the world. He died an ignominious death upon the cross, and those of His own Father’s house, the High Priests, and the leading men of Jerusalem, were all in favor of His death. Yet the Savior possessed truth. He offered truth to the world; He offered life and salvation to the world. But the principles He taught were unpopular in His day. He gathered around Him a few followers; but the acceptance of His principles cost them their lives, as it did the life of the Savior Himself. I do not know of a man—except it was John the Revelator—who escaped. They all died violent deaths. They had to seal their testimony with their blood. Some were crucified; others were sawn asunder, beheaded, or in some way put to death for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. They were put to death for their religion. How is it today? What name has been more honored, or more held up as an ensample to the world than the name of Jesus Christ? The Catholic world, the Protestant world, in fact the whole Christian world are professing to honor the name of Jesus Christ. The Savior had truth, but it was not received in His day and time.

With regard to our own time my mind is often led to reflect upon it. Half a century has past and gone before the eyes of this generation, since the God of heaven commenced, as in former ages of the world, the fulfillment of prophecy and revelation contained in the Bible—this good old book that the Christian world profess to believe in so much. The Lord has set His hand to bring to pass some of these prophecies and principles which He had foreordained before the world was, and which He has left on record through the medium of holy men who wrote and spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost from generation to generation. Those prophecies are with us today. They are contained in the Bible, a book that is published by millions throughout the Christian world. The Christian world profess to honor the Bible and to honor the prophecies and sayings of Christ and the Apostles. But do they believe in the fulfillment of these things? Do they believe in the fulfillment of these principles and truths which are today being fulfilled in the eyes of heaven and earth? No. Those prophecies and those principles—which the God of heaven has set His hand to carry out—are as unpopular today throughout the Christian world as they were when Jesus of Nazareth stood in the flesh and proclaimed the same to the Jewish nation. We occupy the same position that they did in that day and generation with regard to these truths. Now, as I have said, truth is mighty. It always has prevailed in every age of the world. It will prevail in this dispensation as it has done in others. The God of Israel will no more fail today to carry out the principles which He has stretched forth His hand to establish, than he did in the days of either Adam, Enoch, Noah, or Jesus, or in the days of any other dispensation.

The principles to which I allude—the principles of the Gospel—are worthy the attention and comprehension of at least the Latter-day Saints, and it would be well for the Christian world to take them into consideration also; for if truth is going to prevail in the earth it certainly will involve the destiny of this whole generation, Jew and Gentile, high and low, rich and poor, Zion and Babylon. It will involve the destiny of the whole world—of the fourteen hundred millions of people who breathe the breath of life in it. And I bear record and testimony, as a servant of God, that the God of heaven has set His hand to carry out those great and eternal principles which He decreed before the world was made and which He has left on record through the mouths of His prophets, to be fulfilled in the last dispensation and fullness of times. Are these principles popular today? They are not. Why not? Because the world is not governed by the spirit of inspiration; because its people do not seek the Lord; because they do not honor His name; but they are governed and controlled by other principles. But the Lord will rule over His own Kingdom, notwithstanding the Devil has great dominion today as he has had in almost every age of the world. The inhabitants of the earth have their agency. They must use that agency according to the desires of their own hearts, whether they be for good, or whether they be for evil. But the day is at hand when the Lord will show the children of this generation that there is a God in Israel, as He has done in other dispensations when He has reigned. In all the history of the dealings of God with man this one principle, sooner or later, has manifested itself: that virtue exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people. You will see that this has been manifested in the history of all nations under heaven—in their rise and progress and prosperity, and in their fall and decline and in their final overthrow and destruction. You will find in every instance that sin, error, darkness, falsehood, wrongdoing, have laid the foundation of the overthrow of every nation and city under heaven from the foundation of the world until the present time. What men sow they will reap, and what measure they measure to others will be measured unto them.

Today we occupy a peculiar position as a people—as Latter-day Saints here in these mountains. Here is a people growing up in the earth who are organized into a Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How did the organization of that Church come about? Why, the God of heaven has proclaimed through His prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, whose writings are contained within the lids of the Bible, that in the latter days He would set His hand to call forth His Church out of the wilderness and out of darkness and error, and establish it upon the foundation of truth, Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone. The God of heaven also proclaimed through Daniel, 4,000 years ago, that in the latter days he would set up a kingdom which should never be destroyed; and the kingdom should not be left to other people, but it should break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it should stand forever. That prophet also declared that a little stone should be cut out of the mountain without hands; that the stone should become a great mountain and fill the whole earth; and that it should break in pieces all other kingdoms. Was that Prophet inspired by the Spirit and power of God? I say in the name of Israel’s God he was, and so was Isaiah when he spoke of the gathering of the people unto the mountains of Israel to establish the Zion of God in its beauty, strength, power and glory. The God of heaven also inspired a prophet as he stood upon the Isle of Patmos—John the Revelator—and in connection with the great events of the last dispensation and fullness of times he saw, in vision, an “angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.” Now I want this congregation; I want the world; I want the Christian world; I want the priests of the day who cry aloud for the blood of innocence to be shed to carry out their desires—I want these priests and all who are laboring to overthrow “Mormonism,” to carefully inquire, whether those prophets were inspired of God. And if they were inspired of God, whether it is right for them to make war against the work of God in the earth? Whether it would not be better to let these things alone—to leave them in the hands of the Lord, and allow Him to govern and control as He sees fit? And if these men were inspired of the Lord and made those proclamations—with thousands of others in the Bible and in the revelations of God—the question is, whether this warfare against God and against His work is going to prevail? The wicked will have no such power; for the Lord has set His hand to fulfill these things which have been predicted by His Prophets—to establish His Church and Kingdom upon the earth. He has called Prophets, and they were inspired of God. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He was a man raised up by the power of God. He received the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by visions and revelation as did John the Revelator. Angels appeared unto him and taught him the ways of life. Those men who held the Priesthood—who were put to death in the flesh for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ—visited Joseph Smith. John the Baptist conferred upon him the Aaronic Priesthood; Peter, James and John, the Apostleship and Melchizedek Priesthood; and all the Prophets who held any keys and powers belonging to the Gospel these also visited Joseph Smith, and conferred upon him those keys and powers and authority to administer them on the earth. These are eternal truths, as the God of heaven lives, and they will prevail whether men believe them or not, or whether the wicked war against them or not. These truths belong to God Himself. He is the author of them. He has given forth certain decrees, and they will have their fulfillment in the earth.

Now, as far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned, I will say to my brethren and sisters, we ought to contemplate these principles. There is no power organized beneath the heavens that can stay the hand of Almighty God. He has set His hand to carry out His purposes. The world hate this people, because the Lord has called them forth out of the world, the same as He called His disciples of old. This is the position we occupy today, as His people. Though our numbers are small, yet “a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation:” and the Lord will hasten it in His time. A little one has already become more than a thousand, or a hundred thousand, and in spite of all opposition this small one will become a great nation, and God will hasten it in His time, because God is our friend. Now, these are truths. They have emanated from God Himself.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the law of salvation. No man can be saved without it. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth—to Jew or Greek, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, or any other sect or party on the face of the earth.

We, as Latter-day Saints, are called upon to build up Zion. We have been gathered to be instructed by inspiration and through the medium of the Holy Priesthood, in the principles of eternal truth. This is our condition today. Fifty-three years have passed since this work commenced. Joseph Smith dwelt in the flesh some fourteen years after he organized this Church. He holds the keys of this dispensation on both sides of the veil, and will hold them forever. God ordained him to perform a certain work. He performed it. He stayed on earth until his work was finished. All the keys, powers and principles which God gave unto him he left with his brethren; although whatsoever he left with his brethren did not take from him; for as Jesus says in a revelation given in regard to the Priesthood:

“Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

“And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

“And this is according to the oath and the covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

“But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”—Doc. and Cov., Sec. 84.

Thus, although the Lord bestows upon His servants the same powers and blessings that He Himself holds, it does not take away these powers and blessings from the Father. The Father possesses all He had before. The Son possesses all that he hath given unto him. So do the sons of the living God. When a man bestows those gifts and blessings and powers upon others, he does not lose them himself. The Lord raised up Joseph Smith. He organized this Church. It has been organized for 54 years next April. And what has been the consequence? Have we had opposition? Yes. Have we had persecution? Yes. Is not the desire of a great many millions of people for our overthrow? Yes; and a great many wish us put to death. Some men go so far as to be willing to slay, utterly, men, women and children, because they believe what is termed “Mormonism,” but which is really the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These things are proclaimed to the world today. What is the matter? Mormonism is unpopular. Why is it unpopular? “Because,” say the priests of the day, “it interferes with our rights. We preach for hire and divine for money, and if the Mormons were to prevail in the earth, we should lose our business, and we cannot endure it.” “Why,” says the world, “you profess to believe in polygamy, and that is why you are persecuted.” No, you are mistaken about that. The worst persecution this Church ever endured was before polygamy was revealed to the Church. We have had more prosperity since we carried out that law, and endeavored to fulfill it according to the command of God, than we ever had as a people before. And here is the principle with me—I speak as an individual; I speak for myself—if this work is of God; if the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed to Joseph Smith, is true, then God will take care of it; if the patriarchal law of marriage comes from the God of Israel, He will take care of it; He will protect and defend it, and He will uphold the people that carry it out. I say this is in the name of Israel’s God, And if it is not of God, who wants it? I don’t, neither do this people. I speak of this principle because I want my brethren and sisters to understand the views I have upon it.

I know we are engaged in the work of the Lord. I know this is His Church. He has organized it with Prophets and Apostles in fulfillment of predictions made thousands of years ago. This is a work which was ordained before the world was. The Lord Almighty never created a world like this and peopled it for 6,000 years, as he has done, without having some motive in view. That motive was, that we might come here and exercise our agency. The probation we are called upon to pass through, is intended to elevate us so that we can dwell in the presence of God our Father. And that eternal variety of character which existed in the heavens among the spirits—from God upon his throne down to Lucifer the son of the morning—exists here upon the earth. That variety will remain upon the earth in the creations of God, and for what I know, throughout the endless ages of eternity. Men will occupy different glories and positions according to their lives—according to the law they keep in the flesh.

But I want the Latter-day Saints to understand their position. Our trust is in God. With regard to men, it is our duty to treat our fel lowmen aright, to leave them in the hands of God if they persecute us. The Lord has a controversy with this generation. This Bible, the Old and New Testament, contains a vast amount of, I will say, tremendous revelations, tremendous events, which hang over the heads of the people of this dispensation. Are these events going to fall unfulfilled? No; no more than they did in the days of the fall of Babylon, of Nineveh, of Jerusalem, and of other cities in the nations of the earth. When the inhabitants of Jerusalem became ripe in iniquity; though Jerusalem was the royal city, in which was the Urim and Thummim, and in which sacrifices were made unto the Lord, yet the city was laid low, and the Jews have been trampled under the feet of the Gentiles for 1,800 years. We are living at the commencement of the Millennium, and near the close of the 6,000th year of the world’s history. Tremendous events await this generation. You can read an account of them in the revelations of St. John; the opening of the seals; the blowing of the trumpets; the pouring out of the plagues; the judgments of God which will overtake the wicked when Great Babylon comes in remembrance before God, and when the sword that is bathed in heaven shall fall on Idumea, or the world, who shall be able to abide these things? Here we are living in the midst of these tremendous events.

We are in the hands of God; our nation is, and so are the nations of the earth; and when they undertake to overthrow the Kingdom of God, which is decreed shall be established, they have somebody to fight against besides Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or John Taylor, or any other of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This warfare is between God and the devil, between light and darkness, truth and error, between the heavens and the earth; and that God who has supported His work from the creation of the world, is bound to do it unto the end. Where have you ever read that the Kingdom of God would be overthrown in the last days? You cannot find it anywhere on the pages of the records of divine truth. No; the revelations of God will be fulfilled. And we must exercise faith in that direction. As the ancients had faith; as the world was created by faith; as Noah built an ark and preached the Gospel of repentance for 120 years by faith; as Abraham went out not knowing where he was going by faith; as the ancients performed many mighty works, such as the subduing of cities and kingdoms by faith; therefore I say to the Latter-day Saints, you are required by the God of Israel, your Heavenly Father, by his Son Jesus Christ, by the holy angels, and by every principle of eternal truth, to exercise faith in the revelations of God, for they will be fulfilled as the Lord lives. God is with this people. But we are required to hearken to his voice, obey his commandments, and humble ourselves before him. And I thank the Lord that I have lived to see the time when I believe there is a great improvement among the Latter-day Saints. I believe they are exercising greater faith in God. And there is a calmness prevailing among the Mormons—so called—that is a marvel and a wonder to the world. The world wonder why we are not excited over the opposition that is brought to bear upon us by the millions of people who inhabit this continent, as well as by the people of the nations of the earth. The reason of our calmness is—God is our friend, our lawgiver, our deliverer. If the Lord cannot sustain His work, we certainly cannot. But He can. He has always done it, and will do it to the end. Therefore I say to the Saints, fear not. Trust in God. Let not your hearts be faint. Let your prayers ascend to the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, day and night. Ask what you want. When you do that, the Lord will answer your prayers, if you ask what is right. There is where our our strength lies. It is in God. I have no hope in anything else. But I do look upon the Latter-day Saints as occupying a most glorious position in this day and age of the world. This is the first time since God created the world that he has ever established a dispensation to remain on the earth until the coming of the Son of Man—to remain in power and strength and glory, until the Millennium, until He reigns whose right it is to reign. Behold what lies before you! Behold the power of God! Behold the prosperity of Zion! Behold the blessings which have rested upon your houses, your lands, your flocks and herds, your children—the blessings of the earth as well as of the heavens—in this mighty barren desert! Then should we have any doubts or fears with regard to the Kingdom of God? No! As a people we should rise up in faith and power before God, and make our wants known, and leave our destiny in His hands. It is there anyhow. It will remain there. And with regard to our nation, I leave them in the hands of God; but I would to God their eyes were open to see and understand the responsibilities that rest upon them. I would to God that the rulers of our land—the President of the United States, the Congress of the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States—would learn the responsibility the God of heaven will hold them to in the administration of those glorious principles laid down in the Constitution of the government of this country. The God of heaven will hold this nation, as well as all other nations, responsible for the manner in which these principles are used. If they misuse them, it will be their loss. If they trample the Constitution under foot; if they undertake to deprive any portion of citizens of the rights the Constitution guarantees unto them, they will be held responsible, and will have to pay the bill. When innocent blood is shed, it costs something; and I would to God that our nation could understand the blessings they enjoy. There is no nation on the face of the earth that has the same liberty that is guaranteed to us by the Constitution of our country.

Have we any warfare with our Government? Have we any reproach to offer them? Not at all. I feel sorry that this nation should sow seeds which when ripe will bring destruction; for I know as God lives that if this or any other government departs from the principles of truth, becomes ripened in iniquity, forsakes the Lord, forsakes the principles of life and liberty, the God of heaven will hold it responsible. Judgments will come upon the wicked. When men depart from the principles of truth and cleave unto darkness and wickedness, they reap the whirlwind; they lay the foundation for desolation.

I pray God my heavenly Father, that his blessing may rest upon us as Latter-day Saints; that we may comprehend and understand our position, our duties and our responsibilities to God. When I look, brethren and sisters, upon this handful of men and women here in these mountains of Israel, say 150,000, out of the fourteen hundred million people that dwell on the earth; when I realize the responsibility that God has laid upon the Latter-day Saints, the responsibility of building up this great kingdom of our God, of proclaiming the principles of eternal life, light and truth to the world; when I reflect upon these things I ask myself the question, What manner of men ought we to be? Our numbers are small compared even with the inhabitants of this nation, not to speak of the inhabitants of the world; yet, as I said before I say again, the God of heaven looks to the Latter-day Saints to carry on His work.

Then let us be careful. Let us realize our condition. Let us realize we are here upon a mission. Let us realize that we will be held responsible for the manner in which we fill it. We should be willing to sacrifice everything for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God. Any man who will seek to save his life and desert the principles of the Gospel, is not worthy of eternal life. How many have laid down their lives since the creation of the world for the sake of the truth? Jesus Himself descended below all things. He descended, I believe, lower than any other man will be called to descend. Are we greater than Jesus? If we are called upon today to lay down our lives, what of it? Is it not as well to die for the Gospel’s sake as to die for anything else? A million of men, a few years ago, sacrificed their lives for the honor of this nation. No matter what we may be called to pass through, let us maintain our integrity to God. Where is the man whose mind has been lit up by the inspiration of God to comprehend the celestial kingdom, or the celestial law, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who can bear the idea of pursuing a course whereby he will be cut off from inheriting the blessings for which he has hoped in the future? No, I would rather die a thousand deaths than be deprived of these blessings. We have a long time to live when we get through here. There is all eternity before us. It will pay you, it will pay me—no matter what comes, no matter what this nation may do to oppress us—to be true and faithful to our covenants, to our wives and children, to our God and to our country; it will pay us to be faithful to the end.

I pray God that this may be our lot, that we may be true and faithful unto death, and inherit eternal life, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Object of Meeting Together—Our Dependence Upon the Spirit of the Lord—Certain Rights Which Belong to All Mankind—Unpopularity of God’s Servants in All Ages of the World—A Man Must Be Born Again Before He Can Understand the Things of God—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—The Gospel the Same in All Dispensations—How the Gospel Was Restored—The Gift of the Holy Ghost—Utah Built Up By the Power of God—Joseph Smith Received All the Keys of the Priesthood By the Administration of Angels—Fulfillment of Revelation—The Priesthood—Plural Marriage

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 20, 1883.

We meet here upon the Sabbath day for the purpose of partaking of the sacrament, the emblems of the Lord’s body and blood which were broken and shed for us, and also to give and receive instruction as we may be led by the Spirit of God.

It is well known to the Latter-day Saints—though perhaps not to strangers—that no Elder or member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who enters into this Tabernacle knows who is going to be called upon to speak to the people. Hence no man spends a week, a day, an hour, or a moment to prepare a discourse to deliver unto the people. We are all of us dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord, upon revelation, upon inspiration, upon the Holy Ghost, in order to be qualified to teach the people before whom we are called to speak, and if the Lord does not give me the Holy Spirit this afternoon, I promise you all you will not get much out of Brother Woodruff, whether they be Saints or strangers. I have never seen a day since I have been a member of this Church, that I have felt that any man was qualified to teach saint or sinner, Jew or Gentile, the inhabitants of the earth abroad or at home, only as he was moved upon by the power of God. I have never believed any man was qualified from the days of Father Adam to our day to go forth among the inhabitants of the earth with the declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in a way and manner to convince them or teach them the Gospel in its truth and purity, and in the power of God, only by inspiration. I have never believed that any man was qualified in any age of the world to build up the kingdom of God, or do the will of God only upon that principle. And I have felt, both while abroad in the world, as well as at home, that when called upon to teach the Latter-day Saints or anybody else—I have felt as though my lips ought to be touched with a live coal from off the altar, and my heart filled with inspiration from Almighty God. When I think upon the day and age in when we live, when I think upon this day and dispensation in which the God of heaven has set His hand to carry out the fulfillment of the mighty prophecies contained within the lids of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, the stick of Judah, I realize that in order to comprehend these things a man must be in possession of the Spirit of the Lord day by day. In the words of the Savior as recorded in St. John’s Gospel, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

I say many things when I am called upon to speak in the presence of strangers that I do not confine myself to when addressing the Saints, because the latter are acquainted with our principles, while the former are not.

