Men Eternal Beings—Darkness, Ignorance, and Weakness of the World—Privileges of the Saints

A Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 19, 1854.

Having been called upon by President Grant to address you this morning, I do so with pleasure. How long I shall speak, I do not know, for I have been quite unwell for some time past, and whether my strength will hold out or not, I am unprepared to say; I can tell you better when I have tried.

I have been much interested during the Conference that is past; and although I was not able to take an active part in the business that was going on, yet my spirit rejoiced to hear the principles of truth that were advanced, and in the things that were developed and fully made manifest by the Spirit of the Most High God.

Associated as we are with the kingdom of God, we may reasonably expect, so long as we do our duty before the Lord, to have continual developments of light, truth, and intelligence, that emanate from the great God, for the guidance, direction, salvation, and exaltation of this people, whether it relates to time, or to eternity; for everything we have to do with is eternal; and when we speak of time and eternity, they are only relative terms which we attach to things that are present; and things that are to come, and things that are past. But in relation to ourselves as individuals, we are eternal beings, although we occupy a certain space of eternity called time; in relation to the Gospel we preach, it is eternal; in relation to the Priesthood, it is eternal; in relation to our covenants and obligations, they are eternal; in relation to our promises, prospects, and hopes, they are eternal. And while we are acting upon this stage of being, we are merely commencing a state of things that will exist while countless ages shall roll along; and if we have right views and right feelings, and entertain correct principles as eternal beings, all our thoughts, our actions, our prospects—all our energies and our lives, will be engaged in laying a foundation upon which to build a superstructure that will be permanent, lasting, and enduring as the throne of the great Jehovah; and if anything is short of this, it is short of the mark of the high calling whereunto we may or ought to arrive; and many of the little incidents and occurrence of life that we have to pass through, are transient in comparison to the things that are to come; and yet all these little things are so many links in the great chain of our existence, of our hopes and prospects.

There are many things that seem to us trials and difficulties, that perplex, annoy, and harass our spirits; yet these very things, as one justly observed, are blessings in disguise, so many helps to us to develop our weaknesses and infirmities, and lead us to put our trust in God, and rely upon Him to give us a knowledge of ourselves, of our neighbors, and of the work of God; they have a tendency to develop principles of worth to our minds, and thus they serve as schoolmasters, helps, and instructors, and are to us as many blessings in disguise. In fact all things that we have to do with in the world, whether they are adversity or prosperity, whether they relate to ourselves or to others, if rightly appreciated and understood, may teach us a lesson that will be to our joy, probably not only in time, but in all eternity. We must know ourselves, learn what is in our nature—our weakness, our strength, our wisdom, our folly; and the like things that dwell in others, that we may learn to appreciate true and correct principles, and be governed by them whenever they are developed; that we may learn to set a just value upon all sublunary things, that we may not value them above their real value, and that we may neither value ourselves nor others above our or their worth; that we may learn to look upon ourselves as eternal beings, acting in everything with a reference to eternity; that we may by and by secure to ourselves eternal exaltations, thrones, principalities, and powers in the eternal worlds.

These are some of my feelings in relation to everyday affairs and occurrences in life, and the things with which I am surrounded, and I feel anxious every day, when I feel right, to make an improvement today, in something that will benefit me or others in relation to eternity, as well as to time; for while we are eternal beings we are also temporal beings, and have to do with temporal things, as well as with spiritual or eternal things. Taking this view of the subject, it is of very little importance whether we are rich or whether we are poor, whether we are placed in adverse or in prosperous circumstances. It may, however, be of more importance than we think of. I think adversity is a blessing in many instances; and in some, prosperity; but nothing is a blessing to us that is not calculated to enlighten our minds, and lead us to God, and put us in possession of true principles, and prepare us for an exaltation in the eternal world.

In regard to God and the things of God, could the world of mankind see aright, and understand aright; could they know what was for their true interests; or could they have known it for generations, there are none of them but what would have feared God with all their hearts, minds, soul, and strength, that is, if they had had power to do so; that would have been their feeling, and more especially so among the Saints. If the Saints could understand things correctly; if they could see themselves as God sees them; if they could know and understand and appreciate the principles of eternal truth as they emanate from God, and as they dwell in His bosom; if they could know their high calling’s glorious hope, and the future destiny that awaits them, inasmuch as they are faithful; there is not a Saint of God, there is not one in these valleys of the mountains, but would prostrate himself before Him; he would dedicate his heart, and his mind, and his soul, and his strength to God, and his body, and spirit, and property, and everything he possesses of earth, and esteem it one of the greatest privileges that could be conferred upon mortal man. If there are those who do not see these things aright, it is because they see in part, and know in part; it is because their hearts are not devoted to God, as they ought to be; it is because their spirits are not entirely under the influence of the Spirit of the Most High; it is because they have not so lived up to their privileges, as to put themselves in possession of that light and truth that emanate from God to His people; it is because the god of this world has blinded their minds that they cannot fully understand, that they cannot be made fully acquainted with the great and glorious principles of eternal truth. When we look at ourselves aright, when we understand the principles of truth aright, what is there we would not give for salvation? When the Spirit has beamed forth powerfully upon the hearts of the Saints, when the light and intelligence of heaven have manifested themselves, when the Lord has shone upon the souls of the Saints when assembled together, what have they felt like? That they are the blessed of the Lord. How oft, when they have met together on special occasions to receive certain blessings from the hands of God, has the spirit of revelation rested upon them, and the future been opened to their view in all its beauty, glory, richness, and excellency; and when their hearts have been warmed up by that spirit, how have they felt to rejoice? How have they looked upon the things of this world, and the prospect that awaited them—upon their privileges as Saints of the Most High God, and upon the glory they will inherit if they are faithful to the end! You may have experienced the feeling that such thoughts and prospects would naturally create in the human heart. Why is it we feel otherwise at any time? It is because we forget to pray, and call upon God, and dedicate ourselves to Him, or because we fall into transgression, commit iniquity, and lose the Spirit of God; and forget our calling’s glorious hope. But if we could all the time see, and realize, and understand our true position before God, our minds would be continually on the stretch after the things of God, and we should be seeking to know all the day long what we could do to promote the happiness and salvation of the world; what we could do to honor our calling—to honor the Priesthood of the Son of God, and what to do to honor our God, and to improve the remaining time we have upon the earth, and the energies of our bodies, for the accomplishment of His purposes, for the rolling forth of His kingdom, for the advancement of His designs, that when we stand before Him He may say to us—“Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”

These would be our feelings, and no doubt this is what we came into the world for. I know of no other object, no other design, that God had in view in sending us here. We came forth from our Father in heaven, having the privilege of taking bodies in this world. What for? That our bodies and spirits together might accomplish the will of our heavenly Father, and find their way back again into His presence; that while we are upon the earth, we might be governed by His wisdom, by the intelligence and revelations that flow from Him; that He might be a guide and dictator of our steps while we sojourn here; and that we might fill up the measure of our creation in honor to ourselves, in honor to our progenitors, and in honor to our posterity; and finally, find our way back into the presence of God, having accomplished the object for which we came into the world, having filled up the measure of our creation, having obtained honor to ourselves, honor for our posterity and for our progenitors, and become an honor to God our heavenly Father, by walking humbly before Him, fulfilling His laws, and accomplishing this the object of our creation.

I say, as I said before, if we understood ourselves aright, this would be our main object; but we know in part, and see in part, and comprehend in part; and many of the things of God are hid from our view, both things that are past, things that are present, and things that are to come. Hence the world in general sit in judgment upon the actions of God that are passing among them, they make use of the weak judgment that God has given them to scan the designs of God, to unravel the mysteries that are past, and things that are still hid, forgetting that no man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God; forgetting that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; forgetting that no man in and of himself is competent to unravel the designs and know the purposes of Jehovah, whether in relation to the past, present, or future; and hence, forgetting this, they fall into all kinds of blunders; they blunder over things that are contained in the Scriptures, some of which are a representation of the follies and weaknesses of men, and some of them perhaps may be the wisdom and intelligence of God, that are as far above their wisdom and intelligence as the heavens are above the earth. How often have I heard individuals, for instance, exclaiming against the harshness, the cruelty, and tyranny of God in destroying the antediluvians, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and other cities and places, and against other judgments and cruelties that befell the people. How little do such persons understand about it. According to their own systems of philosophy, they would act precisely upon the same principles if they only understood the principles He acted upon; whereas in ignorance of them they think it cruel indeed for God to de stroy the inhabitants of the old world, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, or other places. Why? Because it was the destruction of so much human life. But do they know the whys and the wherefores of that? No. In the same way they look upon Moses, Joshua, and some other eminent men of God, who were called forth to execute His judgments, and accomplish His designs—root out the wicked, destroy the ungodly, and establish the principles of righteousness. They would look upon their acts as acts of cruelty, tyranny and oppression. Why so? Because they can conceive of no other idea than that which dwells in their own bosoms; there dwells the principle of revenge, or ambition, and they know of no other motive that could prompt God to do as He has in the destruction of the wicked at sundry times. In the same way men judge us in relation to our matrimonial relations; if a man is associated with more females than one in the world, they cannot look upon it in any other way than lasciviousness and adultery, the very principles that predominate in themselves; they have no other idea. Our situation, our conduct, and our proceedings, to their feelings and views, are outrageous and abominable and this they believe in all sincerity. Why? Because they know of no other principle than that, they have not been enlightened, they do not understand the end from the beginning, the whys and the wherefores; if they did, they would know that virtue, purity, and strict integrity dwell in the bosoms of the Saints, and that they are governed by correct, virtuous, and holy principles, and a thousand times more so than ever they dreamed of in their lives. This is so with regard to their views of the transactions of God with the wicked in former ages.

The whole antediluvian world was enveloped in corruption; they had forsaken God, the Father and fountain of their existence, and the giver of every good and perfect gift, yielding submission to the powers of the adversary in a state of darkness and ignorance, living and propagating their species innumerable in that state of corruption, depraving themselves morally and intellectually, forsaking God, and teaching nothing but principles that were corrupt and abominable. Look at the world in that state, and consider God as their Father, and themselves as eternal beings, and propagating eternal beings in a state of the deepest depravity; look at things that awaited them in the future, the position they stood in, the misery they must endure in the future after they had lived here, the trouble and position they had got to be placed in before ever they could get back to the presence of their Father; think of millions and millions of people living and dying in this, and bringing millions of individuals into the world, that had got to bear their fathers’ sins, cursed with their curse, and living and dying in their corruption still more increased, to be damned and go to hell, to be redeemed before they could be brought back again into the presence of their Creator—taking this view of the matter, can you say that God was unjust, cruel, and tyrannical for destroying such a people as that? No; for there were millions of unborn spirits to come into this world and inhabit these depraved bodies, and become subject to the corruptions of a depraved parentage; for there was not a righteous generation, for the whole earth had corrupted themselves. He had power to put a stop to the propagation of such corruption, but, had He not done it, would He have acted righteously to those yet unborn? Would He be doing justice to His creation upon the earth to let the devil bear rule and universal sway, and never put forth His hand to stop mankind in their mad career? Every man of reflection would look upon the destruction of such depraved beings as an act of mercy, thus stopping those growing evils by cutting off the life of man from the earth, and stopping the onward course of that vile seed.

What is the reason men form wrong judgments about such things? It is because they do not understand and comprehend correct principles, because they do not possess the visions of the Almighty; they understand not the end from the beginning, neither do they comprehend the designs of the Great Jehovah; if they did, they would have very different feelings and ideas in relation to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the old world, with all their abominations and corruptions, and in relation to the doings of Moses and Joshua, and other men of God, who were set apart to keep in order affairs pertaining to the kingdom of God, and establish righteousness, and do the will of heaven. If they had not done these things, they themselves would have been corrupted, and their children after them, they would have suffered the evil to overcome the good, and suffered Satan to triumph over God, and to bear rule, and have dominion, and corrupt the whole of the human family. There are thousands of such things as these that men form wrong ideas about, and wrong judgments; whereas, if they only understood the mind of God, and correct principles, they would come to other conclusions, and say—“God acts with wisdom and prudence, and righteously, in all His dealings with the human family.”

It is necessary that men should possess the Spirit of God before they can know the things of God: hence the great difficulty that the servants of God have had to labor under, in different ages of the world, in the propagation of the truth, is, what would be right in the eyes of God would seem wrong to the understanding of mankind; hence His servants have been persecuted, afflicted, tried, driven, hunted, put to death, and endured every kind of torment and affliction that the ingenuity of wicked men, and the hellish malice of demons could contrive, and all this for the lack of understanding and of love for the principles of truth. It has been difficult in every age of the world for the servants of God to accomplish His purposes upon the earth. It has been difficult for those who have professed to be Saints of God, in every age, to do His will faithfully without being molested, such has been the influence of the powers of darkness, the weakness of man’s intellect, and the lack of knowledge in the things of God. Because of this, it has been a difficult matter for those who have professed godliness, to discriminate between right and wrong; they would feel inclined to do right, but as it was with Paul on certain occasions, when he would do good, evil was present with him. I expect he ought to have overcome it, and I expect we ought likewise; but such is the case, we cannot look anywhere but we can see the weakness and infirmity of human nature.

We can sit down and reason calmly and dispassionately upon this matter, guided by the Spirit of God, and reflect back to the time of Enoch, and read some of the revelations given to that people, and look at the struggles and trials they had to pass through; then look also at the length of time that elapsed, after he had gathered His people from the corrupt world, before they were prepared to be caught up into the heavens; for Enoch was translated, and the city with him, and the Saints, its inhabitants, those who believed in him as a Prophet of God, and worked righteousness.

Look again at the time that Noah came from the ark, after he and his household were saved from the flood that drowned the world; they were the only ones that were righteous. When Noah and his family had seen the dreadful wreck, the awful calamity, the heartrending scenes of distress and anguish, trouble and death, that overwhelmed the world—with all this staring them in the face, how soon his posterity departed from correct principles, and bowed their necks to the power of the adversary; how soon was the weakness of human nature made manifest! Consider the trouble, afflictions, war, and bloodshed that have come in consequence of all this, the fostering of evil passions in the human heart, and giving way to every kind of iniquity, being led captive by the devil at his will, until nation has been arrayed against nation, kingdom against kingdom, power against power, and authority against authority. Witness the human beings that have been slain, and the human carcasses that have been left to rot upon the battlefields; all this has been in consequence of not adhering to what is righteous, true, and holy.

Again, see the old Israelites. Abraham had been set apart, and selected by the Almighty, as a man who had proved faithful in all things, after being tried to the uttermost extremity. God positively said, “I know Abraham will fear me and command his children after him.” Yet look at his children, and look at their seed in the wilderness, and when the arm of God had been stretched out in their behalf, see their rebellion, idolatry, and lasciviousness, and you will see fair specimens of poor, fallen, depraved human nature. Such was the case with them, and such has been the case in every age of the world. We cannot account for it upon any other principle, than that the God of this world has blinded, and does continue to blind, the hearts of the children of men, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of peace should shine in upon them, and they should be saved.

Wherein are we better than many of those of which we have spoken? God has revealed His truth to us; He has opened the heavens and sent forth His holy angels, has restored the holy Priesthood in as great power as ever it was in any age, and in fact greater; for we are now living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God has determined to gather all things in one, whether they be things in heaven or things in the earth; notwithstanding all this, are we much better than the ancient people we have just noticed? We can read the history of the people of this continent, in the Book of Mormon, of their faithfulness to God, and the principles of truth and righteousness, and the hand of God was stretched out in mighty power to save them from their enemies; and we read again of their destruction and overthrow in consequence of their departure from God. And among this people, who have been blessed with the light and revelations of God, who have been gathered from different nations, who have traveled thousands of miles for the privilege of listening to the oracles of eternal truth, of securing to themselves salvation, who have hailed with joy the message of mercy that has been extended to them, whose hearts in former times beat high with prospects of mingling with the Saints of God in Zion, and listening to the words of eternal life, what do we see even among them? The same specimen of fallen human nature; the same weakness, infirmities, and follies that have characterized men who have lived in former ages.

How many of us have fallen on the right hand and on the left; those we have judged to be men of intelligence, some of them have stepped aside in one shape and some in another. Some have given way to their corrupt appetites and passions, and have fallen in an evil hour, have lost the Spirit of God, have destroyed themselves, and have destroyed others; corrupted, weak, fallen, degenerate, and abominable, they have sunk to their own place. How much of this has there been both among men and women, to the violation of the most sacred covenants they have made before God, angels, and men. They have broken their covenants, corrupted themselves, departed from the right way, lost the Spirit of God, and they are anxious to go here and there, and everything is wrong with them, and every place fails to yield them comfort, because a consciousness of their guilt is continually with them; everything is out of place to them, and their understandings are darkened. At one time they were quick to comprehend truth by the light of the Spirit, but now they walk in darkness.

This reminds me of a remark made once in Far West by a man; says he, “I know Joseph Smith is a false Prophet, and that the Book of Mormon and Covenants are false.” How do you know it? “Why, says he, if a man commit adultery, he shall apostatize; and I have done it, and have not apostatized.” That is a good sample of the intelligence that is manifested by many. Do people think they can commit acts of iniquity, transgress the laws of God, and break their covenants, after being admitted to great privileges in the kingdom of God, and retain His Spirit, and a knowledge of His purposes? I tell you, no; but their very conduct and spirit give the lie to their profession all the day long, just as much as this Missouri man’s did which I have mentioned.

Well, what is it we are engaged in? Is the object of our being, in this life, attained by thinking of nothing else but horses, to look to nothing else but our little interests, our little farm or house, a few cattle, and the like? Is this all we are concerned in, ye Latter-day Saints? And if some of these things do not come smooth and square according to your notions; and if you have made your golden or some other darling idol, and a Moses should come along and break it to pieces and stamp it under his feet, and scatter it abroad, and say, “Arise, Israel, and wake from your slumbers;” do you feel very much grieved? Do you feel as though some dreadful calamity had happened to you? Have you forgot who you are, and what your object is? Have you forgot that you profess to be Saints of the Most High God, clothed upon with the Holy Priesthood? Have you forgot that you are aiming to become Kings and Priests to the Lord, and Queens and Priestesses to Him? Have you forgot that you are associated with the Saints of God in Zion, where the oracles of truth are revealed, and the truths of God are made manifest, and clearly developed; where you and your posterity after you can learn the ways of life and salvation; where you are placed in a position that you can obtain blessings from the great Eloheim, that will rest upon you and your posterity worlds without end? Have you forgot these things, and begun to turn again to the beggarly elements of the world, and become blind, like others we have spoken of, turning like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire? We ought to reflect sometimes upon these things, and understand our true position. Have you forgot that you came from God, that He is your Father? Have you forgot that you are aiming to get back to His presence? If you have forgot all this, your conduct and actions now are fraught with eternal consequences to yourselves, to your progenitors, and to your posterity after you. Have you forgot that thousands who have possessed the Holy Priesthood here, still exist in the eternal world, and look with interest upon your conduct and proceedings? Have you forgot that God has set His hand again the second time to gather the remnants of His people? Have you forgot that He is preparing a people that shall be pure in heart; be blessed with light, life, and intelligence; with knowledge of things past, present, and to come? Have you forgot that you are standing in the midst of brethren who have gone behind the veil, who are watching your actions, and are anxious for your welfare, prosperity, and exaltation? Have you forgot that we are living in the last time, wherein a mighty struggle will have to take place between the powers of darkness that are in the world, and the children of light; that it is necessary for us as individuals to gird ourselves with the principles of truth, and be girt about with righteousness on the right hand and on the left, to enable us to stand in the midst of desolation, ruin, and misery, that are overhanging a devoted earth; and that as eternal beings we ought to have our eyes open to eternal things, and not be dreaming away our existence, forgetful of what we came into the world to accomplish?

Well, here we are, and who are we? We are Saints of the Most High God, are we not? And after all our weakness and infirmities, we are the best people there is under the face of the heavens, by a thousand fold. Poor as we are, weak as we are, changeable, afflicted as we are, still we are the best people God has upon the earth. If truth is revealed anywhere, it is here; if God communicates His will to the human family anywhere, it is here. If anybody can enlighten mankind, this people can; and if the nations of the earth, with their kings, potentates, and powers, are ever exalted in the kingdom of God, ever receive the light, truth, and intelligence of heaven, it will be through the means of this people. We are His servants; we are enlisted for life in the kingdom of God, to do His bidding, and to walk in obedience to His laws, to sustain His kingdom, to roll forth His purposes, and do whatsoever He shall think fit to require of us.

We have had some things presented to us during the Conference, about which I am ignorant of the feelings of this people, neither do I care what are their feelings; it is a matter of no moment to me, neither is it to my brethren, nor to any who do the will of God. But one thing I know, and one thing you know, you are not competent, in and of yourselves, to regulate anything pertaining to your eternal welfare; I do not care how wise and intelligent you may be, there is not one among you independent of God, or of the teachings of His servants. That I know, and that you know.

We have noticed some things this morning, wherein the world are at fault, because of their lack of experience. Take, for instance, one half of the world, I mean China, and the great majority in Europe. Notice their position at the present time, and can any of you point out a remedy that will restore amity and peace among them? Is there a master mind, or spirit—a man possessed of sufficient intelligence, to walk forth among the nations of Europe, and say to the hydra-headed monster, “War, lie still and be thou quiet?” Is there a man who can go into China and do the same thing, and straighten out the snarled condition of the world?

Let us come nearer home; can any of you regulate the affairs of this nation and put them right? I do not believe you can; and if you cannot do such small things, that are associated with time, things that we can see, know, and understand, how are you going to put in order the things of God? How are you going to order ends that are to come? To know what will be the best course to pursue, when the nations shall be convulsed, thrones cast down, and empires destroyed; when nation shall rush madly upon nation, and human blood shall flow as rivers of water? What would we do in such circumstances? Some people have thought we were in a dreadful condition, when the Indian difficulties were among us in these mountains; and our distant neighbors have been surprised how we have existed; but what would you think if you were in some of the European nations at the present time? Suppose you were one of the kings of those nations, or one of the counselors, and some of the largest nations should undertake to command you to supply a number of men to help fight their battles, and you would say, “We wish to remain neutral;” the reply would be, “But we will make you fight, and if you do not do it we will exterminate you, to begin with.” Suppose you were in a position like that. I think we are no worse off in these mountains, than the world are. We may be in some circumstances, but in many other respects we are much better off than they. I think our young men, for instance, would think it very hard if they were obliged to spend from three to five years in soldiering in times of peace, which they have to do in many of the nations of Europe, or bring a substitute to go in their place. I think sometimes we might be a great deal worse off than we are; and I think it is necessary men should be tried in order that they may be proved, and that they may know themselves; and that some should be destroyed, as they have been on this continent, or on the other; it is all in the wise providence of God; life and death are of little moment to Him. It is a matter of great importance to know the truth, and obey it, to have the privilege of learning, at the mouths of the servants of God, His will, and then to have the privilege of doing it unmolested, no matter what it is, whether to live or die, or whatever course we may have to pursue. I think it is a great privilege for us to be associated with the kingdom of God. I esteem it so myself, and I feel to bless God my heavenly Father, all the day long, that He has counted me worthy to obtain the Priesthood, and to be associated with His servants, who are the most honorable, pure, and philanthropic men upon the earth; and I feel to bless and praise my heavenly Father all the day long; my heart is full of praise, and I rejoice exceedingly that I have been counted worthy to be associated with His people and kingdom.

Should we not all feel alike in this? We all profess to be full of love for, and manifest a great amount of confidence in, the Holy Priesthood. It reminds me of some of the missionaries among the churches of the day; they always have a great deal of faith about the spiritual welfare of the people, but they never had faith enough to trust their time and their friends in the hands of God, while they were engaged in His work; but there must be missionary boxes to swallow up the money put into them, and if they go abroad, they must be well supplied with money, but they call upon the people to trust them for their spiritual welfare, while they cannot trust God for a piece of Johnny cake. I think we are very like them sometimes; we have a good supply of faith, we can speak and sing in tongues, and some of us have the gift of prophecy, and are full of religion and zeal. We pray fervently for the President, and for the Twelve, and for the rolling forth of God’s kingdom, and we seem all alive in it in this way; but what about our temporal interests? “O, I do not know so much about them, I think we are the best judges in these matters, but in spiritual matters I do not meddle as a judge, they are in the hands of the Lord’s servants, and I can attend to my temporal affairs myself.”

“Yes, we have a great deal of faith, we can speak in tongues, and cast out devils in thy name.” But take care he does not say at last, “I do not know you.” “Why, Lord? Did we not cast out devils, and were we not full of thy religion, and did we not pray unto thee often?” Yet He will say, “I never knew you.”

I will tell you how I feel about the principle of consecration, that has been presented by the President before the Conference; but there is one thing that will perhaps make a difference with me, I have not much to consecrate or sacrifice, consequently I cannot boast much in these matters. No matter about that, let it come; for I feel I am enlisted for the war, and it is going to last for time, and throughout all eternity; and if I am a servant of God, I am under the direction of those servants of God, whom He has appointed to guide and counsel me by revelation from Him; it is their right to dictate and control me amid all the affairs of those associated with the kingdom of God; and I feel moreover that everything, whether spiritual or temporal, relating to time or to eternity, is associated with the kingdom of God. Feeling in that way, it makes very little difference to me which way things go; it is not a matter of great moment whether they take that side, this side, or the other side; whether the path is rough or smooth; it will only last a certain time, and I can only last a certain time; but the chief thing with me is, how to hold on to my faith, and maintain my integrity, and honor my calling, and see to it that I am found faithful at the latter end, not only of this life, but in worlds without end; and continue to grow in all intelligence, knowledge, faith, perseverance, power, and exaltation; that is a matter of some importance to me, but the other is scarcely worth a thought.

