Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 6, 1869.

I have it in my mind to say a few words upon cooperation. I will quote a saying of one, whose partial history is given to us in the New Testament. The saying is this, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” The knowledge I have gained in my private experience proves to me that there is not a man or woman, community or family, but what, if they will hearken to the council that God gives them, can do better in everything, spiritual or temporal, than they can if they take their own way.

Taking up the system of our cooperative method of merchandising, it gives to the people ease and money. They are not obliged to run a mile or two through the mud to buy a yard of ribbon, they have it in their own Ward, and they can purchase it twenty or thirty percent cheaper than they ever could before. I know it is frequently said by our Elders when any new system is introduced to the people, “put down your names, hand over your money, and if you are required to pay two dollars for that which is worth only one, do it and ask no questions.” I have never requested my brethren and sisters to act in any such way. I want their eyes opened and their understandings enlightened; I wish them to know and understand their business transactions and everything they do just as perfectly as a woman knows how to wash dishes, sweep a room, make a bed or bake a cake. I want it to be just as familiar to the brethren as to make a pair of shoes, to sow and gather their grain or any other portion of their ordinary labor. I do not ask any of you to go blindfolded into any matters or any system of business whatever; instead of that I prefer that you should know and understand all about it. I wish to enlighten your minds a little with regard to the system of merchandising which has heretofore prevailed in this Territory.

There is quite a number of the community who were acquainted with the first merchants who came here. It is true that a few of our own brethren brought a few goods; but the first merchants who came here were Livingston and Kinkead. They, to my certain knowledge, commenced by selling the goods they brought at from two to five hundred percent above cost. There were a few articles, with the real value of which everybody was acquainted, that they did not put quite so high; but just as quick as they came to a piece of goods, the value of which everybody did not understand, the people might look out for the five hundred percent. They continued their operations here until they made hundreds of thousands of dollars. I do not think I ever heard a person, professing to be a Latter-day Saint, complain of those merchants. Others followed them. They came here, commenced their trade and made money, in fact we poured it into their laps. I recollect once going into the store of Livingston and Kinkead, and there being a press of people in the store, I passed behind one of the counters. I saw several brass kettles under it, full of gold pieces—sovereigns, eagles, half eagles, etc. One of the men shouted, “Bring another brass kettle.” They did so, and set it down, and the gold was thrown into it, “chink,” “chink,” “chink,” until, in a short time it was filled. I saw this; the whole drift of the people was to get rid of their money. I have heard more complaints the last few weeks about the cooperative movement than I ever heard before about merchandising.

Now, I will tell you the facts about this movement. We started the cooperative system here when we thought we would wait no longer; we opened the Wholesale Cooperative Store, and since that, retail stores have been established, although some of the latter were opened before the Wholesale store was opened. I know this, that as soon as this movement was commenced the price of goods came down from twenty to thirty percent. I recollect very well, after our vote last October Conference, that it was soon buzzed around, “Why you can get calico down street at eighteen, and seventeen cents a yard;” and it came down to sixteen. But when it came down to sixteen cents, who had a chance to buy any? Why nobody, unless it was just a few yards that were sold to them as a favor. But when it came to the Wholesale Cooperative Store the price was put at sixteen cents, and retail stores are selling it today at seventeen and a half or eighteen cents a yard. I will tell you that which I expect will hurt the feelings of many of you: Among this people, called Latter-day Saints, when the devil has got the crowns, sovereigns, guineas and the twenty dollar pieces, it has been all right; but let the Lord get a sixpence and there is an eternal grunt about it.

I will relate a little circumstance in relation to cooperation at Lehi. Five months after they had commenced their retail store on this cooperative system there, they struck a dividend to see what they had made; and they found that every man who had paid in twenty-five dollars—the price of a share, had a few cents over twenty-eight dollars handed back or credited to him. Is not this cruel? Is not this a shame? It is ridiculous to think that they are making money so fast. Did they sell their goods cheaper than the people of Lehi could buy them before? Yes. Did they fetch the goods to them? O, yes, and yet they made money. A few weeks ago I was in the Wholesale Store in this city, and I was asking a brother from American Fork how cooperation worked there; and I learned that three months after commencing every man who had put in five dollars, or twenty-five dollars had that amount handed back to him and still had his capital stock in the Institution; and still they had sold their goods cheaper than anybody else had ever sold them there.

The question may arise with some how can this be? I will tell you how it is: our own merchants make a calculation of charging you just fifty percent on their staple goods, and from one hundred to five hundred on their fancy goods. Now these Cooperative Stores sell their goods for twenty percent less than they can be bought from the merchants; and although they sell at a lower rate, the reason is they recruit their stock of goods every week if necessary, while our merchants, up till very recently, did it only about once a year. These little stores at American Fork, Lehi, Provo, and other wards and places around, can drive their teams here in a day and replenish their stocks of goods, and that enables them to turn over their money quickly; and if they put on six or eight percent instead of fifty, by turning their money over every week, in about twelve weeks they make a dollar double itself. That comes the nearest keeping the cake and eating it of anything I know. I have heard people say you cannot do that, but those who are investing their little means in these stores are actually doing it.

I know that many of our traders in this city are feeling very bad and sore over this. They say, “you are taking the bread out of our mouths.” We wish to do it, for they have made themselves rich. Take my community, three-eighths of whom are living on the labor of the remaining five-eighths, and you will find the few are living on the many. Take the whole world, and comparatively few of its inhabitants are producers. If the members of this community wish to get rich and to enjoy the fruits of the earth they must be producers as well as consumers.

As to these little traders, we are going to shut them off. We feel a little sorry for them. Some of them have but just commenced their trad ing operations, and they want to keep them up. They have made, perhaps, a few hundred dollars, and they would like to continue so as to make a few thousands; and then they would want scores of thousands and then hundreds of thousands. Instead of trading we want them to go into some other branches of business. Do you say, what business? Why, some of them may go to raising broom corn to supply the Territory with brooms, instead of bringing them from the States. Others may go to raising sugar cane, and thus supply the Territory with a good sweet; we have to send to the States for our sugar now. We will get some more of them to gathering up hides and making them into leather, and manufacturing that leather into boots and shoes; this will be far more profitable than letting hundreds and thousands of hides go to waste as they have done. Others may go and make baskets; we do not care what they go at, provided they produce that which will prove of general benefit. Those who are able can erect woolen factories, get a few spindles, raise sheep and manufacture the wool. Others may raise flax and manufacture that into linen cloth, that we may not be under the necessity of sending abroad for it. If we go on in this way, we shall turn these little traders into producers, which will help to enrich the entire people.

Another thing I will say with regard to our trading. Our Female Relief Societies are doing immense good now, but they can take hold and do all the trading for these wards just as well as to keep a big loafer to do it. It is always disgusting to me to see a big, fat, lubberly fellow handing out calicoes and measuring ribbon; I would rather see the ladies do it. The ladies can learn to keep books as well as the men; we have some few, already, who are just as good accountants as any of our brethren. Why not teach more to keep books and sell goods, and let them do this business, and let the men go to raising sheep, wheat, or cattle, or go and do something or other to beautify the earth and help to make it like the Garden of Eden, instead of spending their time in a lazy, loafing manner?