As Latter-day Saints we respect the rights of all men. We believe that all mankind, men and women, in this and every other dispensation and generation, have certain rights; that God has created all men with an agency, I care not in what kingdom, empire, republic or place they dwell. They have a right to enjoy their religion. They have a right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. “But,” says one, “do you mean that in empires where an emperor holds the rights and destinies of his subjects in his hands?” Yes. I mean there is no emperor who breathes the breath of life who has the right to deprive one of his subjects of the freedom of his religion. I will tell you why. No emperor, no king, no president, no ruler of any nation under the heavens has ever given his subjects life. Their life has come from God, and God has granted them their agency and the right to worship Him according to the light and knowledge they have. This is the view entertained by the Latter-day Saints. And I have heard Joseph Smith say that if he were emperor of the whole world, holding the destinies of all men in his hands, he would defend the religious rights of every man, whether his religion was right or wrong. And especially ought this to be the case in this American nation, the Constitution of which guarantees to all people the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is the broad platform upon which our government has been founded. I have looked upon the Constitution of the United States as one of the best instruments ever devised by man for the government of the inhabitants of the earth. I look upon it as such today. And while we are willing to allow the Methodists, the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Catholics, and every sect under heaven, the right to enjoy their religion undisturbed, yet we claim the same privilege as a people, as a church, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and hence, in expressing myself here this afternoon with regard to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the kingdom of God, if I differ from any of this congregation, I have a right to differ; the congregation has a right to differ from me; and no man has a right to say, Why do you so? The destinies of the whole human family are in the hands of God. I shall be held accountable before the God of heaven—and so will all men—for the course I pursue in this life.

There is one very peculiar feature with regard to the followers of Jesus Christ, or those that have attempted in other dispensations to obey the law of heaven, and that is, their unpopularity in the world from the days of Father Adam to the present time. Trace it through from the beginning, and you will find that men who were inspired by Almighty God to go forth and proclaim any message to the inhabitants of the earth, have been most unpopular in their day and generation. You will find it has been so in the whole history of the world. You may go back, for instance, to the days of Noah. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He was called of God. He was warned of God, and told what to do to save himself and family. The world had become terribly corrupt, and it was necessary that the people be called upon to repent. To this end God Almighty raised up a prophet. That prophet was Noah. He went forth as he was commanded and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and truth. He was commanded to build an ark on dry land. The people laughed at him and would not believe his testimony. For one hundred and twenty years he warned the inhabitants of the earth of the coming flood; but all that he could save were the members of his own family, some eight souls. The flood came, and all the inhabitants of the earth, save those who had entered the ark, were drowned. Their spirits were shut up in prison in the spirit world, and they remained there until after the death of Jesus Christ; and while His body lay in the tomb three and a half days He went and preached to those spirits in prison, where they had been shut up for thousands of years.

As it was with Noah so it was with other Prophets who lived in ancient days. You may trace the history of Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the rest down to the days of Jesus Christ, and you find they were all unpopular in their day and generation. In consequence of the wickedness that prevailed in the world, those Prophets were moved upon to prophesy concerning the destruction of Babylon the great, Ninevah, Tyre, and many other ancient cities; they declared the word of the Lord to the inhabitants of these cities, but their testimony was not believed; and because of their unpopularity, the Prophets were put to death. Nevertheless, not one jot or tittle of their predictions fell to the ground unfulfilled.

Then, again, you come along down to the days of Jesus Christ. You trace His life from His birth in a stable to the tomb. Was ever a man on the earth—a good man like the Savior—so persecuted, opposed, ridiculed and derided as He was by the Jews, Pharisees, Sadducees, and the different sects of that day? No matter what He did it was attributed to him for evil. If He cast out devils it was attributed to the power of Beelzebub. If He restored the blind to sight, they were ready to cry out, “You give God the glory, this man is a sinner.” And so in all His works was He opposed, persecuted and derided. And His Apostles shared the same fate. Every soul of them—with the exception of John—had to lay down their lives and seal their testimony with their blood. Some were beheaded, some were sawn asunder. Even in the case of John they sought his life, but it was decreed that he should live, and he remains on the earth to this day—although probably there has been a change in his body—and will remain until the Son of Man comes in the clouds of heaven.

I speak of these things to show that men of God in all ages of the world have been unpopular. Jesus warned His disciples with regard to this opposition. He said to them: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Why didn’t the world love the Prophets and Apostles in their day and generations. Why does the whole sectarian world rise up against Prophets and Apostles in this day and age of the world? Simply because in former ages they rebuked sin, and in this age they do the same. They have been plainspoken men. They have gone forth and declared the word of God as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

Now, with regard to the day and age in which we live. The Saints are acquainted with our history as a people. They have a testimony to bear that the world knows not of. A man must become acquainted with the Lord, acquainted with the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receive them before he is qualified to understand the work of God, or the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. We read of a man named Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night. Said he: “We know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” This is the principle that has been connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every dispensation of the world.

As an organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in existence now for 53 years. It was organized in the first place with six members on the 6th day of April, 1830—organized by a Prophet of God, a man raised up by commandment of God, by inspiration, by revelation, and by the administration of angels. Every step that he took was taken by commandment and revelation. He was given to understand by the angels of God who administered to him that there had been a falling away from the ancient order of things, and that now the full set time had come when the God of heaven would again establish His kingdom on the earth and call forth His Church out of the wilderness of darkness and error and establish it upon the foundation of the ancient Apostles, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.

Now, any man acquainted with the Scriptures can clearly understand that there is but one true Gospel. There never was but one Gospel. Whenever that Gospel has been upon the earth it has been the same in every dispensation. The ordinances of the Gospel have never been changed from the days of Adam to the present time, and never will be to the end of time. While there were many sects and parties in existence in the early times, Jesus gave his disciples to understand that there was but one Gospel. He told them what it was. He declared unto them its ordinances. He commissioned them to preach the Gospel to every creature. In the first place they were to preach faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; next, repentance of sins; next, baptism for the remission of sins. Baptism was an ordinance taught by the Savior himself. We find, too, that He obeyed this ordinance, being baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. Why? To fulfill all righteousness. It was a righteous law and it was a type of baptism to be followed by the whole human family. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Such was the declaration of the Savior to the twelve Apostles. People were to be “buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” What next? Men bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood—Apostles and Elders—had the authority to lay hands upon baptized believers for the reception of the Holy Ghost, which they received and which led them to prophesy of the things of the kingdom of God; and the signs followed those that believed. These were the first principles of the Gospel. And Paul the Apostle, makes this declaration: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” He repeats this, and goes on to tell us what the Gospel is, and what the Church of Christ is, and what it always has been. In the Church were Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, etc., and these were “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The Lord never had—and never will have to the end of time—a Church on the earth without Prophets, Apostles, and inspired men. Whenever the Lord had a people on the earth that He acknowledged as such, that people were led by revelation. No man can find anything contrary to this. When the Gospel was given to the Jews, all the gifts and graces and powers thereof, accompanied it. It was accompanied by the Eternal Priesthood—which is after the order of the Son of God, without which no man can administer in the ordinances of life and salvation. The Savior was a Jew himself. He came to His own father’s house, but they rejected him and put him to death. The Gospel was then taken from the Jews and carried to the Gentiles. Paul warned the Gentiles to take heed lest they too fell into unbelief. But the Gospel was delivered to them with all its blessings and powers, and remained with them as long as there was a man upon the earth that had the power to administer in its ordinances.

Now, have the Gentiles had that church and kingdom of God in their midst since the ancient Apostles were put to death? I think not. At the present time there are some six hundred three score and six different religions—different roads to heaven and to hell—in the world; but none of these bear much resemblance to the Gospel as taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. The whole Christian world today rises up against these Latter-day Saints because they profess to believe in revelation, in Prophets and Apostles. This has been the case ever since the organization of this Church. Do we teach anything that is contrary to the laws of God? We do not. Do we believe anything that is contrary to the Gospel as taught in the days of the Apostles? We do not. “But,” says one, “how did you come by this Gospel?” We came by it through the administration of an angel from God. John the Revelator, in speaking of the last day—the opening of the seals—the blowing of the trumpets—and all that should transpire before the second coming of the Son of Man—said he saw (among other things) “another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.” When the angel of God delivered this message to Joseph Smith he told him the heavens were full of judgments; that the Lord Almighty had set his hand to establish the kingdom that Daniel saw and prophesied about, as recorded in the second chapter of Daniel; and that the Gospel had to be preached to all nations under heaven as a witness to them before the end should come, and that, too, in fulfillment of the revelation of God, as given here in the Old and New Testaments. Joseph Smith never attempted to organize this Church until he received commandment so to do from God. He never attempted to baptize a man until he received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist (who was beheaded for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus). He never attempted to officiate in any of the ordinances of the Gospel until he received the Apostleship under the hands of Peter, James and John. These men appeared to him. They laid their hands upon his head and sealed the Apostleship upon him with all the power thereof. And these angels told Joseph Smith to go forth himself and to call upon other men to go forth unto the world and preach the Gospel as taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, and the Lord would back up their testimony; that when they laid hands upon those who had been baptized for the remission of sins, and who had received their testimony, they should receive the Holy Ghost. This was the proclamation to Joseph Smith 53 years ago.

Now, I want to ask this assembly, strangers and Latter-day Saints alike, what position the Elders of Israel would have been in when they went forth and made this promise to the inhabitants of the earth—the promise that if they would receive of our testimony, repent of their sins and be baptized for a remission of them, and have hands laid upon them, they should receive the Holy Ghost—I want to ask, gentlemen and ladies, how long those Elders would have taught this principle in the nations of the earth if God Almighty had not backed up their testimony? How long would it have been, in the absence of this backing, until they would have been found out to be deceivers? Not a great while. Is there another set of men on the face of the earth today, that dare to go forth and make that proclamation to the world? No; because, unless they were called of God to make it, He would not back up their testimony, and it would be known who they were. We have labored upon this principle for 50 years. You cast your eyes and you see a tabernacle in the desert; you see a city; and you may travel for a thousand miles and you will find this Territory filled with cities, towns and villages. By what power have these things been accomplished? I came here on the 24th of July, 1847, with a little handful of men as pioneers. What did we find? A barren desert, as barren as the desert Sahara. No mark of the white man here. No outward sign that a white man could live here. How has this desert been made to blossom as the rose? Why this body of people from almost every nation? I will tell you. We carried the Gospel to Europe, the Islands of the sea, and the different nations of the earth; we offered them the Gospel, and a class of men and women—two of a family, and sometimes a dozen of a city—received our testimony, and when we laid hands upon them they received the Holy Ghost. That Holy Ghost has remained with them: it has instructed them and inspired their hearts, and today you see Utah as it is. If the Lord Almighty had not backed up the testimony of the Elders of Israel as He has done, Utah today would have been as when we found it 36 years ago.

This is the condition of the Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith received these keys, this Priesthood, this power, this Gospel by the administration of angels from God, and this testimony is true. He also received a record called the Book of Mormon, which is a record of the ancient inhabitants of this continent. That record is true; as also the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, a code of revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith. These revelations are true and faithful, and they are being fulfilled as fast as time will admit. I bear my testimony of these things to the world, for I know they are true.

I traveled thousands of miles with Joseph Smith. I knew his spirit. Many of the revelations given through him have been fulfilled. I myself wrote the revelation that was given through him concerning the war that would take place in this country between the north and south. That revelation was published to the world for twenty years before the war. It broke out just as predicted, and I refer to it because it is one of the revelations that is fulfilled. Today we are still preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord Almighty has set His hand to establish His Church and kingdom on the earth, to build up Zion in the mountains of Israel.

Now with regard to the Priesthood. We have been found fault with sometimes because we profess to have the Priesthood. Let me say to this congregation that our Heavenly Father performs all His works—the creation of worlds, the redemption of worlds—by the power of the Eternal Priesthood. And no man on the earth, from the days of Father Adam to the present time, has ever had power to administer in any of the ordinances of life and salvation only by the power of the Holy Priesthood. You will find this to be the case in the whole history of the Prophets of God. When Aaron was given the Priesthood he was called by revelation. “No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” Jesus Christ himself had to be called of God. He was a High Priest. He left the Priesthood on the earth with his Apostles. They officiated in it until they were put to death. It is by that power that we administer in this day and generation. The Church and kingdom of God has continued to grow from its first organization. It is true we have been called to pass through many afflictions in our day and time. Nevertheless, the Lord has preserved His people, and they still live here in the valleys of the mountains.

We have an anxiety to honor God and keep His commandments, and to honor our country and the Constitution of our Government. That Constitution we believe was given by revelation, and whatever laws are passed agreeable to it we desire to honor. It guarantees to all men the right to enjoy their religion, to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.

“But,” says one, “I would like to know how many wives you have. That is a matter you have not said anything about.” Well, now, I will tell you a little anecdote in connection with Sidney Rigdon. The circumstance took place a great many years ago, in Kirtland. A young Elder just come in met President Rigdon on the street one day in the vicinity of the Temple. Said the young man: “President Rigdon, will you please tell me the meaning of the horns of the beast John saw?” President Rigdon, drawing himself up, looked at the young man, and replied: “My dear brother, there is a great deal between you and the beast that John saw,” and walked away. Well, I sometimes think it is so with this generation. There is a great deal between the people of this generation and the plurality of wives. There are a great many principles that God has revealed in these last days that it is necessary for us to understand before we come to that principle. But as I have brought the subject up I will say a few words upon it. The Lord has revealed to us that no kingdom, no king, no prince, no president, no ordinance of marriage, no ordinance performed by any man from the days of father Adam, will have any power or force after death, except those ordinances are performed by men holding the Eternal Priesthood. Is there a king, is there a prince, is there a queen—will either when they pass the other side of the veil, find a throne there? Would the Czar of Russia, who was assassinated by the hands of the ungodly not long ago, when he went into the Spirit world find a throne there? No. Why? Because the kingdom of the Czar of Russia belonged to time. When he went into the Spirit world that was the end of his kingdom and power. His kingdom had not been sealed upon his head by any man having the power and authority of the Eternal Priesthood. So in regard to all kingdoms and thrones. You may take Her Majesty Queen Victoria—who has reigned a long time, and who is perhaps as good a sovereign as has reigned since the days of William the Conqueror. When she passes behind the veil she will find her kingdom at an end, because it was not sealed upon her head for time and eternity by any man having the authority of the Holy Priesthood. So I will say to our friends here—the strangers within our gates—that any man that marries a wife by any other authority than the authority of the Holy Priesthood is simply married for time, “or until death do you part.” When you go into the Spirit world you have no claim on your wife and children. The ordinance of having them sealed to you by one having the authority of the Holy Priest hood must be attended to in this world. Father Abraham obeyed the law of the patriarchal order of marriage. His wives were sealed to him for time and all eternity, and so were the wives of all the Patriarchs and Prophets that obeyed that law.

I desire to testify as an individual and as a Latter-day Saint that I know that God has revealed this law unto this people. I know that if we had not obeyed that law we should have been damned; the judgments of God would have rested upon us; the kingdom of God would have stopped right where we were when God revealed that law unto us. Why have we obeyed it? I obeyed it because I want my wife or wives with me after death; I want my wives and children with me in the morning of the resurrection; I want my wives and children organized in the family organization, that I may dwell with them and they with me, throughout all eternity, as well as with Father Abraham and other men who honored and obeyed that law. This is the position we occupy. We have obeyed the law because God has commanded us, and I bear record of its truth; and so far as I am concerned, if I can have my wives and children with me in the morning of the resurrection, so that I can dwell with them and with those Patriarchs and Prophets who obeyed that law, it will amply repay me for the trials and tribulations I may have had to pass through in the course of my life here upon the earth. Many men suppose that we have obeyed that law to gratify the lusts of the flesh. Bless your soul, if that had been our object, we might have followed the example of the people of the Christian world—committed whoredom and adultery—without bringing upon ourselves the cares, pains, and penalties that we have to bear by obeying this law. But let me tell you that the Latter-day Saints look upon adultery as one of the greatest crimes any man can commit in this world. It is next to murder. No, this people have not obeyed that law because of a desire to gratify the lusts of the flesh; they have observed it in obedience to the command of God, and because it will have power and effect after death.

I pray God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us, that our ears may be open to hear and our hearts to understand the things of the kingdom of God, which is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Importance of the Work of God—“The Kingdom of God or Nothing”—Apparent Insignificance of the Church at First—Its Growth—Ancient Men of God—Personal Reminiscence—What is Required of the Saints—How Joseph Smith’s Prayers Were Answered

Discourse by Apostle Wilford Woodruff, delivered at Nephi, Saturday Afternoon, January 27, 1883.

We meet with the Saints of the several Stakes at the Stake Quarterly Conferences for the purpose of giving instruction which all need in order to qualify themselves to magnify their calling as Saints of God, engaged in establishing and building up the Church and kingdom of God. And I will here say, as I have often said, that all men, and all women, regardless of the position they occupy, or the office they hold, are dependent upon the Lord for His Spirit to assist them in their labors.

I made a covenant with the Lord, years ago, that whatever He would impress me to say, I would preach to the people. If we are not able to speak to your edification, it is not because there are not truth and knowledge, principles and laws sufficient within the pale of this Church, and connected with the work in which we are engaged. I look upon the cause of God and the mission that He has given each of us connected with it, as requiring the whole attention, the might, mind and strength of each one of us, in order to magnify our calling and accomplish the work committed to our hands.