The principle that was laid before us has been published years ago in the revelations of God, and the Saints have anxiously looked forward to the time when it would be fully entered into by them. But there is one thing you may set down for a certainty—if a man has not confidence in one revelation of God, he has not in another; and if a man feels right in one, he will in all the revelations from that source. I would hate, after struggling, and trying to master the evil around me, and to conquer the evil disposition that besets me, to let some little thing upset me, and root me up, and cause me to lose my high calling’s glorious hope, and make a shipwreck of my faith, and send me down to perdition; and I know you would hate it also. We have got to follow the oracles of heaven in all things; there is no other way but to follow him God has appointed to lead us and guide us into eternal salvation. He is either delegated from heaven to do this, or he is not; if he is, we will follow his counsel; if he is not, then we may kick up our heels, and every man help himself the best way he can. If I came from my Father in heaven, and am seeking to find my way back to His presence again, and I do not know the way myself, I feel, for one, by the grace of God, to yield to the intelligence He gives, and go forward in the name of the great Eloheim, that I may obtain the object of my creation, and not make a fool of myself, and destroy myself, but be a blessing to myself, to my progenitors, and my posterity, and obtain a seat in the kingdom of God.

These ought to be our feelings. I know the majority of this people feel right, and I pray God to increase this good feeling in every bosom, that our hearts may expand, and that the blessings of the great God may rest upon us, and that we may all ultimately be saved in His kingdom. Amen.

Comprehensiveness of True Religion—The Saints But Stewards

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered at Great Salt Lake City, December 5, 1853.

Myself and my brethren frequently rise to address the congregation in this place, not knowing precisely what may prove the most beneficial and instructing. The same weakness is in me, that is common to the most of my brethren who address you from this stand, that is, a degree of timidity, which arises from a sense of the importance of the work in which we are engaged; but my resolution overbalances this.

Can anything be taught that will edify this congregation like the principles of the Gospel? It may be said the life and existence of man, with the varied avocations of his life, from birth to death, are an interesting subject, as much so as the Gospel. But this is connected with the Gospel of salvation, as well as everything else that is associated with his being. The whole mortal existence of man is neither more nor less than a preparatory state given to finite beings, a space wherein they may improve themselves for a higher state of being. The labor of man in this existence seems to be almost wholly directed to procure a mortal subsistence; this is more particularly the case with those who have not learned the order of heaven, and that it is necessary to direct our ener gies, during our time here, in a channel to secure salvation in the kingdom of God.

Mankind, in general, do not stop to reflect, they are pressing headlong to grasp the whole world if possible; each individual is for himself, and he is ignorant of the design the Almighty had in his creation and existence in this life. To obtain a knowledge of this design is a duty obligatory upon all the sons and daughters of Adam.

The Latter-day Saints realize that there is no period of man ‘ existence not incorporated with the plan of salvation, and directly pointing to a future existence. Consequently, when we stand here to speak to the people, let every man speak what is in his heart. If one of our Elders is capable of giving us a lecture upon any of the sciences, let it be delivered in the spirit of meekness—in the spirit of the holy Gospel. If, on the Sabbath day, when we are assembled here to worship the Lord, one of the Elders should be prompted to give us a lecture on any branch of education with which he is acquainted, is it outside the pale of our religion? I think not. If any of the Elders are disposal to give a lecture to parents and children on letters, on the rudiments of the English language, it is in my religion, it is a part of my faith. Or if an Elder shall give us a lecture upon astronomy, chemistry, or geology, our religion embraces it all. It matters not what the subject be, if it tends to improve the mind, exalt the feelings, and enlarge the capacity. The truth that is in all the arts and sciences forms a part of our religion. Faith is no more a part of it than any other true principle of philosophy. Were I to give you a lecture today upon farming, would I be speaking upon a matter that transcends the bounds of our religion? Agriculture is a part of it as well as any other truth. Were I to lecture on business principles of any kind, our religion embraces it; and what it does not circumscribe, it would be well for us to dispense with at once and forever.

This language may come in contact with the prejudices of many people, and I will add, of all people, unless they have been schooled in “Mormonism.” It comes in contact with the traditions, prejudices, and feelings of former years, when the alpha and omega of our religion consisted in singing, preaching, exhorting, and shouting “Glory, hallelujah, praise the Lord!” And when Monday morning came, we would go to our farms, to our merchandise, to our mechanism, and to what we called our dull business of life, which we considered did not belong to our religion. These are the traditions of the world, but it is not so with us; we have learned the Gospel better.

I am aware how easy it is for the mind of man to become entangled with the deceitfulness of riches, for I am somewhat experienced in the spirit of the world. How easy it is for the love of the world to take possession of the hearts of the human family! How easy it is for their minds to become darkened by the god of this world, and, become like the eyes of the fool, which are in the ends of the earth, seeking for gold and silver, and for the riches, grandeur, popularity, and titles of this world. If the religion we possess does not control and reign predominant over every other principle and feeling, we have not been schooled in it so as to learn our lessons correctly—we are not masters of this heavenly science. If the Latter-day Saints have not been schooled enough to realize that all things which pertain to this world—riches, honors, worldly grandeur, and worldly titles, are not wholly subservient to their religion, they are not fully skilled in their profession. Are you aware of this? Do the Latter-day Saints individually realize the circumstances in which they are placed, the position they occupy in human society, in the midst of the Church of Jesus Christ? How many are there here today who realize as they ought their standing with God and man, and who understand precisely their position in life, their relationship with angels, and the destinies of Providence? Here are many who have been in the Church for years—are they masters, or are they yet only scholars? Are they fathers, or yet only babes? Have they need to be taught what are the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ, or are they capable of teaching them to the human family, pointing out the way of life and salvation? Many are capable. If we have learned our lessons well, while we teach the way of life and salvation to others, we shall exemplify it in our own lives. How many of my hearers possess the mastery over themselves, can keep the angry spirit of wrath under the empire of reason, and cannot be prejudiced against their brethren? Select the men or women who are capable of judging a righteous judgment, who can weigh exactly the life and conduct of their neighbors in the balance of justice, mercy, and truth? Are there any? I hope there are many.

How many of the Latter-day Saints, who have been in the Church from fifteen to twenty years, have learned the Gospel sufficiently to be masters of their passions? How many have learned the nature of things, as well as of men, the use of gold and silver, and the elements that are around us, so as to enjoy the life of the world, and understand the nature of it well enough to devote all the treasures of the east, did they possess them, to the building up of the kingdom of God, and to have no will but the will of the Lord? Who is proof against the influence of a good name, and worldly renown? How many have learned the lesson so perfectly as to defy the depths of poverty, distress, and misery to move them, or in the least shatter their integrity? The congregation can answer these questions at their leisure, each one for himself. I can assure you we have to learn such lessons, if we have not learned them already.

The mysterious and invisible hand (so called) of Providence is manifested in all the works of God. Who of this congregation can realize for one moment, that the Lord would notice so trifling an affair as the hairs you have combed from your heads this morning? Yet it is so, not one hair has fallen to the ground without the notice of our Father in heaven. To convince the ancient Apostles of His care over them, Jesus selected the most trifling things, in their estimation, to illustrate to their minds that the least thing escaped not His notice. Said he—“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without the knowledge of your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered.”

Can we realize how this Providence governs and controls the nations of the earth, and marks out the destinies of individual man? If we have not learned these lessons they are before us, and we have them yet to learn. If we have not yet learned that poverty, sickness, pain, want, disappointment, losses, crosses, or even death, should not move us one hair’s breadth from the service of God, or separate us from the principles of eternal life, it is a lesson we have to learn. If we have not learned how to handle the things of this world in the light of salvation, we have it yet to learn. Though we have mountains of gold and silver, and stores of precious things heaped up, and could control the elements, and command the cattle on a thousand hills, if we have not learned that every iota of it should be devoted to the building up of the kingdom of God on earth, it is a lesson yet to learn.

Our religion embraces every truth pertaining to mortal life—there is nothing outside the pale of it. It is no matter what persons do, if they keep within the bounds of truth and righteousness, of the Gospel of the Son of God. Can they step beyond these bounds? They can. I will tell you how easily. When Saints start to cross the plains to this place, no matter where they start from, they are full of faith and religion, they are full of prayer and humility, and O how they desire to get to Zion! They cross the Atlantic, travel on the waters of the Mississippi and Missouri, and commence their journey over the plains, but before they have traveled over half the distance, they enter into temptation, some of them so far as to say, “When I get to the Valley I shall go on to California.” Some will step out of the way far enough to curse and swear at their cattle, and others will cruelly treat them, in a rage of madness. Those who do these things know they are beyond the bounds of what they have been taught is right, even by the traditions of the fathers. We have been taught from our childhood, that passion, anger, strife, and malice are wrong. Our former traditions, in a great many instances, have been as true, and as much in accordance with the Gospel, as they could be given. We have been traditionated not to swear, and the spirit within us forbids it. If we maltreat our animals, or each other, the spirit within us, our traditions, and the Bible, all agree in declaring it is wrong. When the Saints arrive in Salt Lake Valley, how easy it is for them to wander from the right way! I could point out scores of cases, had I time. On the other hand, I can point out men who have been with us for years in the depths of poverty, and some from the beginning, and they never saw the time they could feed their families with sufficient food, nor clothe them, and yet they are full of faith and humility. Should this people partake of the blessings of the Lord as freely as He is willing to bestow them, it would destroy them. They do not realize they are to be tried in all things. They would say, “I acknowledge I am blessed, but I have blessed myself;” and forget it is the Lord who has blessed them, and given them their gold and silver, their houses and lands, their horses and carriages, and all things they possess.

If the Latter-day Saints have not learned to handle the good things of this world, acknowledging the hand of God in putting them into their possession, they have this lesson yet to learn. When those who can bear poverty are blessed with prosperity, they are apt to rise up in their own strength and wisdom, and forget the God who has blessed them, and make shipwreck of faith. Again, there are those who have been prospered in their life, when they are brought to poverty and want, turn away from the truth, like the young man in Nauvoo, who sat down to breakfast from a Johnny cake alone; says he, “I do not ask a blessing upon this; if God does not give me better food than this, I shall never ask him to bless it.” I said, “You will make shipwreck of faith.” The spirit he manifested was an apostate spirit; he had forgotten there was a providence in the very circumstance he spurned, and he went to destruction. Mysterious as it may appear to the children of men, God is in and round about all things.

To do right, can be reduced to perfect simplicity in a few words, viz., from this time henceforth, let no person work, or transact any kind of business whatever, that he cannot do in the name of the Lord, and let him sink wholly into His will, whether it oppose his prejudices, or not, or is decidedly objectionable to his feelings. The Lord will ultimately lead such persons into the fulness of His joy by a way that may sometimes appear dark to them. But there are thousands who will say, “Lord, we believe in your name, in your name we have been baptized, and we have prophesied, and have cast out devils in your name; do you not remember we laid hands on a person in yonder city, or in that house, and cast a devil out of him?” Such persons, that have healed the sick, or cast out a devil, sooner or later, take strength to themselves, if they are not careful, and believe they have power of themselves to do what they please. Boast not of these matters. You hear many say, “I am a Latter-day Saint, and I never will apostatize;” “I am a Latter-day Saint, and shall be to the day of my death.” I never make such declarations, and never shall. I think I have learned that of myself I have no power, but my system is organized to increase in wisdom, knowledge, and power, getting a little here and a little there. But when I am left to myself, I have no power, and my wisdom is foolishness; then I cling close to the Lord, and I have power in His name. I think I have learned the Gospel so as to know, that in and of myself I am nothing. In the organization of my system, however, is a foundation laid, if I rightly improve upon it, that will secure to me the independence of the Gods in eternity. This is obtained by strictly adhering to the principles of the Gospel in this life, which will lead us on from faith to faith, and from grace to grace. This is the way, I think, I have learned the Lord.

Shall we ever see the time we shall be perfectly independent of every other being in all the eternities? No; we shall never see that time. Many have fallen on as simple ground as this, and were I to use a Western term, I would, say, “they were troubled with a big head.” Such persons think they have power to do this, that, and the other, but they are left to themselves, and the Lord loves to show them they have no power.

We hear some saying—“I will get out of this community as soon as I can.” Why? “Because I bought a wagon of one of my brethren, and he wants me to pay for it.” Or, “I rode a brother’s horse to death, and he thinks I should make it good.” “It is a damnable community, and I will not stay in it.” I do not hear these things myself, but I can hear of them. I know it is so. What ails such people? They have taken strength to themselves, and forgotten the Lord their God. They do not call upon His name, and trust in Him to direct them in all their ways. They forget they are doing as they used to do, viz., serve the Lord on the seventh day, and take six to themselves. They will traffic, trade, labor and heap up riches six days, and go to meeting on Sunday to serve the Lord one day. About such a religion I am ignorant, only I know it is good for nothing. My religion must be with me from one Monday morning to the next, the year round, or it will not answer me. You can see how easy it is for Latter-day Saints to step out of the path of duty.

Those who step out of the way do not know themselves, they are unacquainted with the nature of the human family, and with the principles of the kingdom we are engaged in building up. When the Latter-day Saints make up their minds to endure, for the kingdom of God’s sake, whatsoever shall come, whether poverty or riches, whether sickness or to be driven by mobs, they will say it is all right, and will honor the hand of the Lord in it, and in all things, and serve Him to the end of their lives, according to the best of their ability, God being their helper. If you have not made up your minds for this, the quicker you do so the better.

Persons who cannot control themselves, and hold in subjection their feelings, and lustful desires, and appetites, know no better than to run distracted after the perishable things of this world. They say they “are going to California;” and I thank the Lord they are. Why? Because I would rather be in this community with one hundred families of poor, honest-hearted Saints, than one hundred millions who mix up with devils, and go to California. And how long will they be there before they are begging of some Gentile merchant to bring them back again? But I say, “let them lie there in hell, until they are well burnt out, like an old pipe.” I would not move my finger to help them back now, for they would only corrupt the community. After awhile, when they are purified, then we will bring them to Zion, if they wish to come and serve the Lord; but if they wish to serve themselves, let them serve themselves, and if the devil, let them serve him.

My prayer for you, this morning, is, that you may be servants of the Most High God; but if any of you find men or women who will not serve the Lord, do not lay a straw in their way to hinder them from serving the devil, but give them a dollar, or help them to a wagon, to speed their way out of this community. It would be better to do so than to keep them here, when they have no disposition to love and serve the Lord. We are better without them.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Let no man judge his fellow being, unless he knows he has the mind of Christ within him. We ought to reflect seriously upon this point; how often it is said—“Such a person has done wrong, and he cannot be a Saint, or he would not do so.” How do you know? We hear some swear and lie; they trample upon the rights of their neighbor, break the Sabbath by staying away from meeting, riding about the city, hunting horses and cattle, or working in the canyons. Do not judge such persons, for you do not know the design of the Lord concerning them; therefore, do not say they are not Saints. What shall we do with them? Bear with them. The brethren and sisters from the old countries frequently place great confidence in the American Elders who have been their pastors, but some trifling thing occurs that does not appear right to them, and they say in a moment, “That Elder is not a Latter-day Saint.” Judge no man. A person who would say another is not a Latter-day Saint, for some trifling affair in human life, proves that he does not possess the Spirit of God. Think of this, brethren and sisters; write it down, that you may refresh your memories with it; carry it with you, and look at it often. If I judge my brethren and sisters, unless I judge them by the revelations of Jesus Christ, I have not the spirit of Christ; if I had, I should judge no man. This is true doctrine. Now let the newcomers especially remember not to judge their brethren and sisters. A great many sit in judgment upon me, and upon this people, and I have a right to judge as well as they. Were I to pass my judgment upon those who judge me and this people, I would do it in the language of Joseph, in the Dialogue we have in print. In it a question is put to Joseph as follows—“Joseph, are you Jesus Christ?”—“No; but I am his brother.”

Will all the people be damned who are not Latter-day Saints? Yes, and a great many of them, except they repent speedily. I will say further, that many of the Latter-day Saints, except they learn their lessons better, will be judged in the same way. That is my candid opinion. There are families with us here with whom I have been acquainted from the beginning, who have ideas of the things of this world that appear strange to me. They have a strange conception of the good things of the earth. Upon this item especially, I wish the Saints of God to concentrate their minds, and learn this important lesson right, that they enter not into temptation. We will suppose, for instance, a small Branch of the Church raised up in a district where they are generally well off as to earthly substance. They sell their property, and gather with the Saints. Say there are ten families in the Branch, and allow them to be worth ten thousand dollars each. Nine of the ten lose their property by lawyers, by their brothers, by their fathers, or by some person who robs them on the way, and they have only enough left to get here. One of the ten is fortunate enough to save his property, and has it in gold. He, however, lends one man a hundred dollars, buys a team for another, and pays the passage of this or that poor family until he expends all his money, and he also arrives here naked. Now, take these ten families and put them together; from the lips of the nine, whose property has gone into the hands of the wicked, you will not hear one murmur or complaint, where you will hear a hundred from him who has disposed of his money to help the poor Saints to gather to Zion. I am now telling you what I know to be true, for I have watched this item of human life from the beginning.

Allow me here to say to the Saints, that I have accumulated a great amount of wealth in my time; and I call upon all who are acquainted with me, to bear witness, if they can, that I have ever distressed a man for what he owes me, or crowded any person in the least. Have I ever turned the widow and the orphan empty away, or the poor man hungry from my door or purse, if I had a dime in it? Have I ever taken a brother by the throat and said—“Pay me that thou owest me?” No. But I have stacks of notes against them, amounting to over thirty thousand dollars. I boast not of this, but present the picture as an example for you to follow.

When poor, miserable curses, who would cut our throats, get means from a member of this Church, it hurts my feelings. How much better would it be to hand it over to the proper person, saying—“Take this, feed the poor Saints, and do good with it?” Who can realize that the Lord can put a great amount of property in his hands in a short time, or take it from him again? I can realize this to a considerable degree. I may have thousands of wealth locked up today, and hold checks for immense sums on the best banking institutions in the world, but have I any surety that I shall be worth a cent tomorrow morning? Not the least. The Lord Almighty can send fire and destruction when He pleases, destroying towns and swallowing up cities in the bellowing earthquake. He can set up kingdoms, and make communities wealthy, and bring them to poverty, at His pleasure. When He pleases, He can give them wealth, comfort, and ease, and, on the other hand, torment them with poverty, distress, and sore afflictions. Who can realize this? All the world ought, and especially the Saints.

I wish to impress another thing upon your minds. An Elder, who is willing to preach the Gospel, borrows a hundred or a thousand dollars from you, and you never breathe the first complaint against him, until you came home to this valley, but after you have been here for a few days, you follow me round and fill my ears with complaints against this brother, and ask me what he has done with your money? I say, “I do not know.” Thus you are distressed and in misery, all the day long, to get it back again. If an Elder has borrowed from you, and you find he is going to apostatize, then you may tighten the screws upon him; but if he is willing to preach the Gospel, without purse or scrip, it is none of your business what he does with the money he has borrowed from you. The doctrine of brother Joseph is, that not one dollar you possess is your own; and if the Lord wants it to use, let it go, and it is none of your business what He does with it. Should it be laid out to pamper the lazy? No; but you can see those who have been out on missions, working in the canyons, and traversing the country right and left, trying to get a living by the work of their hands.

But you say, “What has he done with my money?” He has, perhaps, helped that poor family to gather with it, or they would not have been here. If you murmur against that Elder, it will prove your damnation. The money was not yours, but the Lord Almighty put it into your hands to see what you would do with it. The gold, the silver, the wheat, the fine flour, the buffalo, the deer, and the cattle on a thousand hills, are all His, and He turns them whithersoever He will; and He turns the nations whithersoever He will, casting down one nation and setting up another, according to His own pleasure. All there is of any worth or value in the world is incorporated in our glorious religion, and designed to exalt the minds of the children of men to a permanent, celestial, and eternal station.

No man need judge me. You know nothing about it, whether I am sent or not; furthermore, it is none of your business, only to listen with open ears to what is taught you, and serve God with an undivided heart.

Perhaps I have detained you long enough. In my remarks I have not transcended the bounds of my religion. If I had told you about the Latter-day Saints’ new spelling book, my religion embraces it, and all the good we see from one year’s end to another.

Will you try to be Saints in very deed? I do not pray the Lord that you may, but my prayer is offered to you, and I pray you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God, and serve Him with an undivided heart, to the end of your lives. And I pray my Heavenly Father to enable you so to do. And may God bless you. Amen.

Disobedience of Counsel—The Indian War The Result of the Same

An Address by Elder George A. Smith, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, at the General Conference, Oct. 7, 1853.

It is with pleasure that I have listened to the remarks of President Kimball. The sentiments he has advanced are true and just, and I am certain no person can have listened to them without having felt edified and instructed.

There is no doubt that a great proportion of the people who have been here in these valleys for years past, can bear witness to the counsel and instructions that have been given, for the preservation of the settlements, and the establishment of the stakes of Zion within the limits of these mountains. Perhaps those persons, when they see me arise to occupy the stand, will at once say within themselves, “We are going to hear something in relation to enlarging the new settlements, making entirely new ones, establishing iron works, or some other thing of that nature, to draw our feelings out of the channel they have run in,” for it is so really certain, that I have scarcely attended a single Conference since I have been in the Valley, without having something of this kind to present during the term of Conference. I think, however, for the last year, it has not been my lot to address an assembly in this place, perhaps more than once or twice, and as I had been noted for short sermons and short prayers, my addresses have also been few. But although my voice has not been heard from this stand, I have not been silent, neither have I been idle.

I was appointed to preside over the affairs of the Church in the county of Utah. I have also made two trips annually through the southern portions of the territory, visiting all the Branches, taking considerable time and a great deal of interest in the affairs of Iron County, besides making as many missions to this place as were necessary, to obtain counsel, and acquire information to carry on the work entrusted to my charge.

Any man that knows the country, and is acquainted with the business that has been placed before me, will be aware, that, lazy as I might be, I have had plenty to occupy my thoughts, and to give me active exertion, at least for the past year, in the exercise of my ministry and calling.

I present myself before you, then, to offer a few reflections upon what I feel to be important for this Conference to consider for the safety, welfare, and protection of the Saints in the valleys of these mountains. I have been made familiar with the condition of our settlements south, and am aware somewhat of the condition of our settlements in other parts of the territory.

In the commencement of my remarks, I will say, that the people almost universally do not realize the importance of listening to the voice of God through His servant Brigham. My heart has been pained by the things that are past, when I have been traveling and laboring in different parts of the territory; it has been pained to see the carelessness and indifference with which the words of the Almighty, through His servant, have been received.

Numbers were counseled to go to Iron County, and make there a strong settlement, sufficiently so to enable the people to protect themselves, and establish iron works. Many started in that direction, and succeeded in making the distance of from thirty to seventy miles, and concluded they had traveled far enough on good land without settling upon it.

Last spring, when President Young made his visit through the settlements, the county of Utah was very flourishing in appearance. Many splendid farms had been opened, and men were living upon them with the same security and carelessness as heretofore the people have done in the State of New York, where they need not fear the attacks of hostile Indians. The President had previously counseled them to settle in forts, and not scatter asunder so as to render themselves in a state of helplessness in the case of attack by the red men. Forts had accordingly been surveyed, and cities had been surveyed, where the people could gather together and fortify themselves; yet the great mass, I may say, or, at any rate, all the wealthy portions of them, had selected good farms, and were building good buildings, and making improvements upon them, and were dwelling safely, scattered all over the valley; a great many of them had lately come from England, and different parts of the world, and were in a flourishing condition; cattle were increasing around them, corn was growing in abundance, and fruit and all things seemingly were beginning to flourish exceedingly.

On viewing this state of things, I said to myself, “Is this to be the order of things? Are the people going to prosper in this way, while in open violation of the counsels that have been given, namely, to gather into forts?” I knew that that state of affairs would not continue a great length of time, and can call the men and women in every settlement to bear witness that I have publicly testified that that order of things could not remain; for when God has a Prophet on the earth, and that Prophet tells the people what to do, and they neglect to do it, they must suffer for it. I bear witness before you, this day, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that no people can treat lightly the sayings of a Prophet of God, whom He places on the earth to direct His people, and prosper. I know it is impossible. I have borne this testimony to the settlements, in my preachings, when I have visited them. In reply, the folks would say, “There is no danger, brother Smith, if we do live in the country, upon our farms, for it is so unpleasant to live in town.”

When President Young was going south last season, in one of the large meetings he addressed at Palmyra, in Utah County, he bore testimony, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that if the people did not gather into cities and forts, and fortify themselves, they should be driven out of these mountains. If God had come down upon one of these mountains as He did upon Mount Sinai, and kicked up a tremendous thunderstorm, I could not have been impressed with the truth of those remarks one particle more than I was on that occasion. I knew Brigham to be a Prophet of the Lord, and esteemed his words as the voice of God to the people.

I straightway commenced to encourage the people, and preached to them, and proposed laying out a fort for them, when they would perhaps turn round and say, “Really, brother Smith, do you think there is any danger?” I would say within myself, “Here are hundreds and thousands of brethren that have never been proved; they have never borne the heat and burden of the day, but they are picking up the fat valleys of Ephraim, and selecting good farms, and securing to themselves beautiful situations, and making splendid improvements, and living in peace, and eating of the fat of the land, and forgetting their God. Can this state of things remain?”

I went to every settlement, and attempted to encourage them to fort, but failed to accomplish anything towards getting them to obey the word of the Lord on this matter. Some of them said they would move into forts in the fall of the year.

Sometime in the summer, however, a man, known in these mountains by the name of Walker, found that the people cared nothing about God, or the instructions of brother Brigham, and brother George A., so he said, “I wonder if you will mind me;” and in less than one solitary week, he had more than three hundred families on the move, houses were thrown down in every direction, and I presume one hundred thousand dollars worth of property was wasted.

Had the people listened to the counsel of President Young, in the first place, and put their property in a proper place, it would have been protected. In the counties of Utah, Juab, and San Pete, the houses were vacated, and the Indians got into them, and shot the brethren, so they had to be entirely demolished, which rendered it necessary for great numbers to move into forts. This has been affected by brother Walker. That bloodthirsty Indian, in this matter, had more influence to make the Saints obey counsel than the Presidency of this Church had, and could actually kick up a bigger fuss in a few days than they could by simply telling the people the will of the Lord.