Now, if you think this is speculation, brethren and sisters, just enter into it for it is the best speculation that has been got up for a great while. I recollect the people used to say we were speculating when we were preaching the Gospel. They accused “Joe Smith,” as they called him, of being a speculator and a money digger.” I acknowledged then, and I acknowledge now, that I am engaged in the greatest speculation a man can be engaged in. The best business to pursue that was ever introduced on the face of the earth is to follow the path of eternal life. Why, it gives us fathers, mothers, wives, friends, houses and lands. Jesus said they who followed Him would have to forsake these things. I reckon some of us have done it already; and all who will live faithful, may have the privilege of so doing. Many of this people have sacrificed all they possessed on this earth, over and over again, for the truth’s sake; and if Jesus gave us the truth in relation to this, we shall be entitled to fathers, mothers, wives, children, gold and silver, houses, lands and possessions a hundred fold. But we do not want the spirit of the world with all this. What is the advantage of following the path of life? It makes good neighbors, and fills everybody with peace, joy and contentment. Is there contention in a family that follows in the path of eter nal life? Not the least. Is there quarrelling among neighbors where this course is followed? No. Any going to law one with another? Such a thing is unknown. I say praise to the Latter-day Saints, as far as these things are concerned.

What I have in my mind with regard to this cooperative business is this—There are very few people who cannot get twenty-five dollars to put into one of these cooperative stores. There are hundreds and thousands of women who, by prudence and industry, can obtain this sum. And we say to you put your capital into one of these stores. What for? To bring you interest for your money. Put your time and talents to usury. We have the parable before us. If we have one, two, three or five talents, of what advantage will they be if we wrap them in a napkin and lay them away? None at all. Put them out to usury. These cooperative stores are instituted to give the poor a little advantage as well as the rich. I have said to my brethren, in starting these stores in different places, “If you want help I will find means to put in to give the thing a start;” but I have only found two places in the Territory in which they were willing to sell me stock—Provo, where they wanted a wholesale store, and the wholesale store in this city. Go to this ward or the other and the answer is invariably, “we want no more means, we can get all we need.” They did not think they could before starting. I recollect the Tenth Ward in this city had but seven hundred dollars to start with; in two or three weeks after they commenced I asked some of the brethren how they were prospering, and was told they had a thousand dollars’ worth of goods on the shelves and money in the drawer and owed nothing. This is considered one of the poorest wards in the city, but it is not so.

Now take upon you this yoke; it is a great deal easier than to pay so much more for goods as you have been doing. I say the “yoke is easy and the burden is light” and we can bear it. If we will work unitedly, we can work ourselves into wealth, health, prosperity and power, and this is required of us. It is the duty of a Saint of God to gain all the influence he can on this earth, and to use every particle of that influence to do good. If this is not his duty, I do not understand what the duty of man is. I thank you for your attention, brethren and sisters. God bless you. Amen.


Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Feb. 24th, 1869.

“Mormonism,” so-called, is a strange thing in the 19th century. It has caused among the inhabitants of the earth a great deal of reflection and conversation for the last forty years. It is a very marvelous and wondrous thing to see a numerous people assembled together in these interior wilds which, but a few years ago, were a solitary waste, where the face of a white man had been seldom seen; the abode of savages only, who wandered about nearly naked, living upon crickets, rattlesnakes and lizards, sunk into the lowest depths of degradation. To see so large a people, all of one faith, united together in their energies, occupying a Territory, which, from north to south, is several hundred miles in extent, building up towns, cities and villages, establishing common schools, sending forth their missionaries to the nations of the earth, bringing in their thousands every season by emigration, render “Mormonism,” as it is generally called by the world, a wonder in our age.

We heard this morning a discourse, delivered by Elder Cannon, upon the subject of the Gospel and the principles of our faith. We were told some of the principles that have been received by this people, not only in these mountains, but wherever the Latter-day Saints, as a people exist. Our people are taught to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as one of the principles of our faith; we are taught to repent of all our sins and to re frain from everything that is forbidden by the law of God. This is included in the doctrine of repentance as taught by this people among the nations which we have visited. Having taught faith in Christ, and repentance of all sins, we next require penitent believers to be baptized in water for the remission of their sins. Thus they become subjects of the Kingdom of God by being born of water. Another principle taught by this people is the doctrine of the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, as was taught and practiced in ancient times.

We heard this forenoon concerning the effects of the Holy Ghost when bestowed upon individuals, and its diversified gifts throughout the whole Church, according to the righteousness of the individuals who receive these principles. We also heard it testified that God had sent down from heaven authority to administer in these ordinances; that He had sent His angel for this express purpose.

It is my intention, this afternoon, if the Lord will lead me by His spirit, to dwell upon some subjects connected with the organization of this Church, which has received the principle I have named. Strangers who may be present have heard for many years past of a man called Joseph Smith. Perhaps they have never heard much good respecting him. But this people, called Latter-day Saints, believe that man was a holy prophet of God; the world consider that he was an impostor. We consider that we have a sufficient amount of evidence to warrant us in believing that he was a prophet. It was he who organized and established this Church under the direction of Almighty God. According to our faith, had it not been for that man, or some other raised up in the same manner, this people called “Mormons” or Latter-day Saints, now occupying this mountain territory, would have been dwelling among the various nations of the earth, and this Territory, at this period of time, would probably have been a barren waste, and such a thing as the Pacific railroad would probably not have been started or thought about for at least half a century to come. That man, called Joseph Smith, in our estimation, was a very good man, and the Lord recognized him as His servant and called him to perform a certain work here on the earth.

When did the Lord first manifest Himself to this man? Read our history if you wish to understand all the particulars; on this occasion I shall barely refer you to the early history of this Church, in print. The Lord revealed Himself to that person, not in his manhood, but in his youth. We have heard much said, by those who know nothing of the matter, about “old Joe Smith.” How old was Joseph Smith when the Lord first manifested Himself to him? He was about fourteen years and four months old. Was that a very aged man? Look around here in this assembly and hunt up children fourteen years of age, and you will immediately admit that they do not look very aged.

What were the circumstances that enabled him to have manifestations from Heaven at that early period of his life? He was very anxious, as most of mankind are, to be saved; and he was also very anxious to understand how to be saved. But on this point he was at a loss, he did not understand the way to be saved. He was a farmer’s boy; he was not brought up and educated in high schools, academies or colleges; he was merely a poor farmer’s boy. He was not acquainted with those bad habits that are usually practiced by the youth in the great and populous cities of the United States. You know boys at the age of fourteen in those cities are apt to become contaminated with the evils with which they are surrounded; but Joseph Smith, having been reared in a secluded part of the country and laboring hard on the farm with his father, had not fallen into the pernicious habits practiced by many boys. When he was about fourteen years old there was what is called a religious revival or reformation in the neighborhood in which he lived. It was not confined to any one particular sect. The Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and the various denominations in that district or country were all engaged, more or less, in this revival. Several of the relatives of this youth had taken part in this revival, and had united themselves with the Presbyterian church. This young man was also requested to unite himself with this church. First one and then another of the different persuasions would come and converse with him and try to influence him to join his lot with them; and seeing so much confusion, each sect claiming that they were the true people of God, he became at a loss what to do. He occasionally devoted an hour, when his labors on the farm would permit, to reading the Bible, and while doing so his eyes happened to fall on a certain passage of scripture, recorded in the epistle of James, which says that if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth liberally to all men and upbraideth not. Now this youth, this “old Joe Smith,” that we have heard so much about, was just simple enough to believe that that passage really meant what it said. He went out into a little grove near his father’s house, in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, State of New York, and there he knelt down in all the simplicity of a child and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus that He would show him which, among all the churches, was the true one. Said he, “show me, Father, who are in possession of the truth, let me know, O Lord, the right way, and I will walk therein.”