The Lord raised up Joseph Smith specially to do the work that he performed. He was ordained and appointed before he was born to come upon the stage of action in this age of God’s mercy to man, through the loins of ancient Joseph who was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to lay the foundation of this great and glorious dispensation—a dispensation that will be marked and distinguished in the annals of human history for its grand and mighty, and also its serious and awful events. The day has already dawned when the light of heaven is to fill the earth; the day in which the Lord has said that nothing should be kept hidden, whether it be things pertaining to one God, or many Gods, or to thrones, principalities or powers; the day in which everything that has been kept from the knowledge of man ever since the foundation of the earth, must be revealed; and it is a day in which the ancient prophets looked forward to with a great deal of interest and anxiety. It is a day in which the Gospel is to be preached to every nation, tongue and people for a witness of what shall follow; a day in which the Israel of God who receive it in their dispersed and scattered condition are to gather together to the place appointed of God, the place where they will perform the “marvelous work and wonder” spoken of by the ancients who, in vision, saw our day; and where they will begin to inherit the promises made to the fathers respecting their children. The work that is to be so marvelous in the eyes of men has already commenced, and is assuming shape and proportions; but they cannot see it. It will consist in preaching the Gospel to all the world, gathering the Saints from the midst of all those nations who reject it; building up the Zion of God; establishing permanently in the earth His kingdom; preparing for the work of the gathering of the Jews and the events that will follow their settlement in their own lands, and in preparing for ourselves holy places in which to stand when the judgments of God shall overtake the nations. This is truly a good work; and it is a marvel (when we look at it with our natural eyes) how this people are sustained in their faith and hope of accomplishing it, besides having to provide for the wants of themselves and families, which is of itself as much as most men can accomplish. We cannot do the work which God through us intends to have done, unless we place ourselves under His care and direction, and take the sentiment, “The Kingdom of God, or nothing,” for our motto, as well as the end and aim of our life. This we must do to be truly the servants of God. We cannot serve God and mammon. We cannot build up the Kingdom of God and withhold our hearts from Him. We must either come under the dominion of God, and be led and directed by Him, or under the dominion of Satan, and be ruled over by him. It is for us, through our faith and works, our desires and course of life, to choose which we will take, as we must take the one side or the other.

Nobody in this world has cause to rejoice as we have. None have the encouraging future before them that we have; for Zion is not to be moved out of her place, neither is “the kingdom” to be given to another people. God rules and reigns, and we are His people, and He is our God.

This work, this marvelous work and a wonder, the work that will eventually fill the whole world—and neither man nor the devil can prevent it—commenced, as all the works of our God begin, in a small way. It was likened by the Savior to the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, put in the soil, which grew until the fowls of the air could lodge in the branches thereof. This certainly is the characteristic of this Church and Kingdom, commencing as it did on the 6th day of April, 1830, with only six members. But the Lord told Joseph in one of the revelations that he was laying the foundation of a great work, how great he knew not. Joseph was young at that time, and could not comprehend fully the nature of the work which he had been called and appointed to commence in the earth.

When Joseph presented to the Christian world the principles that God had communicated to him, he at once aroused their prejudices; he had to struggle against traditions which they had inherited from their fathers who knew not God nor His ways, traditions which had come down to them through the ages, which were antagonistic to the saving truths of heaven. And hence his life was one continual struggle, meeting with opposition on every hand, especially from the priests of the day; but he lived through it and rejoiced greatly in his labors until he finished his testimony in the flesh, after laboring some fourteen years to that end. He had to wade through deep waters; but he never was discouraged or disheartened, notwithstanding he had to contend against foes without and foes within. He never lost sight of the majesty of his calling, nor the divinity of this work; but spake and acted in the midst of the people under all circumstances the man that he was—the Prophet of God, the Seer and Revelator of the last dispensation. He left us under painful circumstances, sealing his testimony with his blood; but his works follow him. The Gospel of the Kingdom which he preached, flourished under the wise administration of God’s servants who followed him. The Lord blessed and sustained His Apostles, and led them to this land, where the standard of Zion has been planted, which begins already to attract the notice of the nations afar off. And here in this land, notwithstanding the difficulties we have had to wrestle with, incident to settling a new country a thousand miles from civilization, having also to protect ourselves against the raids of the wild and untutored Indians, the Lord has prospered us, and blessed us on every hand; and we are today a blessed people. Yet the Christian world is opposed to us, and the Christians generally hate us. The Savior himself had the same spirit and feeling to contend against. There was no man more unpopular than He; no man more persecuted than He. And why? Because He preached false doctrine? No. The real reason was, as He himself declared, because they loved darkness better than light, because their deeds were evil. There are but the two powers, that of God and that of the devil. There is but the one true and living God, and He is our Eternal Father, the creator of this earth: and He will give it to His children to inherit.

We are nearing the end of the 6th thousand years. We have the history, or a partial history, of the dealings of God with the nations from the day of Father Adam down as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, from which we may learn many valuable lessons. God has raised up at different ages certain men to do a certain work, as He raised up father Abraham. He was a noble spirit, we are told, before he left the realms of glory to come and tabernacle in the flesh. He had the spirit of the Gods with him when he was born; and he was faithful to God, and He had confidence in him; and whatever God required at his hands, he performed. So with Enoch. He stood at the head of the dispensation in which he lived. He, in the course of time, some 350 years, built and perfected the city called Zion. He, however, met with all kinds of opposition from the people among whom he labored; but the power of God was manifested to such an extent that his enemies stood and trembled through fear; and through that power he was enabled to perform the mighty work which he and his people did; it was not because the devil and his party were any more kindly disposed towards the Saints of God, but because they could not help themselves; and in the wisdom of God Enoch and his people and their city were taken away from the earth.

The devil in different ages has made war against the Saints and overcome them; and he has tried his best to destroy this Church and Kingdom. As I have said, Joseph and the first Elders met with the fiercest kind of opposition; but, with some exceptions, we have stood it all, and are the better today for having passed through the fire. When we went upon our first foreign mission, Joseph said to us, “No matter what may come upon you, round up your shoulders and bear it, and always sustain and defend the interests of the Church and Kingdom of God.” When we took our departure his demeanor in parting was something that I had never noticed or experienced before. After crossing the Mississippi River I crawled to the side of a house and lay down upon a side of sole leather, while suffering from the chills and fever. While resting there the Prophet Joseph came along and saw me. He gave me some parting advice in answer to some remarks made, and then told me to get up and go on, and all would be well with me. That is the way I parted with him upon that occasion. From that day to this I have noticed the steady growth and increase of this people. We have nothing else to do but to build up the Kingdom of God. If we do this He will keep us and provide for us. We want to labor as a body of Priesthood, to enter into the holy of holies; we want to come before God, and pray until we get the spirit of this work, until we comprehend our calling before God.

There has never been such a dispensation upon the earth as the present one. In other dispensations men had to lay down their lives, and others to hide up in dens and caves of the earth, and wander in sheepskins and goatskins, for the word of God. We have had a taste of the same treatment in our day. And we have also seen days of poverty. When for instance, we left to go on our first English mission, two dollars would have bought everything I left to feed and clothe my wife and children. I hardly had a day’s provisions in my house. It was a good deal so with my brethren; but we did not stay to nurse our wives. Those were the days of our poverty; and we never knew what it was to be comfortably well off until we came to these valleys of the mountains. We had a great many trials in those days or what we called trials. I want to get this principle into your minds, that God Almighty is guiding the course of this Church and Kingdom, and not we; and He has organized it for this day and generation and it never will be rooted out of the earth again. The Prophet Joseph knew what he was doing; in fact, he knew much more than he dared to tell on account of the prejudice, traditions and unbelief of the people. I used to have peculiar feelings about his death and the way in which his life was taken. I felt that if, with the consent and good feelings of the brethren that waited on him after he crossed the river to leave Nauvoo, Joseph could have had his desire, he would have pioneered the way to the Rocky Mountains. But since then I have been fully reconciled to the fact that it was according to the program, that it was required of him, as the head of this dispensation, that he should seal his testimony with his blood, and go hence to the spirit world, holding the keys of this dispensation, to open up the mission that is now being performed by way of preaching the Gospel to the “spirits in prison.” But those who shed his blood, and the people and nation who sanctioned it in their hearts, have that to meet, and they can no more escape the penalty thereof than they can escape the death of the body. My views and feelings in regard to the Twelve and leading men of this Church have been this, that when they leave this stage of action they will be permitted to lie down in peace surrounded by their families and friends; and also, that God will never require them to stain their hands with the blood of their fellow men, in order to protect themselves from violence; but, that the Lord will fight our battles, and frustrate the measures that would lead to such an issue. And the wisdom of this is manifested in the fact that part of our duty is to build Temples, and officiate in the same; and this we could not do so acceptably to God if our hands were stained with the blood of our fellow men, even in our own defense. Hence I believe that God will cause the wicked to slay the wicked; and that He will cut off our enemies by judgment from time to time, as it shall be deemed prudent by Him. All is peace in Zion, and I thank God for it. I am reminded of a saying made by Brother Cannon upon entering the well furnished parlor of one of President Merrill’s houses, of Richmond, in Cache County. “What,” he said, “all this and heaven too?” Yes, God intends to give to His Saints the good things of the earth, as well as the blessings of heaven, as they shall become able to use them properly.

The Lord intends to build up His Zion through us His weak and feeble creatures. He intends to make Zion strong and powerful in the earth. He will bless us with means and He will put it into our hearts to build Temples to His name, in which His Saints may perform the work that is required at their hands in redeeming their dead.

Brethren and sisters, you should live by faith, realizing every day that all power rests with God, and that it is through Him that we are able to live in peace and enjoy plenty; that it is through Him the wrath of our enemies is turned aside from time to time, and that it will be through Him that the remainder of their wrath will be restrained. You should enter your secret closets, and call upon the name of the Lord. Many of you have learned how to pray; then fail not to let your prayers ascend up into the ears of the God of Sabaoth; and He will hear you. I think sometimes that we do not fully comprehend the power that we have with God in knowing how to approach Him acceptably. All that these men holding the Priesthood, and all that our sisters need do, is to live near to God, and call upon Him, pouring out their soul’s desires in behalf of Israel, and their power will be felt, and their confidence in God will be strengthened. But the blessings of heaven can only be obtained and controlled upon the principles of righteousness. I have heard the Prophet Joseph pray when the power of God rested down upon him, and all who heard him felt it; and I have seen his prayers answered in a marvelous manner almost immediately. Governor Reynolds on one occasion employed men to try and kidnap Joseph, and they almost accomplished their designs, but Joseph had some Gentile friends as well as his brethren, through whom he was rescued, and was taken to Nauvoo and released under a writ of habeas corpus. But the Governor continued to harass him with writs, and was determined to destroy Joseph. Joseph and the Twelve went before God in prayer, Joseph kneeling before the Lord, offered up prayer, and asked God to deliver him from the power of that man. Among other things he told the Lord that he was innocent before Him, and that his heart was heavy under the persecutions he endured. In about forty-eight hours from that time word reached Joseph that Reynolds had blown his brains out. Before perpetrating the deed he left a note on his desk stating, that as his services were not appreciated by the people of the State, he took that course to end his days.

There is another instance that occurs to my mind. A certain man took a stand against Joseph, and endeavored to bring persecution on him. He went to his God and laid the matter before Him, asking to be delivered out of the hands and power of that wicked man. Joseph was a Prophet, a Seer, a Revelator. He was acquainted with God; he knew the voice of the Spirit when it spoke to him. After offering up his prayer, the whispering of the still small voice came to him saying, “Wait with patience.” The next day that man was taken sick with cholera, and died in a few hours. See how quickly the Lord answered his prayer offered up while a prisoner in Liberty Jail. At that time, Presidents Young, Taylor and several of the Twelve were on their way through Clay County to lay the cornerstones of the Temple, in fulfillment of the revelation given in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 118. Joseph had no sooner called upon God than he was liberated; and his prayer answered to the very letter. The voice of the Spirit again spoke to him, speaking peace to his soul, and telling him that his troubles should be of short duration. It was but a few days when he had the pleasure of shaking hands with his brethren, and enjoying the society of his family and friends. Joseph lived to accomplish the work that was required of him notwithstanding the persistent and determined opposition that he had to contend against. And after his death the work still went on, God and His angels all the while guiding and sustaining by His Spirit the Prophet Brigham. And He will continue to sustain His servants, and through them and His people Israel He will bring to pass the greatest and grandest work that the world has ever known. It is for us to wake up to a sense of our duty, and call upon the Lord in humility, and live near to Him; and our eyes will be opened, as in the case of the young man, the servant of the ancient Prophet Elisha, and we will see that there are more for us than against us; and that the element of opposition tends only to hasten the fulfillment of the purposes of God. Put your trust in God and rely on His promises, living up to the light and knowledge you possess; and all will be well with you whether living or dying. God bless you, Amen.

Hardship the Heritage of the Saints—The Necessity of Trial Forgiveness of Enemies—Inspired Dreams, “Get the Spirit of God”—The Great Work Expected of the Saints—Labors Among the Lamanites

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Meetinghouse, Kaysville, Davis County, Sunday Morning, December 10th, 1882.

We have met again this morning to hear and receive instruction and worship the Lord and honor Him upon this holy Sabbath day.

The heavens are full of knowledge, full of instruction, full of revelation and of principle and decree, and I may say of judgment, all to be made use of in their day and time, and we have a right to all the knowledge, all the revelation, all the principles of truth, that we can claim by faith and diligence in serving the Lord and in the performance of our duty.

I look upon the Latter-day Saints as occupying a position, I may say equal, at least, to that occupied by the people of any other dispensation that God has ever given to man. We are a blessed people; we are favored of heaven and have received at the hands of our heavenly Father a great many blessings both of the heavens and of the earth, and we, as a people, should be grateful to the Lord our God for the many kindnesses He has bestowed upon us. We live, in fact, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the last dispensation in which the Lord will reveal his mind and will to the inhabitants of the earth, the last time in which the Lord will prune his vineyard, the last time in which he will set up his kingdom upon the earth, establish His Church, and build up His Zion, to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man. And while we sometimes feel and have felt in days that are past and gone, to complain because we meet with oppression, persecution and affliction, yet I wish to say to my brethren and sisters that these things are the heritage of the Saints of God. Any people whom God calls will meet with opposition from those who will not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This has been the legacy of the Saints of God in every age from Father Adam down to our own day. Those that live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. I believe myself, from the reading of the revelations of God, that it is necessary for a people who are destined to inherit the celestial kingdom to be a tried people. I have never read of the people of God in any dispensation passing through life, as the sectarian world would say, on flowery beds of ease, without opposition of any kind. I have always looked upon the life of our Savior—who descended beneath all things that He might rise above all things—as an example for His followers. And yet it has always, in one sense of the word, seemed strange to me that the Son of God, the First Begotten in the eternal worlds of the Father, and the Only Begotten in the flesh, should have to descend to the earth and pass through what He did—born in a stable, cradled in a manger, persecuted, afflicted, scorned, a hiss and by-word to almost all the world, and especially to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea. There was apparently nothing that the Savior could do that was acceptable in the eyes of the world; anything and almost everything he did was imputed to an unholy influence. When He cast out devils the people said he did it through the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils; when he opened the eyes of the blind, the Pharisees and priests of the day told the man to “give God the glory; we know this man is a sinner.” And so all his life through, to the day of his death upon the cross. There is something about all this that appears sorrowful; but it seemed necessary for the Savior to descend below all things that he might ascend above all things. So it has been with other men. When I look at the history of Joseph Smith, I sometimes think that he came as near following the footsteps of the Savior—(although no more so than his disciples)—as anyone possibly could. Joseph Smith was called to lay down his life; he sealed his testimony with his blood, and passed through some serious trials and afflictions. In section 122 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—the word of the Lord given to the Prophet while in Liberty jail—the Lord showed him his condition and position. He refers there to the trials and troubles he was called to pass through, and then compares them with what He Himself (the Savior) had to endure. He says: “And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” The Lord showed him in this revelation that these afflictions were necessary. We have been called to pass through trials many times, and I do not think we should complain, because if we had no trials we should hardly feel at home in the other world in the company of the Prophets and Apostles who were sawn asunder, crucified, etc., for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ.

How should we feel towards our enemies? President Taylor of late has called upon us to exercise towards them the same spirit that was manifested by our Savior upon the cross: “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” We should endeavor to exercise that spirit. Our persecutors, those who would seek to destroy us, do not know what they do. They do not comprehend us at all. Why, bless your souls, if the veil was lifted from off the eyes of the President of the United States, from off the eyes of the members of the Congress of the United States, and from off the eyes of our enemies, if this veil were lifted they would bow before the Lord and plead for these “Mormons;” they would do this if their eyes were open to see the future consequences of taking a stand against this Church and kingdom. But there is a veil over their eyes, because of their works of evil; and the day will come when all peoples will mourn who take a stand against the kingdom of God, the Zion of God, the Church of God, and the Lord’s anointed; unless they repent they will, when they pass into the other world, go into outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is impossible, however, for the Saints of God to inherit a celestial kingdom without their being tried as to whether they will abide in the covenants of the Lord or not.

Well, I feel we are a blessed people. We have prospered. The Lord is fighting our battles. The Lord holds the destiny of this nation and all other nations in His hands. Our enemies can go no further than He permits them.

We live in a day and time when the Lord has decreed to set up his kingdom for the last time upon the earth. That is the reason we have the privilege of building these Temples and these meetinghouses in the mountains of Israel. The Lord has set his hand to establish his kingdom according to his former promises, and it is going to prevail upon the earth. He has told us to fear not our enemies; that though earth and hell combine against us, they shall not prevail, if we are built upon the rock of Christ.

We have come to this earth upon a mission; and we have been gathered to the valleys of these mountains that we may be taught and instructed in the things of God; that we may magnify our calling before the Lord; that we may become saviors upon Mount Zion; that we may have power to go forth and warn the nations of the earth. I look upon the mission of the Latter-day Saints as being as important as that of any people that ever lived in any age of the world. I have often expressed my views with regard to this. As Elders of Israel, very few of us fully comprehend our position, our calling, or relationship to God, our responsibility, or work the Lord requires at our hands. The Lord has given unto us the Priesthood. This is conferred upon us that we may administer in the ordinances of life and salvation. But to enable us to perform our duties acceptably, there is one thing we need, one and all of us, and that is the Holy Spirit. While in Winter Quarters, President Young had a dream in which the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared to him and said: “Brother Young, you exhort this people to obtain the Holy Spirit; with it they can do anything that is necessary; without it they cannot build up the kingdom of God.” In one of my dreams while in Arizona, I had the same admonition from President Young. I thought he was attending one of our conferences. I said to him: “Can you speak to us?” “No,” he replied, “I have done bearing my testimony in the flesh; I have merely come to see the people, to see you, to see what you are doing. But I want you to teach the Latter-day Saints to labor to obtain the Holy Spirit. It is one of the most important gifts that the Saints of the living God can possess. You all need this,” he said, “in order to build up Zion. If you have not this Spirit—the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, the testimony of Jesus, the testimony of the Father and Son—you cannot get along. But if you are in possession of this Spirit, your minds will be open to comprehend the things of God.” This is true. There is not a man in this Church and kingdom today, who, if he is in possession of this spirit, will set his heart upon the things of this world. Any man that loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. We have received something better than the love of gold, silver, houses and lands; we have received the promise of eternal life. We have had conferred upon us the eternal Priesthood by which our heavenly Father has created all worlds and redeemed all worlds and has performed all his works from eternity to eternity.