When God places a man on the earth to be His mouth, he says this or that is the law, and this is the thing for the people to obey. “Well, but,” says one, “I cannot make as good a living in town as I can away out on a farm, where I can keep a great many cattle.” It appears probable to me, you might make more by going to parts of California, or Australia, than you can make even out on a farm in this country. If your object is to make as much earthly gain as possible, why not go where you can get the most of it? This business of having one hand in the golden honeypots of heaven, and the other in the dark regions of hell, undertaking to serve both God and Mammon at once, will not answer.

Aside from the settlements in San Pete, I believe I have, more or less, been with nearly all the settlements south, and I have also visited the San Pete settlements two or three times, and I do know, that if the counsel and instructions of President Young could have been observed, it would have saved the people at least one hundred thousand dollars. And I do further know, to my satisfaction, that if the counsel of President Young had been observed, not one of the Saints would have lost his life by an Indian. I am certain of these facts; and yet occasionally some man falls a prey to some cruel savage, and whole villages have to be removed, and farms vacated, and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage is done all the time, because men will not live according to the instructions given to them by the Prophet of God. If you ask men to build in a fort, they will say, “It is a free country, and we can build where we please.” I admit that a man is free to serve the devil if he thinks proper; but let me tell you, it is the cheapest in the end to do right.

There was no more necessity of having this Indian war than there is of our going out to kill the cattle on the plains of Jordan, and leave them for the wolves to devour. If we had taken the course that was marked out to us, and observed the advice given to us, all our past troubles would not have occurred. I know this language will hurt the feelings of a great many.

But I will talk about Iron County, as I am the “Iron Major;” I am advancing in the ranks. They used to say, in Utah, I was a pretty good sort of a fellow until I got to be a Colonel, and then I became more savage. Be this as it may, I do know, that if the people of Iron County had listened to the counsel given to them, they would have saved to themselves in that little settlement—not over eight hundred strong, not less than twenty-five thousand dollars, which they have actually lost, or I may more properly say, wasted, in consequence of the disposition to do as they pleased. When we first went to iron County, we went with the same instructions the people had in all the other settlements, and accordingly we laid out forts as well as we were capable of. We will admit that those efforts were not planned as well as they might have been, but they were planned as well as we knew how to plan them at the time. A considerable number of men went to work at building forts, and those who did so were subjected to very little loss. But almost every time I have visited any settlement in Iron County, from the time it first commenced, up to the present, and I have been through a great proportion of them, I have had from one to fifty applicants saying, “Brother Smith, may I not go further, this way or that way, to make me a farm? Or, to the other place, to make me a ranch?” And so it would be almost continually—asking for privileges to do things that they knew were contrary to counsel. My answer would be, “Yes, of course, just as soon as the settlements are strong enough to secure to you protection; but it will not do to venture out, and separate far from each other, for two or three years. Until the settlements get strong, we must stay together, lest some evil influence should stir up the Indians, and destroy our settlements entirely.”

With all the influence I could use in those parts of the country, some of the brethren broke through and established several posts for cattle ranches, and commenced to open farms, but it was afterwards found necessary to gather these distant posts in, and those who were living on large farms, and erecting fine buildings, which either had to be removed away or entirely abandoned. All this trouble and loss of property could have been prevented, only for that reckless disposition—“I want a little more liberty to go a little further off.”

As I had the honor to preside over Provo, I take the liberty to talk about my own place, and tell its history, and I want all the newcomers to profit by it. In the first place, there was a number of men wanted to go to Provo and make a settlement, and have a chance to fish in the waters, and trade with the Indians. They accordingly begged of the President to let them go in accordance with their wishes. He finally gave them the privilege of going there, if they would build a fort for their protection. They went, and made a beginning; they built something, but I never knew what it was. I have passed there, but not being very well acquainted with the science of fortification, nor with the science of topography, I never could find or frame a name for the thing which they built.

They then petitioned for the privilege of laying out a city with small lots, and living in the capacity of a town, as it is so much more convenient to live in a town than in a fort. The President gave them the privilege, because he was afraid, I presume, if he had not granted it to them, some of their own careless boys, or the Indians, would set their hay on fire and burn up the whole concern. They went to work and laid out a city. The President of that company is one of the most righteous men I ever was acquainted with; there is not a man living, I presume, would say any evil of him, and I am the last man to do it on any account; but he wanted to set an example, you know; for it is generally expected that Presidents and Bishops love to set an example to the flock of Christ; so he went off up the creek, and found a splendid piece of farming land. He took his cabin from the miserable huddle they meant for a fort, and put it on this piece of land, and said, “Now, you poor brethren (if he did not say it, I always thought he did), you stay in town, and I will remain here, and when I get rich I will remove into town, and build me a fine house, for these log cabins will not look well in town.” Every man that wanted to get rich went up the creek to what we technically call “the Bushes,” and pretty much all the property went into the bushes, and there it remained until Walker spoke, and it was not a week after before this good President, and all who followed his brave example, came bundling into town, after he had put up a thing up the creek among the bushes, that I call one of the mysteries of the kingdom.

Now if that man had taken the good and wholesome advice that was given him, he would now have been well off, it would have been over two thousand dollars in his pocket, and so it is with all the balance of the people who have acted as he has. They have had to sacrifice all this property by taking their own way.

The Indian war is the result of our thinking we know better than our President, the result of following our own counsel instead of the counsel of Brigham Young. It has been the cause of almost all the loss of life and property that has been sustained from the Indians; that is, in the southern departments. Understand me, I do not pretend to say anything about matters this side the Utah mountains, but I will tell you what I think: I think that all the forting I have seen in Great Salt Lake County—it is true I have not seen much of it, but the most of what I have seen amounts to nothing more than a humbug; and if ever an Indian war comes upon you, you will be no better off than the distant settlements, unless you make timely calculations for it beforehand, and make them right. Such a war will cost you nearly all you possess. I do not know that you will ever have one, but I should think, allowing me to judge, that you have one on your hands now. And if I had a family scattered out on any of these creeks, or living in any of these unfortified settlements, I should think it prudent for me to move them into the city, or into a fort, and do it the first thing I did. After the Indians have come and peeled your heads clean, murdered your wives, killed off your children, burnt your houses, and plundered your property, then you can move into forts, and it will be all right. That appears to me to be the kind of forting I can observe in the thinly settled parts of this county; in the cities the people are more wide awake.

I expect, brethren, I shall preach here again, if I live, and I shall probably preach about the Indian difficulties, about the Indian war, if they did say I was the biggest coward south of the Utah mountains, and that I dare not go out anywhere, not even for my cows, without my gun, and generally with somebody with me; and consequently, being so nervously afraid, I shall say to the newcomers, especially if they want to be preserved and to save their property, and labor to preserve the lives of their families, they have got to take the counsel of President Young, and that is, to SETTLE IN FORTS—and have fortified cities; and not only to settle in forts and cities, but to go armed, and not be overtaken and murdered by the way, in the manner that some have been.

You might suppose, because I am so cowardly, that I am very anxious to kill the Indians; but no man ever heard me undertake to advocate the business of killing Indians, unless it was in self-defense; and in no orders that I have issued (and I have issued a great many under different circumstances since the war commenced, being the “Iron Colonel”), have I ever given license of this kind, but to act in defense of ourselves and property. For I do believe, if the people can be made to listen to President Young’s counsel, we can close the war without bloodshed. I have believed it all the time, and I have acted upon it. With the exception of a few bloodthirsty individuals that may have to be punished for their crimes, the great body of the Indians that have been affected, can be brought to peace and duty, if the people themselves will observe their instructions.

I know not what my friends may think of me for talking as I have today; but I have expressed freely my candid sentiments, and I can express nothing else; at the same time I do not consider that the Indians have had any provocation in any shape or manner, to cause them to commence this war upon their friends. I believe it was commenced through the influence of some corrupt individuals who were fired with a desire for plunder; and that it never would have been commenced at all, if the people had all been in forts, as they ought to have been, notwithstanding this influence. But when the Indians saw property scattered all over the plains, thousands of cattle and horses, with grain and everything spread before them, in an unprotected condition, those that were evil minded among them coveted our property, and thought we could not defend it. And sure enough we could not, for we have more property than we can defend, we have more cattle than we can take care of; Indians can steal from us all the time, and we cannot take care of that which God has given us, because we have so much of it; and for want of its being brought under a proper organization, it is badly scattered and exposed; and until we make proper provisions to take care of our stock, evil-minded persons will plunder us.

If we had built our forts, established our corrals, and taken care of everything we had, according to the instructions that all the new settlements received, this Indian war never would have commenced, because the Indians would have discovered there was no chance for plunder. They had no idea we would move into forts as we have done.

I advised one individual, before he built a house out on a farm, to build in the city. O no, he must have more room; and he built in one of the most dangerous positions in the mountains. By and by the Indians drove him in. I absolutely did know, if I let that man’s house stand, his family would sooner or later be murdered, which might have occurred any day; so I issued an order for it to be removed. He durst not trust me to remove it, for fear I should break something; and don’t you think the poor miserable fellow broke two joists in removing it himself, which did not appear so small a matter to him as it does to us. He lost considerable, because he would not build in a safe place. His house was situated in a position to completely command the mouth of a canyon, and at the same time a more dangerous place did not exist in the district; the safety of the settlement actually required its removal.

There were several men wounded through leaving their houses and not throwing them down, for they became a barricade for the Indians; so I took upon me the responsibility of removing such dangerous places as would give shelter to our enemies, while they pierced us with their bullets.

Some men would tell me such a course was not strictly according to law. I told them I should save the lives of the people. And if they had not been gathered up, scores of men, women, and children would have been butchered before now.

I presume I have talked to you long enough. It is a matter I feel considerable about. I know men are careless, women are careless; and if there is not greater care taken, women will be carried away prisoners; and their children will be murdered, if they wander off carelessly and unprotected. I tell you, in a country like this, where women are scarce and hard to get, we have great need to take care of them, and not let the Indians have them.

Walker himself has teased me for a white wife; and if any of the sisters will volunteer to marry him, I believe I can close the war forthwith. I am certain, unless men take better care of their women, Walker may supply himself on a liberal scale, and without closing the war either.

In conclusion I will say, if any lady wishes to be Mrs. Walker, if she will report herself to me, I will agree to negotiate the match.

The Man to Lead God’s People—Overcoming—A Pillar in the Temple of God—Angels’ Visits—the Earth

A Discourse by President Orson Hyde, Delivered at the General Conference Held in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Oct. 6, 1853.

At the commencement of our Conference, it has fallen to my lot to make a few remarks.

If you will indulge me with your prayerful attention, I will try to communicate to you a few words, which I hope and trust may prove, not only edifying to you now, but a source of comfort and consolation in time to come.

Be it as the Lord will, I shall use my best endeavors for this; and if I fail in it, it will be for want of ability, and not for want of a disposition.

I discover before me many strange faces; I presume they are our friends from the different settlements, South, North, East, and West, who have no doubt assembled here for the purpose of obtaining instructions and information respecting the prosperity of the Church, the duty of its officers, and what is to be done in the important period in which we now live.

It is a peculiar and interesting time with us. In the first place, our brethren from abroad, who are unaccustomed to a mountain life, or a life in this Valley, are emigrating to this place; and when they arrive here, they do not find everything, perhaps, as they anticipated, or they find things different from what they have been accustomed to in the places from which they came. Everything seems new and strange, and it takes a little time, as we say in a familiar phrase, “to get broken into the harness.”

Not only so, but we have had some little disturbance with the red men this season, and this is a cause of some digression from the common path of duty we are accustomed to move in.

Under all these circumstances, as we have business of importance to transact during this Conference, it becomes necessary that our minds should become united in one, as far as possible, that we may act in accordance with the mind and will of our Father which is in heaven. Let me here observe, that the people of God can be united only upon that principle that vibrates from the very bosom of heaven. If we are united, if we can touch one point or principle upon which all can strike hands, by that union we may know that our will is the mind and will of God; and what we, in that state, bind on earth, is bound in heaven, for the action is reciprocal, it is the same.

Hence, after so long a separation, we have come together again, under circumstances somewhat peculiar. It is necessary that we seek to be united. How shall we be united? Around what standard shall we rally? Where is the beacon light to which our eyes shall be directed, in order that our actions may tend to the accomplishment of the same purpose and design? The beacon light is he whom our heavenly Father has ordained and appointed to lead His people, and give them counsel, and guide their destiny. That is the light to which the eye should be directed. And when that voice is heard, let every bosom respond, yea and amen.

But, says one, “If this be correct, it is giving to one man almighty power. It is giving to one man supreme power to rule.” Admit it. What are we all aiming for? Are we not aiming for supreme power? Are we not aiming to obtain the promise that has been made to all believers? What is it? “He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Are we not all seeking for this, that we may overcome, that we may inherit all things? For says Paul, “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” Well, then, if all things are ours, we should be very insensible to our best interests if we did not seek diligently for that which Heaven promises as a legacy to the faithful. It is our right, then. Do we not all expect to be armed with almighty power? Is there a Latter-day Saint under the sound of my voice, whose heart is fired with celestial light, but that seeks to be in possession of supreme power (I had like to have said) both in heaven and on earth? It is said, we are “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” Does Jesus Christ possess all power in heaven and on earth? He said, when he rose from the dead, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Are we heirs of God, and joint heirs with that illustrious character? He has so declared! If we are, do we not, in common with him, possess the power that is in heaven and on earth! If one individual, then, is a little ahead of us in obtaining this power, let us not be envious, for it will be our time by and by. We ought to be the more thankful, and glorify God that He has armed one individual with this power, and opened a way that we may follow him, and obtain the same power. Instead of it being a cause of envy, it ought to be, on the contrary, a matter to call forth our warmest thanksgivings and praise to God, that He has brought back that power again to the earth in our day, by which we may be led step by step to the point we hope to attain.

After reflecting a little this morning, a passage of Scripture occurred to my mind—the words of John the Revelator, or the promise made to him. It says, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem; which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.”

In the course of my travels in preaching the Gospel to different nations, I have often heard it remarked by the people, in days gone by, “We have heard your testimony; we have heard your preaching; but really, why does not Joseph Smith, your Prophet, come to us and bear testimony? Why does he not come to us and show us the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated? If we could see the Prophet and the plates, then we should be satisfied that the work is genuine, that it is of God; but if we cannot see him and the ancient records, we are still in doubt with regard to the genuineness of the work.”

My reply to them was something like the followings—“Joseph Smith cannot be everywhere, and the plates cannot be presented to every eye. The voice of Joseph Smith cannot be heard by every ear.” And I have said to them, “You that have seen me have seen Joseph Smith, for the same spirit and the same sentiments that are in him are in me, and I bear testimony to you that these things are verily true.”

It is generally the case, and I think I may say it is invariably the case, that when an individual is ordained and appointed to lead the people, he has passed through tribulations and trials, and has proven himself before God, and before His people, that he is worthy of the situation which he holds. And let this be the motto and safeguard in all future time, that when a person that has not been tried, that has not proved himself before God, and before His people, and before the councils of the Most High, to be worthy, he is not going to step in to lead the Church and people of God. It never has been so, but from the beginning someone that understands the Spirit and counsel of the Almighty, that knows the Church, and is known of her, is the character that will lead the Church.

How does he become thus acquainted? How does he gain this influence, this confidence in the estimation of the people? He earns it by his upright course and conduct, by the justness of his counsels, and the correctness of his prophecies, and the straightforward spirit he manifests to the people. And he has to do this step by step; he gains influence, and his spirit, like an anchor, is fastened in the hearts of the people; and he is sustained and supported by the love, confidence, and goodwill of the Saints, and of Him that dwelt in the bush. This is the kind of character that ought to lead God’s people, after he has obtained this goodwill and this confidence.

What then is he to do? Is he to go abroad to the nations of the earth and preach the Gospel; to leave his home and the people of his charge? May we not count him as first and foremost in the ranks of them that overcome? I think so! Well then, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” All those who approach the nearest to that standard, we expect will remain in the temple of God at home, and not go abroad to the nations of the earth.

Says one, “If an angel from heaven would descend and bear testimony that this work was of God, I would believe it. Why may I not receive the testimony of angels, as well as Joseph Smith or any other person? For God is no respecter of persons! If I could receive it, I would be satisfied then that the work is true.” But let me here remark again—suppose the Omnipotent Jehovah, that sits upon His throne of glory and power, was to descend and bear testimony, what further credence would you then want? You would want someone to tell you that it was really God Himself that had visited you, that you might be satisfied it was not an angel of darkness in the similitude of a heavenly personage.

Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is. “Is this really possible?” Why, my dear friends, how would you like to be governed by a ruler who had not been through all the vicissitudes of life that are common to mortals? If he had not suffered, how could he sympathize with the distress of others? If he himself had not endured the same, how could he sympathize and be touched with the feelings of our infirmities? He could not, unless he himself had passed through the same ordeal, and overcome step by step. If this is the case, it accounts for the reason why we do not see Him—He is too pure a being to show himself to the eyes of mortals; He has overcome, and goes no more out, but He is the temple of my God, and is a pillar there.

What is a pillar? It is that power which supports the superstructure which bears up the edifice; and if that should be removed from its place, the edifice is in danger of falling. Hence, our heavenly Father ascended to a throne of power; He has passed through scenes of tribulation, as the Saints in all ages have, and are still passing through; and having overcome, and ascended His throne, He can look down upon those who are following in the same track, and can realize the nature of their infirmities, troubles, and difficulties, like the aged father who looks upon his race, upon the smallest child; and when he sees them grappling with difficulties, his heart is touched with compassion. Why? Because he has felt the same, been in the same situation, and he knows how to administer just chastisement, mingled with the kindest feelings of a father’s heart. So with our heavenly Father; when He sees we are going astray, He stretches forth His chastening hand, at the same time He realizes the difficulties with which we have to contend, because he has felt the same; but having overcome, He goes no more out.

When the world was lost in wretchedness and woe, what did He do? Did He come here Himself? No. But, says he, I will send my son to be my agent, the one who is the nearest to my person, that is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; I will send my son, and I will say, he that heareth him, heareth me. Go then, my son. He came, and how did he look? He looked just like his Father, and just as they treated him they treated his Father in heaven. For inasmuch as they did it unto him, they did it unto his Father. He was the agent, the representative, chosen and sent of God for the purpose. When it was necessary that the Savior of the world should have help and strength, should be sustained in the darkest hour, did God Himself in person come to his aid? No, but He sent His angel to succor him. When the Savior was born, the spirits around the throne of God were ready to fly to his protection, when the kings and rulers of this lower world sought his destruction. What did they say to the wise men of Israel on that eventful occasion? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

When he fasted forty days and forty nights, the angels appeared and strengthened him. His heavenly Father did not come Himself, but, says the Savior, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father also; I am just like him, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. The same spirit that is in the bosom of the Father is in me. I came not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me. Then the character that looked upon the Savior, looked upon the Father, for he was a facsimile of Him; and if they would not believe the Son, they would not believe the Father.

The Savior, in the performance of his mission, laid down his life for the world, rose from the dead, and ascended up on high. And few and blessed are the eyes that have seen him since! It is sometimes the case that the veil of mortality has been rent, and the eye of the spirit has gazed upon the Savior, like as did Stephen of old, when he was stoned to death. In his expiring moments, in the agonies of death, what did he say? He said, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Stephen saw him in that trying hour.

True it is, that in the most trying hour, the servants of God may then be permitted to see their Father, and elder brother. “But,” says one, “I wish to see the Father, and the Savior, and an angel now.” Before you can see the Father, the Savior, or an angel, you have to be brought into close places in order to enjoy this manifestation. The fact is, your very life must be suspended on a thread, as it were. If you want to see your Savior, be willing to come to that point where no mortal arm can rescue, no earthly power save! When all other things fail, when everything else proves futile and fruitless, then perhaps your Savior and your Redeemer may appear; his arm is not shortened that he cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear; and when help on all sides appears to fail, my arm shall save, my power shall rescue, and you shall hear my voice, saith the Lord.

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,” &c. The Father has overcome, the Savior has overcome, and the angels are overcoming like we are. But let me here observe, it is a good deal with the angels, in my opinion, as it is with us.

We who have been in the Valley some length of time, feel that we are at home, and in a goodly place, chosen of God, a secret habitation surrounded by mountains, walled in by natural barriers, where we are secluded from the world, and inhabiting a little world by ourselves. We know the world is opposed to our doctrine. Now if one of us were required to go abroad among the nations, a spirit of patriotic devotion to the interests of God’s kingdom, would stimulate us to forego all the pleasures of domestic life, to earn a crown of glory, and shine as stars in the firmament forever and ever; when, if we consulted our own individual feelings and interest only, we would say, “O that we might remain at home, and not go out and be buffeted by a cold and heartless world!” We would rather remain with our friends, and bask in the sunshine of their goodwill and favor, and enjoy life as we pass along; but to go out into the world, and meet its scoffing sneers, it is alone for the cause and kingdom of God’s sake; and for the sake of this, we not only long to go abroad to the nations of the earth, but to do everything that is laid upon us to do.

Look at the angels of heaven. If there are so many millions of them, and they manifest such an interest for the welfare of mortals, why do they not come, and visit us more? They may have the same feeling in relation to coming to this earth, that we would have in going to the nations of the world. If they are sent, they will go; but if not sent, it is very likely they will stay at home, as we will. If we are sent, we will go; if we are not sent, we are glad to stay at home. This, then, I presume, is their feeling; hence it has become proverbial in the world, that angels’ visits are few and far between. And let me here observe, that when a servant of God, clothed with the spirit of his calling, enters a house, a town, or a country, he feels the spirit in a moment that prevails in that house, country, or people among whom he comes. For instance, if he lands upon the shores of a foreign country, the moment his feet press their soil, their spirit presses his heart! He senses it; and if the spirit that reigns in the country is diverse to the Spirit of God; he feels it painful to his heart; and it is upon this principle that the Savior said to the disciples, “And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.” Then when a servant of God enters a strange place, and he feels the son of peace there, let his peace come upon that people, house, and city. If he feels there is an adverse power that holds the sway there, his peace must return to him, and he must go his way after he has faithfully discharged his duty.

I recollect once in a certain place in England, when traveling along with brother Kimball, it was in a country town called Chatburn, where the people were humble, simple, and honest; they loved the truth, and were seeking for it—when we went there, their hearts and doors were opened to receive us, and our message. What were our feelings? We felt that the ground upon which we stood was most sacred, and brother Kimball took off his hat, and walked the streets, and blessed the country and the people, and let his peace come upon it. These were our feelings. Why? Because the people were ready to receive the word of our testimony, and us for Christ’s sake.

We had been to other places, where the very moment our names were sounded, and it was known we were in a house, there was a similar spirit manifested as there was in the days of Lot, when the Angel came to his house to warn him to flee from Sodom; for a mob was raised at once, and demanded the strangers to be given up to them. We have been in places where the mob demanded us to be given up to them; but we were shielded by friends, and God always opened a way of escape for us. Wherever there is a spirit congenial with the Spirit of God, and a loyalty to the kingdom of the Most High, you will find a hearty welcome, and you are glad to go there.

If we, whose sensibilities are benumbed by this veil of flesh which is around us, have discernment to discriminate where the son of peace is, the angels, who are not clogged as we are, whose sensibilities are keener than ours, do you not think when they approach the world, they know where the son of peace is? In the last days, I will take peace from the earth, saith the Lord by one of the ancient writers, and they shall kill one another. And there was given a great sword unto him that sat on the red horse. And the nations will be armed against each other. The angels are not fond to descend to this world, because of the coldness of the spirit that reigns in it; they would rather remain in heaven around the throne of God, among the higher order of intelligences, where they can enjoy life, and peace, and the communion of the Holy One. When they are sent, they will come; but they are tolerably well advanced among them that overcome.

These are some of the reasons why they do not mingle with us, why we cannot see them. But, let me tell you, brethren and sisters, if we will be united as the heart of one man, and that general union of spirit, of mind, be fastened upon the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall draw down celestial intelligence by the Spirit of God, or by angels who surround the throne of the Most High. It is an electric wire through which and by which intelligence comes from heaven to mortals; it is only necessary for the word to be spoken, and the power of it is at once felt in every heart.

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,” &c. Do we ever wish to see the time when we can retire from the scenes of everyday life, to the temple of God, and go no more out? Are we looking for a period of this kind? Yes, when we shall be made pillars in the temple of our God. We know when a pillar is placed in a building, it is placed there to remain, pillars are not often removed. All pillars are considered permanent; they are not to be taken away, because the removing of them endangers the safety of the building. In order to be made pillars in the temple of our God, what are we to do? We must overcome.

Let it be remarked, that the disposition so prevalent in the hearts of many, not to abide the counsel of their superiors, has to be overcome; it must be slain, and laid prostrate at our feet; and we must say we came not to do our own will, but the will of him that sent us. We came to do the will of him to whom we have plighted our faith, to uphold him as our leader, lawgiver, and Seer. We have got to overcome the inclination to revolt at the idea, and be brought into complete submission, and union of spirit.

“O,” says one, “how does this look, to be slaves, to have no mind or will of our own, but be swallowed up in the will of another, and thus become tools, machines, slaves, and not free men, and independent like other people!” Well, my dear friends, I will tell you how it was in heaven. There was a disposition once in heaven that preferred to be independent enough to chalk out its own course. The rebellious angels undertook it, and what became of them? They fought against the throne of God, and were cast down, to be reserved in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Yes, they are reserved there, and that is their glory, and the honor that is attached to them for being independent, and declaring in the presence of God their independence—instead of deriving any advantage from this course, down they went to their reward.