He had now come to a Person who was able to teach him. All his inquiries previously had been futile and vain, but he now applied to the right source. Did the Lord hear him? Yes. But he had to exercise faith. This young man, while thus praying, was not discouraged because he was tempted; but be continued praying until he overcame the powers of darkness which tried to prevent him from calling upon God. The Lord hearkened. Being the same God who lived in ancient times, He was able to hear and answer prayers that were offered up in this sincere manner, and He answered the prayers of this youth. The heavens, as it were, were opened to him, or in other words, a glorious pillar of light like the brightness of the sun appeared in the heavens above him, and approached the spot where he was praying; his eyes were fixed upon it and his heart was lifted up in prayer before the Most High. He saw the light gradually approaching him until it rested upon the tops of the trees. He beheld that the leaves of the trees were not consumed by it, although its brightness, apparently, was sufficient, as he at first thought, to consume everything before it. But the trees were not consumed by it, and it continued to descend until it rested upon him and enveloped him in its glorious rays. When he was thus encircled about with this pillar of fire his mind was caught away from every object that surrounded him, and he was filled with the visions of the Almighty, and he saw, in the midst of this glorious pillar of fire, two glorious personages, whose countenances shone with an exceeding great luster. One of them spoke to him, saying, while pointing to the other, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.”

Now here was a certainty; here was something that he saw and heard; here were personages capable of instructing him, and of telling him which was the true religion. How different this from going to an uninspired man professing to be a minister! One minute’s instruction from personages clothed with the glory of God coming down from the eternal worlds is worth more than all the volumes that ever were written by uninspired men.

Mr. Smith, this young man, in the simplicity of his heart, continued saying to these personages, “which church shall I join, which is the true church?” He then and there was commanded, in the most strict manner, to go not after them, for they had all gone out of the way; he was told there was no Christian church on the face of the earth according to the ancient pattern, as recorded in the New Testament; but they had all strayed from the ancient faith and had lost the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost; they had lost the spirit of revelation and prophecy, the power to heal the sick, and every other gift and blessing possessed and enjoyed by the ancient Church. “Go not after them,” was the command given to this young man; and he was told that if he would be faithful in serving the true and living God, it should be made manifest to him, in a time to come, the true church that God intended to establish.

Now we can see the wisdom of God in not revealing everything to him on that occasion. He revealed as much as Joseph was capacitated to receive. The Lord dealt with this young man as you, parents, do when you wish to instruct your children on any subject. You do not pour out volumes of instruction on them all at once, but impart to them according to their capacity. Just so the Lord acted towards this youth. He imparted enough to let him know that the whole Christian world was without authority, as we heard this forenoon.

About, or not quite four years from that time, when Mr. Smith was between 17 and 18 years of age—and not yet old enough to be called “Old Joe Smith”—he retired to his chamber, reflecting upon his former vision, and earnestly desiring the fulfillment of the promise made to him, that he should be made acquainted with the fullness of the Gospel, and have more of the things of God revealed to him. While reflecting and praying, a light began to burst into his room, which continued to grow brighter and brighter, until the whole room seemed to be lighted up with a splendor which far exceeded the brightness of the sun at noonday. In the midst of this glorious light a personage appeared. He was dressed in a white robe, and his countenance was lighted up with the glory of God. He was not standing upon the floor of the room, but his feet appeared to be a distance from it. While looking at this personage the Spirit of God rested upon Joseph to that degree that all fear was removed from his mind; and instead of feeling alarm and terror, as would have been the case with a wicked person, he felt as though he was in the presence of a friend. This personage, on that occasion, gave him a great deal of instruction.

I shall not pretend to give you the full detail of the instructions then given, but shall merely lay before you a few of the principal items. This personage announced himself as a holy angel sent from God to communicate to him glad tidings of great joy. He was told that the day had arrived in which the Lord God was about to commence a great and marvelous work on the face of our globe, to bring about the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies in regard to the restoration to their own land of the scattered remnants of the House of Israel. He was also told that before this great work, of gathering the House of Israel, should take place, the Church of God must be built up among the Gentile nations; that the Gospel must be preached to the Gentiles first, that the sound thereof must go to all people, nations and tongues, first to the Gentiles, that their times might be fulfilled; and then that the Gospel should go to the nations of the House of Israel, and they should be gathered in.

This was something, of course, that a boy of this early age knew nothing about; he knew only what God communicated to him. He was, furthermore, told that the Indians, who were wandering over the face of North and South America, were a branch of the house of Joseph, that same Joseph who was sold into Egypt. He was informed that their fathers were brought from Jerusalem some 600 years before Christ; that they lived here in righteousness for a long period, and had many prophets, who kept records, and that these records were handed down for the space of a thousand years amongst them, and that, finally, the nation having fallen into wickedness, God commanded His servant who kept these records to hide them up in the earth in order to preserve them from being destroyed by the wicked and apostate nation who had turned away from God; a certain promise, however, was made, that in the latter days these records should be brought forth. Joseph was told that these records were hid some three miles from his father’s house. At the same time the vision of his mind was opened so that he saw the hill in which they were deposited, and he saw the stone box which contained them; he saw the surrounding objects and understood, by the vision that was unfolded to him in the presence of the angel, concerning the place where they were deposited. He was told that if he would be faithful he should be the chosen instrument in the hands of God in bringing that sacred record of the ancient prophets to light; and that it should come forth and be united with the Jewish record, which we call the Bible, that through the united testimony of these two branches of the House of Israel, all nations might have sufficient evidence and testimony to convince them concerning the Gospel of the Son of God, and the great work that was to be performed in the latter days.

This was the first visit of the angel, and it occurred on the 21st of September, 1823. After the angel withdrew, Mr. Smith continued praying. He was not asleep; it was not a dream, it was not in slumber that this remarkable vision had been given. He still continued praying, and marveling and wondering exceedingly at the great things he had seen and the great things he had heard. While praying and beseeching the Lord, the vision was renewed to him, and the angel came again and instructed him still further concerning the greatness of the work that was to be performed upon the earth in the latter days. Again the angel withdrew and the vision was closed up. Mr. Smith still continued praying and exercising faith, calling upon God; for having once tasted the good things of God, and the powers of the world to come having rested upon him, he felt a keener desire to know more concerning God and the things of the future than he had before experienced. Hence, he continued praying with much faith, and the vision was renewed the third time. On the last occasion the Lord unfolded great and marvelous things concerning the work of gathering together His people in the latter days, concerning the progress of this Church and Kingdom in the four quarters of the earth and the great judgments that were to be poured out upon the wicked nations of the earth.