Then, we should labor to obtain this Spirit while we are upon the earth that we may overcome every evil. We have a mighty warfare on hand. We have to contend against the world, the flesh and the devil. There are temptations that surround every man and woman, that is, if they attempt to keep the commandments of God, and no man or woman can inherit eternal life without passing through this warfare in the flesh. Other generations have had their turn. As a people it is our turn today. The old patriarchs and prophets have gone, their missions are ended, so far as their testimony in the flesh is concerned; but they were valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ; they kept the law, and they will inherit a celestial glory.

I often reflect upon the promises made concerning the Priesthood. The Lord, in a revelation upon this subject, says, Doctrine and Covenants, 33rd to 41st verses: “Whosoever is faithful unto obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. * * * All that my Father hath shall be given unto him. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.” Now, I sometimes ask myself the question, Do we comprehend these things? Do we comprehend that if we abide the laws of the Priesthood we shall become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ? I realize that our eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard, neither hath it entered into our hearts to conceive the glory that is in store for the faithful. We are placed in a position to be proven and tried; we must be, we have been, we shall be, until we get through with our labors in the flesh. The Lord told Joseph Smith that he would prove us in all things, whether we will abide in his covenant, even unto death, that we may be found worthy: “for if we will not abide in his covenant, we are not worthy of him.” Jesus Christ abode in the covenant; he kept all the commandments while he was upon the earth. He even was baptized by the hands of John, although it was not for the remission of sin, but to fulfill all righteousness. There was no part of the Gospel that Christ did not fulfill, and he called upon Joseph Smith to fulfill the same. This he did. He laid down his life. He went to the spirit world, and he is there watching over this people. He has power there, and so have our brethren who have gone to the other side of the veil. They are laboring for us. They are watching to see how we perform the work left to our charge.

I hope we live our religion. I hope we strive to keep the commandments of God. We occupy a very important position in the world. There are very few of the inhabitants of the earth who are laboring to build up Zion. There are very few, apparently, who are able to abide the law of God. There are very few who are willing to sacrifice anything for eternal life and salvation, and thousands will have to inherit a kingdom other than the celestial.

Nevertheless, my brethren and sisters, we are laboring and progressing in this work. Zion is advancing; the kingdom of God is rolling on. The progress of this kingdom has never stopped from the day of its organization; it never will until it has accomplished all for which it has been organized and established on the earth to accomplish. We have a great work to do. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to the nations of the earth. The Elders of Israel have been doing this for the last fifty years. We are still doing it, in the United States and other parts of the world. We shall continue to labor among the Gentiles just as long as the Lord says we must do so. But at the same time we have now been commanded to turn to a branch of the house of Israel. Here are the Lamanites, thousands and thousands of them surround us. They look to us for the Gospel of Christ. It is our duty to go to them and organize them, and preach to them the words of life and salvation.

Then, again, we have temples to build in our day and time, that we may go into them and do a work both for the living and for the dead. Our mission is more extended and extensive than we realize. There have been no Prophets, no Apostles, upon the earth for the last 1,800 years, that we are much acquainted with, except Nephi, who dwelt upon this continent several hundred years after the death of Christ. There has been no one upon the earth with authority to preach the Gospel to the nations of the earth. Many generations have passed away. Many thousands of millions have passed into the spirit world. We are now at the end of the sixth thousand years. We are bordering upon the millennium. We are living in the great and last dispensation, in the which the God of Israel expects us, his servants, his sons and daughters, to perform the work which has been left to our charge. It is our duty to build these temples. It is our duty to enter into them and redeem our dead. Joseph Smith is preaching to the spirits in prison; so are all the Elders who have died in the faith. There are millions of them there, and they must have the Gospel offered to them. Joseph Smith and others cannot baptize the spirits in water, it is not the law; but their posterity, their sons and daughters who are living in the last dispensation, are expected to go into these temples and there redeem their dead. This is a good work, and it is a great blessing for men and women to have this privilege. We have one of these temples finished, and we are doing a great work in that temple. A hundred and sixty-two thousand persons have been baptized for the dead, and nearly seventy thousand endowments have been given in that temple. We have only just begun this work. We want the Logan temple finished, as also the temple at Manti, that the people may go forth and redeem their dead. Our forefathers are looking to us to attend to this work. They are watching over us with great anxiety, and are desirous that we should finish these temples and attend to certain ordinances for them, so that in the morning of the resurrection they can come forth and enjoy the same blessings that we enjoy. We are living in the flesh and have the privilege of receiv ing the Gospel of Christ for ourselves. Our forefathers had not this privilege; and as their posterity when we meet them in the spirit world we shall have the joy and satisfaction of knowing that we did our duty by them while here upon the earth. We occupy a position in this capacity towards them the same as we do to this generation. We occupy the position of Saviors upon Mount Zion.

There are a great many things I might mention that are of interest to the Latter-day Saints. We should humble ourselves before the Lord. We have been called to set our houses in order, that we should seek to obtain the Spirit of the Lord that it may enable us to magnify our callings in the Priesthood. We are under great responsibility. It won’t pay to apostatize; “there is no money in it.” Any man who receives this Priesthood and tastes of the word of God, and of the powers of the world to come—any man that turns away from these things, apostatizes, and turns away from the Church of God, shall not, in accordance with the revelations of the Lord to Joseph Smith, “have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”

The Lord is laboring for his kingdom. In his hands he holds the destiny of this people and of this generation, and if we will do our duty he will sustain and uphold us and Zion will not be moved out of her place. I am anxious to see the Latter-day Saints rise up and magnify their calling. We (the Twelve Apostles, Seventies and others) are called to go forth to preach the Gospel to the Lamanites and organize them. I am glad of it. I have felt for a long time that we should turn our attention to them. They are the literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Lord is working in their midst. The vision of their minds is beginning to be opened, and they are to be taught the things of the kingdom of God. I have thought sometimes that they have more faith than the Latter-day Saints. I traveled among them for one year in Arizona and New Mexico. I visited those that dwell in the walled cities. They have some seven villages on the top of a mountain from 500 to 1,500 feet high. One thing struck me very forcibly while there. Although a good many of these people are superstitious, some of them sunworshippers and so forth, yet they seem to be impressed with the idea that there is going to be a famine. They have enough grain and dried squash laid up to last them for years, and they think the day is not far off when they will need that which they have stored up. Don’t we believe that a famine will come? I know some of our sisters are laying up wheat, I hope the Relief Societies will continue to do so, and the brethren should help them. I believe that the Latter day Saints ought to store up grain against a day of want. The Bible tells us that prior to the coming of the Son of Man there shall be wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes. All these things will come to pass.

It is a good time with us. The Lord has blessed us. He has blessed the earth for our use; and we ought to dedicate our families, our fields, our crops, our herds, to God. We should pay our tithing according to the law of God. We should attend to all the duties required at our hands. We should not neglect our prayers. Men should seek to enjoy the spirit of God, and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit. We should seek to do all the good we can, so that we may feel satisfied when we get through.

I pray God to bless you with His Holy Spirit; I pray that he will give us power to fulfill our calling in the Priesthood, power to build up Zion, power to finish these temples in which we may redeem our dead. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Liberty of Conscience—Man Accountable to God—The Fall of Adam and Eve Preordained—Redemption and Resurrection—The Gospel in Ancient and in Modern Times—Fulfillment of Prophecy—A Falsehood Refuted—Patriarchal Marriage—Its Purity and Its Eternal Purpose

Discourse by Apostle Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, May 14, 1882.

I feel disposed to read a chapter in the Bible; the chapter that I shall read contains, perhaps, a stronger chain of truth concerning life and death, the fall and redemption of man, the redemption and resurrection of the dead, than any other I know of in the Bible.

The speaker then read the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and said:

Before proceeding to make any remarks upon this chapter, I wish to say that there is no person who knows, before entering this building, who is going to address the assembly, and, therefore, we have no prepared sermons to deliver, it may be a miller, or it may be a mason, it may be a carpenter, or it may be a farmer, a lawyer, a merchant, or otherwise; this practice is peculiar to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the tendency is to make the speaker, whoever he may be, depend upon the spirit of inspiration to guide his thoughts and dictate his remarks. And, as a general thing if God, through this means, gives us nothing to say, we can say nothing to instruct the people.

I have often expressed my views with regard to the position we occupy before heaven and earth, before God, angels and men, and the views of Jesus and His Apostles and Elders, as they have come down to us, give a key to what I wish to say upon this subject. If there is an Emperor, a King, a President, a ruler of any nation or people, whether a monarchy, kingdom or republic—that takes away from any of his subjects or fellow citizens the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, he deprives them of a right which the God of heaven has guaranteed unto them. These are the sentiments of the Latter-day Saints. We believe in giving to all men freedom, freedom in spirit and action; we believe in religionists of every creed and faith enjoying the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, which right is guaranteed unto them by God himself; and the man or set of men that would deprive their fellows of this God-given right, assume a responsibility that they must answer for before the bar of God. If I had the power and control of the whole world I would never think of depriving any man, woman or child of this natural, this inherent right, whether their religious views were true or false. Can you find from history that God at any time forced any man to heaven or hell? No, you cannot. And we as Latter-day Saints claim this right and privilege for ourselves to worship God, to believe in God, and to believe in the records of divine truth—the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Revelations of God.

A public speaker, a teacher of the people is held responsible before God and his fellow men for the doctrine he teaches; if he teaches any other gospel than that laid down in the Bible and taught by the ancient Prophets and Apostles he is under condemnation, no matter who he may be. Paul realized this fact so keenly that he, in speaking about it on one occasion, said: “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;” and he repeats this sentiment two or three times over.

I wish to say a few words on one of the verses I have read, the 22nd: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The world, more or less, has found a great deal of fault with Mother Eve and with Father Adam, because of the fall of man; what I have to say with regard to it, I express as my own opinion. Adam and Eve came to this world to perform exactly the part that they acted in the garden of Eden; and I will say, they were ordained of God to do what they did, and it was therefore expected that they would eat of the forbidden fruit in order that man might know both good and evil by passing through this school of experience which this life affords us. That is all I want to say about Father Adam and Mother Eve. Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy; and some have found fault with that. It has been said that God commanded Adam to multiply and replenish the earth; and it has been said that Adam was not under the necessity of falling in order to multiply and replenish the earth, but you will understand that the woman was deceived and not the man; and according to the justice of God she would have been cast out into the lowly and dreary world alone, and thus the first great command could not have been complied with unless Adam had partaken of the forbidden fruit. We acknowledge that through Adam all have died, that death through the fall must pass upon the whole human family, also upon the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea and the fowl of the air and all the works of God, as far as this earth is concerned. It is a law that is unchangeable and irrevocable. It is true a few have been translated, and there will be living upon the earth thousands and millions of people when the Messiah comes in power and great glory to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body, who will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, from mortality to immortality. Nevertheless they must pass through the ordeal of death involved in the change that will come upon them. The Savior himself tasted of death; He died to redeem the world; His body was laid in the tomb, but it did not see corruption; and after three days it arose from the grave and put on immortality. He was the first fruit of the resurrection. There was no prophet, no saint or sinner, from the days of Father Adam to the days of Jesus that ever rose from the dead through the keys and power of the resurrection. Although we read of some who were restored to life, but this was not what is termed the resurrection.

With regard to redemption, Paul said: All the children of Adam are redeemed from the fall by the atoning blood of Jesus, and all infants are redeemed as well as other people. There is no infant or child that has died before arriving at the years of accountability, but what is redeemed, and is therefore entirely beyond the torments of hell, to use a sectarian term. And any doctrine, such as the sprinkling of infants or any religious rite for little children is of no effect whatever neither in this world nor in the world to come. It is a man-made doctrine, and therefore not ordained of God; and I will defy any man to find in any of the records of divine truth any ordinance instituted for the salvation of little innocent children; it would be unnecessary on the face of it, and the only thing that can be found is where Jesus took the little ones in his arms and blessed them, which is and would be perfectly right to do according to the order of God. But the sprinkling of infants or the doctrine that infants go to hell under any circumstances, is a doctrine ordained of man and not of God, and is therefore of no avail and entirely wrong and displeasing in the sight of God. So much about the infants. I will say again they are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and when they die, whether of Christian, Pagan or Jewish parentage, their spirits are taken home to God who gave them, and never go to suffer torments of any kind.

Another subject I wish to say a few words upon: “In Christ all are made alive.” Since the day that sin entered into the world men have been held accountable for their own acts, and it has been known upon this earth from the day, at least, that Cain slew his brother Abel. And sin has presented itself in different grades; there are murder, blasphemy, lying, stealing, whoredom, and abominations of many different forms, which have followed man from generation to generation. For there was a power that dwelt upon the earth in the form of thousands and millions of fallen spirits, one-third of the hosts of heaven, which had been cast out of heaven with the devil in the great rebellion, who remain in that condition and who do not possess tabernacles, and they make war upon the Saints of God, wherever or whenever they are found upon the earth, and upon all men; they seek to destroy the whole human family, and have done so from the beginning until the present day, and they have not ceased their labors, nor do they intend to while Satan remains unbound. All the children of men who arrive at the years of accountability are guilty of sin, all being inclined to do evil as the sparks are to fly upwards. “What shall we do to be saved” was the cry of the people who heard the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost, and the same may be said to be applicable to all men in every generation. The answer would be, obey the law of the Gospel. This is the safe means given for the salvation of the human family. The law of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Gospel contains the laws of God; it contains the ordinances, it contains the commandments, and any man that breaks them is guilty before God. And I will here say, as I wish to be understood by all men, that our faith is, there never has been but one Gospel upon the earth, though today there are six hundred three score and six different religious faiths, all more or less diverse one from another; but there is but the one true and everlasting Gospel, and never will be any more, and it is the same Gospel that was taught to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Patriarchs, and which Jesus and the Apostles preached; it never did vary in the least in one single instance, nor never will. And I say, if we teach any other Gospel than that which was taught by Jesus and His Apostles, we teach a false Gospel and shall be under condemnation before God, angels and men.

What is the Gospel as taught by Jesus himself? The very first principle was faith in the Messiah; this was the first principle ever taught to man. When Adam, after being driven from the garden of Eden, went to Adam-ondi-Ahman to offer sacrifice, the angel of the Lord asked him why he did so. Adam replied that he did not know, but the Lord had commanded him to do it. He was then told that the blood of bulls and goats, of rams and lambs should be spilt upon the altar as a type of the great and last sacrifice which should be offered up for the sins of the world. The first principle, then, ever taught to Father Adam was faith in the Messiah, who was to come in the meridian of time to lay down his life for the redemption of man. The second principle was repentance. And what is repentance? The forsaking of sin. The man who repents, if he be a swearer, swears no more; or a thief, steals no more; he turns away from all former sins and commits them no more. It is not repentance to say, I repent today, and then steal tomorrow; that is the repentance of the world, which is displeasing in the sight of God. Repentance is the second principle.

I have heard many men say, no ordinances are necessary, that belief only in the Lord Jesus Christ is necessary to be saved. I have not learned that myself from any revelation of God to man, either ancient or modern. But on the contrary, faith in Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins were taught by patriarchs and prophets and by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Baptism for the remission of sins is an ordinance of the Gospel. Says one, baptism is not essential to salvation. Jesus not only taught it but rendered obedience himself to that requirement, not that He was baptized for the remission of sins—but, as He said, “to fulfill all righteousness,” thus in this, as in all other respects giving the example for all who follow. When these principles of the Gospel are complied with a man is then a fit subject to receive the Holy Ghost; and this holy gift is bestowed today as it was anciently, by the laying on of hands by men possessing the authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel. These are the first principles of the Gospel which we Latter-day Saints believe in and teach to our fellow men.

Joseph Smith received the ministration of Angels, and he by revelation organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he was taught by those who ministered unto him what to teach to the people, which was the everlasting Gospel.