I will advance a sentiment by Paul the Apostle, showing that we were there at the time that notable controversy was going on, and no doubt we took an active part with them who sustained the throne of God, and we were therefore permitted to come to this world and take upon us bodies. The devils that fell were not permitted to enjoy this privilege; they can not increase their generation; glory to God, they cannot do it, but we have the power of multiplying lives; this is what they are angry about. Says Paul, “Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” Is it possible that these Elders and servants of the Most High, who are going abroad among the nations, will have power to judge the nations of the earth? Says one, “God will do it, and not man.” Now, for instance, I am building a house, and it is said Solomon built a temple, but do you suppose Solomon quarried the rock, laid it up, &c.? No, but he gave directions to others, and it is said Solomon built a temple; so God will judge the world. The Almighty Ruler will instruct His servants to do it, and the Saints will give the grand decision, and the nations that have slain them will have to bow to their word.

What says the good Book again? “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father.” Do we not expect to overcome and have power over the nations? Yes. Says Paul, the Saints shall judge the world; not only this, but they shall judge angels. “Why,” says one, “I thought that angels were greater in might and power than we, and is it possible that we, the servants of God, are going to judge angels? You are surely exalting yourselves above all that is called God; for God shall judge the world.” How is it that we do not recollect anything now that took place before we took upon us these bodies? When we lay them off we shall remember everything, the scenes of those early times will be as fresh in our view as the sun was this morning when he rose over the mountains. The Saints will say to their fallen brethren, You were arrayed under the command of Lucifer, and fought against us; we prevailed, and it now becomes our duty to pass sentence against you, fallen spirits. You have been reserved to this condemnation, and bound with a chain. With what chain? That you could not multiply your race. There were limits put to you that you could not increase. It was never said to you, Go forth into hell and multiply; but it was said to man, Go forth and increase on the earth. Here were stakes set they could not go beyond, and this is what they are angry about, this makes a hell to them, because they “can’t do it.” They see the superiority of the Saints who have kept their first estate, and they are envious, and now it becomes the Saints’ duty to pass sentence upon them. The Saints shall judge angels, even those spirits who kept not their first estate, and have been a long time in chains like criminals who are kept in bondage to await their sentence. It will be the prerogative of the servants of God to pass a decision upon them, and not only upon them, but upon the world among whom they have been associated, and having combined in them the judicial power, and power of witness, they will have power to judge and determine, for the Saints shall judge the world.

How will the wicked feel when they come up at the last day (or at some day, be it last or middle), how will they feel when they see, perhaps one whom they have persecuted, one whom they have killed as an impostor, or because they said he was an impostor, when they see that person exalted upon the judgment seat, and they themselves arraigned before him, and compelled to hear from his lips their sentence? Sadly will they be mistaken. Says the Savior, “If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you.” They knew him not, neither did they know his disciples. Well did the Savior say at one time, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They did not understand the power that was lodged in the breast of their victim; but when the day of his wrath will come, they will say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?” It will not only be the Lamb that will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, but his angels and Saints that have gone before him; these are they that will come with him; myriads of spirits will come, wafted as it were through the air to earth’s cold regions to call the sons of men to an account for their doings.

Now, “him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,” and “he that overcometh to him will I give power over the nations.” Do you want to overcome this worldly ambitious spirit that is ever burning to be independent, that is, self sufficient and proud? Overcome this, and bring every power and faculty of the soul into subjection to the power of the Most High, and you are safe. What have you to overcome next? You have to overcome that untiring disposition to do wrong, to overreach your neighbor, that thereby you may acquire for yourselves a paradise or heaven in this world, while in its fallen state. Remember this one thing, if you want to be free from the curse. You know it is said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Who then can be saved? Again, says the Savior, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Let me show you the philosophy of this, why it is impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. God said in the beginning, “Cursed be the ground for thy sake;” that is, earth and earthly things are cursed. Now the man who has the most of it has the greatest amount of the curse; therefore if a man acquire a great deal of earthly things, he acquires a great deal of this curse. For they that will be rich are made to pass through many sorrows, and they have to harden their hearts and their faces, and oppress the poor to acquire it; and when they have acquired it, what have they got? It is to them something like a red hot ball in the hands of a child, it burns; they have acquired it, and have got a great curse along with it. It is hard for such to enter into the Kingdom of God. The gate is narrow, and the curse is wide, so if they wish to go in at that gate, they must be stripped, and become destitute of the love of this world’s goods. I recollect a beautiful illustration of this in the case of the rich man, and Lazarus that was poor, and full of sores, and who lay at the rich man’s gate. There was the rich man clothed in fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. By and by he died, and went to hell, and saw Abraham afar off with the same poor Lazarus in his bosom. Says the rich man, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” He was so humbled as to accept one drop of water from Lazarus, who while he lay at the rich man’s gate was ready to eat the crumbs that fell from his table. How reverse the scene. Abraham, with the kind feelings of a father, at the same time with that justness and dignity which is ever the characteristic of the upright, said, “Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” His arm was too short to reach that one drop of water to him, for there was “a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” The scene was changed. This is enough to admonish us, and to make us adopt the advice of the Savior, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

When should we want to be rich? When the curse is taken from the earth. We do not want the earth while it is cursed, for “cursed be the ground for thy sake,” &c. Let the world that love darkness rather than light, be heirs of the curse if they will; but do not let us seek after it with too greedy hearts, until the curse is taken away; and when the curse is rebuked, and the earth undergoes such a change that it will shine forever and ever, and there is no night there, then we may have it, and it will do us good. It is like this—We say that wheat and barley are excellent when we use them in their native state; but when we extract the spirit from these grains, and drink it, it intoxicates; when they are used in their native state, they make bread which gives life to the body, while in the other state, they destroy. So the earth, when the curse is taken away, will sustain an endless life. Though the figure is not altogether correct, still it serves to illustrate the principle. The Savior did not say the Saints should inherit the earth while the curse was upon it, but he said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” He will not give them something to destroy them, but they have got to stay until the earth has fulfilled the measure of its creation; and then the angel will raise his hand to heaven, and swear that time shall be no longer. What becomes of the earth then? Why, says the prophet, it shall “reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.” If the earth falls, which way will it go, up or down? Tell me, ye wise men, ye philosophers. Will not the greatest and most powerful planet attract it whether it goes up or down? For the greater bodies attract the lesser. If the earth falls, and is not to rise again, it will be removed out of its present orbit. Where will it go to? God says He will gather all things into one; then He will gather the earth likewise, and all that is in it, in one. The gathering will be upon a larger scale in time to come; for by and by the stars of Heaven will fall. Which way will they go? They will rally to a grand center, and there will be one grand constellation of worlds. I pray that we may be there, and shine among those millions of worlds that will be stars in the Almighty’s crown.

The earth will have to be removed from its place, and reel to and fro like a drunkard. The fact is, it has got to leave the old track in which it has roamed in time passed, and beat a new track; and saith the Lord, “come up here.” What is He going to do with it? Why, take it where the sun will shine upon it continually, and there shall be no more night there; and the hand of God will wipe away the tears from all faces. “Come up here, O earth! For I want the Saints who have passed through much tribulation to be glorified with you, and then I will give the earth to the meek. For I will take the curse from it, and rebuke the destroyer for your sakes, and bring all things in subjection to you, and you shall dwell in everlasting light.” Now it is half day and half night, but I tell you it is not going to be half and half, but there will be no night there. We have but one sun to shine upon us, but when the earth is taken out of this orbit, it will come in contact with the rays of other suns that illuminate other spheres; their rays will dazzle our earth, and make the glory of God rest upon it, so that there will be no more night there.

Is it possible, then, that there are worlds reserved in eternal night, in an eternal eclipse, rolling in the shade? What is their use? They are the homes of them that love darkness rather than light; and it shall be said unto them, Depart, ye cursed, into outer darkness. There are planets that revolve in eternal darkness, that you who love darkness rather than light may go and find your own home. There is a place prepared for everybody, no matter what their character. Says the Savior, “I go to prepare a place for you.” There is a place for every person. There is a place for everybody that comes into this Valley, if they can only find it. So there is a place in yonder world for every person; but to him that overcometh will I give power over the nations, and he shall be a pillar in the Temple of my God, and go no more out.

If there is anything in this world my soul desires the most, it is that I may overcome, and be made a pillar in the Temple of my God, and remain at home in the society that is continually warming my spirit, encouraging my feeling, with that which is congenial with every principle of my nature; let me bask in their goodly presence, live in their affections, dwell forever in the midst of their society, and go no more out. And may God in His mercy help us all to overcome every obstacle, and endure hardships like good soldiers of the Lamb, and dwell eternally in the mansions of light; which may God grant for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Advice to Immigrants

An Address by Elder Franklin D. Richards, Delivered at the General Conference, Great Salt Lake City, October 6, 1853.

Brethren and Sisters—It seems to have fallen to my lot this afternoon to speak to you. Whether I may speak lengthily, or occupy but a short time, will be as I am led and dictated by the Holy Spirit.

I rejoice in the opportunity, for many reasons. The first and greatest is it is a blessing for a man who is called of God to teach the people, to exercise himself in his office and calling, and try to magnify it, for he is thereby made a blessing to the people, and is himself edified, often, yea, I may say generally, quite as much as they are.

I rejoice this afternoon in the privilege of meeting so many of my brethren who have just arrived from the old country. I behold faces in the congregation with whom I have within a few years past been wont to assemble in England, in Scotland, in Wales, and in other places. There we used to rejoice together. The Spirit and power of God rested upon us while we contemplated the things of God, that are calculated to pre pare us for the life which is to come.

I feel to congratulate you, my brethren, who have newly come in, and who constitute so goodly a number of my hearers this afternoon, upon your safe arrival in these beautiful valleys; for you have now accomplished one of the greatest undertakings of your lives. Once, had you been told that you would forsake father, mother, brethren, sisters, kindred, and friends, and that you would do it under the stigmatized appellation of “Mormon”—to come so great a distance, to traverse one-third of the circumference of the globe, it would have been as incredible to you as to any of us. While you were near the close of this great task, doubtless some felt that had it been one hundred miles further, they scarcely could have endured to the end of the journey; yet, to some of us, this wonderful, great undertaking is but a small thing; we have done it several times, and expect to do it many times more. I congratulate you, however, on your having accomplished the task, and feel, as your brother in the Lord, to welcome you here in the midst of God’s people, and to pray with sincerity that the spirit of Zion may rest upon you.

You have come to this place with feelings and views as varied as the degree of faith in, and knowledge you have of, the Gospel, and the measure of spirit in which you walk. There are some who, in their own estimation, are well qualified and fully prepared to judge of the propriety and impropriety of everything that exists here; and such, while they may find some few things answer pretty well, will find many things which, in their opinion, are not right, and really need reformation.

Brethren, you who have just arrived in the Valley, I wish to direct my words to you this afternoon, to sound a word in your ears that may not be lost upon you, and it is worth your while to hearken to it. You may dwell in this society, and never know what manner of spirit you are of, nor the power of God that dwells in the Priesthood in your midst; and, on the other hand, you may come here in a right frame of mind, and hearken to the Spirit of God through the man whom He has appointed to watch over us, and know that the words of all God’s servants are the words of life to you; and their faces will shine with wisdom in your eyes. If you possess this frame of mind, you will be prepared to drink in intelligence from day to day, from their counsel and examples, that will lead you on in the bright and shining way that was discoursed upon this morning.

In the first place, I will offer a word to all, whether they are mechanics or common laborers. No matter what calling you may follow in life, you have need, at this juncture of your existence, to observe and treasure up one thing carefully and faithfully in your minds, namely, if you live a proper life before the Lord, you know that you have the fellowship of His Spirit, so that you know your prayers are heard and answered, because you receive the things you ask for. If you live so as to always have the witness of the good Spirit, you will be saved today and every day, and thus it will constantly be well with you. But if you are heedless of this day, and calculate on tomorrow, you have no assurance that you will realize your hopes tomorrow. The only certain stepping stone to the great good you may have tomorrow in the midst of this people is, that you be faithful to your covenants with God, and secure thereby the fellowship of the Spirit, and walk in the counsels of it today; if you do this, you will have the good that is for you tomorrow.

If you have come into this place nearly penniless, and, in many respects, comparatively destitute, and with no one to take you by the hand, or your friends are not here, or, if they are, and do not hail you as you think they ought, be of good cheer, and let not your hearts be sad, knowing you are doing right, and have gathered according to the word of the Lord.

If you look about you and see the Saints who have been here some years, and the choice locations taken up by them, and you are still at the foot of the hill apparently, do not fret your souls; remember that those brethren made the roads to this place, killed the snakes, or gently turned them out of their path, made the bridges, opened the canyons, made the fences, ploughed the ground, and worked in the wet and cold, in the midst of hunger and privation, to the best of their ability, more than any portion of this people have. Have they not worked to obtain what they have now got? If you look at it with a single eye, it is marvelous to see the kingdom of God at this day. After being here only six years; after being driven from Nauvoo, and suffering the toils of a wilderness life among savages and wolves, to see it at the present time is indeed comforting and cheering; the aspect is promising beyond all we could have anticipated, or almost what could have been wished. Does it not make your souls rejoice in the Lord, that He has established His people, and to realize that you are blessed above measure in having a name and a place in this city or territory? You are better off this afternoon in this place, in rags, and begging your bread, than in England, Scotland, or Wales, earning one hundred pounds per annum. You would there be dwelling among the cloudy mists of Babylon, where you dare not say your souls were your own. You could make but little advancement in your holy religion there; but here you can receive words of life from those whom God has appointed to lead His people into the way of salvation. Be careful now, that the good Spirit which has accompanied you in the old world, and dwelt with you in the ship across the sea, and has sustained you and your teams while crossing the plains—be careful that you retain it, and make it your counselor here.

I know how natural it is for the Saints who come from abroad to be very diligent in inspecting God’s people, to see if they are as righteous as they ought to be; but they forget they have a duty to perform to themselves. As one of old said, “the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing,” but they forget to look at themselves; the spirit of murmuring and complaining takes possession of them, and you may see them wandering about in sorrow, affliction, and grief; and what is worse than all, they have brought it upon themselves, because they have not retained the fellowship of the Holy Spirit through faithfulness of conduct, and away they go to California. I felt to speak these things to you, that you might be admonished at the present time to faithfulness, and that you might rejoice in the assembly of God’s people, that you had been brought over the mountains to this place in safety. I feel to magnify the name of the Lord to see so many of you, and pray that those who are still journeying on the plains may be safely brought in.

In coming here, you cannot, as individuals, know all things that are before you. You are now dwelling in a society that differs from any you ever dwelt in. The circumstances of life are all different, and the business arrangements different, to those you have been used to in the old country. It is necessary that you look about you for a season, find out whom you are among, and know the condition and nature of the elements and state of the society, that you may drop into business through the fellowship of your brethren and sisters, and take hold with them in the different branches of business that are carried on here for the comforts of life. You Elders, who have been in that country, preaching and building up Branches of the Church there; you that have taken up your cross, and gone from your homes, and warned the inhabitants of the earth where you have labored, the Lord went with you, when you went in the name of Jesus; His Spirit was upon you, and you were the means of building up Churches, and of doing much good in various ways; that same Spirit will be with you when you go to labor in the canyons, or do anything else, if you will nourish it, and not cast it from you. Peradventure in the canyons you may need its premonitions most when your life or limb may be in jeopardy. This, my brethren, is the rock upon which many Saints split—they leave the way of truth, they step aside from the rugged path of duty which they have been wont to walk in, and, feeling a degree of ease and safety, as they suppose, on arriving here, they forget their prayers, and that they have need to continue to increase their fellowship with the Holy Spirit; they leave off their duties, and, ere they are aware of it, they are left to themselves.

It is said that the females are the ones by whom the nations are ruled. It is certain that the females have necessarily great influence upon the whole community, and especially upon the rising generation. Allow me a word with the sisters. In your associations and visiting with those about you, when you find a sister or brother that can speak evil of dignities with impunity, and can find fault with what is being done by the Church, and cannot do any good themselves (for such folks cannot do anything themselves but bark and snarl like the dog in the manger), when you get into the society of such people, you will take notes, if you do as I do, and seek the company of those who will speak well of the brethren and sisters, and then you may expect they will speak well of you. When you associate with those who speak well of the truth, their counsels will edify you, and their words will be seasoned with grace to your edification and instruction, and the clouds of adversity that rest down upon you will vanish away.

You will find Saints living about you, that have the good Spirit, and can give you the word of comfort, and take you by the hand and pour the oil of consolation into your heart, and do you good in the name of the Lord. If you seek that kind of society, you will tend upwards towards the realms of light, in duty and intelligence. By taking this course, you will be cultivating the same good Spirit in your own hearts, that you see in the hearts, examples, and general conduct of your brethren and sisters around you, and which is most conspicuous in those who are called to lead and direct in the Priesthood. On the other hand, if you come in here, with the intention to be right down sharp, careful to watch and to criticize your brethren very closely, you will find all the evil you look for, and see imperfections which the cloak of charity and good will would have covered, had you possessed it yourself. You never were among a people where men talked as they meant, and meant what they said, so near as in this place. If you feel to take advantage of your brother or your sister, you may, but it will not be good for your soul; it will be money badly earned. But if you come here with a frank and honest heart, and prepared to speak and act without hypocrisy, and just as you feel, you will find yourselves among a community of brethren and sisters that are ready to aid, comfort, and bless you. If you look with your eyes, as I did with mine when I came home from England, you will find your brethren and sisters to be such kind of beings, whose good works you will wish to emulate.

Take the wisest course to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth; and the only way is by attending diligently to your prayers, and walking in the light of God’s Spirit. You will find that condescension in the hearts of your brethren, that love and charity abounding in their bosoms that if you are in adversity and need they will extend a helping hand, and comfort you, and do you good, and will not charge you one hundred percent interest either. I have to say that if you have come to these valleys determined, as for you and yours, to serve the Lord, you will find it the easiest thing in the world to fellowship with those whose hearts run together like two drops of water, and you will be blessed, as also will those with whom you associate. You have arrived at a juncture of your life where two ways branch out; if you wish to travel downward, the great depot of that route is California; if upward, the great depot on that road is this city, these men that surround me in this stand. You do not know what you may be called upon to do. I do not know what I may be called upon to do before this Conference comes to a close, in addition to what is already laid upon me here at home. It is necessary to be always ready; and if you live as you ought, you will always be ready, and nothing will come wrong to you; and if you always live that way, you may always be as happy as you wish to be.

The work we are called unto in these last days, calls upon us not to narrow our minds down to the building of a piece of fence, to the enclosing of a piece of land, or to the putting up of a house, alone; but it is our duty while seeking to make an inheritance here, to reach out our prayers in faith and supplication for the general good, and with becoming liberality feel after those who are to enjoy the same blessings we enjoy. We have our duties to ourselves and families to perform, and our daily and hourly duties to our God; but there is a duty we owe, in common with all God’s people, to those who are not yet gathered from the house of bondage. How many of the Israel of God are there sitting in darkness, in distant nations, that have not the light proclaimed to them? Have we come home here to sit down in ease, and let them go down to the grave in ignorance? If we have, we mistake the matter, and in the end will find we shall come short of that glory and reward we anticipate. You have come here to obtain inheritances for yourselves and families, and for your generations forever, in righteousness, as God shall give you power to do. You have, in connection with this, to build up the kingdom of God, to pay tithing, and be ready to fill every office and duty that is put upon you, making the kingdom of God the first and foremost in your affections and attention, and yourselves and families a secondary consideration; and this Gospel has to be borne off among the nations of the earth.

How good it is for us to hear, by the monthly mails, how many there are continually witnessing afar off to the forgiveness of sins through the Gospel. We ought to remember them, and be prepared for whatever may be expected at our hands in those far off regions. Let us not settle down, and become sordid in our affections to anything earthly. It is our duty to seek first the kingdom of God, and the promise is that other things shall be added unto us.

The Lord has manifested His readiness, and determination of purpose, to pour out knowledge and intelligence upon His people, as fast as they are prepared to receive it. Since I left you the last time in the old country, the revelations of the Lord have been sent forth, which had never before been made public, and we have all been led along by degrees in the knowledge of life and salvation. Yet a great amount of advancement has yet to be made while we are in the flesh, greater duties are rolling upon us as fast as we can perform those we are already engaged in. We look around us here upon the house of Israel, the Lamanites, and while our hearts are opened towards them for good, they are not backward to administer death to our brethren. Is this always going to be so? No. The Lord God will work upon them in His own way, until they become one with us in building up the kingdom of God.

The Priesthood in the last days has to be manifested in sufficient power to bear off the kingdom of God triumphant, that all Israel may be gathered and saved. If all Israel will not be sanctified by the law which their Moses first offers them, they will peradventure receive a law of ordinances administered to them, not according to the power of an endless life. Men will be saved in the last days as in former days, according to their faith and willingness to receive the word of God, and walk in it.

We may speak in terms of wonder and admiration of what has been done, and yet where shall these things grow to? They must grow until they spread over all the face of the earth, and control the powers that exist upon it. There must be other revelations fulfilled in our return to Jackson County, and building up the New Jerusalem there; the Lord prepare us for that day, that we may be able to stand the exhibition of glory that will there be made manifest. Before that comes to pass, something must be done here, there is a temple to be built in this city. You, brethren, who received your blessings and endowments in the temple that was built in Nauvoo, have been made witnesses of the wisdom and power that have gone forth to the nations of the earth from that place, and of the power that was realized in the quorums of the Priesthood; no tide of oppression could be raised powerful enough to bear down the authorities of God’s kingdom; we see the wicked who came to rule us turned back to their own place, and the Priesthood appears greater than the powers of earth. The powers of the Priesthood must be made manifest before the eyes of all the world, and become transcendently above every other influence. You have sure grounds for confidence, for every step and every turn this Church makes, is calculated to increase confidence; and if we live so as to have our eyes washed with the eye water of the Gospel, we can ourselves realize the rapid growth of Christ’s kingdom, and the growth of grace in ourselves and in others necessary to lead us on to perfection. You have come here to cultivate perfection in yourselves in the name of the Lord; and if you do that, and try to be useful, and willing to do anything here or anywhere else you are instructed to do, you will be made fit for the performance of any essential good in the kingdom of God.

Well then, brethren and sisters, while all is auspicious around us, and everything calculated to encourage us to do good, let us be up and doing, and try to keep the commandments of God with all our hearts, and we shall find it easier and easier to do it. Let us be prepared always for every duty that is laid upon us, and the grace of God will be sufficient for us under every circumstance.

When I was called to preside in England, I felt as though I never could magnify that calling, it appeared too great for me. But if we feel right, we shall feel like the Prophet of old, the Spirit of the Lord will be sufficient for us in the performance of every duty. I pray that the spirit of Zion may be given to you who have newly come in, that you may go on your way rejoicing, and be able to do the will of God here and abroad. May the blessings of God be and abide upon you by day and by night, and increase you on the earth, in blessings and riches forever, is the prayer of your brother Franklin.

Gathering the Poor—The Perpetual Emigrating Fund—Ingratitude

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, at the General Conference, October 6, 1853.

I wish to call the attention of this Conference to an invitation I shall give them, and wish to extend it to the Saints in this valley and elsewhere. I allude to the gathering of the poor Saints.

Many of us are acquainted with the circumstances of the Saints when they came to this valley six years ago, also five and four years ago. Were we to go through this community and search out the men, women, and children who have come here on their own resources, and those who have been helped here by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, and by private individuals, it would be seen that a large proportion of the community have been brought here through the assistance of others. I will not say a majority have come here under those circumstances, but there are thousands who have. Thousands of men, women, and children have been helped here by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund alone.

This is the subject to which I wish to call the attention of the Conference, and the community at large. I wish all to hearken to it, to reflect upon it, and contemplate it seriously.

I call upon those who have not yet put forth their hands to assist in gathering the poor, to give us their names and their means, during this Conference, that we may raise a few thousand dollars to be applied to this purpose. Suppose we should try to raise as much as we did four years ago, when we were in the midst of our greatest poverty and distress—we had just arrived here, and had scarcely sufficient to sustain life; notwithstanding these straightened circumstances, at the first Conference we held in the old Tabernacle, this subject was agitated, and $5,700 in gold was raised, and sent to gather in the poor. Dare I venture to flatter myself that we can raise $5,000 or $6,000 this Conference, to be applied to the same good purpose? The people are better able to raise $50,000 now, than they were to raise $5,000 then. Suppose we raise $15,000 or $20,000 to send for our poor brethren and sisters, who long to be here as much as any of you did, before your way was opened. This amount can be raised now, and not call forth an unusual effort.

We might ask you to reflect upon the days that you have spent in yonder distant land, where you could seldom walk the streets or enter a shop, like another citizen, without the finger of scorn being pointed at you, without suffering the malignant taunts and sneers of the ungodly, for the sake of your religion. Let me refer your minds to the time that the Gospel was first introduced to you, and the light and glory of it opened up to your understandings; when eternity and eternal things reflected upon your benighted minds, and your conceptions were aroused to see things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. What were your feelings and meditations, when Zion and its glory burst upon your vision? When the people of God appeared to you, assembled together, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man? Again, what were your feelings, when in every direction that you turned your eyes, they were met with scenes of wickedness, and your ears saluted with deep dyed blasphemies of every description? Were there any that feared the Lord? No. The most pious could do nothing more than some did in the days of the Apostles; they could erect an image to the unknown God, and worship somebody, or something, but they knew not what. What were your feelings and reflections, under such circumstances, when you first heard of the latter-day work? Of the Gospel in its fulness? When you first learned that the Lord had a Prophet, and Apostles, who held the words of life for the people? What was there you would not have sacrificed in a moment for the privilege of assembling with the Saints? Of mingling your voices and conversation with theirs, day by day? Of visiting, journeying, doing business, laboring, and spending your lives with those who know and love the Lord, and will serve Him? Is there anything you would not have sacrificed? Verily, no!

If you can remember your own feeling then, you can know how others feel, you can realize how thousands and scores of thousands feel at this present moment. There is no hardship they would refuse to undergo, no danger they would not endeavor to surmount, if they could assemble with us here this day. No trial would be too keen for them; there is no sacrifice that they would not readily and willingly make for the privilege you enjoy this day. Brethren and sisters, can you realize this?