Soon after the close of the third interview with the angel the light of day began to break into his room; he had been wrapt in vision through the whole night, without closing his eyes in sleep. He rose early in the morning to go to work, as usual, in the field with his father. But his father, perceiving that he looked pale and fatigued, inquired of him concerning his health, and advised him to go to the house if he did not feel well. Joseph felt, no doubt, something like we read of Daniel, who, after being wrapt in the visions of the Almighty, was sick for three days; it did not affect Mr. Smith, however, to the same extent. He started to go to the house, in compliance with the advice of his father, but had only got part of the way there when the angel again appeared to him, in the air, and commanded him to return and reveal his vision to his father. He did so, and the old man burst into tears, saying it was of God. The angel further commanded him, instead of going to work, to go to the hill that was shown him in vision and see the plates. His father told him to do as the angel had commanded him. He therefore started according to the instructions of the angel. When he had traveled about three miles in the direction indicated he came to the place and instantly recognized it by seeing objects which had been shown him the night previous in his vision. He uncovered the spot of ground, took off the crowning stone on the stone box, and there beheld the sacred record of the ancient inhabitants of this continent; by its side lay the Urim and Thummim, an instrument for its translation. Mr. Smith, not knowing but what it was his privilege to take the record, put forth his hand to do so, when the angel, who had appeared to him the previous night, stood before him and commanded him not to take it at that time, saying that he needed more experience, and that it was necessary that he should be more faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God. The angel also said, “if you will be faithful before the Lord, come to this place one year from this time and I will meet you again.” In 1824, one year from that time, he saw the angel again at the same place, but was not then permitted to take the plates. He was commanded to visit the same place in the following year, and in the fall of 1825 he again had an interview with the angel. In 1826 he had another interview, and on the night of the 21st of September, 1827, the angel again appeared to him, and on that occasion permitted him to take the plates from the place of their deposit. He was then lacking a few months of being twenty-two years old, and ever then, after having passed through all these experiences, he could not with the least propriety be denominated “Old Joe Smith.”

Having received the plates he occupied a portion of his time during the next three years in farming, and a portion of it in translating this record, for be it known he was not able to sustain himself without labor; he was not a rich or wealthy man, and therefore had to labor with his hands. The work of translation was done with the Urim and Thummim, for Mr. Smith was not a learned man, and in fact was scarcely in possession of an ordinary common school education. He could write a little, but was by no means an expert penman, and, in the work of translation, he had to employ first one and then another to write the words of the records as he translated them with the Urim and Thummim, consequently the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon were written by different scribes. Not long before the time he obtained the plates, Mr. Smith got married, and he employed his wife to write some of it. Martin Harris also wrote some portion of it; but the greater part was written by Oliver Cowdery—a still younger man than Joseph—and that the manuscript is in his handwriting, anyone can satisfy himself by appealing to the original. When about two and a half years had passed away the record was translated, and the book was in print before the spring of 1830.

Here let me give you a little fur ther external evidence of the truth of this work beyond that which depends upon the testimony of Joseph Smith alone. The Lord would not permit the Book of Mormon to go forth to this generation without giving further evidence of its truth than that of its translation. Consequently three other men, by the names of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris had a testimony concerning the divine authenticity of this work not by seeing the plates, merely; that would not have been sufficient. What was their testimony? They have left it on record, and it is printed and bound with the Book of Mormon to be sent forth to all nations, peoples and tongues under the whole heavens. These three men testify in words of soberness that the angel came down from Heaven in their presence, and spoke to them and took the plates and passed them before their eyes, and turned over their leaves one after another and showed them the engravings upon the plates; and while he was doing this they testify that they heard a voice from Heaven saying unto them, “these have been translated by the gift and power of God,” and commanding them to bear record of it to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people to whom the work should go. That is the reason they have given their testimony and prefixed it to the Book of Mormon.

Could they have been deceived when they saw the plates in the hands of the angel, and saw him turn them over leaf after leaf? There was no deception there; they actually did know, and have testified to that which their eyes did see. Here then are four witness to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon—Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery. Are there any living in our day and generation who can bear testimony to the divine authenticity of the Old and New Testaments? We have the testimony of persons who lived anciently, whom none, living in this generation, ever saw or heard. The “Mormons,” we were told this forenoon, believe in the Old Testament; but I will say that we not only believe in it, but we know, by the gifts of the Spirit of God, by revelations sent down from Heaven, by the visions of the Almighty and by the ministrations of holy angels, that the Bible is true; we know it to be a record from Heaven. Have you any such testimony? No, you have not. Then we present the Book of Mormon to you with a testimony such as you cannot bring in relation to the Bible, unless you appeal to the Latter-day Saints as witnesses.

I have already cited you to four witnesses to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon; but are these all the witnesses the Lord raised concerning this work, or were there any others who saw the plates? Yes, there were eight others, making twelve in all, who have given their testimony and names, to go wherever this book goes, that they did actually handle these plates and that they did see the engravings thereon. They send forth their testimony in words of soberness to all people to this fact. Can anyone in this generation come forth and declare that he ever handled the tables of stone on which the law of Moses was written? I never have heard of any such man. You have not got the tables of stone, neither can you exhibit the original of any one of the Books of either the Old or New Testament; hence when you come to external evidence the Latter-day Saints can produce far more in proof of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon and of the scriptures than it is pos sible for the Christian world to bring.

But we will not stop here. After the Book of Mormon was printed, in the spring of 1830, of what use would it have been to this generation if God had not sent down from heaven authority to administer in His ordinances as taught within its pages and in the scriptures? None, whatever. We could have read, it is true, a great many good principles, and we might have understood the doctrine of Christ more fully and plainly by reading the testimony of the prophets and apostles who lived on the American continent 1,800 years ago, and of those who lived here before Christ; we might also have learned a great many things, but what would all this have availed us without authority sent from Heaven to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel? It would have availed us nothing; it would have been like spreading a good, substantial meal before a hungry man and depriving him of the power to partake thereof; it would only have aggravated his appetite. This would have been the position of the people in regard to the Book of Mormon if it had been merely translated and left there. But the Lord our God, who had determined in His eternal purposes, and had revealed and foretold by the mouths of His ancient prophets that in the latter days He would establish His Kingdom on the earth, did condescend to send from heaven, angels to confer the authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel of His Son.