Again, men received the Holy Ghost through the imposition of hands, after being baptized for the remission of sins. The Holy Ghost was imparted in that way, according to the promise of those who preached the Gospel. Joseph Smith when he organized this Church in 1830, organized it by revelation; and while we had hundreds of churches and systems and religions, not a single denomination upon the earth at that time preached the Gospel as taught by the ancient prophets and apostles, or had a church organized on the earth, with Prophets and Apostles, or with signs following the believers as in ancient days. Can you tell of one? I never heard of one until I heard the Elders of this Church preach the Gospel and set forth the order of God. When God commanded Joseph Smith to go forth and organize the Church, what authority had he to do so? None at all until he was ordained under the hands of those who had held the keys of the Priesthood upon the earth. And I will say to this assembly in the days of Jesus Christ, he taught these principles to the Jews; he brought the Gospel to the Jews, and established his kingdom among them, and it came with all its gifts, graces and powers: the sick were healed; devils were cast out; the gifts were manifested among them. But the Jews rejected him, and they finally put him to death—He and His Apostles. He came to His own Father’s house but He was not received; and then, according to command, this Gospel went to the Gentiles—we are all Gentiles in a national capacity, we are not Jews, the Jews are another class of men; they put the Savior to death, and have suffered for 1,800 years in consequence—they have been trodden under the feet of the Gentiles even until the present day. Those that took part in that deed and those who sanctioned it, said, Let His blood be upon us and our children after us. The Gentile Judge was willing to release Him because he could find no fault in Him; but the feeling and sentiment of the Jews was, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” What infidel is there, no matter who he is, who does not believe in God, let him read the revelations of heaven and see the fulfillment of prophecy from the beginning of Genesis to our day, and he will see them fulfilled to the very letter. There is nothing that has been predicted by Jesus or the Apostles, but what has already been fulfilled to the very letter as far as time will admit, and what has not will be. When, I say, the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles, it went to them in all its power, its beauty and glory, Priesthood and ordinances as it was offered to the Jews. And Paul, in writing to the Romans, told them not to be highminded, but to fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, who were the Jews, because of their unbelief, how could he be more merciful to the unnatural branches, who were the Gentiles? Has there been the true Church of Christ upon the earth since the Apostles were slain? Can you find a Church upon the earth organized as it was in that day? No, not one. The Gentiles followed the example of the Jews in their unbelief, and in putting to death those who bore the holy Priesthood; and instead of the Church of Christ has sprung up every kind of Church during the last 1,800 years. But in these the last days, God has again restored the everlasting Gospel; and any man who believes the Bible must believe the fulfillment of revelation, and he cannot believe in the fulfillment of prophecy without believing that God would send again to the earth angels to deliver that Gospel. And why send an angel for this purpose? Because the Gospel was taken from the earth in consequence of the unbelief of the Gentiles, and the powerful opposition that was brought against the comparative few who represented it. And in fulfillment of the revelation of St. John, John the Baptist came to Joseph Smith and conferred upon him, after a period of preparation on his part, the Aaronic Priesthood, which authorized him to preach and to baptize for the remission of sins, and to administer the sacrament, but not to lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. In due time, however, Peter, James and John appeared to him also and conferred upon him the Melchizedek order of Priesthood and Apostleship, which gave him the power to organize the kingdom of God upon the earth. These are truths whether the world believes them or not. It makes no difference; it is the work of Almighty God, and he is the originator of it. How is it with the Elders of Israel? God has called men from the plow, the hammer and anvil, from the carpenter’s bench, etc., unlearned and weak mortals, and they have been sent out to the world to bear record of this new and everlasting Gospel restored in our day. And what have they said to the Methodists, the Baptists, and all other religionists and classes of men? God Almighty has given unto me a dispensation of the Gospel and I offer it to you; he that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that I am his servant having His Gospel message to declare to all those to whom I am sent, and repents and is baptized for the remission of his sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost. This has been the purport of the message we have borne to men and nations for the last fifty years. And now if God has nothing to do with this, how is it that we have been able to gather together thousands and tens of thousands from about all nations under heaven by the simple proclamation of the Gospel message? How long would it be before Joseph Smith or any other man who would go forth bearing the message that we do, and making the promises that we make, would be found out to be an impostor unless the promises he made were genuine and looked upon in such a way as to give entire satisfaction to those who hearkened to his word? The whole secret of our success as far as making converts is concerned is, that we preach the same Gospel in all its simplicity and plainness that Jesus preached, and that the Holy Ghost rests upon those who receive it, filling their hearts with joy and gladness unspeakable, and making them as one; and they then know of the doctrine for themselves whether it be of God or man. And this Gospel of Christ which we offer is what has led this Church from its first organization until today. And, as I have often said, had it not been for the Gospel revealed to us, we might have labored until we were as old as Methuselah, and Utah today would have been as barren as it was in 1847, when we first came to these valleys. At that time we found a barren desert, yes, as barren as the desert of Sahara, with no mark of the Anglo-Saxon race. But travel through Utah today, and we find houses and cities, gardens and orchards, meetinghouses and tabernacles and schoolhouses and dwellings, with the blessing of God attending the labors of the people; and a community of people from almost every nation taken from the various sects and parties, and they are here through the inspiration of Almighty God, and I know it. We have not had power of ourselves to influence any man or woman with regard to these things. They have been influenced by the testimony of Jesus Christ, and by the Gospel of the Son of God. These are principles by which all men are saved. All men are saved by and through the blood of Jesus Christ, through obedience to the Gospel.

I realize our condition and the position occupied by this generation. I know we are looked upon as a bad people, and we are considered a very ignorant people. There never were more epithets heaped upon Jesus Christ and the Apostles than upon the Latter-day Saints. Why is this? Are we so much worse than the world? No, we are not. What then is the matter? The Lord Almighty has set His hand to gather His people, and to build up his Zion and to establish his Church in these the last days; and the world do not like the doctrine we teach, as it lays the axe at the root of the tree, and consequently we have been persecuted from the time that this Church was organized until today; and the persecution will continue more or less until He reigns whose right it is to reign, until the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the clouds of heaven to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body.

Now I want to say to the Latter-day Saints, we are called to a certain work, and we have been called of God, and we as Elders, have gone forth whithersoever we were sent, taking our lives in our hands, traveling hundreds and thousands of miles without purse or scrip. I have waded swamps and swum rivers, and have asked my bread from door to door; and have devoted nearly fifty years to this work. And why? Was there gold enough in California to have hired me to do it? No, verily; and what I have done and what my brethren have done, we have done because we were commanded of God. And this is the position we occupy today. We have preached and labored at home and abroad, and we intend to continue our labors, by the help of God, as long as we can have liberty to do it, and until the Gentiles prove themselves unworthy of eternal life, and until the judgments of God overtake the world, which are at the door. Does this generation know what awaits them? Does our own nation? No, the world is ignorant of what must, sooner or later, befall them.

Here is the Christian world professing to believe the Bible, can you show me wherein any of the predictions of the prophets, whether those of Jonah to the city of Nineveh, or those of Isaiah to Israel, or to Tyre and Sidon and other ancient cities and peoples, have fallen unfulfilled? No, there is no man can point to a single prophecy of the servants of God that has failed in its fulfillment. Does not the Christian world know that the Bible is full of revelation pointing to this day and age of the world? Let them read the revelations of St. John given him while upon the Isle of Patmos and they will know what judgments await this generation before the coming of the Son of Man. There is a work for somebody to perform. But when we undertake to declare in all seriousness that God has anything to do with the work in which we are engaged they will laugh you in the face, and the reason is, they have departed from God and are entirely unable to comprehend his ways or his purposes; and instead of believing the plain and literal meaning of the word of God, they spiritualize it to suit themselves. Daniel was prepared to enter the den of lions; the three Hebrew children were not afraid of the fate that awaited them; the Apostles were valiant for the truth and shrank not from death for its sake, and why could those men and others under similar circumstances stand by their convictions without flinching? Because, in the first place, they had the truth and they knew it for themselves; and in the second place, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, sustained them as that power alone can in all the trying scenes through which the people of God are called to pass. And this is so today. What the Latter-day Saints have done by way of preaching the Gospel under all kinds of difficulties, building up cities and subduing waste lands, and establishing themselves in the earth, they have done by the revelations and commandments of God to them.

I will say a few words concerning a certain principle, and why I say it is because we cannot help looking at the signs of the times as they appear today. I was reading in the news last evening a speech reported to have been made by Joseph Smith, son of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in which he accuses us of pursuing an entirely different course from that of his father; that his father had nothing to do with the endowments which form a part of our religious faith; and that his father had nothing to do with the patriarchal order of marriage; and he accuses our bishops of polluting the women of their several wards so that they are not fit for wives. This last accusation is so palpably false and so utterly mendacious as to be entirely unworthy of our notice, and I believe I ought to apologize to this congregation for referring to it at all. But it shows how weak must be the hope and faith of men who pretend to be teachers among the people when they descend to traduce the character of innocent men by willfully lying in the hope of bolstering up and establishing their own peculiar cause. And with regard to the others: I wish to say, that Joseph Smith utters falsehoods when he says what he is reported to have said about his father: for I bear record to this congregation, and I ask our young people to bear it in mind after I am gone, that Joseph Smith first made known to me the very ordinances which we give to the Latter-day Saints in our endowments. I received my endowments under the direction of Joseph Smith. Emma Smith, the widow of the Prophet, is said to have maintained to her dying moments that her husband had nothing to do with the patriarchal order of marriage, but that it was Brigham Young that got that up. I bear record before God, angels and men that Joseph Smith received that revelation; and I bear record that Emma Smith gave her husband in marriage several women while he was living, some of whom are today living in this city, and some may be present in this congregation, and who, if called upon, would confirm my words. But lo and behold, we hear of publication after publication nowadays, declaring that Joseph Smith had nothing to do with these things. Joseph Smith himself organized every endowment in our Church and revealed the same to the Church, and he lived to receive every key of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods from the hands of the men who held them while in the flesh, and who hold them in eternity.

I feel to say to the Latter-day Saints everywhere, brethren and sisters, do good and you will reap good; what you sow you will also reap. What our nation sows that it will also reap, and what it measures to others will be meted back to it heaped up, pressed down and running over. I have peculiar feelings in reflecting upon the condition of our own nation. Here are the Methodists and Presbyterians and others all combining to use their influence religiously and politically to put down “Mormonism,” which they say is an abomination in the land, and a great stain upon our nation’s escutcheon. “O, my God,” I feel to say, “I would our nation could see and understand things as they really are.” I want to ask a question. When the sixth angel sounds his trump revealing the secret acts of men to an assembled world, which will include us, what will be the feelings of the present generation and the rulers and leading men and women of our nation as well as those of other nations, and the leaders of the Christian world when that angel declares unto all those who have condemned and cried against the Latter-day Saints, especially those who have taken a leading part, saying, “You yourselves are defiled with women, and your own acts which are recorded on high will rise in judgment against you.” I say to this nation, and especially to those who are actively engaged in bringing about a crusade against us under the cloak of religion, “Sin lies at your own doors, and what you measure unto us will, according to the eternal law of retribution, be meted back to you, and you cannot escape it.” We declare to all men that the God of heaven commanded Joseph Smith to introduce and practice the patriarchal order of marriage, including the plurality of wives. And why? Because it was the law given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for certain purposes; that holy men might have their wives and children with them in the morning of the first resurrection in their family organization to inherit kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers in the presence of God throughout the endless ages of eternity. Ladies and gentlemen, the Latter-day Saints are not the people you think they are; they are not guilty of the crimes and wickedness they are accused of, but on the contrary, they are as a people, free from the sins and abominations of this generation. We are represented as being a community of adulterers, and as being murderers. We are no more guilty of such crimes than were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What God has revealed unto us, and that which we know ourselves to be right and true, we cherish and revere; and the covenants that we have entered into in consequence of the revelations of God to us, we hold sacred. Our wives and children we love and respect, and we could no more deny them their claims upon us as husbands and fathers, than we could deny our God.

Another thing, there is no man that has ever lived who can claim a wife or child in the resurrection unless he and she were married and sealed by divine authority by a man delegated of heaven to perform the ordinance of marriage. All contracts not ordained of God entered into by men, end with this life, and are therefore without binding effect in the world to come. And herein is the difference of the position of the Latter-day Saints and of the Christian world with respect to the married state. The nature of our marriage covenant is sacred and binding both for time and eternity, and I would just as soon think of denying my God as to sever the relationship existing between me and my wives and children. Our plural wives and our children are just as dear to us as the one wife and the children of the Gentiles are to them; and what is more, we have married our wives by command of God, and by authority of His Holy Priesthood, which has been restored again to earth; and if we prove faithful and true to Him and to one another, we shall claim our wives and children in the world to come. Amen.

Man’s Free Agency—The Gospel Restored—Opposition to God’s Work—Increase of Wickedness—The World Warned of Retribution—The Saints Exhorted to Righteousness

Discourse by Apostle Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 26, 1882.

I feel disposed to read a few verses from section 43 of the Doctrine and Covenants, a book containing the revelations of God to the Latter-day Saints, communicated through the prophet Joseph Smith.

(The speaker then read the whole of the section, commencing at the 17th verse.)

There is one thing I wish to say to the congregation, and I would say the same to the whole world if I had the power—it is this: I have heard the Prophet Joseph Smith say on several occasions when speaking on the agency of man, and the liberty and rights of men, that if he were emperor of the earth, having control of the whole human family, he would give every man, woman and child the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, leaving them to be responsible alone to their Creator for their individual acts. These are my sentiments, and they are the sentiments of this people today, and have been from the beginning of the organization of this Church, and I trust will be to the end of time. And this we believe to be a principle emanating from heaven; and while we accord this right to our fellow men, and while we declare it to be a heaven-born right guaranteed unto all American citizens through the Constitution of our country, we claim the exercise of the same right ourselves; and we claim this right and privilege under the Constitution under which we live, and we claim it by the laws of God to man. And whenever any people rise up and attempt to make war upon the rights of men because of their religion, they go beyond their right, they transcend their own powers, whether their power be derived either from God or man.

You may wish to know why I make these remarks. I will tell you. Because God himself grants this right to every human being upon the earth irrespective of race or color; it is part of the divine economy not to force any man to heaven, not to coerce the mind but to leave it free to act for itself. He lays before His creature man the everlasting Gospel, the principles of life and salvation, and then leaves him to choose for himself or to reject for himself, with the definite understanding that he becomes responsible to Him for the results of his acts.

It is upon this principle that we as Latter-day Saints assert our rights and endeavor to enjoy our privileges. And we are accorded this right in accepting the Gospel dispensation in which we live, and in believing in the Old and New Testaments, the records of God’s people who lived in what is called the old world, as well as in the Book of Mormon, the history of the ancient inhabitants of our land, which records are in harmony with each other, bearing witness of the one great Head and of the Gospel which He taught in Jerusalem and Judea, and which His Apostles preached after He left them. It is, in fact, the same Gospel that has been taught to man in every age and dispensation, as there is but the one Gospel, and that Gospel is adapted to the wants and conditions of all men. It is the Gospel of Truth, and truth alone can make us free, free from sin and from the power of the adversary. And this is the Gospel which we have received, and which we take the liberty of preaching to our fellow men.

I do not suppose that there has been any dispensation upon the earth in which a greater variety of evidence, or important evidence of the divinity of the latter-day work has been given than that which is occurring, and that will continue to occur until the second coming of the Son of Man. There is no man upon the earth who believes in the literal fulfillment of prophecy as contained in the Old and New Testament, but who must in his heart believe that the God of heaven will in the latter days set His hand to perform a great work and a wonder in the earth; that He will call forth His Church out of the wilderness of darkness and establish it upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief corner stone. There is no man who believes in the Revelation of St. John who does not believe in his heart that in the last dispensation the angel as seen and described by John in his vision, will fly through the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to commit to man again upon the earth, and that this Gospel is to be preached in plainness and power to every nation, kindred, tongue and people upon the whole earth. There is no man that believes in the literal fulfillment of the revelations of God through the Prophets who does not believe that the Lord will in the latter days gather a people together out of every nation under heavens and that He will also gather the dispersed of Judah—the Jews—that have been trodden under the feet of the Gentiles for the last 1,800 years for shedding the blood of the Messiah.

I wish to bear my testimony to all men within the sound of my voice and those to whom my words shall come, that we are living in that dispensation of God to man that every Prophet and Apostle that has ever breathed the breath of life has pointed to. I bear my testimony that God, in fulfillment of the Revelation of St. John, has sent the heavenly messenger to communicate to man the everlasting Gospel. And why did the Lord reveal to John that this would be done? Because the “falling away” spoken of by Paul had already commenced; because John in his exiled condition sensed keenly that the Church would be overcome and driven from the earth, and by way of encouragement to him and information to all who would believe his word, the Lord showed him what should take place in the future. The Jews had rejected the Messiah, they had crucified the Lord of life and glory and they had also persecuted and taken the life of the Apostles and others who were left to represent his cause; and John only was left, and they tried to take his life; but, in consequence of the promise he had received from the Savior prior to his death, they could not do it: and hence they exiled him on this island—called Patmos. When they rejected the Gospel, they rejected it in all its power and glory, its blessings, its gifts and graces, and also the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood—Aaronic and Melchizedek. With regard to Priesthood we differ from the Christian world. We believe there is no man in heaven or upon earth that administers in the ordinances of the Gospel without the Priesthood, and we defy the whole world to point to a single passage of scripture from the time of father Adam down to Jesus Christ, showing that any man had power to administer in any of the ordinances of the Gospel without the Priesthood. And we say as Paul said, in referring to this delegated power of heaven, that “no man taketh this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron,” and he was called of God through Moses with whom he communicated. Therefore men cannot legally and authoritatively go forth to preach the Gospel until they are sent; and men cannot hear the word and be converted by the same unless they hear it through the mouth of a preacher who is sent, and who has power to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel.

The Lord has established his Church and his kingdom; and we have been laboring now fifty years and upwards in carrying out the instructions which he has revealed unto us in connection with this work. And as men were formerly, so we have been commanded to go forth and call upon men to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins; and as they were authorized, so have we been authorized to say to all men who comply with these requirements, that they shall receive the Holy Ghost. But say the Christian sects, these things are no longer necessary, these outward ordinances are not now essential to salvation. We believe they are. In this, of course, we differ from them, and we have a perfect right to. Jesus himself went to John when he was baptizing in Jordan, and requested baptism of him. John demurred, thinking himself unworthy, but Jesus satis fied him by saying, “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”

Baptism by immersion is one of the ordinances of the Gospel, and the law had to be complied with, and hence Jesus set the example. But the Jews, as a nation, rejected him and his teachings; and the Apostles were commanded to turn to the Gentiles. I say Gentiles—we are all Gentiles in a national capacity; and the same Gospel that was taught to the Jews was preached to the Gentiles. It never varied one iota; it was sent to them with all its gifts and graces, its priesthoods, powers and ordinances without any change whatever. And Paul in warning the Gentiles, told them to take heed and fear lest they fall, through the same example of unbelief; for if God spared not the natural branches, which were the Jews, why should he spare them who were the wild branches grafted into the olive tree. We all understand that the blindness in part which happened to Israel and which, Paul said, should continue until the fulness of the Gentiles come in, did befall the churches which had been built up by the Apostles, and that the Gospel, with its gifts and graces, its Prophets and Apostles, has long since ceased to exist among men. The Gentiles fell through the same example of unbelief, until today a man is looked upon as a deceiver who will rise up and declare himself a believer in the same Gospel that Jesus and his Apostles preached. Paul told the people in his day that God hath set in the Church first Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues; and they were for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, for the perfecting of the Saints, until all come to a perfect man in the stature of Christ. But the Christian world do not believe in these things; they say they are done away, as not being needed. We believe differently, and we have a right to; we say the Lord has restored the Gospel as it was preached to the Jews and the Gentiles by Jesus and the Apostles, and we know whereof we speak. Joseph Smith received the ministration of angels, in fulfillment of the Revelation of St. John, and we know it. He received the keys of the Holy Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist, and under the hands of Peter, James and John, and from that day, through the preaching and administrations of the Elders of this Church, God has given a testimony to hundreds of thousands, of the truth of this work. We believe this, and we have received the testimony for ourselves of its divinity.

In looking upon this congregation assembled in this beautiful building, I am reminded of the mercy and goodness of God to us as a people. On the 24th of July, 1847, I came here in company with the pioneers. At that time Utah was a barren desert, there was no mark of the white man, everything was wild and barren. Today you may travel thousands of miles through this country, and you find towns and cities, farms, gardens and orchards, temples, and tabernacles, and schoolhouses, and large congregations of the people, and hosts of children. And where did all these people come from, and what prompted them to come here? You came from your native lands, from the different civilized nations, impelled by the spirit of the gathering which God has restored in connection with the Gospel; and you came in fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and David, and others of the Prophets who have spoken of you. The question that arises in the minds of persons who pass through our country and see the labors of this people is, are we the dupes of impostors? Was Joseph Smith a deceiver? There is a way to test this, and we have tested it to our satisfaction. The great promise made to us when we first heard the preaching of the Elders of this Church was, that if we obeyed certain requirements of the Gospel, we should receive the Holy Ghost; and this same promise is extended to the world of mankind by our Elders who are still proclaiming these glad tidings of great joy. If that promise had fallen we, my brethren and sisters, would not have been here today; and Utah would doubtless be as barren as it was when we found it in ’47. There is no question in our mind, as to the divinity of the work in which we are engaged. The Christian world questions it. This, of course, we cannot help.