Let us now read a chapter on the other side of the page, and we find the hearts of men and women, by crossing the ocean, by traveling a few weeks or months by water and land, appear to become partially closed up, and they lose sight of the object of their pursuit. It seems as though the hardships they pass through, in coming to this land, banish nearly every particle of the light of Christ out of their minds.

If you started on your journey with the influence of the Holy Spirit warming your hearts, who prevented you from retaining it every day of year life? You may say it was the devil that robbed you of it. But what business had you with the devil? Was there any necessity that you should enter into fellowship with him, or into partnership with the works of darkness? “No,” you reply, “I had forsaken him and all my old associates and feelings, and had given myself to the Lord, had embraced His Gospel, and set out to build up His kingdom, and wished to gather with the Saints at the gathering place.”

Suppose the devil does tempt you, must you of necessity enter into part nership again with him, open your doors, and bid him welcome to your house, and tell him to reign there? Why do you not reflect, and tell master devil, with all his associates and imps, to begone, feeling you have served him long enough.

Says one, “I did not know that I could possibly come here with unruly cattle, without getting wrong in my feelings;” or, “this brother did wrong and marred my feelings; I was irritated, and the cares of the journey bewildered my mind, and hurt me so that I do not really know whether I have got to where I started for, or not; things are different here to what I expected to find them, &c.”

This is a representation of the feelings of some who have crossed the plains this season. My advice to you is, go and be baptized for the remission of sins, and start afresh, that temptation may not overcome you again; pause and reflect, that you be not overcome by the evil one unawares.

In the first place, if you are rebaptized for the remission of sins, peradventure you may receive again the spirit of the Gospel in its glory, light and beauty; but if your hearts are so engrossed in the things of this world, that you do not know whether you want to be rebaptized or not, you had better shut yourselves up in some canyon or closet, to repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord, until you get His Spirit, and the light thereof, to reflect upon you, that you may know the nature of your offenses, and your true condition; that you may realize and appreciate the blessing you enjoy in being here with the Saints of the Most High.

Let me lead your minds a little further. I wish to tell you something which you may perhaps know as well as I do, but you may not have realized it. When the Lord Almighty opens the vision of a person’s mind, He shows him the things of the Spirit—things that will be. If any of you had a vision of Zion, it was shown to you in its beauty and glory, after Satan was bound. If you reflected upon the gathering of the Saints; it was the spirit of gathering that enlightened you; and when your minds were opened in vision to behold the glory and excellency of the Gospel, you did not see a vision of driving cattle across the plains, and where you would be mired in this or that mud hole; you did not see the stampedes among the cattle, and those of a worse character among the people; but you saw the beauty and glory of Zion, that you might be encouraged, and prepared to meet the afflictions, sorrows and disappointments of this mortal life, and overcome them, and be made ready to enjoy the glory of the Lord as it was revealed to you. It was given to you for your encouragement. Recollect that.

You will recollect my exhortation to those who have means; we want them to give the Perpetual Emigrating Fund a lift. Bring in your tithes and offerings, and we will help a great many more to this place in the future than we have this year. We wish to double our diligence, and treble the crowd of immigrants by that Fund.

I wish to show you a little of the philosophy of human nature in its fallen and degraded state; you may consider it in the Gospel or out of it; in the light of the Holy Spirit, or without it; as you please. The philosophy of mankind, in their daily avocations, you may all know for yourselves, by your own observation and experience. I wish to mention a portion of it that has come under my notice. I could mention names, but I will content myself with naming circumstances.

We pick up, say 200 persons, in England and convey them across the water, and across the plains, and set them down in this valley. They commence to labor, and in a short time they make themselves comfortable. They can soon obtain plenty of the best kind of pay for their labor, such as bread—the staff of life, butter, cheese and vegetables. When a man gets these things, without the fancy nicknacks, he does well.

Suppose we pick up a company of these poor Saints in England, whose faces are pale, and who can scarcely tread their way through the streets for want of the staff of life; you may see them bowed down from very weakness, with their arms across their stomachs, going to and from their work; the greater part of them not enabled to get a bit of meat more than once a month; and upon an average only about one tablespoonful of meal per day, for each person in a family, without butter or cheese, by working 16 hours out of the 24; and when they go to their work and return from it, they need a staff in their hands to lean upon. We bring 200 of them here; instead of their being obliged to work for two or three pence per day, they can get a dollar and a dollar and a half per day. With one day’s wages they can purchase flour and meat and vegetables enough to last a moderately sized family one week.

They have not been here long when they may be seen swelling in the streets with an air of perfect independence. Ask one of these men if he will pay you for bringing him here; and he will reply, “I don’t know you, sir.” You ask another if he will work for you, for bringing him out to this place; and he will appear quite astonished, saying, “What have I had from you?” Another will say, “If I work for you, what will you give me? Can you give me some adobies? For I am going to build a fine house, or if you have any money to pay me, it will answer as well.”

How does such language and ingratitude make the benefactor of that person feel? Why, his heart sinks within him. I can find thousands of just such men and women in this territory. When they are brought to this place, they do not know their benefactors, who saved them from death, but they are a head and shoulders above them, when they meet them in the streets.

Do you know the conclusion that is natural to man, when he is treated in such a manner by his fellow man? It is, “I wish I had left you in your own country.” I wish so too. I say, let such persons starve to death, and die Christians, instead of being brought here to live and commit the sin of ingratitude, and die and go to hell; for while they remained in their poverty, they were used to the daily practice of praying for deliverance; and I say it is better for them to die praying, and go into eternity praying, and the Almighty to have bowels of compassion and mercy towards them, than for them to come here, and lose the Spirit of God through ingratitude, and go into eternity swearing.

I can pick up hundreds of men who have passed by their benefactors, and if they should speak to them, would turn round and say, “I really don’t know you.” Or if they do, they will speak everything against them their tongues can utter, or can be allowed to; and they will swear falsely about them—about the very men who have saved them from starvation and death.

I frequently refer to facts that come under my own observation. When I came into this Valley, we had notes amounting to $30,000 against brethren we had assisted, which no person will pay one cent for. We have helped men, women, and children from England, to over the amount of $30,000. Except one individual, and that is a man by the name of Thomas Green, who lives in Utah, and one young woman, who came from Eng land, there has never been a single person who has paid one dime towards canceling a debt amounting to over $30,000, besides other notes, accounts, and obligations which we hold.

Do I mean to be understood that no person pays their passage? By no means. My remarks will not hit those, neither are they directed to them who are thankful to their benefactors, and who do, and are willing to pay. But as far as I am concerned, before we came into this Valley, with the exception of one man and woman, no person has offered to pay us one dime, and eight-tenths of them have turned away from the Church, and a number of them joined the mob, and sought to dye their hands in our blood.

Now do you see the philosophy of human nature, and I will say of divine nature? Let me help a man who makes an evil use of the assistance I render him, and endeavors to injure himself and me, and his neighbor with it, what does the Spirit of the Lord teach me in such a circumstance? What would the Lord do, provided He was here himself? Do you not think He would withhold the thing from him? Do you think an angel would help a man who would turn round and destroy that angel and himself? I do not, neither do I think the Lord would, and no good man would if he knew it, unless it were done with a view to prove a person. I do not think a bad man would distribute his means to another individual, or to individuals, who would use them to his injury.

It is the evil actions and covetousness in the hearts of the poor that shut up the bowels of compassion in the rich, and they say they will not help the poor. We could have gathered hundreds of thousands more of the poor, were it not that the rich have been so biased, and still continue to be. Say they, “We do not wish our means to be applied to an evil use.”

If you wish to know what I mean by all this, it is that if any men or women refuse to pay their passage to this place when they are in circumstances to do it, let them be cut off from the Church, and then sue them at the law, and collect the debt. Sever those limbs from the tree, and then make them pay their honest debts. That is to the poor.

We now want the rich to turn in their means, that the poor, the honest poor, may be delivered. Some of you may inquire if we wish to send the means now to England? Yes; we want the means now, which you can pay into the Tithing Office, and have it recorded on the books, to answer the means we have there, which can be used for next season. We want to give a heavy lift to the emigration of the poor, next season. We have brought out a considerable number this season, but it is hardly a beginning to what we wish to be brought out next season.

The first duty of those who have been brought out by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund is to pay back what they have received from it, the first opportunity, that others may receive the same benefit they have received. We wish you in the first place to get something to eat, drink, and wear; but when you are in any way comfortable, we wish you to pay that debt the next thing you do, and replenish the Fund. It is built upon a principle, if carried out properly, and the debts punctually refunded, to increase in wealth. The $5,000 that was sent for the poor four years ago this fall, if every man had been prompt to pay in that which he received, would have increased to $20,000.

We are the greatest speculators in the world. We have the greatest speculation on hand that can be found in all the earth. I never denied being a speculator. I never denied being a miser, or of feeling eager for riches; but some men will chase a picayune five thousand miles when I would not turn round for it, and yet we are preachers of the same Gospel, and brethren in the same kingdom of God. You may consider this is a little strong; but the speculation I am after, is to exchange this world, which, in its present state, passes away, for a world that is eternal and unchangeable, for a glorified world filled with eternal riches, for the world that is made an inheritance for the Gods of eternity.

The plan is to make everything bend to the revelations of God; this is the object of our Priesthood—to bring into requisition every good thing, and make it bear for the accomplishment of the main point we have in view; and when we get through we shall reap the reward of the just, and get all our hearts can anticipate or desire. To lay plans for the attainment of this, is just as necessary as for a merchant to lay plans to get earthly riches by buying and selling merchandise. It is for us to lay plans to secure to ourselves eternal lives, which is just as necessary as it is for the miser to lay plans to amass a great amount of gold upon the earth; and it is for us to engage in it systematically.

I say to the poor, pay your debts to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund; and to the rich, help the poor; and this will bring wealth and strength, by each one, according to his ability, calling, and means, assisting in every point and place in this great speculation for kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers. It is said union is strength; and that is enough; if we get that, we shall have power. This is the plan for us to work upon, and I wish the brethren to whisper this around among their neighbors, when they go out of this tabernacle, and say, “What can we give to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund? Can we give anything this season?” We will not refuse help from the sisters. Do you ask how small an amount we will take? We will take from a pin to a bed quilt; but be sure, when you bring a pin, that you have not many other things in your trunk that would be useful, more than you at present need; for if you bring a pin under such circumstances, you cannot receive a blessing, and the reward it is entitled to. If the clothing you wear each day is all you have, and you have need to borrow a shawl to go out in, and you have only a pin to bestow, bring that, and you shall receive a blessing.

We think it is not necessary to give you the report of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund this Conference. It is doing well, but we want it to do a great deal better. We want to swell the operation, and bring the poor from the nations by scores of thousands instead of by hundreds. This embraces what I wished to lay before the Conference upon this point.

Before the Conference is concluded we shall call for quite a number of Elders. It was anticipated that our missionaries would have been called at the August Conference of this year, but we will call a considerable number this Conference. You need not inquire where we want you to go, for it will be told you when you are ready. Prepare your mind and circumstances against that time, for we wish to send the Gospel to Israel.

May the Lord bless you. Amen.

Confidence—Advice to Emigrants—Danger in Prosperity

An Address by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sept. 11, 1853.

After giving you a brief explanation of the feelings of those who profess to be Saints, I wish to give a little counsel—as I have frequently done before—to newcomers.

I am acquainted with the general disposition of mankind, and also considerably acquainted with the traditions under which their minds, feelings, passions, judgments, or I will comprehend the whole by saying their consciences, have been formed by parents, teachers, ministers, and others, who have exercised an influence over the young and tender mind; these things are familiar to me in a great degree, and have been for many years. I see them manifested each day I live. The branches of the tree shoot forth, and bear their fruit, and men can judge of the nature of the tree, by its fruit.

The feelings and sentiments of this people, the Latter-day Saints, are varied; they are far from being of one heart, and of one mind, of one judgment, and of one desire; but I have no doubt they come nearer to it, than any other community upon the face of the earth. This we know.

In reality, the inhabitants of the earth do not vary so much in their sentiments as they do in the explaining of them to each other. This I have good reason to believe; when feelings and ideas are explained, people vary more in language than in sentiment, yet they differ widely in their senti ments, feelings, customs, habits, and manner of life.

With regard to the kingdom of heaven now on the earth, of which we form a part, we admit the kingdom of God has come; many of us believed that years ago, who believed Joseph Smith was a Prophet, who believed he had power and authority to establish it on the earth. What were the feelings of the people, almost universally, in the infancy of this Church? Men of science and talent in this Church believed—or they said they believed—honestly, truly, and with all their hearts, that Joseph Smith did not understand anything about temporal matters. They believed he understood spiritual things—that he understood the Spirit of the Lord, and how to build up the spiritual kingdom among men; but when temporal matters were talked of, men were ready to decide at once, that they knew more than the Prophet about such matters; and they did so decide.

Were you to ask how many times men did so, who did so, and on what occasions they did so, I could answer you, for I am conversant with every circumstance that transpired, pertaining to temporal matters, from the first of my acquaintance with Joseph Smith, as a Prophet of the Lord. The first Elders of this Church decided that Joseph did not understand temporal matters. The first Bishops of this Church said they believed with all their hearts, that they understood temporal matters far better than the Prophet Joseph. Are these the feelings of the people at the present time? They are not, but right to the reverse. I could have said then, the same that I could say now, if Joseph was living—if he could have been believed, and confidence could have been placed in him, with regard to temporal matters, wealth would have been poured into the laps of this people, to overflowing.

The remark that was made this morning is a true one, although the matter referred to is small, apparently, but it is a fact, there was not enough confidence in the people to satisfy them that the Prophet knew how to handle money, or what to do with it; they did not believe he knew how to manage temporal affairs. This lack of confidence brought poverty and distress upon the whole people.

When men came into our midst, who shut up the bowels of their compassion, and held their money with an iron fist, they were held in communion with us, our faith was exercised for them, we mingled with them, and gave them fellowship for a time, yet one man, with his covetousness, tied up the whole people. In many instances, men were cut off for their covetousness, and because they had not confidence in the Prophet, and held their substance when means were wanted to carry on the work of God, to send the Gospel to distant lands, to sustain the poor, build houses, and accomplish that which was necessary to be done. While this means was withheld, it brought the whole Church under condemnation, for this reason all had to suffer.

This was in the days of the Prophet Joseph. Have the people reformed since then? Perhaps a few of them have; and again, perhaps a great many of them have not. Many have not had an opportunity to reform, as there is a considerable portion of this community who have not had an acquaintance with the Prophet; they never associated with him, they have not had an opportunity of sustaining his hands. Again, there is a certain portion of the people who were associated with him. What would the people do now, if they by their voice could call him back to their midst? Would they be willing to lay their substance at his feet? I very much doubt it. He was poor, harassed, distressed, afflicted, and tormented with lawsuits upon lawsuits, persecution upon persecution, and thus it cost thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep him alive, which a few had to sustain. Is this affliction upon them now? It is not. The scene is reversed. And as the people once thought, that many by one man could be made poor, they now believe, by one man many will be made rich. At the present day I do not know where the opportunity is to prove the people.

There are individuals here, and members of the Church, that when they come up to this land, are very careful to leave their substance behind them. And if they have money to lend, they are very careful to lend it to persons who do not belong to the Church. There are such present today. They are fearful and unbelieving. They did not believe in the days of Joseph that he could tell them the truth. But if you asked them if they believed Joseph was a Prophet, and if God sent him to build up the kingdom, “O yes,” would be their reply; and yet they had not confidence to ask him what they should do with the thousands in their possession. These are a few facts in the life and experience of the Prophet Joseph.

How is it now? Have the people confidence? They say they have. Are they willing to take counsel? They say they are. As it was observed here this morning, when we wish anything done, the peo- ple are ready and willing to raise their hands to accede to the propositions made by their leaders. Do you remember what I told you a few sabbaths ago—this whole people are willing to receive counsel, but who of them are willing to carry it out to the very letter? The future will prove that. It is not proven by sitting on your seats and simply raising your hands, as a token, a covenant, a witness to God and angels that you are ready to take counsel, and also carry it out.

For men of principle, and seemingly of good sense, to believe the Prophet Joseph, who was inspired to build up the kingdom of God temporally as well as spiritually, did not know as much about a picayune as about God’s spiritual kingdom, about a farm as about the New Jerusalem, is folly in the extreme, it is nonsense in the superlative degree. Those who entertain such ideas ought to have their heads well combed, and subjected to a lively course of friction, that peradventure a little common sense might dawn upon their confused ideas.

Consult your own judgments in such matters. Do you think that God would set a man to lead his people, who does not know as much about a picayune or a farm, as about God’s spiritual kingdom, or the New Jerusalem? Shame on those who would entertain such ideas, for they debase and corrupt the hearts of the community who imbibe them. According to the sentiments of some of the Latter-day Saints, the Lord must have become wonderfully high minded in the last days; I should think he has become too proud according to their belief, to notice farms and merchandise, and other little affairs and transactions that pass around us. He used to notice the very hairs of our heads that fell and the sparrows; He took care or the ravens, and watched over the children of Israel, and supplied all their temporal wants; but we say now, He does not condescend to such small matters, having given us an understanding, and we know what to do. Are not these the feelings of the people? I could refer to some little things by way of example, but it would hit somebody rather too publicly.

Let me ask that brother, if you have not thought in your heart, you would not go to brother Brigham for counsel, for fear he would counsel you to go to some place you do not want to go? Still you say, “I believe this is the kingdom of God, and I do not want to come in contact with brother Brigham, I do not wish to meet him, for fear he should come in contact with my calculations, and what I have decided upon in my mind.” I could put my hand upon some of you who entertain such thoughts.

I will refer you now to the counsel I wished to give the brethren who have lately come into the city from the East. I have heretofore counseled newcomers, to go to the South, or to the North, for we have settlements 360 miles, North and South.

Many of the people here have their friends, who have come in this season, and some are still on the plains, who will be in in a few days. I have been in the habit of saying to the brethren—You take one hundred families and settle in such a place; and you take fifty and settle in yonder place; but I never have given such counsel for the guidance of the brethren, that it has not raised one continual whining, saying, “I want to go to another place, for there is somewhere you want me to go that I do not like;” or, “I rather think brother Brigham thinks I am not tried and proven sufficiently, and he wants to put me in circumstances to finish trying me.” That is the reason I want you to go here or there, and the reason why you complain; for when men are thoroughly tried, they are ready to go to any place where they are told to go, and when they are told.

My counsel now to newcomers is, to do just what you have a mind to, and go where you please, if you can. You may go and settle in any part of the Territory that you please; and furthermore, you may go to California if you wish.

I have told you what you may do, I will now tell you what you may not do. You may try to gather a little company, and go to settle a place where there are no inhabitants. You cannot, with my consent, go to any place, unless it is to a city, that is, or will be walled in. If you go from this city, go to a neighborhood where you can be defended from the ravages of Indians or other evil designing persons.

Brother David Fullmer, this morning, talked about working all our lives upon a wall, if it were necessary; but the wall we contemplate making here, is not a breakfast spell. I calculate to keep walling until the mountains around us become an impregnable defense. What we have now on hand is not a circumstance. I will venture to say, that brother Parley P. Pratt has got a job on hand infinitely more extensive than the walling in of the whole territory of Utah. His work was given to him sixteen years ago, by the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the Kirtland Temple. Parley P. Pratt has yet to build temples in old Scotland. The Scotch brethren might say, “What is the use then of our coming to these distant valleys, so far from our native country?” Had you not better write to your brethren who are still in Scotland to stay where they are, think you? He has to build temples there of greater magnitude than we have yet contemplated. When he will do it I do not know; it is certain he will do it if he is faithful; but whether he will do it after the earth is glorified, or before that time, I do not know.

I have a word to say to the sisters who have lately come into our city. Do not allow your fathers, your husbands, and your brothers, to go to any place to settle, unless it is walled in, or in some other way made perfectly capable of defending you and themselves from the attack of Indians, or those who would seek to destroy you and your property. If they want to drag you off to some place where you will be exposed to the ravages of Indians, tell them you are going to stay where you are, and then ask them what they are going to do about it. It is not my general practice to counsel the sisters to disobey their husbands, but my counsel is—obey your husbands; and I am sanguine and most emphatic on that subject. But I never counseled a woman to follow her husband to the devil. If a man is determined to expose the lives of his friends, let that man go to the devil and to destruction alone.

You have got my counsel. You need not, any of you, ask my counsel to run over to the west mountains to settle, for there are plenty alone there already. If you have not elbow room enough, rub my elbows, I can rub as hard as you can. I can tell you something you never have yet thought of. You may number all the families in this city, and with them their cattle and flocks, and there is more ground within its precincts, if properly cultivated, than would support them all from year to year. There are not inhabitants enough in the city to cultivate the land in it, as it should be. Look around and see the hundreds of acres that have not been cultivated at all; one bushel to ten has not been raised, that might have been, on the lots that the people have pretended to cultivate. Be not afraid of being too close together. The men or women who enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, never feel themselves crowded by that spirit, or by those who possess it; and they never will. When disturbance and difficulty occur, it is because of the opposite spirit, which is a contentious spirit; and those persons who possess it may expect to be crowded when they get to hell, as much or more than they are here; they will not have as much elbow room there as they have here, perhaps.

The Latter-day Saints ought not to feel so. Our cities are open, our streets are wide, and we have the sweet mountain air, and a healthy country. Do not be afraid to live together. What kind of air did you breathe, who lived in eleven, twelve, and fourteen story houses in your native country? If you could live in such confined circumstances, why cannot you live here, while breathing air as sweet, I may say, as the New Jerusalem.

I have told you my mind, you can now do as your own minds shall dictate, if you think proper, and be responsible for the same. I have frequently thought, what would be the consequence in this community, were we to be as strict now, as the authorities of the Church once were? For it used to be, if a man did not obey counsel after it was given him, he was cut off from the Church. Do you not think we are lenient, easy, and forgiving? Let us be kind to each other, and cultivate the spirit of peace, and seek diligently to know the will of God. How can you know it? In matters pertaining to yourselves as individuals, you can obtain it directly from the Lord; but in matters pertaining to public affairs, His will is ascertained through the proper channel, and may be known by the general counsel that is given you from the proper source.

I have told you heretofore what I am afraid of (and, in reality I am not afraid of anything else), which is incorporated in the idea—See that ye forget not the Lord your God. If this people will serve Him with all their heart, mind, and strength, they have nothing to fear from this time henceforth and forever. You are not to be overcome by your enemies, or put down and trampled under foot, if you will do this, and continue to be humble before the Lord your God. In doing this, no power under the heavens can disturb this people.

If I have any knowledge touching the condition of this people at the present time, and the way they are taught, led, counseled, and dictated by those who go before them to open up the way, it is directly opposite of that we saw in the days of Joseph the Prophet. He was full of sorrow, trouble, poverty, and distress; but now the people are led into riches, by the example, counsel, advice, and dictations of their leaders. They are on the highway to wealth; and there is danger in it. Here are men that never knew enough of the principles of economy to gather substance or save anything to themselves, until within a few years back; but now they are becoming rich in a moderate point of view. We do not expect to become wealthy like the Rothschilds, or some other large capitalists of Europe. This people are gathering much substance around them, which is a principle of heaven—a principle of Zion, but there is a fear within us lest it cause us to forget our God and our religion. Whether we have much or little, let it be on the altar, for it is all the Lord’s, whether this people know it or not. Joseph Smith said to this people, that all the wisdom he had was received from the hand of the Lord. All the knowledge, wisdom, economy, and every business transaction pertaining to human life in connection with the spiritual kingdom of God on the earth, is given unto us as individuals, or as a community, from the liberal hand of God.

Do you realize this? Or will some of you say, “It is my own wisdom and economy that have accomplished this or that?” If you do, beware, lest the Lord withdraw the light of His spirit from you, that you be left in darkness, and your former judgment, wisdom, and discretion be taken from you. If we receive good, it is of the Lord; then let us serve him, and love him with a true heart. As to the world, they may do as they please, for we care not for it anyhow. Let this people cleave unto the Lord, and righteous principles, and all is right and well.

May the Lord bless you. Amen.

True and False Riches

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered at the Special Conference, in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 14, 1853.

I am disposed this morning to give my testimony to this congregation upon the subject of true riches. Wealth and poverty are much talked of by all people. The subject was tolerably well discussed yesterday, and according to my understanding, the most that I have heard said upon that point has been on the negative of the question.

If you wish me to take a text, I will take the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, referring, if you please, to both text and context, and let the people distribute, or apply them according to their own pleasure. I will, however, use one passage of Scripture as a text, that was used yesterday. Jesus said to his disciples, to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them that were without, it was not given. If we were to examine the subject closely, we should learn that a very scanty portion of the things of the kingdom were ever revealed, even to the disciples. If we were prepared to gaze upon the mysteries of the kingdom, as they are with God, we should then know that only a very small portion of them has been handed out here and there. God, by His Spirit, has revealed many things to His people, but, in almost all cases, He has straightway shut up the vision of the mind. He will let His servants gaze upon eternal things for a moment, but straightway the vision is closed, and they are left as they were, that they may learn to act by faith, or as the Apostle has it, not walking by sight, but by faith.

In viewing this subject, permit me to preach what I have to preach, without framing or systematizing my address. When I have endeavored to address a congregation, I have almost always felt a repugnance in my heart to the practice of premeditation, or of pre-construction a discourse to deliver to the people, but let me ask God my heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to give me His Spirit, and put into my heart the things He wishes me to speak whether they be for better or worse. These have been my private feelings, as a general thing. I would ask our Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, to pour His Spirit upon each one of us this morning, that we might speak and hear with an understanding heart, that a hint, a key word, or a short sentence pertaining to the things of God, might open the vision of our minds, so that we might comprehend the things of eternity, and rejoice exceedingly therein.