Who were sent from heaven for this purpose? Peter, James and John, some of the principal of Christ’s ancient apostles; men who held the apostleship themselves; men who were able to give the authority, because they held it themselves; and by them this authority was again restored and conferred upon men here on the earth. But I must mention that the Lord had commenced by restoring the lesser authority or priesthood. On the 15th day of May, 1829, nearly a year before the organization of this Church, while Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were engaged in translating and writing the record contained on these plates of which I have been speaking, they read that the people on the American continent, anciently, were baptized by immersion, and how important it was for every person who had come to years of accountability to be born of the water as well as of the spirit; and having learned that no man in all the Christian churches was possessed of authority to administer any ordinances of the Gospel of Christ, they were at a loss, just as Joseph was, when fourteen years old, about which church to join. Consequently, they stopped the work of translation (their anxiety to attend to the ordinance being so great), and they went out into the wilderness and inquired of God what they should do in relation to their baptism. When they had prayed a while behold a messenger was sent from the heavens, and he came and stood before them clothed in brightness and glory. What was his object in coming? Was it to teach them the mode or order of baptism? No, but it was to restore to the earth the authority to administer the ordinance. This messenger laid his hands upon the heads of these two individuals, and gave unto them the lesser or Levitical priesthood, the priesthood of Aaron, the same that was held by John the Baptist—a regular priest of the lineage of Aaron—when he baptized for the remission of sins. Who was the angel that thus restored this priesthood to the earth? He said his name was John, the same who came to prepare the way of our Savior at His first coming, and that he was sent to confer this lesser priesthood upon His servants in answer to their prayers in order that there might be authority on the earth to baptize, saying to them further, while his hands were still upon their heads, that “this authority which I now confer upon you shall not be taken from the earth until the Lord shall come.”

Let me here inquire if there is anything in the scriptures that will warrant us in believing that the priesthood of Levi is again to be restored to the earth. Hitherto I have given you a history of the rise of this Church, without appealing to many passages of scripture; but now let me for a few moments cite your minds to the nature of that priesthood which John the Baptist held, and whether or not it is to be on the earth in the latter times.

In the first place you may go to all the religious sects and societies throughout all Christendom and inquire if they have the Levitical priesthood among them, and they will tell you they have not. The Church of England, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists or any of all these societies do not even pretend to any such priesthood; neither does the Roman Catholic, or the Greek Church. You inquire, furthermore, of all these Christian societies if the Jews, themselves, have the Aaronic priesthood, and they will tell you that the Jews lost that authority by their apostasy, and that the Kingdom of God was taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Consequently, according to the testimony of all Christendom, there is neither Jew nor Gentile now upon the face of the earth who has the priesthood after the order of Levi, or the Levitical priesthood. If that be the case, if it ever returns to the earth, it must be restored. Now the question is will it return to the earth? Is there a promise in the scriptures of the restoration of such a priesthood to the children of men? If so it must come from Heaven, for according to the testimony of all Christendom neither they nor the Jews possess it.

There is not time on the present occasion to turn particularly to the passages referring to this subject, but I think I can direct your minds to a few. In the testimony given in the 40th chapter of Exodus, verse 15, we find that this priesthood was to be confirmed upon the heads of the children of Levi unto the end, throughout all their generations. Again we find another testimony in the case of the grandson of Aaron, Phinehas. In consequence of a certain work he did in the midst of the congregation of Israel, an everlasting priesthood was confirmed upon him and his seed throughout all their generations, Numbers 25: 13; that is, they were entitled to it. They might lose it through apostasy; but they were entitled to it throughout all their generations. Again, when we refer to the last chapter of Isaiah we find a prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled only in part, where the Lord says, “I will set a sign among the people and I will gather the children of Israel from all nations upon horses, upon mules, in litters, upon swift beasts back to my holy mountain Jerusalem, and I will take of them for priests and Levites saith the Lord.” Indeed! Is the Lord going to have priests and Levites after gathering Israel from all nations? Yes. “I will take of them for priests and Levites saith the Lord.”

Here, then, is a restitution or restoration predicted in the last chapter of Isaiah that the Lord will gather the House of Israel from all lands to His holy mountain Jerusalem, and that He will then take of them for priests and Levites. Furthermore let us see what the following passage says concerning the continuation of this lesser Priesthood of Levi: “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I shall make shall remain before me, so shall your seed and your name remain;” or in other words your priesthood, the priesthood which I have conferred upon the seed of Levi, shall remain just as eternal as the new heavens and the new earth. If one comes to an end so shall the other; and if one is to be eternal and never to pass away so will the other. If then, such a priesthood is to be restored to the children of men in the last days when God raises up a people to prepare for the ingathering of the House of Israel, where will it come from? I have already proven to you that according to the testimony of all Christendom neither the Jews nor the Christians possess it. Then how will it be restored? It will be restored by the Lord God, who first established that authority on the earth. I have told you how He has restored it. I have told you that an angel, whose name was John the Baptist, on whom rested that priesthood and authority, came down from Heaven and restored it. I have told you that he laid his hands upon the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and gave them authority to baptize. “But,” says one, “how about the laying on of hands? Can they who hold that priesthood lay on hands?” No, they have not authority to do that. John, who held that priesthood, said, I baptize you with water, but there cometh one after me, mightier than I, and he, holding a higher priesthood than I, will bap tize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. That priesthood is called the Melchizedek priesthood. It was that priesthood which Jesus possessed, and by the authority of that priesthood He called his disciples. That priesthood confers the power to administer in all the fullness of the ordinances of the Son of God; in the spirit as well as in the outward ordinances. Therefore this Church never could have arisen had the Lord stopped with the mere translation of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of this lesser priesthood. It is true that with the latter we could baptize, but it does not impart the power to confer the Holy Ghost; and that this Church might have the power to administer in every ordinance of the Gospel, the apostleship was again restored, which holds all the keys, authorities and powers to administer, not only in the outward ordinances, but also to confer the spirit of the living God. That is the authority of the higher priesthood, and, like the authority of the lesser priesthood, was sent down from Heaven and restored to the earth in these last days; and of all the religious denominations upon the face of the earth, it is possessed by the Latter-day Saints only. None of the others make the least pretensions to any such power.

When the Latter-day Saints go forth and find people who will repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ, we command them, as the disciples of Jesus did anciently, to be baptized for the remission of their sins, and then we promise them with all boldness and confidence before God, being authorized from the Heavens to do so, that they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the Elders. We do not say you may receive it, or it is probable the Lord will give it you; but we make a sure and certain promise that if they will faithfully comply with the conditions on which its bestowal is based, they shall receive it. We make this promise because we are commanded so to do; the Lord has sent us forth to do it, and were we not to do so He would hurl us out of our places and raise up others who would.

The apostleship has been restored by Peter, James and John—men who held the priesthood of the Son of God, men who had power to seal on earth and it was sealed in heaven. These men, commissioned and sent forth as holy angels, laid their hands upon the heads of the first Elders of this Church, and gave authority to them to ordain others to the same priesthood and calling and send them forth among the nations. It is because the people have obeyed the ordinances of the Gospel and have received the blessings promised that they have ga thered here to these mountains. If it had not been for this these vales would still be without inhabitants except the wild savages who formerly roamed over their desert plains.

I have not time to enter into further particulars relative to the rise of this Church, the authority that has been restored and the blessings that are received. That God, who has sent His angel flying through the midst of heaven, according to the testimony given in the revelations of St. John, with the everlasting Gospel to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, may give you all the blessings of that everlasting Gospel sent from heaven by angels, and all the blessings of that priesthood, with its power to seal upon the earth and in the heavens, and that you may overcome and remain faithful to the end, and obtain eternal life in His Kingdom, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Unity and Unchangeableness of the Gospel—New Revelation Needed—Spiritualism

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Old Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Jan. 31st, 1869.