I want to say to the Latter-day Saints, you are living in an important and interesting time in your history, a time when the principles of the everlasting Gospel are being brought prominently before the world, and it is but natural that they should find their opposite in misrepresentation and persecution. Jesus himself, together with every servant of God of every age, while endeavoring to bless and save mankind through teaching correct principles, made themselves unpopular and become the subjects of hatred and persecution. And there is no doctrine so unpopular today as the principles of life and salvation as God has revealed them; and there are none so unpopular as those who believe in and practice the same. Truth revealed from heaven for the salvation of mankind always was unpopular, and always will be so long as the world exists in its present state. Men do not want truth, and therefore they reject it, and they reject it today for the same reason that men rejected it formerly, because they love darkness rather than light. If the Latter-day Saints expect to become popular in this day and generation, they will find themselves greatly mistaken. There is a warfare going on between truth and error, and this warfare will continue until He shall reign whose right it is to reign.

I also want to say to the Latter-day Saints, you should exercise faith in God; you should make yourselves acquainted with the revelations of God, and with the promises He has made to His people, fully believing that all will come to pass as He has spoken it. And each man claiming a standing among this people should do his duty to the trust committed to our charge. Our responsibility is great before God and man. Any people into whose hands is committed a dispensation of the Gospel has a great responsibility. And Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the Twelve Apostles, would have been under condemnation and would have rendered themselves liable to the curse of God if they had not gone forth into the world and borne record of this work. Paul was placed in the same position and he sensed it, as is inferred from these words: “Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel.” And this is our position today in relation to the world.

I have been with this Church almost from its organization, and have passed through the various scenes of its early history. I have seen its rise and progress, and have witnessed the power of God manifested in behalf of this people; and I want to bear my testimony that the God of heaven has, in fulfillment of the prophecies, set His hand to establish His Church and kingdom in the earth, which means no more and no less than His rule and His government, and that He will accomplish it, and there is no power upon the earth or under the earth that can stay the progress of Almighty God. But notwithstanding this, we expect to meet with opposition, with the hatred of the world; this, in fact, is the legacy of the Latter-day Saints. Said the Savior to his Apostles, I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you; if you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. It hated me before it hated you. And what are we going to do? We are going to trust in God. I have no fears myself; I have never had since I heard the first Gospel sermon by the Elders of this Church; for I know that God lives, and that he has set his hand to establish his kingdom, and it will continue to grow and increase until it shall fill the whole earth. He has called upon us to proclaim to the whole world the Gospel of Christ, and we are doing it as fast as circumstances and wisdom permits; and we promise all men what the first Elders promised us, that is, if they yield to the requirements they shall know for themselves whether this work is of God or man. Is there, I ask, any man or set of men dare make such promises to their fellow men? I answer, nay; neither could we do it, did we not know that God would back up the word by imparting the Holy Ghost. He has done so from the beginning, and these people can bear me witness.

The question may be asked, What about the course our government is taking with us? Whatever our nation does or may do, it will be held responsible before God; and every emperor, king and ruler will be held responsible for the use they make of the power committed into their hands. The Lord inspired the men that framed the Constitution of our country, and has guarded the nation from its foundation, in order to prepare free people in which to establish his kingdom. Columbus was inspired of God to persevere as he did to discover this continent, and thus prepare the way for a class of people upon whom the Spirit of the Lord moved to follow; and when they were oppressed hard enough they declared themselves independent, and by the help of God they established and have maintained the government which God gave our forefathers, which is one of the best constitutional governments ever known among men. One of its chief and prominent characteristics is its guarantee of religious liberty, permitting every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. This is a sacred right granted by God himself to all men; and when the rulers or legislators of any land undertake by enactments of law to step between man and his God, they by that act become responsible, and must sooner or later be made to answer for interfering with a divine law. This is the light in which we regard the position of our own nation in the steps they have recently taken against us, as a people. However, if I were to express my feelings to Congress and the leading men of our nation, and to our enemies and the whole Christian world, I would say, do not weep for us—and we are sensible of the fact that they will not—but rather weep for yourselves and your children, for as sure as the Lord lives the evils that men seek to bring upon us, will return in due time upon their own heads, heaped up, pressed down and running over. For it is an eternal law, and a law by which we are governed, that what measure we mete, shall be measured back to us again. Our nation knows not what awaits it; the Christian world knows not what awaits it, and the blind guides that lead the people cannot tell them, and the result will be that both the people and their guides will fall into the ditch together.

I will say another thing. The Lord never did bring judgment upon any people of any generation until he raised up prophets to warn them of the impending danger. You may read the history of the great and ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon, Nineveh and Babylon and other cities that were built to defy all time and every power but that of God; but when they were ripened in iniquity they were cut off, the Lord raised up men to warn them and to call upon them to repent; but when they rejected them the Lord brought judgment upon them and they were cut off in their sins. And so it will be with our nation and all others, when they shall be fully warned and they reject the message that is sent to them. The heavens are full of judgment, and as the prophets have said, they will commence at the House of the Lord and then go to the nations of the earth. These things are beginning to make themselves manifest and the righteous and pure in heart can see it.

I want to see the Latter-day Saints live their religion, keep their faith and do their duty, and trust in God. And if men persecute you for the sake of your religion, what can you do? You can go to God, and make your wants known to him; and that is our duty as Latter-day Saints. And as to our nation, they, as well as we, are in the hands of God; and I have nothing to say about them. God will deal with them; and what they sow they will reap, and he will deal with us upon the same principle. The history of the ancient inhabitants of this land, as it has come down to us through the mercy and goodness of God, fully testifies to this principle; as long as they did what was right the blessings of God followed them, but after they became disobedient and wicked the hand of God rested upon them. At times when I reflect upon the great change that has taken place in our own land in the morals of the people during my time, I feel in my spirit to mourn and to fear as to the consequences. I was between 20 and 21 years of age before I heard of a murder having been committed in the whole of the New England States. The first murder that was committed in our land from the time I could remember until I gained my majority, was committed in New Haven; and I well remember how the news of it shocked all New England. What effect has such news upon the people of the same region today? Throughout the whole of Christendom today, murder, whoredom, blasphemy, and their kindred evils and vices are indulged in, and unbelief reigns in the hearts of men. Men profess to believe in the Bible; but confront them with the doctrines and prophecies it contains, and they will at once either raise a doubt as to their real meaning or they will openly deny them; and the few that accept the literal meaning of God’s word, and confess him and acknowledge him in all things, do it at the risk of their reputation, and some of them, even of their rights as American citizens. What the result of all this will be is already written; and it will come to pass as sure as the Lord hath spoken it.

I rejoice in the Gospel of the Son of God as he has revealed it in this our day; I rejoice in the organization of the church and kingdom of God, and in the revelations of hea ven. I read them with a great deal of interest, for I know they are true; and, therefore, I look forward with assurance to their fulfillment in the earth. We have but a little time to spend on earth even though we live to be a hundred years of age, and we have no time to waste. We should live in such a manner that the Spirit and blessing of God may attend us; and then when we cease our labors here we shall pass hence to continue them in the same cause of salvation and redemption, and all will be well with us. Amen.

Funeral Discourse

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, at the Funeral Services of Sister Elizabeth H. Cannon, on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882.

We are again called to pay our last respects to the dead. Upon this occasion it is one of the daughters of the Lord, a mother of Zion, who has filled the measure of her creation. Sister Cannon was a noble woman, a noble mother in Israel who has raised a noble posterity; and she has now gone to rest after spending her life in upholding the principles of truth and making them honorable in the earth.

There are some things connected with this funeral that may be considered unpleasant, I refer to the absence of the husband of the deceased at Washington, where he is laboring for the interest and welfare of the people of this Territory, he, under the circumstances, not feeling to leave his post, but to leave the remains of his companion in the hands of his friends and to the mercy of God. And also in the absence of her two oldest sons, one of whom is in England, the other in Germany, preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of those respective countries, neither of whom, therefore, the sons nor the husband, can be present to pay their last respects to their noble mother and companion.

On such occasions when mourning the loss of our departed friends, I cannot help but think that in every death there is a birth: the spirit leaves the body dead to us, and passes to the other side of the veil alive to that great and noble company that are also working for the accomplishment of the purposes of God, in the redemption and salvation of a fallen world. And the spirit of this our deceased Sister, has gone to mingle with her little ones who have gone before her, and with her father and mother and her other family relations, and with her many friends who, like her, have wrestled with life and the struggles and troubles thereof, have overcome and gone home. All is well with Sister Cannon. She is satisfied with her condition today. I feel with regard to her as I have always felt with regard to faithful Latter-day Saints, when they have finished their work and gone behind the veil that there are none of them that would return to their earthly bodies if they had the opportunity.

In making remarks at funerals, which I have often been called upon to do, I have taken the liberty of speaking plainly my feelings with regard to the dead. And I will say here, when I see a man or a woman, a true and faithful Latter-day Saint pass away, I do not feel in my heart to mourn. Why should we mourn for the woman whose remains lie before us? She has been true and faithful to the sacred and holy covenants that she entered into with God her heavenly Father; she has received those ordinances in the house of God that will prepare her to go into the presence of the best men and women that have lived upon the earth; she has left a noble posterity to bear her name and to bear record of and to emulate her example; she is freed from pain and suffering and the anxieties of life, and is now beyond the power of the enemy of all righteousness; she has opened her eyes in the spirit world, among her relatives and friends and her own little ones, whose death caused her grief and pain; she has gone to enjoy the society of those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and to inherit the blessings and glory of eternal life. No, I cannot feel to mourn for her. It is hard, of course, to part with our friends; but after all it is with regard to them, as one of old said. It is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting. It is natural for us to give expression to our feelings in tears in laying away the bodies of our beloved friends, and there is a degree to which we may go which is proper and right; but there are extremes which are often indulged in, which is neither proper nor right for Latter-day Saints to copy after. Here, however, as I have said, we have nothing to mourn about as far as Sister Cannon is concerned.

When I say that I have never felt to mourn for any faithful man or woman who has died in this Church, I must make one exception; I did feel to mourn, and so did all Israel, the death of our martyred Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith. But we did not mourn on account of them personally, for they had passed through all that any martyr ever did or could, but we felt to mourn their loss to the Church as our leaders, to whom we had learned to look for counsel and advice in every hour of trouble and trial, although there is something very dreadful in the thought of assassinating men, whether they be Prophets or Apostles, or whether they be emperors or presidents. With that exception I have not felt to mourn for any faithful person who has gathered up his feet and gone to sleep with the fathers. I have felt rather, that they have gained a victory which but few of the human family have gained in their day and generation. For you will find, my brethren and sisters, there are but a very few comparatively, either male or female, who have had independence of mind enough, as well as honesty of heart sufficient to receive the Gospel of Christ. It takes independence of mind, honesty of heart, faith in God, and firmness of character to live the life of a Latter-day Saint, in the face of a frowning world, and in the midst of trials and troubles and persecution.

The spirit of Sister Cannon has left us; her body is here awaiting the purifying changes it must undergo in mother earth. But whether her spirit is present witnessing these funeral services, or whether she, on opening her eyes in the spirit world, would say, “I leave my body for my friends to bury, I must enter upon my mission,” that is something we are not able to speak definitely about. God not having revealed it unto us. But this we do know, she is all right, because she was thoroughly prepared for the change that awaited her; and she has gone to do all that she can for those of her kindred and friends that are to follow. And what more can you say? We are left, and we are doing for Sister Cannon what our friends, sooner or later, will be doing for us. It will not be very long before Brother Cannon and also the children and friends of the deceased who remain will join her in the spirit world, if it is not until the coming of Christ. This admonition comes home forcibly to the living, “Be ye also ready.” And it applies to us all. And it is for us as parents and Elders of Israel to labor in the cause of God, while we are permitted to tarry; living up to the light and knowledge that we have been blessed with. For there is a time appointed unto all men; and He takes away many according to the counsels of His own will. He takes whom He will take, and spares whom he will spare for a wise purpose in Himself. These things are according to the purposes and ordinances of God to man. Some labor this side of the veil, others on the other side of the veil. If we tarry here we expect to labor in the cause of salvation, and if we go hence we expect to continue our work until the coming of the Son of Man. The only difference is, while we are here we are subject to pain and sorrow, while they on the other side are free from affliction of every kind.

I pray God to comfort the heart of Brother Cannon, in this his sad bereavement, and to sustain him by the power of His Spirit; and I pray that his wives and children may be blessed and preserved in the truth, that at last he and they, together with this his companion, whose voice is now hushed in death, may come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, and stand in their family organization clothed with glory, immortality and eternal lives, to join with the redeemed and sanctified in exclaiming:

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Liberty of Conscience—The Unrighteousness of Religious Persecution—Eternal Truths Revealed—Indestructibility of the Principles of the Gospel, Etc.

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, October 23, 1881.

There being a little time left us this afternoon, I feel disposed to make a few remarks to those who are present. There is one principle which has been universally acknowledged by the Latter-day Saints, by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, the Apostles and all the leading men of the Church. I have heard Joseph Smith and Brigham Young say that if they had the power over the whole world, over every human being who breathes the breath of life, they would give every inhabitant of the earth the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is a principle which we believe in as Latter-day Saints, we ever have believed in it, and it is a principle which even the laws of our country, the Constitution of our government holds out to all of its citizens. What! Would you give the Methodists, the Baptists, etc., the privilege of enjoying their religion? Certainly. Our city abounds with churches of different denominations. Have they ever been opposed by anybody belonging to this Church in the erection of their churches and in the enjoyment of their religion? I think not. If they have, they should not have been. Why would you do this? Because the God of heaven gives all his children this right and privilege, it belongs to the whole human family, every man, woman and child under heaven has the right to worship God according to his desires, according to his own views, and according to the light which he has. The Lord gives all the children of men this right and privilege. He gives them their agency and holds them responsible for their actions, and while the Lord does this, why should the children of men interfere? Why those scenes of blood that have taken place on the earth through religious principles? They are unrighteous. As Latter-day Saints we claim the same right that we would give to the inhabitants of all the world. We say to all men, “Enjoy your religion, worship God according to the dictates of your own conscience.” We ask the same right as the children of God. We claim this by the Constitution and laws of our country, and upon this principle we have embraced the fulness of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord has sent forth angels out of heaven. He has delivered the fulness of the Gospel to Joseph Smith. He was raised up as a Prophet of God, by the power of God, to lay the foundation of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the earth, and to lay the foundation of that kingdom which the Prophet Daniel and the other Prophets spoke of, and to build up that Zion which Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel said should be built up in the latter days. We believe this with every sentiment of our hearts. Now, in reading the publications of the day, I find there are many men in our country that seem to be filled with great anger against the Latter-day Saints, and they belch forth their wrath and indignation and animus against us, because we differ from them in some principles pertaining to the Gospel of Christ. Now, here is one principle that I wish to impress upon the minds of every Saint of God who dwells upon the earth—and I want our reporters to write it down—I want to impress it upon the rulers of our nation and upon all the inhabitants of this nation and every other nation, namely, that the love of God, faith hope and charity, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with all the ordinances thereof, with the Holy Priesthood, which has power both in heaven and on the earth, and the principles which have been revealed for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men—that these are principles you cannot annihilate. They are principles that no combination of men can destroy. They are principles that can never die. Prisons cannot confine them; fire cannot burn them; the sea cannot drown them; no storm can wreck them; no gulf can swallow them up; no grave can entomb them, because they are eternal and will endure forever. They are beyond the reach of man to handle or to destroy. You may put men in prison and abuse them; you may burn men at the stake; you may drive men from their homes who advocate these principles; but it is not in the power of the whole world put together to destroy those principles, they are as firm and independent, as far as the agency of man is concerned, as the pillars of heaven or the throne of God. I want the inhabitants of the earth to hear these things and remember them. The inhabitants of the earth have tried for generations to destroy these principles. Yet it matters not what may take place on the earth. Republics may be destroyed, kingdoms overthrown, empires broken up, thrones cast down, the sun may be turned to darkness, the moon to blood, the stars may fall from heaven, and heaven and earth itself may pass away, but not one jot or tittle of these principles will ever be destroyed. I would to God the world could understand this. It would have been a blessing for them if the Jews could have understood it before they put to death the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ came to the Jews he brought the everlasting Gospel. He was of the tribe of Judah himself. He came to his own father’s house; he offered them life and salvation; yet he was the most unpopular man in all Judah. The High Priests, the Sadducees, the sectarians of the day, were the strongest enemies he had on earth. No matter what he did, it was imputed to an evil source. When he cast out devils it was imputed to the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. When he opened the eyes of the blind they said: “Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” This unpopularity followed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross where he gave up the ghost. Now, the inhabitants of Judah had an idea that if they could only put to death the Messiah, that that would end his mission and work on the earth. Vain hope of that generation as well as this. When they led Jesus to the cross, the very moment that spirit departed from that sorrowful tabernacle, it held the keys of the kingdom of God in all of its strength and power and glory the same as he had done while in the body. And while the body lay in the tomb, Jesus of Nazareth went and preached to the spirits in prison, and when his mission was ended there, his spirit returned again to his tabernacle. Did the Jews kill the principles he taught? No. He burst the bonds of death, he conquered the tomb, and came forth with an immortal body filled with glory and eternal life, holding all the powers and keys he held while in the flesh. Having appeared to some of the holy women and the apostles, he then went and administered to the Nephites upon this continent, and from here he went to the ten tribes of Israel, and delivered to them the Gospel, and when they return they will bring the history of the dealings of Jesus of Nazareth with them, while in his immortal body. The same unpopularity followed the twelve Apostles. Some of them were sawn asunder, others were beheaded, crucified, etc. But did the Jews destroy the principles they taught? Did they destroy the keys of the kingdom of God? No, verily no. They had no power over these things any more than they had power over the throne of God, or God Himself. These men when the spirit left their body returned holding the keys of the kingdom of God into the presence of God.