In the first place, suppose we commence by examining the principles that have been laid before us this Conference, taking up the negative of the question; suppose, in our social capacity here, we have a system that feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, administers to the widow and the fatherless, so that we can say of a truth, as they did in the days of the Apostles, we have no poor among us. Would it establish the principle that we are rich? To me it would establish no more than a good wholesome principle upon which the wicked may act, as well as the righteous—a principle upon which the world ought to act, by the moral obligations they are under to stretch out the arm of charity to every person, to fill up their days with industry, prudence, and faithfulness, procuring means to sustain themselves, and to administer to the wants of those who are unable to administer to themselves. To me, I say, this principle manifests no more than a moral obligation under which all are placed. Though some may think it a decided mark of Christianity, that it is a proof of deep piety, and bespeaks the character of Saints, and all this, if we scan the subject closely, it amounts to nothing more than a moral obligation all are under to each other.

Again, we call up the question of riches, wealth. We may behold one upon the right, that commands his thousands of gold and silver, which he has treasured up; he has houses and lands to occupy, goods and chattels to fill his storehouses, cattle to cover his fields, and servants to obey his commands; we call such an individual rich, wealthy, but when we take into consideration the “true riches” spoken of in this book [the Bible], they are not riches. We may behold another upon the left, reigning as a monarch; the gold, and the silver, yea all the treasures of the kingdom over which he reigns are at his command; and all his subjects are fully disposed to do the will of their sovereign. He reigns, he rules, he governs, and controls, and there are none to gainsay, none to offer a single word of opposition, his word is the law, his commands are supreme, he rides in his richly-adorned chariots, and wears his crown of gold, set with the most precious stones. He sets up one, and drags down another. Those who have in the least incurred his displeasure, he condemns to the block, and he exalts others to sudden wealth and power. This monarch reigns for a day, a month, a year, or for half a century, according to the will of Him by whom kings sway the scepter of power; and the world say he is a rich man, a powerful and wealthy man. But this is not riches according to the saying of the Savior in the New Testament.

Suppose we could heap to ourselves the treasures of the earth, as was mentioned yesterday; suppose we could load our wagons with the purest of gold; with it we could open our commercial business on an extensive scale, we could build our temples and mansions, macadamise our streets, beautify our gardens, and make these valleys as it were like the Garden of Eden, but would it prove we were actually rich? It would not. As it was said yesterday, and justly, too, we might be brought into circumstances, in the midst of this supposed wealth, to be glad to give a barrel of gold for as much flour. In such a circumstance, of what benefit to us would be this wealth, so called? Would not the idea which the wicked, and, I may say, with some propriety, the Saints, have of wealth vanish like smoke, and should we not find ourselves poor indeed? if we possessed mountains of gold, should we not perish without bread, without something to feed the body? Most assuredly. Though an individual, or a nation of people, could command their millions of millions of gold and silver, houses, lands, goods, and chattels, horses and chariots, crowns, and thrones, or even the products of the soil—the wheat, the fine flour, the oil, and the wine, and all the precious metals of the earth in abundance—though they were flooded with all these good things, yet if the Almighty should withdraw His hand, they would be smitten with the mildew, and disappear; their wealth would become the most abject poverty. The possession of these things is not wealth to me. Not that I would cast them away as a thing of naught, or look upon the good things of this earth, and the riches of the world, as things of naught, but they are not the true riches, the pearl of great price spoken of in the Scriptures, when a man found which, he sold all he had to purchase; they do not belong to those principles couched in the saying of our Lord, touching the mysteries of the kingdom. The riches of this world are nothing more than a stepping stone, or necessary means whereby people may obtain the true riches—by which they can sustain themselves until they can procure the true riches of the kingdom of God. As such they ought to be looked upon and handled. “Seek first the kingdom of God.” “Seek first” that durable object. “Seek first” the righteousness that will never betray you. Obtainfirst” the prize that will not forsake you. Procure to yourselves “firstof all, that which will endure through time, and through all the eternities that will be. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness,” and let the gold and silver, the houses, the lands, the horses, the chariots, the crowns, the thrones, and the dominions of this world be dead to you, as it is necessary you should secure for yourselves eternal riches that will never forsake you in time nor in all eternity.

The negative of the question is present with the people. If they begin to seek the kingdom of heaven, if they set out to glorify God in their souls and bodies, which are His, how quick their feelings and desires, how soon their natural propensities cling with greater pertinacity to the things that are perishable. On the right hand and on the left we see persons whose trust is wholly in the riches of this world; they say, “I have gathered to myself substance, if you rob me of it you rob me of my all. I have my flocks and herds around me, if you take these from me all is gone.” These men or women to whom this will apply have not eternal riches abiding in them. Their minds are set upon the things of this world, upon a shadow, upon the substance that passes away, like the shadow of morn, or like the morning dew upon the flowers. They are like a thing of naught to those who understand the things of the kingdom of God. They are to be used, but not abused. They are to be handled with discretion, and looked upon in their true light, without any lustful desires, as the means to feed, clothe, and make us comfortable, that we may be prepared to secure to ourselves eternal riches.

Suppose we should remain here to discuss the subject, for days, months, and years, and scan it with a scrutinizing examination, in the end of all our labor we should find that the things of this world called riches, are in reality not riches. We should find they are like miracles to the ignorant, mere phenomena to the inhabitants of the earth; today they are, tomorrow they are not; they were, but now they are gone, it is not known where. The earthly king upon his throne, who reigns triumphantly over his subjects, is blasted, with all his kingdom, and brought to naught at one breath of Him who possesses true riches. Let Him who possesses the true riches say to the elements around that kingdom, “produce no wheat, nor oil, nor wine, but let there be a famine upon that people,” in such a circumstance where is the wealth of that king, his power, his grandeur, and his crown? There is no bread, no oil, there are no flocks, no herds, for they have perished upon the plains, his wheat is blasted, and all his crops are mildewed. What good does his wealth do him? His subjects are lying all around him lifeless for want of bread; he may cry to them, but in vain; his wealth, power, and influence have vanished, they are swept away like the flimsy fabric of a cobweb.

Again, the rich merchant, or private individuals, may have millions of gold and silver deposited, hid in the ground, or elsewhere, perhaps, and this is their god. Should the Lord Almighty say, as he did in the days of the Nephites, Let their substance become slippery, let it disappear that they cannot find it again; it is gone, and they may hunt for it in vain. Or let it be deposited in a bank, the first they know, the bank is broken, their substance is gone, and they are left in perfect beggary. To possess gold and silver, or earthly power and wealth, is not riches to me, but it is the negative of the question.

There are hundreds of people in these valleys, who never owned a cow in the world, until they came here, but now they have got a few cows and sheep around them, a yoke of oxen, and a horse to ride upon, they feel to be personages of far greater importance than Jesus Christ was, when he rode into Jerusalem upon an ass’s colt. They become puffed up in pride, and selfishness, and their minds become attached to the things of this world. They become covetous, which makes them idolaters. Their substance engrosses so much of their attention, they forget their prayers, and forget to attend the assemblies of the Saints, for they must see to their land, or to their crops that are suffering, until by and by the grasshoppers come like a cloud, and cut away the bread from their mouth introducing famine and distress, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God. Or the Indians will come and drive off their cattle; where then is their wealth in their grain, and in their cattle? Are these things riches? No. They are the things of this world, made to decay, to perish, or to be decomposed, and thus pass away.

Were we to spend the period of our lives and try to trace the history of mankind upon this world, from the beginning to the present time, by referring to the lives of kings, rulers, governors, and potentates; to the wealth, magnificence, and power of nations; also to the poverty, wretchedness, war, bloodshed, and distress there have been among the inhabitants of the earth, it could not all be told, but I have noticed some few of the items which I call the negative of the question. To possess this world’s goods is not in reality wealth, it is not riches, it is nothing more nor less than that which is common to all men, to the just and the unjust, to the Saint and to the sinner. The sun rises upon the evil and the good; the Lord sends His rain upon the just and upon the unjust; this is manifest before our eyes, and in our daily experience. Old King Solomon, the wise man, says, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither riches to men of wisdom. The truth of this saying comes within our daily observation. Those whom we consider swift are not always the ones that gain the mastery in the race, but those who are considered not so fleet, or not fleet at all, often gain the prize. It is, I may say, the unseen hand of Providence, that overruling power that controls the destinies of men and nations, that so ordains these things. The weak, trembling, and feeble, are the ones frequently who gain the battle; and the ignorant, foolish, and unwise will blunder into wealth. This is all before us, it is the common lot of man, in short, I may say, it is the philosophical providence of a philosophical world.

Suppose we look for a short time after the true riches—after the pearl of great price. In doing this were I to systematize, I would say, let us leave this subject, which is the negative of the question, and take up another, entirely different. We would have to take up the subject of salvation to the human family, calling up the characters who have officiated in this great work, and have brought forth redemption, and placed it before the world, putting it within the reach of every individual of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Yet it is all the same subject.

Where shall we direct our course to find true riches? Who is there that possesses them? Were we to admit scriptural testimony, I could refer you to the Bible, where we read of people exhibiting a power that gave their beholders satisfactory proof of their possessing the true riches. The riches of the world are natural, and common to the human family, but who governs and controls them? Who holds the destiny of the wealth of the nations in his hand? Do the kings, rulers, governors, or the inhabitants of the earth generally? No, not one of them, by any means. Have there ever been persons upon the earth who have exhibited the principles of true riches? Yes. The Bible tells us who they are, and delineates the principles of true riches.

Again, here is the philosophical world, the terra firma on which we tread. Here is the atmosphere which the wise men of the world tell us it is surrounded with, which is congenial to the constitution of the vegetable and animal world, it is the air we breathe. Philosophers tell us that the terra firma on which we walk is surrounded with it 40 miles high from the surface of the earth. It revolves in this subtle element, which is a combination of other elements. This is a philosophical world. What then are the results of the philosophical world? Why, if you were to put wheat in the ground that has been well tilled, it would grow, and bring an increase to repay the husbandman for his labor. If you plant potatoes in the ground the philosophy of the earth is, it will bring forth potatoes. If you plant corn, corn will be produced in abundance, and this will apply to all the grain, and vegetables, and products of this earth.

What is there here, in the valleys of these mountains? Why, the same that was centuries ago. As I told my brethren six years ago, I said, there are here wheat, corn, potatoes, buckwheat, beets, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, onions, apples, peaches, plums, pears, and fruits of every description and kind. They are all in the philosophical world—in the air we breathe, and in the water we drink; it needs nothing more than philosophical applications to bring them forth. The most delicate silks, the finest linen, and fine cloth of every description, that were ever produced upon the earth, are right here in this valley, and it requires nothing more than a philosophical application to bring them forth to administer to our wants. What more is there here! When we first came into this valley we had no knowledge that our brethren could find gold in California, or perhaps we might have been digging gold over there at this time; but our thoughts were occupied with how we should get our wives and children here; we were thinking about wheat, potatoes, watermelons, peaches, apples, plums, &c. But allow me to tell you, that gold and silver, platina, zinc, copper, lead, and every element that there is in any part of the earth, can be found here; and all that is required, when we need them, is a philosophical application to make them subservient to our wants.

Here we pause, and think—“What! is there gold here, silver here? Are the finest and most beautiful silks that were ever made, to be found here?” Yes. Is there fine linen here? Yes, and the finest broadcloths, and shawls and dresses of every description. We are walking over them, drinking them, and breathing them every day we live. They are here with us, and we can make ourselves rich, for all these things are within our reach. What hinders us from being truly rich? This is the point. I will tell you when you and I may consider ourselves truly rich—When we can speak to the earth—to the native elements in boundless space, and say to them—“Be ye organized, and planted here, or there, and stay until I command you hence;” when at our command the gold is hid so that no man can find it, any more than they could in California until within a few years back.

Again, we have a little absolute truth still nearer, and which comes under our own knowledge. There is the Sweet Water that runs into the Platte River, that this people have passed by for years. There have been no pains spared to find gold on that stream and its tributaries, but it could not be seen, and yet of late an abundance of it has been discovered, ranging over a district of country from the South Platte to the South Pass. There are men present here today, I have no doubt, who have it in their pockets, or in their wagons. There are as good prospects for gold there, as there ever were in California. How is this? Why He that hath all power and all true riches in His possession, has said, “Let that sleep, let it be out of sight to this people, until I say the word; I organized the elements, and control them, and place them where I please.” When He says, “Let it be found;” it is right there on the top of the earth. Where was it before? I do not know; it was out of sight. In the very place where men have gone from this valley, to my knowledge, and hunted weeks and weeks for gold, and could not find it, there is plenty of it now. When you and I can say, “Let there be gold in this valley,” and turn round again, and command it to disappear, that it is not to be found; when we can call gold and silver together from the eternity of matter in the immensity of space, and all the other precious metals, and command them to remain or to move at our pleasure; when we can say to the native element, “Be thou combined, and produce those commodities necessary for the use and sustenance of man, and to make this earth beautiful and glorious, and prepare it for the habitation of the sanctified;” then we shall be in possession of true riches. This is true riches to me, and nothing short of it constitutes them. When I have gold and silver in my possession, which a thief may steal, or friends borrow, and never pay me back again, or which may take the wings of the morning, and I behold it no more, I only possess the negative of the true riches. When the riches of this world leave me, I cannot say—“Gold, return thou to my chest.” I cannot say to the gold I pick up out of the earth, “Be thou separated from every particle of dross, and let me see the pure virgin gold.” I cannot do that without submitting to a tedious process of chemical action.

All those who wish to possess true riches, desire the riches that will endure. Then look at the subject of salvation, where you will find true riches. They are to be found in the principles of the Gospel of salvation, and are not to be found anywhere else. With whom abide eternally the true riches? With that God whom we serve, who holds all things in His hands, that we know anything of; He is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who at one survey looks upon all the workmanship of His hands; who has the words of eternal life, and holds the hearts of the child ren of men in His hand, and turns them whithersoever He will, even as the rivers of waters are turned; who commands the earth to perform its revolutions, or stand still, at His pleasure; who has given the sun, the planets, the earths, and far distant systems their orbits, their times, and their seasons; whose commands they all obey. With Him abide the true riches.

I will now notice the character who exhibited the power of true riches on the earth, though he himself was in a state of abject poverty, to all human appearance, for he was made poor that we might be made rich, and he descended below all things that he might ascend above all things. When the only begotten Son of God was upon the earth, he understood the nature of these elements, how they were brought together to make this world and all things that are thereon, for he helped to make them. He had the power of organizing, what we would call, in a miraculous manner. That which to him was no miracle, is called miraculous by the inhabitants of the earth. On one occasion he commanded a sufficient amount of bread to be formed to feed his disciples and the multitude. It was in the air, in the water, and in the earth they walked upon. He, unperceived by his disciples and the multitude, spoke to the native elements, and brought forth bread. He had the power. We have not that power, but are under the necessity of producing bread according to a systematic plan. We are obliged to till the ground, and sow wheat, in order to obtain wheat. But when we possess the true riches, we shall be able to call forth the bread from the native element, like as Jesus Christ did. Everything that is good for man, is there. Jesus said to his disciples, Make the multitude sit down, and divide them into companies, and take this bread and break it, and distribute it among them. They did not know but that it was the few loaves and fishes that fed the whole of them as they ate. The truth is, he called forth bread from the native elements. Is that mystery to you? Did you never think of it before? How do you suppose he fed them, he did not feed them upon nothing at all, but they ate bread and fish, substantial bread and fish! until they were satisfied. This the Savior called from the surrounding elements; he was quite capable of doing it, because he had the keys and power of true riches, if any man possess which, he is rich in time, and in eternity both.

Again, the Savior changed water into wine, in the same manner, by commanding the elements. Can that be done by a chemical process. I admit it can by the persons who understand the process; and that men can make bread also. As quick as I admit that the history Moses gives of himself is true, I cannot have any question in the world but what in ancient days they understood in a measure how to command the elements. The magicians of Egypt were instructed in things pertaining to true riches, and had obtained keys and powers enough to produce a bogus in opposition to the true coin, as it were, and thus they deceived the king and the people. They could cause frogs to come upon the land, as well as Moses could. They could turn the waters of Egypt into blood, and in many more things compete with Moses. There was one thing, however, they could not do, though they produced a very good bogus, but it was not quite the true coin. When they threw their staffs on the floor before the king, they could not swallow the staff of Moses, but the staff of Moses swallowed the staffs of the magicians. I have no doubt that men can perform many such wonders by the principles of natural philosophy. Again, they can deceive the inhabitants of the earth, and make them believe that things were done, which in reality were not. If there were not a true coin in existence, how could there be a bogus produced? The true coin is what we are after, the true riches. We are seeking to be made rich in the power of God, so as to be able to control the elements, and say—“Let there be light,” and there is light; “Let there be water,” and there is water; “Let this or that come,” and it cometh; by the power that is within us to command the elements; and they obey, just as they did the Savior when he changed the water into wine, or made bread to feed the multitudes.

What shall we say? Do the things of this world, in their present state, offer unto us true riches? I say they are not riches, in the true sense of the word; there is no such thing as a man being truly rich until he has power over death, hell, the grave, and him that hath the power of death, which is the devil. For what are the riches, the wealth possessed by the inhabitants of the earth? Why, they are a phantom, a mere shadow, a bubble on the wave, that bursts with the least breath of air. Suppose I possessed millions on millions of wealth of every description I could think of or ask for, and I took a sudden pain in my head, which threw me entirely out of my mind, and baffled the skill of the most eminent physicians, what good would that money do me, in the absence of the power to say to that pain, “Depart?” But suppose I possessed power to say to the pain, “Go thou to the land from whence thou camest;” and say, “Come, health, and give strength to my body;” and when I want death, to say, “Come you, for I have claim upon you, a right, a guarantee deed, for this body must be dissolved;” says death, “I want it, to prey upon;” but again I can say to death, “Depart from me, thou canst not touch me;” would I not be rich indeed. How is it now? Let the slightest accident come upon one of the human family, and they are no more. Do we then possess true riches in this state? We do not.

What shall we do to secure the true riches? “Seek first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness.” Lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where moth cannot eat, rust corrode, nor thieves break through and steal them. If we find the pearl of great price, go and sell all we have to purchase it, and secure to ourselves the friendship of God, and our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, and walk humbly before God, and obey those whom He has told us to obey, all the days of our lives, and He will say, “These are my friends, and I will withhold nothing from them.”

And is it indeed possible that we can come into that power, while we are in this mortality, to say to death, “Touch me not?” Were it possible, I for one do not want it, I would not accept it were it offered to me. If the Lord Almighty proffered to revoke the decree, “Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return,” and say to me, “You can live forever as you are;” I should say, “Father, I want to ask you a few questions upon this point. Shall I still be subject to the toothache, to the headache, to the chills and fever, and to all the diseases incident to the mortal body?” “O yes, but you can live, and never die.” “Then I would have you, Father, to let the old decree stand good; I find no fault with your offer, it may be a good one; but I have the promise of receiving my body again—of this body coming up in the morning of the resurrection, and being reunited with the spirit, and being filled with the principles of immortality and eternal life. Thank you, Father, I would rather take a new body, and then I shall get a good set of new teeth. My sight, too, is failing; if I want to read, I cannot do it without using glasses; and if I wish to walk a few miles, I cannot do it without making myself sick; if I wish to go out on a journey, I am under the necessity of taking the utmost care of myself for fear of injuring my health; but when I get a new body, this will not be so; I shall be out of the reach of him that hath the power of death in his hands, for Jesus Christ will conquer that foe, and I shall receive a new body, which will be filled with eternal life, health, and beauty.”

What more? Why, to him that overcometh shall be glory, immortality, and eternal life. What more? Jesus says, as it was said yesterday, Except ye are one, ye are not mine. Again, he says, I pray thee, Father, to make these, my disciples, one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. This is a curiosity that ranks among the mysteries that the people do not understand. The Father and I are one, you disciples and I are one; it is quite a curiosity, but it is as true as it is curious. It is nothing more than a key word to exaltation, glory, power, and excellency, by which principalities, kingdoms, dominions, and eternal lives will surround us.

That will give you true riches, and nothing else will. The only true riches in existence are for you and I to secure for ourselves a holy resurrection; then we have command of the gold and the silver, and can place it where we please, and in whose hands we please. We can place it here and there, where it can be found, and in abundance, when we say the word. We can say then to the flies, and to the grasshoppers, “Be ye extinct,” and it will be so; and again say, “Go ye, and make a work of devastation,” and at our word clouds of them darken the sun, and cover the ground, the crops are destroyed in a day. We can then say to the hailstorm, “Stay thou thy rage, and hurt not the fields and fruit trees of the servants of God;” and we are obeyed. On the other hand, when they need a little chastisement, we can say to the rain, to the lightnings, and to the thunders, “Chasten ye the people;” and the elements are at once in a state of agitation, and they are chastened by the destruction of their crops, and cities are swallowed up in the yawning earthquake, when God can bear their wickedness no longer. He does not want to slay His children who love and serve him, He is not a hard master, nor a severe Father, but when He chastens, it is because He wishes to bring His children to understanding, that they may know where the true riches are, and what are the true riches of eternity, and rejoice with Him in His presence, being made equal with Him.

These are some of my reflections upon true riches. Why will the Latter-day Saints wander off after the things of this world? But are they not good? We cannot do very well without them, for we are of the world, we are in the world, we partake of the elements of which it is composed; it is our mother earth, we are composed of the same native material. It is all good, the air, the water, the gold and silver; the wheat, the fine flour, and the cattle upon a thousand hills are all good; but, why do men set their hearts upon them in their present organized state? Why not lay a sure foundation to control them hereafter? Why do we not keep it continually before us that all flesh is grass; it is today, and tomorrow it is not; it is like the flower of the grass when it is cut down, it withers, and is no more? Why do the children of men set their hearts upon earthly things? They are to be used, but not to the abusing of yourselves. They are to be used to make us comfortable. Suppose all the good things of this world should be given to us, the gold and the silver, the cattle and the horses, and all the flocks of a thousand hills; it would be for the express purpose of building mansions and temples, of feeding the poor that cannot feed themselves, of succoring the tried and the tempted, of sending Elders to preach the Gospel from nation to nation, from island to island, and of gathering Israel from the four quarters of the globe. But that moment that men seek to build up themselves, in preference to the kingdom of God and seek to hoard up riches, while the widow and the fatherless, the sick and afflicted, around them, are in poverty and want, it proves that their hearts are weaned from their God; and their riches will perish in their fingers, and they with them.

Where are the true riches—the pearl of great price? They are here. How can we secure them? By being obedient, for the willing and obedient will eat the good of the land by and by; but those who heap to themselves riches, and set their hearts upon them, where will they be by and by? There are men in our midst who will quarrel for five dollars, and have their trials before Bishops and other tribunals if it costs all they possess. They say, “I will have my rights.” They tell about their rights, when they know nothing about rights; in this they are governed solely by the influence of former traditions. Why do they not say, “I will satisfy my hellish will, if it destroys me for time and all eternity.” If they would say that, they would say the truth. If a man says, “It is my right to have this or that,” he knows nothing about rights, so never say anything more about rights. But if you can find one individual who knows what right is, ask him, and then say, “That is right, and I will do it.” Take that course, and rejoice that you have found somebody to tell you what right is. When my heart trembles with rage, and my nervous system becomes irritated to knock down and kill, it is for me to say, Brigham, hold on, you should not do this. Do you wish me to tell you what right is? I will point out the way if you will walk in it. If your neighbor or your brother should sue you at the law for your coat, give it to him, and your cloak also, and not turn round and say, “It is my right; are you going to rob me?” The instructions of the Savior of the world, which I have quoted, are right; and I could prove it so by philosophical reasoning, and make you believe it, and you would be satisfied it is the best course you could pursue. I will give you the key to it, which is this—it gives you an influence you never can obtain by contending for your rights. You say, “Take it, it is no matter whether it is my right or not.” If a man asks you to go with him one mile, go two, and then you can say, “You only asked me to go one mile, but I have gone two.” That is the counsel Jesus Christ gave. If you sit down and calmly reason the case, you cannot but discover that it gives you an influence over that man, which you could not gain by contending with him in anger. All the power which is gained by contending with people is usurped power.

The power which belongs to the true riches is gained by pursuing a righteous course, by maintaining an upright deportment towards all men, and especially towards the household of faith, yielding to each other, giving freely of that which the Lord has given to you, thus you can secure to yourselves eternal riches; and gain influence and power over all your friends, as well as your enemies. “If you want anything I have, here, take it, and I will have influence and power over you;” this is a key word to gain the true riches; that is the amount of it.

I want to hint at the negative of the question again. I have, from time to time, said many things to you in this tabernacle, and so have my brethren, and the people are much inclined for the mysteries of the kingdom. I can tell you what they are, in some degree. The idea appears very foolish to me when we are talking about it, but we are obliged to use the English language as it is, which is scarcely a similitude of what we want. Again it is first rate to communicate our ideas, and good to enable us to talk one way, and mean another, when we have a disposition to do so. Brother Hyde preached us a good discourse on mystery yesterday.

What is a mystery? We do not know, it is beyond our comprehension. When we talk about mystery, we talk about eternal obscurity; for that which is known, ceases to be a mystery; and all that is known, we may know as we progress in the scale of intelligence. That which is eternally beyond the comprehension of all our intelligence is mystery, yet this word is used by the translators of the Bible. They write about mystery, and talk about mystery; what are they talking about? I do not know what they mean, nor what they wish to convey by that word, and they do not know themselves. This language is made use of in the Bible, because they have nothing better. Things transpire almost every day in our lives which we class under the term mystery, for want of a better term. What does it mean, in reality? Why, nothing at all. But for the accommodation of those who speak the English language, we will continue to use the term, and proceed to examine the negative of true riches.