To those who are not familiar with the operations of the Gospel of Christ the spectacle which is to be witnessed in this Territory of a people congregating together from so many nations and united in their faith and worship is something that is very strange and must, of necessity, create considerable inquiry and remark. It is wonderful, and is without a parallel on the earth at present; and yet when viewed in the light of the Gospel which Jesus taught there ought to be nothing particularly wonderful about it, for that which we see in these valleys is what we might expect to see, from the teachings of Jesus and His apostles. Jesus taught His disciples the plan of salvation. He gave unto them the power and authority to go forth and proclaim that plan to every creature, commanding them to baptize, and promised them that they who bowed in obedience to their teachings should receive the Holy Ghost. One of the peculiarities of the Holy Ghost, as we read of its effects in the scriptures, was to unite the hearts of those who received it and to make them one.

We find no account in the history that is gives unto us of the labors of the apostles, of there being any division of sentiment among them or among their disciples. Although Paul had not been brought into contact with Peter and the rest of the Twelve for some years, he informs us that when he went to Jerusalem to meet with them, he found that he taught the same principles and was as conversant with the doctrines of Jesus as they were; and so much was he impressed with the importance of him and his brethren and those who received the principles they taught, believing in one form of doctrine and one plan of salvation, that he left on record, to one of the Churches which he raised up, this sentiment—“though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you; let him be accursed.” He endeavored to impress upon those with whom he had communication, and over whom he had influence, that the form of doctrine which he had delivered to them, and which, he says, he received by the Holy Ghost, was the only form of doctrine that could be preached to the inhabitants of the earth without the curse of Almighty God resting upon them who preached and propagated it. Hence, it is but reasonable to suppose that had the doctrine which Paul taught, which he received from Jesus, and the doctrine which was taught by Peter, James, John and Andrew, and the rest of the apostles, been preached and adhered to, by the whole of the inhabitants of the earth, we should see, today, through all the nations of the earth, that which is witnessed in Utah—one form of worship and one faith, and all the people, everywhere worshipping in the same temples and tabernacles, and being governed by the same principles.

It cannot be expected by any person who has any faith or confidence in the plan of salvation, or in the scriptures which contain an account of that plan, that the Holy Ghost would reveal unto man two different kinds of faith; that it would lead them to believe in different forms of doctrine, or that it would teach one class of men that one portion of the Gospel was necessary, and another portion unnecessary; or cause any portion of the people to believe that a certain item of the Gospel was essential to salvation, and cause another portion of the people to believe that the same item of the Gospel was nonessential. Such a view is irreconcilable with the teachings of Jesus and his apostles and of all that is left on record concerning the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost and its office among the children of men. On the contrary, all that is recorded leads us to suppose that if the Holy Ghost were to be bestowed upon an inhabitant of Europe, upon another person in Asia, another in Africa, and upon a fourth, in America, and again upon another on the islands of the sea, that these individuals were they to come together and converse upon the plan of salvation would entertain precisely similar views respecting that plan. To think otherwise would be to make God, our Heavenly Father, the author of strife and division.

If we will remember the prayer of Jesus, the last which He offered up, of which we have any account, before His arrest and betrayal, we shall find that He prayed that His apostles might be one, even as He and the Father were one. And said He, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou has sent me.” This prayer, it is presumable, was recorded in Heaven; and it is also presumable that it was the design of God that it should be answered upon the heads of those in whose behalf it was offered. This oneness did characterize the Church in those days; and, as I have already said, there is nothing left on record to prove to us that there was anything but oneness, harmony and union in the midst of the Church during the lives of the apostles. The prayer of Jesus was heard and answered, the Spirit of God was poured out upon the apostles, and not only upon them but upon those who believed in their words; and the world in looking on their union had an evidence that they could not controvert, that Jesus had been sent by the Father, and that he was indeed the very Christ. It may be supposed, therefore, that, this being the condition of things during the lives of the apostles, had the inhabitants of the earth continued to practice the principles which they taught, the same results would have followed, not only in the first century of the Christian era, but through every succeeding century down to our day. For it is recorded in the Scriptures, and none who believe in them can doubt the truth of the saying, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

He, Himself, says, “For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” This is the character of our Father and our God. At all times and under all circumstances in every age and generation, when men have bowed before Him and have sought Him in the way He has appointed, He has heard their prayers and granted to them the desires of their hearts, and has blessed them according to the faith they have exercised in Him.

Everything that we have on record from those who have had any acquaintance with His attributes or who have had familiar intercourse with Him confirms this view of His character. When men sought after Him in faith in the days of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets, and then again in the days of Jesus and His apostles, the same results followed the exercise of their faith. All may not have had direct and personal intercourse with Him, but all received the blessings they sought, and the guidance of His unerring wisdom has been granted unto them. This is proved from the first record made by Moses, down to the last made by John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos. We have no account of a generation, or of an individual, even, who served God and kept His commandments, that did not receive peculiar manifestations and blessings from Him. No one was left in doubt or darkness; no one had to be guided by tradition or by the teachings of others alone; but everyone, in every age and generation, received peculiar manifestations and blessings down to the time that John closed his record.

Seeing that this is the character of our Father in heaven and of the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ, how is it that, today, there is opposition, strife and uncertainty among those who call themselves the disciples of Jesus, if He is, as the Scriptures say, “the same yesterday, today and for ever?” This is an inquiry that every man, who professes any faith whatever, in Christ, should make, even if he does not endorse the idea that has been taught and testified to by the Latter-day Saints, viz., that God is a God of revelation, and that He has revealed Himself again in the latter days as He did in former days. For my part, with the view I now have respecting God, with the light that has been thrown upon my mind by the teachings of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I could not be satisfied unless I had something more than the world say it is possible for men to obtain at the present time. I could not be satisfied with the records that we have in our midst containing the testimony of men who lived hundreds of years ago. I could not be satisfied to base my faith, and my hopes of salvation and future glory upon a testimony of what they realized any more than I could be satisfied when hungry by reading an account of a good meal partaken of by somebody else. I should want something more than this. I should want to know for myself that God is what others have said He is. I should want to know that He lives today, as He did 1,800 or 2,000 years ago, or as He did in the morning of creation. And if it were possible for men, by the exercise of faith, to obtain a knowledge for themselves, I would contend for that knowledge until I obtained it. But the Lord be praised, we are not in this condition. We know that God is the same that He was yesterday or in the days of Jesus. We know He is the same God that He was in the days of Noah, Moses, Abraham, and other prophets who lived previous to the coming of Jesus Christ. We know this because we have obeyed the form of doctrine taught anciently, which has been revealed again in our days, and we have received the same testimony that the people of God enjoyed anciently. We have repented of our sins, have been baptized for the remission of them by those having authority; have had hands laid upon us for the reception of the Holy Ghost, according to the practice of the apostles of Jesus in ancient times, and we have received the promised spirit and its gifts, which bear witness unto us that we are born of God, that He is pleased with our offering and has accepted us.