I will here say in passing that there is one principle that it would have been well if the Jews had understood, it would be well if all the inhabitants of the earth understood it, and that is, that it costs something to shed the blood of the Lord’s anointed, to shed the blood of Prophets and Apostles and righteous men, to fight against God, against his Christ, and against his work. When these Jews cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him,” and a Gentile judge had declared he could find no fault in him, still they were ready to say—“All right, you let his blood be upon us and our children.” In this the Almighty took them at their word. The Jews have been trampled under the feet of the Gentiles for 1,800 years, in fulfillment of that declaration. The yoke is not even broken today. In the eastern world, in Russia, and in all the nations of the earth, more or less they are trampled under the feet of the Gentiles. Tens of thousands have been put to death. Nero put to death many, as also did other men in their day and time. Hence you see it has cost the Jews something for the putting to death of the Lord’s anointed.

Now, I want to say something with regard to the dispensation in which we live. The God of heaven has set his hand to fulfil the volume of revelation which the Bible contains, to build up that kingdom that Daniel the Prophet saw in the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. The God of heaven has sent forth that angel which John the Revelator saw “fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” That angel has delivered the Gospel to Joseph Smith, and I know it. I bear my record and testimony to this truth. It is the truth of the living God. He has set his hand, as I have said, to build up this kingdom. Isaiah has written its history. Look at these valleys of the mountains. I came here on the 24th of July, 1847. What did I find? A barren desert, as barren as the desert of Sahara. There was no mark of the white man. It did not look as if any white man could live here at all. How is it today? Travel through the length and breadth of this Territory and behold the cities, towns, villages, gardens, orchards, fields, and crops that cover this once barren desert. What does it mean? It means that God Almighty is carrying out his purposes, it means that he has brought to his remembrance what his Prophets and Apostles have spoken; and all things shall be fulfilled to the very letter, even to the winding up scene. From whence has come this congregation; from whence have come the Saints gathered together throughout these mountains of Israel? They have been gathered from every nation as far as the Gospel has been preached. We have been gathered together by the power of the Gospel. Yet, as I have remarked many times in my public discourses, if we had preached until we were as old as Methuselah, we could never have got men and women to leave their homes if they had not been moved upon by the Holy Ghost. The Elders of Israel preached the Gospel unto them and promised them in the name of Jesus Christ, that if they would receive this Gospel they would receive the Holy Ghost. Is there a man on the face of God’s footstool today that would dare make such a promise as that unless he were backed up by the power of God? No, not one. If the Elders of Israel had been impostors, deceivers, they would have been very soon found out; but the God of Israel has backed up their testimony, and it is on this principle that these valleys are filling with the people of God today.

Now, I want to say that the same principles which existed in the days of Jesus and his Apostles exist today. There is a spirit of oppression, opposition, and persecution against the Latter-day Saints, because they differ from the world in their principles of religion. Jesus, however, said in his day: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” What is the cause of this hatred? It is because we declare the Gospel of Christ; it is because we believe in Prophets, Apostles, and the gifts and graces of the Gospel; it is because we preach faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; it is because the Church is organized with Prophets, Apostles, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, etc., according to the ancient order of things. This does not agree with the feelings of the sectarian world, therefore they are opposed to us. “But,” says one, “it is your polygamy that has created so much trouble with you ‘Mormons.’” Oh, indeed, is it? I will ask, where was polygamy when we were driven from Kirtland and Far West, from Jackson, Van Buren, Clay and Davis Counties, Mo., from Nauvoo, etc., to other places, men and women put to death, houses burned, etc? We suffered more persecution then than we have ever suffered, ten times over, since polygamy was revealed and advocated by the Elders of Israel. What was the matter then? “Oh, you believe in revelation, you believe in Prophets and Apostles. We cannot stand this—you have got to give up that belief, and if you don’t we will destroy you, put you to death, etc.” The feeling among the people of the United States then was that if they could only put to death the leaders of the Church, that that would be the end of “Mormonism.” So they thought in putting to death Jesus of Nazareth, that that would be the end of his teachings in that land. But lo and behold! when they put to death Joseph and Hyrum, they did not kill “Mormonism,” they did not kill faith in God, they did not kill hope and charity, they did not do away with the ordinances of the house of God, nor the power of the Holy Priesthood. The God of heaven had ordained these things; he had ordained men under the hands of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the kingdom of God in the eternal worlds, and that Priesthood and the keys thereof was to remain on the earth forever. It is beyond the power of man to destroy it. I want the Latter-day Saints to understand this: “Fear not them,” said the Savior “which kill the body, but are not able to destroy the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The purposes of the Lord must be fulfilled. There is not one jot or tittle of the Old Book that the sectarian world believe in but will be fulfilled. The same with regard to the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The opposition of the world cannot stay the progress of this work. Some men are trying to do so all the time. I dislike to refer to individuals, but I have read lately of a Mr. Talmage, who seems to be in a terrible torment about the “Mormons,” and is forever pouring out his wrath and indignation against them. Now, I just want to say that if we had a thousand million Talmage’s, and they were to spend every breath they had, they could no more stay the hand of the Almighty in the rolling forth of this work than they could stop the wind from blowing. Why? Because God Almighty holds in His hands the destiny of this people, and of all nations, and this generation will yet realize that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn,” saith Isaiah, and I know he was a Prophet.

Now, so far as I am concerned, I want to say to my friends, and to all peoples, I have no fears with re gard to the kingdom of God, I have no fears with regard to Zion; I have no fears with regard to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is in the hands of the Almighty, and all that he hath said with regard to its work in the latter days will come to pass in spite of earth and hell combined. I want the world to understand this. These are eternal truths. The principles will live when our nation is broken to pieces and wasted away, and when we ourselves have passed away to the spirit world. There is no power beneath the heavens that can hinder, stop or destroy the progress of truth and the decrees of Almighty God. I want to have the Latter-day Saints understand these things. We are in the hands of God. This is a very different generation from any other. It is a generation when the Lord has decreed—and that, too, before the world was made—that in the last days the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed nor given to other people; the little stone cut out of the mountains without hands shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth. These are the declarations of the Lord Himself.

I will now refer to another principle. I am an American citizen; a great many of this people are, I hope most are. I was born in the State of Connecticut, and many of the New England forms and teachings in our childhood, 65 years ago, were good to receive and live by. But what I want to say is: We live in a government raised up by the God of heaven. We have a constitution that was given by inspiration from God to man. I believe it is the best human form of government that was ever given to the human family. Now, I say if our rulers and governors become corrupt and attempt to trample those principles under their feet; though the nation itself might go to pieces, yet it is beyond the power of man to destroy the principles of the constitution. They may destroy one another, yet the principles contained in that instrument will live, and the God of heaven will maintain them until Jesus Christ comes in the clouds of heaven to set up His throne in Jerusalem, and to reign on the earth a thousand years.

I felt that I would like to say so much. I want my brethren and sisters to understand these matters. We should live our religion. I have no fears with regard to the kingdom of God. We may have fears in regard to ourselves. This man may apostatize, the others may apostatize, John Taylor, myself, or anybody else may die, but it will make no difference with regard to this work. Israel will never be without a lawgiver. Zion will become all that Israel saw it, in its beauty, power and glory in the earth. I wanted to say so much to strangers here as well as Latter-day Saints. We believe in these principles with every sentiment of our soul. We expect to live them, we are ready to die for them, but they will never be destroyed. We may go to prison, we may suffer all manner of persecution, but the principles we advocate will remain forever. When Joseph Smith’s body was laid in the grave, his spirit, like unto the Son of God, went into the spirit world with the keys of this dispensation to unlock the prison doors. There were fifty thousand million of spirits that never saw the face of a Prophet, or heard a gospel sermon in their lives until Joseph Smith preached to them the message of salvation. Those people in the spirit world have got to have equal rights in the Gospel dispensation with those on the earth. That is the reason why Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison. Joseph Smith will hold the keys of this dispensation throughout the countless ages of eternity, as Peter, James and John will hold theirs. He (Joseph Smith) will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, and will rise up in judgment against this generation. He sealed his testimony with his blood. That testimony is in force upon all the world from the hour of his death. These are eternal truths. I hate to see any nation, I hate to see our own government, I hate to see the clergy of the day, rise up in anger against these Latter-day Saints, because they differ from them in principles of religion. We know for ourselves this Gospel is true. We know it has been given unto us by the revelation of God. We know it will stand. The power of God will be made manifest. These valleys will be filled with Latter-day Saints. We will grow and increase until the coming of the Son of Man. Whatever men may do, as I have said before, they are in the hands of God.

I pray God, my Heavenly Father; that He may instil these principles into your hearts, that they may accomplish the mission for which they have been sent. Even so, Amen.

The Channels of Communication From God to Man—Dreams, Visions, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the General Conference, in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday, A. M., Oct. 8th, 1881.

I want to preach a short sermon to this congregation. To begin with, I have heard President Young and President Taylor a great many times from this stand ask the people to keep quiet until the meeting was dismissed; but as soon as the sermon ends there are a hundred boys and girls, or two hundred of them, rush for the doors. I do not like it. It pains me to see the President of the Church make this request, and the people pay no attention to it.

Now, in this fast age we are passing from a polite age to a very rude one in many respects. When I was a boy 65 years ago, and went to school, I never thought of passing a man whom I knew in the street, or a woman, without taking off my hat and making a bow. I never thought of saying “yes” or “no” to those that were placed over me. I was taught to say “yes, sir” and “no, sir;” but today it, is “yes” and “no,” “I will,” “I won’t,” “I shall” and “I shan’t.” Now, when I see this rudeness amongst us, I sometimes wish that the spirit of the New England fathers was more among the people. But I do hope, brethren, sisters and friends, when a man stops talking and the choir rises to sing, that you will keep your seats. You can afford to do this as well as the President of the Church, the Twelve Apostles, or others who are sitting on this stand. You don’t see us jump up and run for the door the moment a speaker is done. The Lord is displeased with any such thing. I hope you will pardon me for so speaking. I felt to say that much.

We have a great variety of teaching and preaching, and I have sometimes thought that we have more preaching and teaching than any other people on the earth. I expect it is all right. I think we need it. The world need teaching, we ourselves need teaching; but I have thought that the Latter-day Saints have had more of the Gospel of Christ proclaimed to them than any other generation that ever lived.

My mind reverts to the channels of communication from God to man. Here we have the Bible which gives a history and prophecy of the prophets from Adam down to our own day extending through a period of near 6,000 years. The Lord, through all the destruction that has taken place in the various libraries of the world—like the great library of Alexandria, for example—has preserved the record of the Jews, at least we have a portion of it to read. Then, again, we have the Book of Mormon, the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim, giving a history of the ancient inhabitants of this country from the time of their leaving the Tower of Babel to their disappearance from the land, and of the visitation of Christ to them. We have these books from which to obtain knowledge. Then we have the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, our Testament, which contains the most glorious, godlike, solemn and eternal truths ever recorded within the lids of a book on the earth. All these records are the words of God to man; and though the heavens and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will ever fall unfulfilled.

Then the Lord has other ways of communicating His mind and will. We have the living oracles with us, and have had from the day that Joseph Smith received the ministrations of Moroni, the Nephite, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, Moses, Elias, Elijah, Jesus Christ—from that day we have had the living oracles to teach us the word of the Lord.

President Joseph F. Smith yesterday spoke of the gifts and graces. Now, the Lord has many ways in which He communicates with us. Frequently, as has been the case in every age, truths, principles, warnings, etc., are communicated to the children of men by means of dreams and visions. There is a great vision recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith saw the visions of heaven they were commanded to write while in the vision. The Lord was in that. It is a communication to man. But we have had a great many dreams—I have had in my life, and I suppose you have more or less—which amount to nothing. I will tell you just about what I refer to. A man eats a hot supper when he goes to bed; he gets the nightmare; he is chased by a bear; or he falls over a precipice, and as soon as he strikes the ground he wakes up. Now, the Lord had nothing to do with that. A man may go to bed half-worried to death, tired and dream about something that will never take place. Last night, for instance, I dreamt I was making glass houses out of blocks of glass two feet square. Now, I don’t know that the Lord was in that. Yet I have had dreams of a very different character. When I was a boy eleven years old, I had a very interesting dream, part of which was fulfilled to the very letter. In this dream I saw a great gulf, a place where all the world had to enter at death, before doing which they had to drop their worldly goods. I saw an aged man with a beaver hat and a broadcloth suit. The man looked very sorrowful. I saw him come with something on his back, which he had to drop among the general pile before he could enter the gulf I was then but a boy. A few years after this my father and mother removed to Farmington, and there I saw that man. I knew him the moment I saw him. His name was Chauncy Deming. In a few years afterwards he was taken sick and died. I attended his funeral. He was what you may call a miser, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. When the coffin was being lowered into the grave my dream came to me, and that night his son-in-law found one hundred thousand dollars in a cellar belonging to the old man. I name this merely to show that in this dream I had manifested to me certain things that were true. I think of all the inhabitants of the world having to leave their goods when they come to the grave. After this scene had passed before me I was placed in a great temple. It was called the kingdom of God. The first man who came to me was Uncle Ozem Woodruff and his wife I helped into the temple. In process of time, after embracing the Gospel, and while on my first mission to Tennessee, I told Brother Patten of my dream, who told me that in a few years I would meet that man and baptize him. That was fulfilled to the very letter, for I afterwards baptized my uncle and his wife and some of the children; also my own father and stepmother and stepsister, and a Methodist priest or class leader—in fact I baptized everybody in my father’s house. I merely mention this to show that dreams sometimes do come to pass in life.

Then, again, there are visions. Paul, you know, on one occasion was caught up to the third heaven and saw things that were not lawful to utter. He did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body. That was a vision. When Joseph Smith, however, was visited by Moroni and the Apostles, it was not particularly a vision which he had; he talked with them face to face.

Now, I will refer to a thing that took place with me in Tennessee. I was in Tennessee in the year 1835, and while at the house of Abraham O. Smoot, I received a letter from Brothers Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, requesting me to stay there, and stating that I would lose no blessing by doing so. Of course, I was satisfied. I went into a little room and sat down upon a small sofa. I was all by myself and the room was dark; and while I rejoiced in this letter and the promise made to me, I became wrapped in vision. I was like Paul; I did not know whether I was in the body or out of the body. A personage appeared to me and showed me the great scenes that should take place in the last days. One scene after another passed before me. I saw the sun darkened; I saw the moon become as blood; I saw the stars fall from heaven; I saw seven golden lamps set in the heavens, representing the various dispensations of God to man—a sign that would appear before the coming of Christ. I saw the resurrection of the dead. In the first resurrection those that came forth from their graves seemed to be all dressed alike, but in the second resurrection they were as diverse in their dress as this congregation is before me today, and if I had been an artist I could have painted the whole scene as it was impressed upon my mind, more indelibly fixed than anything I had ever seen with the natural eye. What does this mean? It was a testimony of the resurrection of the dead. I had a testimony. I believe in the resurrection of the dead, and I know it is a true principle. Thus we may have dreams about things of great importance, and dreams of no importance at all. The Lord warned Joseph in a dream to take the young child Jesus and his mother into Egypt, and thus he was saved from the wrath of Herod. Hence there are a great many things taught us in dreams that are true, and if a man has the spirit of God he can tell the difference between what is from the Lord and what is not. And I want to say to my brethren and sisters, that whenever you have a dream that you feel is from the Lord, pay attention to it. When I was in the City of London on one occasion, with Brother George A. Smith, I dreamt that my wife came to me and told me that our first child had died. I believed my dream, and in the morning while at breakfast, I felt somewhat sad. Brother George A. noticed this and I told him my dream. Next morn ing’s post brought me a letter from my wife, conveying the intelligence of the death of my child. It may be asked what use there was in such a thing. I don’t know that there was much use in it except to prepare my mind for the news of the death of my child. But what I wanted to say in regard to these matters is, that the Lord does communicate some things of importance to the children of men by means of visions and dreams as well as by the records of divine truth. And what is it all for? It is to teach us a principle. We may never see anything take place exactly as we see it in a dream or a vision, yet it is intended to teach us a principle. My dream gave me a strong testimony of the resurrection. I am satisfied, always have been, in regard to the resurrection. I rejoice in it. The way was opened unto us by the blood of the Son of God.

Now, having said so much on that subject, I want to say to my brethren and sisters, that we are placed upon the earth to build up Zion, to build up the kingdom of God. The greater proportion of the male members of Zion, who have arrived at the years of early manhood, bear some portion of the Holy Priesthood. Here is a kingdom of Priests raised up by the power of God to take hold and build up the kingdom of God. The same Priesthood exists on the other side of the veil. Every man who is faithful in his quorum here will join his quorum there. When a man dies and his body is laid in the tomb, he does not lose his position. The Prophet Joseph Smith held the keys of this dispensation on this side of the veil, and he will hold them throughout the countless ages of eternity. He went into the spirit world to unlock the prison doors and to preach the Gos pel to the millions of spirits who are in darkness, and every Apostle, every Seventy, every Elder, etc., who has died in the faith as soon as he passes to the other side of the veil, enters into the work of the ministry, and there is a thousand times more to preach there than there is here. I have felt of late as if our brethren on the other side of the veil had held a council, and that they had said to this one, and that one, “Cease thy work on earth, come hence, we need help,” and they have called this man and that man. It has appeared so to me in seeing the many men who have been called from our midst lately. Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley. On one occasion he was suddenly taken very sick—near to death’s door. While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: “Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil. I have had a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help. I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them. I want to inquire into your circumstances.” The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another. President Maughan then said to him: “I think I will not call you. I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.” Bishop Roskelley got well from the hour. Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Brother Roskelley did not go to him. By and by this man recovered, and on meeting Brother Roskelley he said: “Brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,” and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley. A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died. Now, I name this to show a principle. They have work on the other side of the veil; and they want men, and they call them. And that was my view in regard to Brother George A. Smith. When he was almost at death’s door, Brother Cannon administered to him, and in thirty minutes he was up and ate breakfast with his family. We labored with him in this way, but ultimately, as you know, he died. But it taught me a lesson. I felt that man was wanted behind the veil. We labored also with Brother Pratt; he, too, was wanted behind the veil.

Now, my brethren and sisters, those of us who are left here have a great work: to do. We have been raised up of the Lord to take this kingdom and bear it off. This is our duty; but if we neglect our duty and set our hearts upon the things of this world, we will be sorry for it. We ought to understand the responsibility that rests upon us. We should gird up our loins and put on the whole armor of God. We should rear temples to the name of the Most High God, that we may redeem the dead.