Here are the earth and the inhabitants upon its face, organized for the express purpose of a glorious resurrection. The terra firma on which we walk, and from which we gain our bread, is looking forth for the morning of the resurrection, and will get a resurrection, and be cleansed from the filthiness that has gone forth out of her. This is Bible doctrine. What filthiness has gone forth out of her? You and I, and all the inhabitants of the earth; the human body, and all earthly bodies, both animal and vegetable; are composed of the native element that we breathe, that we drink, and that we walk upon; we till the earth for our bread, which is one of the materials of which your body is composed, it comes forth from the native elements into an organized state; what for? To be exalted, to get a glorious resurrection. We are of the earth, earthy, and not only will the portion of mother earth which composes these bodies get a resurrection, but the earth itself. It has already had a baptism. You who have read the Bible must know that that is Bible doctrine. What does it matter if it is not stated in the same words that I use, it is none the less true that it was baptized for the remission of sins. The Lord said, “I will deluge (or immerse) the earth in water for the remission of the sins of the people;” or if you will allow me to express myself in a familiar style, to kill all the vermin that were nitting, and breeding, and polluting its body; it was cleansed of its filthiness; and soaked in the water, as long as some of our people ought to soak. The Lord baptized the earth for the remission of sins, and it has been once cleansed from the filthiness that has gone out of it, which was in the inhabitants who dwelt upon its face.

The earth is organized for a glorious resurrection, and life and death are set before the people, true riches and false riches; and the whole world are gone after the false riches; after that which is not life, after decomposition, after that which perishes, and passes away like the twilight of evening. The Lord has set before the inhabitants of the earth, true riches, from the days of Adam until now. In olden times, in the ages we call “the dark ages of the world,” men could talk to the Lord face to face, and He looked like another man. When He had a mind to do so, He could walk into the assemblies of the people, and none of them would know him, only they knew He was a stranger that had visited their meeting. He understands the difference between true riches and the bogus which passed current in the days of Pharaoh in Egypt. We see the bogus power again exhibited in the days of Saul the king of Israel, by the witch of Endor, who, at the request of Saul, brought forth the spirit of Samuel, or some other spirit. They understood the principles of life, for the Lord had set life and death before them, true riches and false riches, or in other words, composition and decomposition, and the laws, principles, and powers of the eternal world; and the people of the early ages of this world understood them.

The people in this age, are like the old miser, whose latter end was drawing nigh; he had saved a good purse of gold, but he was blind and could not see it, so he requested the attendants to bring him the gold that he might put his hand on it; when he laid his hand upon it, he could go to sleep. He possessed the negative of true riches. Again, they are like the man who found a lump of gold which weighed 100 pounds, the last that was heard of him was, he was sitting upon it, offering a great price to the passers by for something to eat, and swearing that if he had to starve to death, he would stick by the gold, and die a rich man. If he had understood the principles of life—the principles of true riches, he could have commanded that gold in California, in England, or anywhere else; but he had no power over it, and died like a fool, no doubt. What good was his gold to him? He had not the power of endless life in him, and he will be decomposed, and the particles which compose his body and spirit will return to their native element. I told you some time ago what would become of such men. But I will quote the Scriptures on this point, and, you can make what you please of it. Jesus says, he will destroy death and him that hath the power of it. What can you make of this but decomposition, the returning of the organized particles to their native element, after suffering the wrath of God until the time appointed. That appears a mystery, but the principle has been in existence from all eternity, only it is something you have not known or thought of. When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, they are thrown back again, like brother Kimball’s old pottery ware, to be ground up, and made over again. All I have to say about it is what Jesus says—I will destroy Death, and him that hath the power of it, which is the devil. And if he ever makes “a full end of the wicked,” what else can he do than entirely disorganize them, and reduce them to their native element? Here are some of the mysteries of the kingdom.

On the other hand, let us take the affirmative of the question; and inquire what is life and salvation? It is to take that course wherein we can abide forever and ever, and be exalted to thrones, kingdoms, governments, dominions, and have full power to control the elements, according to our pleasure to all eternity; the one is life, and the other is death, which is nothing more or less than the decomposition of organized native element. There can be no such thing as power to annihilate element. There is one eternity of element, which can be organized or disorganized, composed or decomposed; it may be put into this shape or into that, according to the will of the intelligence that com mands it, but there is no such thing as putting it entirely out of existence.

I never studied philosophy to any great extent, but on one occasion I had a kind of a confab with Professor Orson Pratt, who endeavored to prove that there was empty space, I supposed there was no such thing. He thought he had proved it; but I thought he had not proved a word of it, and told him the idea was folly. After hearing a good many arguments from him, and other men, his colleagues in learning, I wished them to tell me where empty space was situated, that I might tell the wicked, who wish to hide themselves from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, where to go, for they will then be where God is not, if they can find empty space. To argue such a question as that, would be, to confute my own arguments in favor of other truths I have advocated, and oppose my own system of faith. We believe that God is round about all things, above all things, in all things, and through all things. To tell about empty space is to tell of a space where God is not, and where the wicked might safely hide from His presence. There is no such thing as empty space.

Remember, that true riches—life, happiness, and salvation, is to secure for ourselves a part in the first resurrection, where we are out of the reach of death, and him that hath the power of it; then we are exalted to thrones, and have power to organize element. Yes, they that are faithful, and that overcome, shall be crowned with crowns of eternal glory. They shall see the time when their cities shall be paved with gold; for there is no end to the precious metals, they are in the native element, and there is an eternity of it. If you want a world of the most precious substance, you will have nothing to do but say the word, and it is done. You can macadamize streets with it, and beautify and make glorious the temples. We can then say to the elements, “Produce ye the best oranges, lemons, apples, figs, grapes, and every other good fruit.” I presume we do not draw a single breath that there are not particles of these things mingled in it. But we have not the knowledge now to organize them at our pleasure. Until we have that power we are not fully in possession of the true riches, which is the affirmative of the question, and the negative of the question is no riches at all in reality.

Well, brethren, I think I have stood out first rate. When I rose I did not think I could speak over ten minutes. May the Lord God bless you, and have mercy upon the world, and upon this people, that we may be saved in His kingdom. Amen.


A Discourse by Elder Jedediah M. Grant, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Aug. 7, 1853.

The weather being warm, and the people generally of the laboring class, I presume are the cause of a rather late attendance at meeting this morning.

There are peculiarities connected with our duties, that make them differ from the duties of almost every other community. Other communities have gold and silver to aid them, in building, in planting, in gathering, and in all the different avocations of life; but this people have to accomplish all they do accomplish, by the bone and sinew alone, which the Almighty has given them; and where it is constantly employed, it has an effect upon the bank more or less; not, however, that the specie is exhausted, or the bills depreciated in value, but it exhibits a feature in our history which has been frequently exhibited, and is, as it has been, peculiar to this society.

The world, and the inhabitants thereof, are fluctuating; not only the inhabitants, but the elements that surround the earth are frequently in a fluctuating condition. I have often listened, with a great deal of attention and interest, to the explanations given of the beauties and of the uniformity of nature, contrasted with the fluctuations and changes of men, of nations, of kingdoms, and of countries.

Man is sometimes represented as if he were the only fluctuating and changeable being in existence; but when I contrast in my thoughts the revolutions of nations, with the revolutions and changes that have taken place upon the face of our globe, I am sometimes led to the conclusion that the elements change as often as the inhabitants that dwell upon the earth.

We see at one time, the earth shaken, as it were, from center to circumference; we hear the sound of bellowing earthquakes; we see the smoke of the towering mountains, and the yawning crater belching forth its boiling lava; indeed every mountain, valley and dell, the rivers, and the ocean into which they empty their waters, and all the elements with which we are surrounded, exhibit one constant scene of change, one constant scene of variety, and one constant scene of commotion.

We cannot say, “Man, thou art the only changeable creature, the only changeable substance we gaze upon.” But the ocean, and all the waters communicating therewith; the earth, with its ten thousand lofty mountains, verdant valleys, and extended plains; exhibit to our view a variety of changes that have been, and that we may expect will continue to be, from this time forth.

Consequently, when we see man excited to follow any avocation in life, whether it be for gold, silver, or other precious ores, for which he leaves his all, acts unwisely and inconsistently, sacrificing his home, his family, and everything dear and near to him, we can exclaim, “This wild career of man is not the only wildness exhibited in nature.”

If you refer back to the earliest ages, and trace the history of the world, where can you find uniformity in nature’s works? If you can find a uniformity at any time in the earth, the sea, the air, or in the elements, pray tell me when it was.

Was it when our first parents were cast out of the Garden of Eden, when it became desecrated by sin; or when old father Noah rode safely over the mighty deep, protected by the arm of Jehovah, while every other living thing sank in the depths of a watery grave? Was it when Abel rose up to offer in sacrifice the first fruits of his flock to the Most High God, and Cain his brother rose up and murdered, or sacrificed him for doing so? Was that a day of uniformity? Were the elements calm and composed? Did nature exhibit a serene and smooth surface?

You pass further down the lapse of time, from the days of our earliest progenitors, until the earth was deluged in water, and the lofty summits were submerged in the raging element. After the waters subside, and the inhabitants of the earth begin to increase and go forth upon its face, you soon discover a change in them and in the earth itself.

If you look for uniformity in man, was it when the descendants of Noah sought to build a great tower, that they might, as they thought, climb up to where their Father in Heaven lived, and thus try to defy His power, should He again bring a flood of water to deluge the earth? Was that the age, when people studied to know the purposes of a righteous God?

Pass on from that day, until you come to the illustrious Abraham, the father of the faithful, and ask yourselves if his course was very uniform, and if the course of the inhabitants of the earth around him was very uniform, and something to be admired. You see him rushing forth to war. Not only did he sally out to the field to fight with the weapons of death in his hands, but we might take a glance at his course in the domestic circle. Was it uniform in Sarah and Hagar to quarrel with each other, and when Hagar had to be banished with her son Ishmael? Even in the domestic circle of the great Patriarch, we discover nature was not uniform. Was it uniform when the cry of the banished Hagar ascended to heaven, and brought an angel to give drink to the young urchin who was dying of thirst under one of the shrubs?

If you pass on through the line of his descendants you find the same lack of uniformity. How sublime the quarrel that took place between Joseph and his brethren! What remarkable contentions existed among them. Look at the old Patriarch Jacob in his family circle, and you see him goaded with thorns of grief because of his family broils. Do we find the elements around that family very calm, pacific, uniform, serene, angelic, and Godlike? How calm they were when one of his wives, in order to get her rights, had to purchase her husband with mandrakes?

You discover a scene of vexatious broils in the domestic circle; though they were not at war with surrounding nations, yet the elements were at war in the very center of that venerable house.

Such, then, were the scenes in early ages among those righteous, pure, holy, just, and noble Patriarchs, who conversed with God, wrestled with angels, obtained promises, and coped with high heaven.

If you pass on and seek to find uniformity, beauty, and sublimity, will you find it when the Israelites were bondmen in Egypt, when they were compelled by hard task masters to gather straw and make bricks for a living?

If you should pass on to the time the illustrious meek man of God, Moses, was sent to them, how much uniformity do you discover when he led them to the Red Sea, and a mighty host from Egypt around them threatening their destruction, but the sea opened and let them through dry shod, and the mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs? Was this a scene where we may look for uniformity? Or, after he led them forth to Sinai, where the voice of God, the roaring thunder, and vivid lightning were exhibited. While Moses was upon the mount conversing with the Most High God, Aaron took the gold offered to him by the people, and made a calf for Israel to worship, and they said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Was there any sublimity, glory, and loyalty to God in this? When Moses descended from the mountain, was everything calm and peaceable, and uniform? No! The Israelites had made a golden calf, and were dancing round the god they had made out of their earrings and jewelry they had pilfered from the Egyptians—they had stolen by revelation, by divine direction; they were having a grand dance around this molten calf, when Moses in his anger broke the tables. Can you find any uniformity, any beauty, any order reigning in the house of Israel?

Pass on, and look at affairs in the days of Solomon—how uniform that mighty king was in his course, with his seven hundred wives, and a legion of concubines. How uniform he was in his passions and feelings. He was not contented with the fair daughters of Israel, but the queen of Sheba, and the women of nations afar off, captivated this wise king—by whom he was led astray, and desecrated the altars of God, the sanctuaries of Israel, and the Urim and Thummim, by introducing the idolatrous worship of the strange gods of his wives and concubines.

There was also David, the father of Solomon, and the man after God’s own heart. Though his wives were many, and his family numerous, yet he could not cast his eyes out of a window, and see a beautiful woman in a bath, without lusting after her. His heart was so susceptible of love, that he conceived the murder of her husband to possess her, and caused his victim to be stationed in the front of the battle where he would be sure to be slain. This was the kind of sublimity the men of God exhibited anciently.

Look at the difficulties that existed between Israel and the Prophets; look at the murders, devastation, destruction, altars smoking with blood, cities wrapped in flame, and thousands and tens of thousands mantled in death upon the bloodstained earth by contending armies; and ask yourselves if that is the time to look for uniformity.

Was it to be found in the days of Alexander the Great, when he conquered the world, and spilled rivers of blood to attain his purpose? Was it to be found among the Romans, or among the Medes and Persians? Shall we look to any of the ancient nations for uniformity.

But we will pass by these dark ages, and come down to the interesting time when the Son of God unfolded the glorious theme of the Gospel of peace, of matchless glory, of matchless love; when the babe of Bethlehem was born; when the sun of righteousness appeared with healing in his wings; and when beauty, and glory, and sublimity were displayed in their grandeur, full bloom and glory.

You do not wish us to understand, that that was the time when Herod put forth his hand to put to death the young children under a certain age, in hopes to kill the young child Jesus. Is this the beauty of that age—the sublimity to which you call our attention—when the reigning king put to death thousands of helpless children, drenching the earth with their innocent blood?

When the babe Jesus returns from Egypt, he exclaims of himself, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Even in that age, look at the commotion, the turmoil, the strife, and the difficulties that existed.

Were sublimity, uniformity, and beauty seen at the time when the King of righteousness, the anointed of God, was carried up unto an exceeding high mountain by Lucifer, who showed him the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, saying, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Was that uniformity?

Suppose a Prophet should arise now, and proclaim to the world he is a Prophet of God, and Lucifer should take him by the coat collar, or by the hair of the head, and escort him to the top of a high pinnacle, and hold him there, would they believe he was a Prophet? The uniformity of that age is thus exhibited, however, by the writers of the New Testament.

Again we find it exhibited when a legion of devils was cast out of a man, and entered into a herd of swine, causing them to run down a steep place into the sea, where they were drowned. These are some of the characteristic features of the age in which Christ and his apostles lived.

If you pass on to the time when Jesus Christ the Son of God was put to death, when they mocked him, spit upon him, placed a crown of thorns upon his head, and smote him upon the cheek, saying, “Prophesy.” Is that the time for us to look for uniformity? If you wait until they arraign him before an earthly tribunal, condemn, and put him to death, and place him in the tomb, do you there look for beauty and uniformity? What do you see? A host of soldiers guarding the mouth of the tomb to keep his disciples from stealing his dead body; they did not only think they would steal his dead body, but that they would lie about it afterwards, and say he had risen from the dead, and palm an imposition upon that age of the world. These are some of the sublimities of the Christian religion in the days of its Founder; and the confidence the multitude had in the advocates of that religion.

But if you still wait until he who was once the babe in Bethlehem, bursts the barriers of the tomb, and approaches and speaks to his disciples, and commissions them to preach his Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem, what do you see? Watch the movements of the disciples. The Son of God told them to wait the appointed time at Jerusalem. And when the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they began to speak by the inspiration and power thereof, the multitude cried out, “These men are full of new wine.” This was the uniform testimony of the multitude. But if you will notice the assembly preached to on that occasion, there were some few who gave a contrary testimony. But what were a few thousands, compared to the vast number then assembled? In some small hamlet a few thousands of people might be a decided majority, and perhaps take in all to baptize so many. But a few thousands in comparison with the great multitude that dwelt in Jerusalem, was only like one grain of sand in comparison to a handful. The grand majority of the mass governs; the uniform testimony of the million was, that they were drunk, and of course you are to believe according to the greatest amount of testimony, are you not? Then if you arraign those disciples before the grand tribunals of the nations, the great majority of the multitude would say they were drunk; but if only a flew thousands say they were not, which are you to believe? Where then is the uniformity in this testimony? Look at the discrepancy, and the array of testimony against the disciples. It is certainly overwhelming in its nature.

But if you look still further, and seek to find uniformity in that age of the world, follow the disciples; when they left Jerusalem to go forth with the proclamation of the Gospel, and we find wherever they went, they were considered insane, mad, and possessed of devils. It was said of Jesus their master, he was leagued with Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And, said the Savior, “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” Wherever they went, then, they were called Nazarites, and Christians was an odious name in that age. They were hooted at by the Jews, pointed at by the Gentiles, and scoffed at by the world; if you seek for testimony in that age of the world, was it for or against them?

Pass on still further in their history, and look at their course and conduct, if you will believe the writers that lived in that age. What does old Celsus say, who was a physician in the first century, whose medical works are esteemed very highly at the present time. His works on theology were burned with fire by the Catholics, they were so shocked at what they called their impiety. Celsus was a heathen philosopher; and what does he say upon the subject of Christ and his Apostles, and their belief? He says, “The grand reason why the Gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ, was, because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth, and Mary, and a host of others that followed him.” After Jesus went from the stage of action, the Apostles followed the example of their master. For instance, John the beloved disciple, writes in his second Epistle, “Unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth.” Again, he says, “Having many things to write unto you (or communicate), I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.” Again—“The children of thy elect sister greet thee.” This ancient philosopher says they were both John’s wives. Paul says, “Mine answer to them that do examine me is this …

Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas.” He, according to Celsus, had a numerous train of wives.

The grand reason of the burst of public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based upon polygamy, according to the testimony of the philosophers who rose in that age. A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers. We might almost think they were “Mormons.”

But if you pass on in their history to seek for uniformity and beauty, you will find some grand flare-ups among them. Look, for instance, at Paul and Peter, disputing and quarrelling with each other; and Paul and Barnabas contending, and parting asunder with angry feelings. “When Peter came to Antioch,” says Paul, “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed,” &c. Paul does not gain much credit with the Mormons for taking this course. We know he had no right to rebuke Peter; but some man said he was like Almon Babbit, he wanted to boast of rebuking Peter. He thought it was a feather in his cap because he coped with Peter and rebuked him. Had that affair come before a “Mormon” tribunal, they would have decided in favor of Peter and against Paul. We believe when Paul rebuked Peter, he had in him a spirit of rebellion, and was decidedly wrong in rebelling against the man who held the keys of the kingdom of God on the earth.

But I will proceed, and I wish you to understand that I am only just giving you a rap here and there; you know spiritual rappings are quite common in this day.

If you will pass along in the days of the Apostles, after awhile you see them thrust into cauldrons of oil, crucified with their heads downwards, and persecuted in various ways until they became extinct. After awhile, you have the beauty, the sublimity of Catholicism. Look at the old mother, seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, boxing the ears of her daughters; and the Church of England in turn boxing the ears of the old mother, assisted by her other numerous offspring, and then mark the bitter contentions and bloody feuds among the children! O, have they not had a sublime time—a beautiful dish of suckertash. What a uniform course they have taken!

But are the inhabitants of the earth the only portion of nature that is not uniform? No.

Look at the bellowing earthquake, uprooting the mountains and precipitating them from their beds, and rending the rocks with violence, leaving the trembling earth in a state of horrible devastation; and then for men to teach me about the uniformity of nature’s course, and that man is the only being in nature that is uniform, is folly. Talk not to me about the uniformity of nature; where is it to be found upon this earth, among men, in the mountains, among the valleys, in the ocean, or among the streams that water the land.

Before you censure my views upon this subject, look at mother earth, at the ocean, at the rocks, at the planets that bespangle the blue vault of heaven; in short, at nature in all her works, which you will find stamped with the insignia of continual change. But pass on.

You look and you see the Church, as it were, driven from the earth; you see it left without a Prophet, without a Seer, without Apostles, and without the voice of inspira tion. You hear the professed ministers of Christ teaching the benighted multitude, that the day when angels administer to men has ceased; that the sacred Urim and Thummim is lost; that the holy Priesthood is no longer needed, and the sacred place where they offered sacrifices for Israel is gone, all are gone.

In this way, century after century passed away; nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; nations and kingdoms rose, and in their turn fell in succession, to give place to others, while nature, in her convulsive throes, shook the earth from center to circumference. Pass on still, and do you look for uniformity?

But says one, “You Mormons tell us, that in the age in which we live there is a work commenced on the earth that will entirely eclipse every other dispensation, and usher in a day of righteousness, overcome Lucifer the arch deceiver; a day wherein he is to be bound, and thrust into the pit, and lose his power; when the earth will be redeemed, and appear in her primeval bloom and beauty, and man shall cease to war against his fellow man; when the convulsions of the earth shall cease—the earthquake cease to bellow, the thunder cease to roar, and the lightning cease to become destructive, and to mar the face of nature, spreading terror and dismay among animated beings; when the earth and all nature shall become calm and tranquil, and the glory of God shall be among men.”

“Why bless me, with the exception of a few points,” say statesmen, “your society has decidedly changed from what it was in the days of Mr. Smith. Because of the peculiar traits of his character, it could not have possibly existed under his government; we are glad to see the decided improvement that has been made since his death; and under the administration of Mr. Young.” This is their language. They suppose that the “Mormons” have turned a somerset, have apostatized, and altered their character and creed as a people. I always take great pleasure in telling such honorable men, such wise men, that that which they call “Mormonism” changeth not. It is the same now as in the days of Joseph.

“And do you Mormons in the Valley believe and advocate the same doctrines that Joseph Smith did?”

Yes, sir, precisely, not one practical point of the religion has changed; but we as a people may be fluctuating, but our religion changeth not. You see some of our men want to go to California for gold—they want to do this, and to do that; but the people generally are right at home.

But you must look in the last days for a kingdom that in its commencement will be the least of all, and is compared to the mustard seed. If then it is the smallest of all kingdoms, we need not look for a large church like the church of Rome, or the English church, but like a mustard seed; look for that, and it will grow and become the largest of all herbs, so that the birds of the air will shelter in it.

Says one, “I like it very well, if you did not gather together, and suffer Brigham Young to lead you like one man.”

In that consists the beauty of our religion; and he can wield us as a people, like God does the armies of heaven. He can wield us to preach, to pray, or to fight. We have everything spiritual, temporal, and natural, as it should be. We believe it is just as much our religion to talk about wheat, plowing, sowing, and gathering in at harvest time, it is just as much our religion as anything connected with it.

“Pertaining to the Mormons away off in the Valley, they never will be much anyhow,” says one. They used to tell Joseph Smith he could never accomplish anything, for he had neither money nor friends. They tell us we cannot accomplish much, “for everybody says you are crazy followers of Joe Smith, and believers in the Book of Mormon; therefore what can you do?” We will do just as Jesus Christ said the mustard seed would do. If you will read and learn what it did, you will then know something about the future history of “Mormonism.” You will ascertain just what we will do.

“But do you really believe your Church is the kingdom Daniel spoke of—the stone that should be hewn out of the mountain without hands?” I suppose he might have said with hands just as well, for it is no matter whether it was hewn out with or without; suffice it to say, the result of it is what we see; no matter how it came out of the mountain. What does the historian represent by that stone? Something that would begin to roll, and smite the great image on its feet, and roll forth until it should fill the whole earth. If you want to know what “Mormonism” is, it is that which will roll forth until it fills the whole earth.

Do we expect to find uniformity at this time? No sir; but we look for mobs, and the very scum of hell to boil over. Do we look for a privilege to fold our hands and sing lullaby baby, etc.? No; we expect the rage of all hell to be aimed at us to overthrow us; we expect mobs, and troubles with the Indians. The earth will be rent with earthquakes, and a thousand thunders will utter their voices, and make the ears of mortals tingle, and their hearts to fail within them; and the voice of God will be heard, that will pierce the wicked to the very core.

Do the Latter-day Saints expect to settle in peace? Mark you, your peace has not come yet, for Lucifer is not yet bound; and while the earth is fearfully convulsed because of the wickedness on its face, the nations will gather themselves and make an effort to wrest the kingdom from the Saints, and destroy them root and branch.

We are not coping with a few people here and there, but with the world, with all the enemies of God, with all hell, and with the devil and his host. That is “Mormonism.”

You need not wonder that we raise stout boys in the mountains, for we want children of the right blood; we do not want a scrubby breed here. Men of “Mormon” blood are not afraid to die. The men that tremble, and whose hearts go pit-a-pat because they have got to die, are not worth a picayune. A man that refuses to walk up in the track, no matter what comes, and steadily press forward, though there should be a lion in the way, is not of “Mormon” grit. That was the grit Joseph Smith had; and when he spoke, he spoke by the power of an endless Priesthood, which was upon him; and that is the power by which Brigham speaks. When he stood up in the majesty of his Priesthood, and rebuked the judges here, I know some of our milk-and-water-folks thought all the fat was in the fire. “Brother Brigham has gone rather too far; he might have spoken a little milder than he did; I think it would have been much better,” &c. This was the language of some hearts; and I feel to say, damn all such poor pussyism. When a man of God speaks, let him speak what he pleases, and let all Israel say, Amen.

We expect to see and hear tell of earthquakes, and other mighty convulsions in the earth, as it has been in former times; and if the devil exerted his power in ancient days to destroy the work of God, so he will in the latter days.

My exhortation to the Latter-day Saints is to keep the commandments until truth shall prevail, the devil is bound, and righteousness prevails; then watch for the Lord’s coming, for you know not the day nor the hour the Son of man cometh. Amen.

Indian Hostilities and Treachery—Excitement—Covetousness—Consequences of Obedience and of Disobedience—Policy Towards the Indians—Walker and His Band—Vigilance

An Address by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 31, 1853.

I wish to say a few words to the Latter-day Saints this morning, as there seems to be considerable excitement in the feelings of the people, and many inquiring what will be the result of the present Indian difficulties.

I will give you my testimony, as far as I have one on the subject, concerning these difficulties in this territory, north and south, pertaining to our brethren, the Lamanites. My testimony to all is—it is right, and perfectly calculated, like all other providences of the Lord, of the like nature, to chasten this people until they are willing to take counsel. They will purify and sanctify the Saints, and prepare the wicked for their doom.