It is no wonder that we are united; it is no wonder that men from various nations who have come to the Territory of Utah are united. They have been alike in their obedience, and are alike in their faith and testimony. It is no wonder that for five hundred miles—from the extreme north to south of this Territory—settlements have been formed, whose inhabitants dwell together in unity and peace, worshiping God in the same manner, submitting to the same requirements and obeying the same ordinances. These are the results of obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the results which followed obedience to that Gospel anciently; and these results would have continued to the present day had that Gospel and the authority to preach it been preserved from the apostles downward.

There is no better evidence that new revelation is needed than is to be found today throughout so-called Christendom. Visit the cities of Christendom outside of this Territory, and what do you see? Confusion and division; the churches and meetinghouses of various denominations with their spires pointing heavenward, and people passing and repassing to fill these places of worship, all professing to worship the same God and to believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible, upon which they profess their faith is founded; and yet when you converse with them as to their form of doctrine, one will tell you that to believe in Jesus Christ and to repent from sin is all that is necessary to secure salvation; another will say that in addition to this you must be baptized, and that if you are baptized, having faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of your sins, you are sure of salvation if you continue. One will tell you that sprinkling constitutes baptism, and that a few drops of water sprinkled on your forehead is all that is necessary; another will contend that this alone is not sufficient, but that you must have water poured out upon you. Another says neither of these methods is right, but that you must be immersed in water; while still another will tell you it makes no difference whether you are sprinkled, immersed or have the water poured upon you, and that whether you obey any of these ordinances or not you are sure of salvation if you only come to the foot of the cross and cast your burden of sin there.

These are the kinds of faiths that exist in Christendom at the present time, and they are all, professedly, based upon the Scriptures, forgetting that portion of Paul’s epistle which I quoted to you—“though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed;” also forgetting that Paul says, “there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism.” Not two, half a dozen or a hundred faiths, nor two, three or four forms of baptism; but Paul actually says, “one Lord, one faith and one baptism.” I say there is no better evidence to be found of the necessity of new revelation from heaven than the condition of the world at the present time in these respects.

It is gratifying to reflect that this condition of things is likely soon to be ended, and that the same gifts, blessings and powers, as formerly existed, with the same results, so far as union, harmony and love are concerned, are restored, and are now in existence among the inhabitants of the earth. It ought to be a cause of thanksgiving, not only to the Latter-day Saints, but to every man who loves his fellow men, to witness that which is now being produced in the midst of the earth, the results of which we see in this Territory. I do not believe that a man who has any love for his fellow men can contemplate this condition of things without having his heart filled with joyous feelings. It is a source of wonder and gratitude to contemplate the fact that, a few years ago, a few apparently insignificant and illiterate men went forth bearing testimony that God had again spoken from the heavens, and had revealed the everlasting Gospel in its ancient purity and power, and that through this testimony thousands, from the various nations of the earth and the islands of the sea, have been gathered to these valleys, and are able to bear the same testimony. When I contemplate these facts my mind is swallowed up with admiration, and my heart is filled with gratitude and praise to our heavenly Father for the great work which He has founded and carried on successfully in the midst of the most determined opposition, and I feel that we, of all people now living, should thank and praise our Father and God that our lot has been cast upon the earth when these great events are in progress.

I know that the cry of “delusion” and “false prophets” is raised on every hand, and that the people, generally say, and have been saying for years, that “the Latter-day Saints are deceived, and that their organization will speedily come to an end.” Yet, despite these sayings, the work of God still goes on and is making rapid strides towards the fulfillment of that high destiny which its Author has predicted concerning it. When you compare this work with the work that was done by Christ and His apostles you will find a great analogy between the two. If we are everywhere spoken against and our names cast out as evil, they were served the same way; if we are hated, so were they; if we are despised and condemned, they were not considered worthy the society of their contemporaries, many of whom thought they were doing God service by killing them. If we were the first whose names have been cast out as evil, or if this generation were the first that had hated the truth, our case would be pitiable indeed; but in every age, from the days of Noah down to the age of the apostles, this has been invariably the case. Every man to whom the heavens have been opened and who has received revelations from God has been hated by his fellows; his life has been sought, and he has had no peace on the earth. No matter how numerous such persons have been they have been hunted and driven. So true is this that Stephen the martyr, when being stoned to death, taunted the Jews with their unbelief and the acts of their ancestors. Said he, “which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One.”

Most of the prophets that ever lived on the earth, of whom we have any account, have suffered martyrdom. And not only has this been the case with the prophets, but also with Jesus himself, that Being who came to the earth clothed with the power and authority of the Godhead—although His glory was hid from men. He who spake as never man spake, and labored as never man labored in the midst of the children of men, performing mighty miracles and doing wonderful works, but what kind of treatment did He receive? He was hated, spit upon, cast out from among men, and finally killed; and His disciples and apostles after Him shared the same fate.

We have a glorious array of predecessors; and it is a source of consolation and encouragement that we do not stand alone in this respect, and that in former times, men have been hated and despised as we are hated and despised, today, and for no other cause than for preaching the truth in its purity and standing up in defense of holy and pure principles revealed from heaven. In fact the persecutions and hatred the Latter-day Saints have been called to pass through, instead of being an evidence against, are an evidence in favor of the truth of the work they are engaged in. Jesus says, “woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” He warned His disciples of danger when their names here honored and when all men spoke well of them.

I have said that the Lord has blessed His servants in sending them forth to preach the Gospel. The same results have followed their preaching as followed the preaching of the Apostles of Jesus anciently. Those who obeyed their teachings were united, so are the Latter-day Saints. I have seen them, and so have you, coming from the four quarters of the earth, mingling together, not knowing each other’s language, nor familiar with each other—baptized by men whom they had never before seen—men who had never gathered to Zion nor associated with the heads of the Church; but who, like Paul, had received it away from the Center Stake or place where the authorities resided; and yet they could all testify in their own languages, to one another, that they had received the Gospel of Jesus, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in consequence of their obedience to the form of doctrine taught unto them; and they are able to dwell together here in this Territory in peace, love and union, although, as I have said, brought up in different countries and trained in different creeds. What more could the Gospel have done when preached by the apostles? What more did it do when preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost? The results which Jesus prayed for have been fully realized in the day in which we live, and in the midst of the people to which we belong.

It may be asked why should not these results be realized by this people? I have told you that God is the same yesterday, today and forever; I have told you that the Spirit of God produces the same results and the same testimony all the world over. And why should it not? Is there anything strange about that? It would be strange if it did not do so. If there be anything strange, wonderful or worthy of remark it is that among those professing to be the followers of Christ and claiming to be His ministers, there is not that love, union and knowledge in these days which were possessed by those who believed in Him anciently. It is strange that men professing to be followers of Jesus today do not enjoy the same manifestations and blessings as they did who believed in Him anciently.

There is one thing worthy of note in this connection, and that is, that when Joseph Smith first proclaimed to the people that God had spoken from the heavens and sent His holy angels to minister to him, and bestowed upon him the knowledge and authority necessary to build up the Church, he met with opposition and ridicule on every hand. Scarcely a man whom he met would acknowledge that such a thing was possible or at all consistent with God’s mode of dealing with the children of men in these days. It is true that he was successful in convincing a few that he had the testimony of Jesus. They obeyed God’s doctrine taught to them and received the testimony; but for years after he started out to make this proclamation he had this kind of opposition to contend with. But he said the time would come when there would be strong delusion and lying spirits permitted to come forth among the people. He declared that God had restored the priesthood to the earth, and the ordinances of the Gospel, and had established His Church in its purity; and that those who did not believe the testimony of the servants of God and obey it, would be given over to hardness of heart and become subject to evil influences that were known nothing of previous to the establishing of the Church and the restoration of the priesthood.