I feel to bear my testimony to this work. It is the work of God. Joseph Smith was appointed by the Lord before he was born as much as Jeremiah was. The Lord told Jeremiah—“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the nations.” He was commanded to warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem of their wickedness. He felt it a hard task, but ultimately he did as he was commanded. So I say with regard to Joseph Smith. He received his appointment from before the foundation of the world, and he came forth in the due time of the Lord to establish this work on the earth. And so it is the case with tens of thousands of the Elders of Israel. The Lord Almighty has conferred upon you the Holy Priesthood and made you the instrument in His hands to build up this kingdom. Do we contemplate these things as fully as we ought? Do we realize that the eyes of all the heavenly hosts are over us? Then let us do our duty. Let us keep the commandments of God, let us be faithful to the end, so that when we go into the spirit world and look back upon our history we may be satisfied. The Lord Almighty has set His hand to establish His kingdom never more to be thrown down or given to another people, and, therefore, all the powers of earth and hell combined will never be able to stay the progress of this work. The Lord has said he will break in pieces every weapon that is raised against Zion, and the nations of the earth, the Kings and Emperors, Presidents and Governors have got to learn this fact. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Lord. It is a fearful thing to shed the blood of the Lord’s anointed. It has cost the Jews 1,800 years of persecution, and this generation have also a bill to pay in this respect.

I bear my testimony to these things. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants contain the words of eternal life unto this generation, and they will rise in judgment; against those who reject them.

May God bless this people and help us to magnify our callings, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Object of Assembling Together—The Sacrament, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 12, 1881.

We have assembled ourselves as Latter-day Saints for the purpose of worshipping God, of listening to instructions, and administering one of the ordinances of the house of God—the sacrament. I look upon the sacrament as an ordinance of great importance to us; in fact, from the days of Adam down to the days of Jesus Christ, there were sacrifices offered; not only by Adam but by his posterity, by Moses and the house of Israel, and all the generations of people who were led by the Lord—sacrifices were offered as a type of the great sacrifice to be made by the Messiah. They offered the blood of bulls, rams and doves as a type of the great and last sacrifice and death of the Messiah, whose blood was shed for the redemption of the world. Prior to the death of the Savior, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered to His disciples, and they were informed that they were to partake of the bread as an emblem of the broken body of the Lord, and of the wine—or whatever is made use of as a substitute—in token of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I feel disposed here to make a remark and say, that if I were the emperor of the world and had control of every human being that breathes the breath of life on earth, I would give to every man, woman and child the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and when I say this I speak the sentiments of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Presidency of this Church, the Twelve Apostles, and all the Elders of Israel. This is the sentiment of all the Latter-day Saints. What! Would you grant the Methodists this privilege? Certainly. And the Baptists? Yes, certainly. And the Catholics, the Shakers, the Quakers? Yes, and everybody else under heaven. I would grant to all people the right to enjoy their religion without molestation. I would even extend this privilege to the Latter-day Saints; I would give them the privilege of believing in the Bible and the organization of the Church according to the ancient pattern with Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone. Why would you do this? I would do it because God himself does it. The God of heaven grants to all his children, every sect and party of whatever name and denomination under the whole heavens, their agency and the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. The Lord forces no man to heaven. He places before him life and death, light and darkness, truth and error, and having before him all these principles, he is at liberty to worship God and believe what he chooses. He alone is responsible to God for his actions. Now, when I read the history of the world in days which are past, when I note the illiberal spirit which was manifested, and the blood which has been shed upon the earth—for the earth has been deluged with blood, under what is termed holy wars, under the garb of holy religion—I look upon it as the most ungodly and unrighteous thing that was ever committed upon the earth. I look upon what is taking place today in the same way. I marvel sometimes when I see the spirit of our nation and the feelings of the sects of today toward Utah and the Latter-day Saints. Have we ever stood in the path of any man, sect or people with regard to their religion? No, we have not. We have been willing at all times that men should preach their doctrines and believe them, unmolested by us, and I would say, to express my own feelings, that if a man believed he had to climb a cottonwood tree three times a day, for salvation, I would never hinder him. No, this liberty, this freedom, especially under the American Government of all nations under heaven, ought to become universal. No man or set of men should attempt to hinder their neighbors from enjoying their religion. And while I say this, and while we grant all men this fight and privilege, as we have done here in this city, this Tabernacle and various other buildings having been opened to the clergymen of the day, we have been perfectly willing, after we have heard all they have had to say, to accept any truth they might have that we are not in possession of. If there is a man in this world who has one truth which I have not got, I am willing to exchange all the errors I have got for that truth. But we as a people claim the same right we grant to others. We claim the right to worship God unmolested by our fellow men. The laws of God, the decrees of God, the oracles of God, as well as laws of our country and the constitution of our government grant this right to the human family—yes, even to the “Mormons,” as we are called, to the Latter-day Saints as well as every other class.

Then, why this tremendous furor among the sects of the day with regard to these “Mormons” and their religion? The trouble is the world do not know anything about our religion, they do not know what we believe in, and if anybody forms an idea from what they hear abroad, they hear anything but the truth. I have been amused sometimes—I have of late—in reading the speeches delivered by gentlemen—clergymen at that—who profess to have lived in Utah, and to understand this people. One gentleman who professes to be acquainted here delivered a speech in Rochester, before a missionary society, in which he stated that “there were in Utah 620,486 young persons in the Mormon district, and it was the youthful element that missionaries were working on.” Well, now, how does this gentleman make out 620,486 young people out of 140,000? I do not know by what process of mathematics, or by what rule he arrives at this question. That gentleman knew just as well when he made that assertion that it was false as I know. Our population is only about 140,000. Mr. Conyer, who had lived here some six years, stated “that there were 40,000 scholars in the mission, and he wanted assistance to furnish his enlarged school.” Well, now you take 40,000 scholars out of the total population of 140,000, and I do not think you will have many for the Mormons. But all this is as near true as anything you get abroad, and I really wish that gentlemen, clergymen and everybody else who attempts to report Utah would tell the truth. That is all we ask of any persons who visit us. But it seems impossible for anybody to speak of Utah and the Latter-day Saints—“Mormons” as they are termed—with any degree of truth; but I wish they would, it would be better for them, better for us, and they would be under less condemnation.

Now, what are the principles in which the Latter-day Saints believe? What is the dreadful crime which we have been guilty of for the last fifty years? Why, the Lord has raised up a Prophet—Joseph Smith. He sent an angel from heaven in fulfillment of the revelations of St. John. And that angel delivered the Gospel to Joseph Smith; delivered unto him power and knowledge to obtain the Book of Mormon, a record containing the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent who dwelt here hundreds and thousands of years ago. He translated it into the English language. Does the Book of Mormon contain a different Gospel to that contained in the Bible? It does not. It gives a history of the people who dwelt upon this continent anciently, tells where they came from and how they came here, tells of the dealings of God with them, and the establishment of the Church of Christ among them. They were visited by Jesus after his resurrection. Hence he said, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” He also told the Nephites when he established His church among them, that he had other sheep. They were the ten tribes of Israel. The Book of Mormon is a history of the dealings of God with that people; the Bible is a history of the dealings of God with Judah and with the Jews and the twelve tribes of Israel: it contains in fact a short outline of the dealings of God with the Jaredites and Nephites from the building of the Tower of Babel down to the days of the Savior and after His resurrection. The Bible is the Stick of Judah in the hands of Judah, and the Book of Mormon the Stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim. Both books contain the same gospel. There was never but one gospel and there never will be any other revealed to the human family. Hence Paul 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.” Now, if Joseph Smith had established any other gospel on the earth than the gospel which Paul taught, that Christ and His Apostles taught, and that was taught to Abraham, Noah, and the antediluvian world, why we would have the curse of God resting upon us. The great trouble with the so-called Christian world is that they have spiritualized the Scriptures until there is not a semblance of the gospel left. I never could find it. I never could hear a gospel sermon in my life, and I sat under Dr. Porter and Dr. Hawes and other great divines of the day. I never could hear a gospel sermon according to the ancient pattern as was taught by Joseph Smith. Of course all sects have had some truth. All sects have professed to believe in the blood of Jesus Christ, more or less; all sects and parties have their various roads to heaven and to hell, but none of them teach the Gospel according to the pattern laid down in the New Testament.

It required an angel from heaven “to fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people,” to prepare them for the great judgments of our God, before the winding-up scene. The angel has come: that Gospel has been delivered. It was delivered to Joseph Smith. He did not receive his power from man, but from the revelations of Jesus Christ. What did that Gospel teach? Why, faith in Jesus Christ. “Yes, oh yes,” say the Methodist, “we believe in Jesus Christ.” All right. Then the next principle was repentance of our sins. “But,” say the sectarian world, “we also believe in repentance.” Well, what is next? The revivalists who visited this city, (Messrs. Sankey & Moody) believed in Jesus Christ, and they said that if a person only came to Christ, he did not require to be a Methodist, Baptist, Mormon, or anything else. Prophets and Apostles were not required; all that was required was to come to Christ. But we say there is something more required besides believing. A man has to be baptized for the remission of his sins in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. That law of baptism has never been altered. Many believe in baptism even by immersion, but not particularly for remission of sins. What next? Having repented of our sins and been baptized for a remission of them, we must have hands laid upon for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and when we have received the Holy Ghost, it will be unto us as a principle of revelation, a testimony of the Father and of the Son.

Well, what kind of a church are you going to have? Paul, in speaking of the Corinthians, goes on to represent the Church of Christ as the body of a man. He shows that every part of the body must act in unison; the head, the eyes, the ears, the mouth, the feet, must all work together in order that the body may be perfect, and that there may be no schism. We are also told that God set in the Church Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Now we have had independence of mind enough to believe this doctrine. This is “Mormonism.” It is faith in Christ, repentance of our sins, baptism for the remission of our sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. These are the principles which we as Latter-day Saints believe in. We do not believe that God ever had a church on the earth without Apostles and Prophets in it, without inspiration in it. To do away with any of the principles of the Gospel would cause a schism in the Church of Christ. When you cut the head off a man he will die. He may live if he loses an arm or a leg but if you cut the head off he will die. Precisely so with the Church of Christ. We believe in the Bible; we believe in all the prophecies; we believe God meant just what he said and said just what he meant; we believe that the prophecies of the scriptures are of no private interpretation; we believe in the second coming of Christ; we believe that the judgments of Almighty God will be poured out upon this generation. All the unbelief of the world will not stay the fulfillment of the decrees of the Almighty. The unbelief of the in habitants of the antediluvian world in the days of Noah did not stay the deluge. The unbelief of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah did not avert the destruction of these cities. The unbelief of the Jews did not avert the destruction of Jerusalem. We look for a literal fulfillment of the decrees of God. We know as a people that he has set his hand to establish his Church. He has set his hand to warn all nations. The Holy Priesthood has been restored, not by the power of man, but by the power of Almighty God.

As I have said, we believe in the Book of Mormon as containing a record of the ancient inhabitants of this continent, and a clue to the ruins which have been discovered in various parts of the land and for which the world can find no origin. The whole history of these things, however, is pointed out in the Book of Mormon, and if the world would only take the trouble to read that book they would understand these things more perfectly. The American Indians are a remnant of the ancient inhabitants of this continent. Their forefathers were an enlightened people. They had the Gospel among them and the power of God was manifested in their midst; but when they became wicked and turned away from God, the judgments of the Almighty fell upon them and they were overthrown and destroyed by warfares. The Lamanites, now a downtrodden people, are a remnant of the house of Israel. The curse of God has followed them as it has done the Jews, though the Jews have not been darkened in their skin as have the Lamanites. The fate of the Jews in this respect is a standing monument to all infidelity. The prediction of Jesus with regard to them has been liter ally fulfilled. He predicted that they should be led away captive unto all nations, and that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. When Pilate was ready to release Jesus because he found no fault in him, the Pharisees and high priests, being filled with prejudice, would not have it. They cried out “Crucify him, crucify him, and let his blood be upon us, and our children.” The prediction of Jesus has been verified, and its fulfillment is before the world today. The Jews have been trampled under the feet of the Gentiles for 1,800 years, and they are today being persecuted in European nations. Why? Because that curse of God rests upon them and will rest upon them until Shiloh comes, until they are regathered to Jerusalem and rebuild the city in unbelief. You cannot convert a Jew. They will never believe in Jesus Christ until he comes to them in Jerusalem, until these fleeing Jews take back their gold and silver to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and temple, and they will do this as the Lord lives. Then the Gentiles will say, “Come let us go up to Jerusalem; let us go up and spoil her. The Jews have taken our gold and silver from the nations of the earth—come let us go up and fight against Jerusalem.” Then will the prophecies that are before you be fulfilled, The Gospel was preached first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, The Jews rejected the message: the Gentiles received it, and unto them was given all the gifts and blessings of the Gospel. But Paul told them to take heed lest they fell through the same example of unbelief. Yet in time, we Gentiles, departed from the kingdom of God, and the church went into the wilderness. There has not been an organization of the church of Christ on the earth from the days of the ancient Apostles, until the days of Joseph Smith, who came forth in this great and last dispensation, and who by inspiration and power from on high again restored the Gospel. The world do not believe this. We cannot help that. The unbelief of the world does not make the work of the Lord of non-effect. The Lord has set his hand to establish his church and kingdom, and the warning voice is to all men. He has called his servant to bear record of this to all nations. This is what the Lord is doing with these despised Mormons. And already the members of nearly every sect under heaven have embraced this work, though our numbers are small compared with the Christian world. We expect this. As it was in the days of Noah and Lot so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. These principles are true. The world does not know what awaits them no more than they did in the days of Noah, or in the days of the Jews.

But, why this furor against the Latter-day Saints? Do you know? “Oh, yes, we do. You are Polygamists. That is what is the matter.” Well, indeed! Now, let me ask you a question. Were we polygamists when we were driven from Jackson and Clay Counties? Why, the worst persecution we have ever had, was before polygamy was revealed to us, or before we received it. What cause, then, had the Missourians and others to drive us in the beginning? “Oh, you believe in revelation, you believe in prophets: we cannot bear these things, they are all done away with. These things were only given in the dark ages of the world, but today, living as we are in the blaze of the glorious Gospel, we do not need them; but if you will believe as we do and scatter yourself abroad among the Methodists, etc., and do as they do, it will be all right.” Now, gentlemen it is not polygamy. What do you care about polygamy? What does our nation care about polygamy? What do the sectarians care about polygamy? Bless your souls, nothing. But nine percent of these Mormons may be polygamists. Dreadful! Why, have you no evils in New York? Have you no evils in Boston? Have you no evils anywhere? Are you all perfect? If so, you are pretty well off; you are certainly prepared for salvation. But no, my friends, I will tell you: If we were to give up polygamy today—if we were to say to our government, “Oh, yes, we will give up polygamy”—why the next they would say would be, But look here; you have got to give up something more than that.” They would tell us, as the Missourians did, that we must quit believing in prophets, apostles and revelation. The same feeling exists today as existed then.

We, Latter-day Saints, are called out of the world. We have received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord Almighty has raised up Prophets and Apostles in this our day, and has set his hand to establish the kingdom that Daniel saw in fulfillment of revelation and prophecy. We have been gathered out from the nations of the earth to these valleys of the mountains. Zion is growing and increasing. This has been the case from the beginning. There has never been an hour from the organization of this Church but what our course has been onward and upward. Even in the midst of mud and water, on the banks of the Missouri River, where, by an edict of Governor Boggs, some 10,000 were driven—no matter under what circumstances we have been placed, the hand of God has been over us. The Almighty has set his hand to gather in the meek of the earth. And after our testimony, will come the testimony of thunderings and lightnings. Read the revelations of St. John: see the signs of the times, and prepare yourselves for that which is to come. We trust in God. We cannot afford to deny the Lord, we cannot deny his revelations. We have a code of revelations called the Doctrine and Covenants. That code given through the mouth of Joseph Smith, contains the most sublime revelations concerning this generation that were ever given to the world. Many of these revelations have had their fulfillment so far as time has permitted. Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. I traveled thousands of miles with him, in fact the revelation he gave concerning the war which would break out between the North and South, I wrote that revelation myself as it was given by the Prophet twenty years before it was fulfilled. That revelation was published to the world broadcast, and I merely refer to it because it is a thing that is clear to the minds of all men. All the revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon, will have their fulfillment in the earth.

We are living in an important day. We are living in the most important dispensation God ever gave to man. There is a great change awaiting us; there is a great change awaiting Zion, our Government, and the whole Christian world. The signs of the times indicate the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory. But before His coming the Gospel has got to be preached to all nations. We have been preaching the Gospel for fifty years, and by it a few have gathered out from the nations of the earth to these valleys of the mountains. That is why the world hate us. It is because the Lord has called us out of the world to establish the everlasting Gospel. And I want to say to the Latter-day Saints: Have faith in the revelations of God; have faith in the promises which have been given. We should be preparing ourselves for the great events which await us. Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. The Lord is withdrawing His Spirit from the nations of the earth, and the power of the devil is gaining dominion over the children of men. See how crime is increasing. Fifty years ago when the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, there was not one murder where there are a thousand today; there was not one whoredom where there are a thousand today; and so you may go through the whole black catalogue of crime. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.” Look at the wickedness which is on the increase in the world, covering the earth like the waters of the great deep. What will the end be? Death, destruction, whirlwinds, pestilence, famine and the judgments of God will be poured out upon the wicked; for the Lord has withheld these judgments until the world is fully warned. To this end we have been laboring diligently for fifty years, so far as we have had opportunity. But all these judgments will come. The seals will be opened; plague will follow plague; the sun and the moon will be darkened; and the unbelief of the world will make no difference to all these things coming to pass.

I have a desire with you, as Latter-day Saints, that we may keep the faith, overcome the world, and magnify our high and holy callings. We will be held responsible before the Lord for the light we possess. We should be diligent and faithful in our labors, for if we turn our backs upon the truth, once having known it, we will be under far greater condemnation than those who rejected the truth. What we may be called upon to suffer for the Gospel’s sake is neither here nor there. This nation and every other nation is in the hands of God. Your destiny is in the hands of God. Men can go no further than the Lord will permit them to go. But we should be faithful to God and to our fellow men, ever ready to do what is required of us.

I pray God our Heavenly Father, that His blessing may be over us; that the hearts of the people of our nation and other nations may be open to the light of the Gospel, that they may not pursue the course the Jews did, for we know what it has cost them. It will cost this nation or any other nation the same to shed the blood of the servants of God. Whatever course a nation pursues in this respect, it will have to foot the bill. The constitution of our country is one of the best that was ever given to any government. Our forefathers were inspired of God to write that instrument. I have a respect for our government, flag and constitution. I know this nation has been raised up by the power of God for a certain purpose, and that to establish his kingdom upon it, and inasmuch as we do our duty the Lord will sustain us. Those who labor to establish the kingdom of God on the earth will be blessed, and those who fight against the work of God, will be held responsible for their actions.

I feel to bear my testimony to the truth of this work. I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and I have a desire that I may be faithful with the rest of my brethren that I may inherit eternal life, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.