There has nothing strange and uncommon to man, yet occurred; nothing has yet happened out of the ordinary providences of the Lord. These com mon dealings of our great Head with His people have been manifested from days of old, in blessings and chastisements. Wars, commotions, tumults, strife, nation contending against nation, and people against people, have all been governed and controlled by Him whose right it is to control such matters.

Among wicked nations, or among Saints, among the ancient Israelites, Philistines, and Romans, the hand of the Lord was felt; in short, all the powers that have been upon the earth, have been dictated, governed, controlled, and the final issue of their existence has been brought to pass, according to the wisdom of the Almighty. Then my testimony is, it is all right.

There seems to be some excitement among the people, and fears are arising in the breasts of many, as to the general safety. Some person has been shot at by the Indians, or some Indians were seen in an hostile condition. And away go messengers to report to headquarters, saying, “What shall we do? For we cannot tell, but we shall all be killed by them; they have stolen our horses, and driven off some cattle, which has created a great excitement in our settlement,” &c.; when, perhaps, tomorrow, the very Indians who have committed these depredations will come and say, “How do you do? We are friendly, cannot you give us some Chitcup?” They will shake hands, and appear as though it were impossible for them to be guilty of another hostility. And what is the next move? Why, our wise men, the Elders of Israel, are either so fluctuating in their feelings, so unstable in their ways, or so ignorant of the Indian character, that the least mark of friendship manifested by these treacherous red men, will lull all their fears, throw them entirely off their guard, saying, “It is all right; wife, take care of the stock, for I am going to the canyon for a load of wood.“

Away he goes without a gun or a pistol to defend himself, in case of an attack from some Indian or Indians, to rob him of his cattle, and perhaps his life. Herds of cattle are driven upon the range, the feelings of the people are divested of all fear by this little show of Indian friendship, and their hearts are at peace with all mankind. They lie down to sleep at night with the doors of their houses open, and in many instances with no way to close them if they were willing, only by means of hanging up a blanket. Thus they go to sleep with their guns unloaded, and entirely without any means of defense, in case they should be attacked in the night. On the other hand, they no sooner discover an Indian in an hostile attitude, than the hue and cry is “We shall all be murdered immediately.” That is the kind of stability, the kind of unshaken self-command, the style of generalship and wisdom manifested by Elders in Israel. Today all are in arms, war is on hand; “we are going to be destroyed, or to fight our way through,” is in every mouth. Tomorrow all is peace, and every man turns to his own way, wherever the common avocations of life call him. No concern is felt as to protection in the future, but “all is right, all is safety, there is no fear of any further trouble,” is the language of people’s thoughts, and they lie down to sleep in a false security, to be murdered in the night by their enemies, if they are disposed to murder them.

I can tell you one thing with regard to excitement and war. You may take Israel here, as a community, with all their experience, and with all they have passed through in the shape of war, and difficulties of various kinds, and these wild Indians are actually wiser in their generations in the art of war than this people are. They lay better plans, display greater skill, and are steadier in their feel ings. They are not so easily excited, and when excited are not so easily allayed, as the men who have come, to inhabit these mountains, from where they have been trained and educated in the civilization of modern nations. You may not believe this assertion; it is, however, no matter whether you do or do not, the fact remains unaltered, as well as the conviction of my own mind regarding it.

I have been frequently asked, what is going to be the result of these troubles? I answer—the result will be good. What did you hear, you who have come to these valleys within the last few years, previous to your leaving your native country? You heard that all was peace and safety among the Saints in these regions; that the earth yielded in her strength, giving an abundance of food; and that this was a splendid country to raise stock. Your determination was then formed to go up to the Valleys of the mountains, where you could enjoy peace and quiet, and follow the avocations of life, undisturbed. When the people arrive here, many of them come to me and say, “Brother Brigham, can we go here, or there, to get us farms? Shall we enter into this or that speculation? We have been very poor, and we want to make some money, or we want the privilege of taking with us a few families to make a settlement in this or that distant valley.” If I inquire, why they cannot stay here, their answer is, “because there is no room, the land is chiefly taken up, and we have a considerable stock of cattle, we want to go where we can have plenty of range for our stock, where we can mount our horses, and ride over the prairies, and say, I am Lord of all I survey. We do not wish to be disturbed, in any way, nor to be asked to pay tithing, to work upon the roads, nor pay territorial tax, but we wish all the time to ourselves, to appropriate to our own use. I want you, brother Brigham, to give us counsel that we can get the whole world in a string after us, and have it all in our own possession, by and by.” If there is light enough in Israel, let it shine in your consciences, and illuminate your understandings, and give you to know that I tell you the truth. This is the object many have, in wishing to settle and take in land that is far distant from the main body of the people. I have not given you the language of their lips to me, but the language of their hearts.

Elders of Israel are greedy after the things of this world. If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt—“Why, to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the Church considerably. We will go to California and get gold, go and buy goods and get rich, trade with the emigrants, build a mill, make a farm, get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.” When will you be ready to do it? “In a few years, brother Brigham, if you do not disturb us. We do not believe in the necessity of doing military duty, in giving over our surplus property for tithing; we never could see into it; but we want to go and get rich, to accumulate and amass wealth, by securing all the land adjoining us, and all we have knowledge of.” If that is not the spirit of this people, then I do not know what the truth is concerning the matter.

Now I wish to say to you who are fearing and trembling, do not be afraid at all, for it is certain if we should be killed off by the Indians, we could not die any younger; this is about as good a time as can be for us to die, and if we all go together, why you know, we shall have a good company along with us; it will not be lonesome passing through the valley, which is said to have a veil drawn over it. If we all go together, the dark valley of the shadow of death will be lighted up by us, so do not be scared. But there will not be enough slain by the Indians at this time to make the company very conspicuous in that dark valley. Do you begin to secretly wish you had stayed in the States or in England a little longer, until this Indian war had come to an end? There is a mighty fearing and trembling in the hearts of many. I know what men have done heretofore, when they have seen the enemy advancing, they have skulked, they were sure to be somewhere else than on hand when there was fighting to do, although, upon the whole, I have no fault to find with the Latter-day Saints, or with the Elders of Israel upon that subject, for they love to fight a little too well. If I were to have fears concerning them, it would not be that they would make war, but in the case of war being made on them, I should have more fear in consequence of the ignorant and foolish audacity of the Elders, than of their being afraid. I should fear they would rush into danger like an unthinking horse into battle. So I will not find fault with regard to their courage. On that point I am a coward myself, and if people would do as I tell them, I would not only save my own life, but theirs likewise.

Suppose, now, that we should say to this congregation, and to all the wards in this city, the time has come for us to fort up; do you not think a great many persons would come immediately to me, and inquire if I did not think their houses quite safe enough, without being put to that trouble and expense? Yes, my office would be crowded with such persons, wanting to know if they might not live where they were now living, “for” they would say, “we have got good houses, and well finished off, besides, such a course will ruin them, and our gardens will go to destruction; we really cannot fort up.” Would there not be a great amount of hard feelings upon the subject? I think so, whether you do or not. I think I should want as many as a legion of angels to assist me to convince every family it was necessary, if it actually was so.

I do not know but the time may come, and that speedily, when I shall build a fort myself in this city, and those who are disposed can go into it with me, while the rest can stay out. When I see it is absolutely necessary to do this, I shall do it. If the people of Utah Territory would do as they were told, they would always be safe. If the people in San Pete County had done as they were told, from the beginning of that settlement, they would have been safe at this time, and would not have lost their cattle. The day before yesterday, Friday, July 29th, the Indians came from the mountains, to Father Allred’s settlement, and drove off all the stock, amounting to two hundred head. If the people had done as they were told, they would not have suffered this severe loss, which is a just chastisement.

I recollect when we were down at Father Allred’s settlement last April, they had previously been to me not only to know if they might settle in San Pete, but if they might separate widely from each other, over a piece of land about two miles square, each having a five acre lot for their garden, near their farms. They were told to build a good substantial fort, until the settlement became sufficiently strong, and not live so far apart, and expose themselves and their property to danger. Father Allred told me they were then so nigh together, they did not know how to live! I told him they had better make up their minds to be baptized into the Church again, and get the Spirit of God, that each one might be able to live at peace with his neighbor in close quarters, and not think himself infringed upon. They wanted to know if they were to build a fort. “Why, yes,” I said, “build a strong fort, and a corral, to put your cattle in, that the Indians cannot get them away from you.” “Do you think, brother Brigham, the Indians will trouble us here?” they inquired. I said, “It is none of your business whether they will or not, but you will see the time that you will need such preparations.” But I did not think it would come so quickly. There will more come upon this people to destroy them than they at present think of, unless they are prepared to defend themselves, which I shall not take time, this morning, to dwell upon. I said also to the brethren at Utah, “Do you make a fort, and let it be strong enough, that Indians cannot break into it.” They commenced, and did not make even the shadow of a fort, for in some places there was nothing more than a line to mark where the approaching shadow would be. They began to settle round upon the various creeks and streamlets, and the part of a fort that existed was finally pulled up, and carried away somewhere else. I have told you, from the beginning, you would need forts, where to build them, and how strong. I told you, six years ago, to build a fort that the Devil could not get into, unless you were disposed to let him in, and that would keep out the Indians. Excuse me for saying devil; I do not often use the old gentleman’s name in vain, and if I do it, it is always in the pulpit, where I do all my swearing. I make this apology because it is considered a sin to say devil, and it grates on refined ears.

I told the settlement in San Pete, at the first, to build a fort. They did not do it, but huddled together beside a stone quarry, without a place of common shelter where they could defend themselves, in case of an In dian difficulty. They had faith they could keep the Indians off. Well, now is the time to call it into exercise. They did, after a while, build a temporary fort at San Pete, which now shields them in a time of trouble.

When the brethren went to Salt Creek, they wanted to make a settlement there, and inquired of me if they might do so. I told them, no, unless they first built an efficient fort. I forbade them taking their women and children there, until that preparatory work was fully accomplished. Has it ever been done? No, but families went there and lived in wagons and brush houses, perfectly exposed to be killed. If they have faith enough to keep the Indians off, it is all right.

From the time these distant valleys began to be settled, until now, there has scarcely been a day but what I have felt a twenty-five ton weight, as it were, upon me, in exercising faith to keep this people from destroying themselves; but if any of them can exercise faith enough for themselves, and wish to excuse me, I will take my faith back.

The word has gone out now, to the different settlements, in the time of harvest, requiring them to build forts. Could it not have been done last winter, better than now? Yes. Do you not suppose people will now wish they had built forts when they were told? If they do not, it proves what they have been all the time, shall I say fools? If that is too harsh a term, I will say they have been foolish. It is better for me to labor in building a house or a fort, to get out fencing timber, and wood to consume through winter, when I have nothing else to do, and not be under the necessity of leaving my grain on the ground to do those things. Harvest is no time to build forts, neither is it the time to do it when we should be plowing and sowing.

Now the harvest is upon us, I wish to say a few words concerning it. I desire you to tell your neighbors, and wish them to tell their neighbors, and thus let it go to the several counties around—now is the time for women and children to assist in the harvest fields, the same as they do in other countries. I never asked this of them before; I do not now ask it as a general thing, but those employed in the expedition south, in the work of defending their brethren from Indian depredations, who have heavy harvests on hand, rather than suffer the grain to waste, let the women get in the harvest, and put it where the Indians cannot steal it. And when you go into the harvest field, carry a good butcher knife in your belt, that if an Indian should come upon you, supposing you to be unarmed, you would be sure to kill him.

Tell your neighbors of this, and go to work, men, women, and children, and gather in your grain, and gather it clean, leave none to waste, and put it where the Indians cannot destroy it.

Does this language intimate anything terrific to you? It need not. If you will do as you are told, you will be safe continually. Secure your breadstuff, your wheat, and your corn, when it is ripe, and let every particle of grain raised in these valleys be put where it will be safe, and as much as possible from vermin, and especially from the Indians, and then build forts.

Let every man and woman who has a house make that house a fort, from which you can kill ten where you can now only kill one, if Indians come upon you. “Brother Brigham, do you really expect Indians to come upon us in this city?” This inquiry, I have no doubt, is at this moment in the hearts of a few, almost breathless with fear. Were I to answer such inquirers as I feel, I should say, it is none of your business; but I will say, you are so instructed, to see if you will do as you are told. Let your dwelling house be a perfect fort. From the day I lived where brother Joseph Smith lived, I have been fortified all the time so as to resist twenty men, if they should come to my house in the night, with an intent to molest my family, assault my person, or destroy my property; and I have always been in the habit of sleeping with one eye open, and if I cannot then sufficiently watch, I will get my wife to help me. Let an hostile band of Indians come round my house, and I am good for quite a number of them. If one hundred should come, I calculate that only fifty would be able to go to the next house, and if the Saints there used up the other fifty, the third house would be safe.

But instead of the people taking this course, almost every good rifle in the territory has been traded away to the Indians, with quantities of powder and lead, though they waste it in various ways when they have got it. The whites would sell the title to their lives, for the sake of trading with the Indians.

They will learn better, I expect, by and by, for the people have never received such strict orders as they have got now. I will give you the pith of the last orders issued—“That man or family who will not do as they are told in the orders, are to be treated as strangers, yea, even as enemies, and not as friends.” And if there should be a contest, if we should be called upon to defend our lives, our liberty, and our possessions, we would cut such off the first, and walk over their bodies to conquer the foe outside.

Martial law is not enforced yet, although the whole territory is in a state of war, apparently, but it is only the Utah [Indians] who have declared war on Utah [Territory.] Deseret has not yet declared war; how soon it will be declared is not for me to say; but we have a right, and it is our duty, to put ourselves in a state of self-defense.

The few families that settled in Cedar Valley, at the point of the mountains, were instructed to leave there, last spring. They have gone back again, upon their own responsibility, and now want to know what they must do. They have been told to do just as they have a mind to.

Those who have taken their wives and children in the canyons to live, have been told to remove them into the city; and if you want to make shingles, or do any other work that requires you to remain there, have your gun in a situation that an Indian cannot creep up and steal it from you before you are aware, that you can be good for a few Indians if they should chance to come upon you.

If I wished to live away from the body of the people, my first effort should be directed towards building a good and efficient fort. When new settlements were made in the eastern countries, they built them of timber, and they were called “block houses.” I would advise that every house in a new settlement should be made good for all the Indians that could approach it, with an intention to tear it down. If I did not do that, I would go to where I could be safe, I would take up my abode with the body of the people. I would take my family there at least. By taking this course, every person will be safe from the depredations of the Indians, which are generally committed upon the defenseless and unprotected portions of the community.

I know what the feelings of the generality of the people are, at this time—they think all the Indians in the mountains are coming to kill off the Latter-day Saints. I have no more fear of that, than I have of the sun ceasing to give light upon the earth. I have studied the Indian character sufficiently to know when the In dians are in war, I have been with them more or less from my youth upward, where they have often had wars among themselves. Let every man, woman, and child, that can handle a butcher knife, be good for one Indian, and you are safe.

I am aware that the people want to ask me a thousand and one questions, whether they have done it or not, touching the present Indian difficulties. I have tried to answer them all, in my own mind, by saying, it will be just as the Lord will.

How many times have I been asked in the past week, what I intend to do with Walker. I say, let him alone, severely. I have not made war on the Indians, nor am I calculating to do it. My policy is to give them presents, and be kind to them. Instead of being Walker’s enemy, I have sent him a great pile of tobacco to smoke when he is lonely in the mountains. He is now at war with the only friends he has upon this earth, and I want him to have some tobacco to smoke.

I calculate to pursue just such a course with the Indians, and when I am dictated to by existing circumstances, and the Spirit of the Lord, to change my course, I will do it, and not until then.

If you were to see Walker, do you think you would kill him? You that want to kill him, I will give you a mission to that effect. A great many appear very bold, and desire to go and bring me Walker’s head, but they want all the people in Utah to go with them. I could point out thousands in this Territory who would follow these Indians, and continue to follow them, and leave the cattle to be driven off by the emigrants, and the grain to perish, and thus subject the whole community to the ravages of famine, and its consequent evils. I have been teased and teased by men who will come to me and say, “Just give me twenty-five, fifty, or a hundred men, and I will go and fetch you Walker’s head.” I do not want his head, but I wish him to do all the Devil wants him to do, so far as the Lord will suffer him and the Devil to chastise this people for their good.

I say to the Indians, as I have often said to the mob, go your length. You say you are going to kill us all off, you say you are going to obliterate the Latter-day Saints, and wipe them from the earth; why don’t you do it, you poor miserable curses? The mob only had power to drive the Saints to their duty, and to remember the Lord their God, and that is all the Indians can do. This people are worldly-minded, they want to get rich in earthly substance, and are apt to forget their God, the pit from which they were dug, and the rock from which they were hewn, every man turning to his own way. Seemingly the Lord is chastening us until we turn and do His will. What are you willing to do? Would you be willing to build a fort, and all go in there to live? I tell you, you would have a hell of your own, and devils enough to carry it on. Do you suppose you will ever see the time you would do that, and live at peace with each other, and have the Spirit of the Lord enough to look each other in the face, and say, with a heart full of kindness, “Good morning, Mary,” or “How do you do, Maria“? You will be whipped until you have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ sufficiently to love your brethren and sisters freely, men, women, and children; until you can live at peace with yourselves, and with every family around you; until you can treat every child as though it were the tender offspring of your own body, every man as your brother, and every woman as your sister; and until the young persons treat the old with that respect due to parents, and all learn to shake hands, with a warm heart, and a friendly grip, and say, “God blessyou,” from morning till evening; until each person can say, “I love you all, I have no evil in my heart to any individual, I can send my children to school with yours, and can correct your children, when they do wrong, as though they were my own, and I am willing you should correct mine, and let us live together until we are a holy and sanctified society.” There will always be Indians or somebody else to chastise you, until you come to that spot; so amen to the present Indian trouble, for it is all right. I am just as willing the rebellious of this people should be kicked, and cuffed, and mobbed, and hunted by the Indians, as not, for I have preached to them until I am tired. I will give no more counsel to any person upon the duties of self-preservation; you can do as you please; if you will not preserve yourselves, I may reason with you until my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth, to no avail. Let the Lord extend the hand of benevolence to brother Walker, and he will make you do it by other means than exhortations given in mildness.

This very same Indian Walker has a mission upon him, and I do not blame him for what he is now doing: he is helping me to do the will of the Lord to this people, he is doing with a chastening rod what I have failed to accomplish with soft words, while I have been handing out my substance, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick. But this has no effect upon this people at all, my counsel has not been needed, so the Lord is making brother Walker an instrument to help me, and perhaps the means that he will use will have their due effect.

Do you suppose I want to kill him? No. I should be killing the very means that will make this people do what we wanted them to do years ago.

There are hundreds of witnesses to bear testimony that I have counseled this people, from the beginning, what to do to save themselves both temporally and spiritually.

In one of our orders issued lately, the southern settlements were advised to send their surplus cattle to this valley. No quicker had the news reached them, than our ears were greeted with one continued whine, which meant, “We are afraid you want them.” So we did, to take care of them for you.

When Father Allred was advised to adopt measures to secure themselves and their property, he replied, “O, I do not think there is the least danger in the world; we are perfectly able to take care of our stock, and protect ourselves against the Indians.” All right, I thought, let circumstances prove that.

Now as difficulties surround them, they say to me, “Why, brother Brigham, if you had only told us what to do, we would have done it. Were we not always willing to take your counsel?” Yes, you are a great deal more willing to take it, than to obey it. If people are willing to carry out good counsel, they will secure themselves accordingly.

I have thought of setting a pattern, by securing myself; but were I to build a fort for myself and family, I should want about a legion of angels from the throne of God, to stay nine months with me, to get my folks willing to go into it. But I am so independent about it, I care not the snap of my finger for one of them. If my wives will not go into a place of security with me, it is all right, they can stay out, and I will go in and take my children with me. I say, I do not know but I may take a notion to set a pattern by building a fort; if I do, someone in this city may follow my example, and then somebody else, &c., until we have a perfect city of forts.

“Brother Brigham, do you really think we shall ever need them?” Yes, I do. All the difficulties there is in the community this year, is not a drop in comparison to the heavy shower that will come. “Well, and where is it coming from?” From hell, where every other trouble comes from. “And who do you think will be the actors?” Why, the Devil and his imps. [W. W. Phelps in the stand, We could not do very well without a devil.] No, sir, you are quite aware of that; you know we could not do without him. If there had been no devil to tempt Eve, she never would have got her eyes opened. We need a devil to stir up the wicked on the earth to purify the Saints. Therefore let devils howl, let them rage, and thus exhibit themselves in the form of those poor foolish Lamanites. Let them go on in their work, and do you not desire to kill them, until they ought to be killed, and then we will extinguish the Indian title, if it is required.

Did you never feel to pity them on viewing their wretched condition? Walker with a small band has succeeded in making all the Indian bands in these mountains fear him. He has been in the habit of stealing from the Californians, and of making every train of emigrants that passed along the Spanish trail to California pay tithing to him. He finally began to steal children from those bands to sell to the Spaniards; and through fear of him, he has managed to bring in subjection almost all the Utah tribes.

I will relate one action of Walker’s life, which will serve to illustrate his character. He, with his band, about last Feb., fell in with a small band of Piedes, and killed off the whole of the men, took the squaws prisoners, and sold the children to the Mexicans, and some few were disposed of in this territory. This transaction was told by Arapeen, Walker’s brother, though he was not at the affray himself.

The Indians in these mountains are continually on the decrease; bands that numbered 150 warriors when we first came here, number not more than 35 now; and some of the little tribes in the southern parts of this territory, towards New Mexico, have not a single squaw amongst them, for they have traded them off for horses, &c. This practice will soon make the race extinct. Besides, Walker is continually, whenever an opportunity presents itself, killing and stealing children from the wandering bands that he has any power over, which also has its tendency to extinguish the race.

Walker is hemmed in, he dare not go into California again. Dare he go east to the Snakes? No. Dare he go north? No, for they would rejoice to kill him. Here he is, penned up in a small compass, surrounded by his enemies; and now the Elders of Israel long to eat up, as it were, him and his little band. What are they? They are a set of cursed fools. Do you not rather pity them? They dare not move over a certain boundary, on any of the four points of the compass, for fear of being killed; then they are killing one another, and making war upon this people that could use them up, and they not be a breakfast spell for them if they felt so disposed. See their condition, and I ask you, do you not pity them? From all appearance, there will not be an Indian left, in a short time, to steal a horse. Are they not fools, under these circumstances, to make war with their best friends?

Do you want to run after them to kill them? I say, let them alone, for peradventure God may pour out His Spirit upon them, and show them the error of their ways. We may yet have to fight them, though they are of the house of Israel to whom the message of salvation is sent; for their wickedness is so great, that the Lord Almighty cannot get at the hearts of the older ones to teach them saving principles. Joseph Smith said we should have to fight them. He said, “When this people mingle among the Lamanites, if they do not bow down in obedience to the Gospel, they will hunt them until there is but a small remnant of them left upon this continent.” They have either got to bow down to the Gospel or be slain. Shall we slay them simply because they will not obey the Gospel? No. But they will come to us and try to kill us, and we shall be under the necessity of killing them to save our own lives.

I wished to lay these things before the people this morning, to answer a great many questions, and allay their fears. Yesterday, brother Kimball heard at his mill, ten miles north, that I had sent word to him, that the mountains were full of Indians, and he and the families with him were to move into the city; so they immediately obeyed this report. Brother Kimball came to me and inquired if I had sent such orders. I said, no. But it is all right, for I wanted the women and children from there. This shows the excited state of the people.

One thing more. I ask you men who have been with Joseph in the wars he passed through, and who were with him at the time of his death, what was it that preserved us, to all outward appearances? It is true, in reality, God did it. But by what means did He keep the mob from destroying us? It was by means of being well armed with the weapons of death to send them to hell cross lots. Just so you have got to do.

As for this people fostering to themselves that the day has come for them to sell their guns and ammunition to their enemies, and sit down to sleep in peace, they will find themselves deceived, and before they know, they will sleep until they are slain. They have got to carry weapons with them, to be ready to send their enemies to hell cross lots, whether they be Lamanites, or mobs who may come to take their lives, or destroy their property. We must be so prepared that they dare not come to us in a hostile manner without being assured they will meet a vigorous resistance, and ten to one they will meet their grave.

The Lord will suffer no more trouble to come upon us than is necessary to bring this people to their senses. You need not go to sleep under the impression that it is the north and south only that is in danger, and we are all safe here. Now mind, let this people here lie down to sleep, and be entirely off their watch, and the first thing they know, they are in the greatest danger. You must not desert the watch tower, but do as I do—keep some person awake in your house all night long, and be ready, at the least tap of the foot, to offer a stout resistance, if it is required. Be rely at any moment to kill twenty of your enemies at least. Let every house be a fort.

After the cattle were stolen at San Pete, a messenger arrived here in about thirty hours to report the affair, and obtain advice. I told brother Wells, “you can write to them, and say, ‘Inasmuch as you have no cows and oxen to trouble you, you can go to harvesting, and take care of yourselves.’” If you do not take care of yourselves, brethren, you will not be taken care of. I take care of them that help themselves. I will help you that try to help yourselves, and carry out the maxim of Doctor Dick—“God helps them that help themselves.”

I am my own policeman, and have slept, scores of nights, with my gun and sword by my side, that is, if I slept at all. I am still a policeman. Now is the day to watch. It is as important for me to watch now, as well as pray, as it ever has been since I came into this kingdom. It requires watching, as well as praying men; take turns at it, let some watch while others pray, and then change round, but never let any time pass without a watcher, lest you be overtaken in an hour when you think not; it will come as a thief in the night. Look out for your enemies, for we know not how they will come, and what enemy it will be. Take care of yourselves.

Again, let me reiterate to the sisters, do not be afraid of going into the harvest field. If you are found there helping your sons, your husbands, and your brethren, to gather in the harvest, I say, God bless you, and I will also.

Take care of your grain, and take care of yourselves, that no enemy come to slay you. Be always on hand to meet them with death, and send them to hell, if they come to you. May God bless you all. Amen.