Years elapsed before this prediction was fulfilled, but it was eventually verified. I recollect very well the first time I got any intimation of it. I was on the Sandwich Islands on a mission; I had stepped into the house of a man who afterwards became a member of the Church. I happened to pick up a book, upon examining which, I found a good many things that struck me as being very strange. I thought, at first that it must be a work written by the Latter-day Saints; but I soon found that it was not. The argument of the writer was in favor of communication with the spirit world, through the ministering of angels, being as possible in these days as at former times. He used precisely similar arguments to those used by the Elders of this Church; and quoted largely from the Bible to prove that it had been quite common for men in ancient days to have such communications and to possess the gift of prophecy and the spirit of revelation, and he argued in favor of these modes of communication in these days. I was very much surprised at seeing such principles advocated by this book; but immediately, the recollection of Joseph’s predictions flashed across my mind. I was but young at the time he made the remark, but I recollected it. I have had opportunities of watching the growth and development of this movement from that day to the present time. I have come in contact with many who profess to believe in spiritual communication; and in traveling through the United States at the present time you will find a great many individuals who entertain this belief. What has produced this change? Why, it is the very thing which Paul said would come. The people in his day would not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved, “therefore” said he, “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They would not believe the testimony of the servants of God, therefore they were given up to hardness of heart and spiritual blindness. When these things overtake them they are ready to fall in with any spirit or influence that will manifest itself amongst them in an extraordinary manner.

For years after the truth was revealed men would continue to ask for a sign. “If you are the men you profess to be,” they would say, “give us some miracle—cause the blind to see, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, or the lame to walk, that we may know you are sent of God.” How many thousands of times have the Elders been urged to give some exhibition of power that men might know they were sent of God. Thousands and thousands of times have professed ministers of the Gospel made this request of them. They would not believe the words of Jesus that “these signs shall follow them that believe;” but they wanted the Elders to give signs to prove that Jesus told the truth. You know what Jesus says respecting those who wanted signs—“It is a wicked and adulterous generation that seek a sign, but no sign shall be given them.”

The Elders of this Church have proved the truth of the words of Jesus, that it is a wicked and adulterous generation that seek for a sign. You will generally find that they are wicked men who ask for this kind of evidence. A wicked man is not satisfied with the truth or with the testimony of the servants of God, nor with the calm, heavenly influence of the spirit of God which rests down upon those who receive the truth in honesty. No, such a man wants a sign; he wants to hear somebody speak in tongues, or to see the eyes of the blind opened, or the deaf made to hear, the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, or the dead raised to life. Something of this kind he must have; the testimony of the truth, though borne with angel’s power, has no effect on such a heart. He wants something to convince his outward senses. Thousands of such have rejected the Gospel of life and salvation as they did in the days of Jesus. They then rejected the testimony of the servants of God, and they hardened their hearts against it. But as soon as something came along that gratified them in the way they wanted—something that could tip a table or give some other singular manifestation of power, such as feeling invisible hands laid upon them, or hearing music played by invisible performers, or something of this character, they were convinced immediately that it was possible for spiritual beings to communicate with mortals, and now the Spiritualists number their converts by millions; they probably number more than any other denomination, if they can be called a denomination. They boast of their success.

In this manner the nations of the earth are being subjected to strong delusions; and you will find that as the kingdom of God increases, and as the work spreads abroad and the priesthood gains power and influence in the earth, these systems will gain power and influence, and that strong delusion will increase and spread among the inhabitants of the earth. They did not make their appearance until this Church was organized and the testimony of its truth had been borne; but as soon as the genuine priesthood was restored the bogus or counterfeit made its appearance; and as this work increases in strength and potency in the earth, so will these delusions of which I speak, until those who reject the truth will be bound up in a strong delusion and delivered over to hardness of heart. It is written that “the spirit of God will not always strive with man,” and when the truth is offered to men and they reject it, that spirit will be withdrawn and another influence and spirit will take possession of them, and they will be led captive by the Adversary.

But this is not the case with the work of God; the testimony of those who have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ is different in this respect. It is as it was of old—“line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.” God has revealed to His people according to their strength to receive. He has given to them knowledge just as wise parents give it to their children. He has not bestowed upon them something that would destroy them; but He has given to them light upon light and knowledge upon knowledge in order to lead them along and train them in the path of righteousness which will ultimately lead them back into His presence. What joy, peace, love and union have been bestowed upon those who have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ! What light has been shed upon their minds in relation to the Scriptures! No sooner have they gone forth into the waters of baptism for the remission of their sins and had hands laid upon them for the Holy Ghost than it has seemed as though a heavenly peace has taken possession of them. Who, that can recollect anything about the time they entered the Church and their subsequent experience, cannot say that they felt unspeakable gratitude to God for the blessings they received? It has been “like the dew from heaven descending.” It has descended upon the people and filled them with peace, and has knit their hearts together in love, and they have rejoiced in the power which God has manifested in their behalf. But they have not had these wonderful manifestations of which we read among the Spiritualists; there has been no necessity for them.

There is something remarkable in the growth and development of Spiritualism. When Joseph declared that angels had come from heaven and had manifested themselves to him in bodily presence, and had laid their hands upon him, his testimony was rejected, the people declaring him to be an impostor, a false prophet, and not worthy to live; and they were not satisfied until they had killed him. But how changed has all become since then! What advancement the world has made in beliefs of this kind! You may tell almost anything about spiritual manifestations, and the people are ready to believe it—that is, if it is outside of the priesthood and does not come from the Latter-day Saints; their statements are received with as much incredulity and scorn as ever.

Well, the difference between the two systems is apparent. The Latter-day Saints are united, just as Jesus Christ prayed that His followers might be. It is true that we are not yet one as the Father and the Son are one; but we are approximating thereto. The principle of oneness is in our midst and is continually growing. But how is it with those who are the base imitators of the servants of God? Why a thousand vagaries are indulged in by them. There is no form of belief in which they unite; there is no union amongst them. They are divided and separated into thousands of fragments, all having their own peculiar ideas and views. Is the work of God rolled forth by them? Are the inhabitants of the earth benefited by them? Is the earth made better, more beautiful or lovely by their labors, or by the revelations they receive? No, there are no fruits of this kind to be witnessed among them; but all is division, confusion and chaos. There is nothing to cement them together or make them one. But the work God has established is rolling forth with giant strides and accomplishing great results. It is bringing thousands of the poor and ignorant from the nations of the earth and emancipating them from the poverty, thralldom and bondage under which they and their fathers before them have groaned for generations; and it is revealing to them the Gospel of peace, the plan of salvation and planting them in a land of freedom, and bestowing upon them every blessing which the heart of man desires. In addition to this it is producing mental results of a wonderful and elevating character. It bestows upon those who obey its precepts heavenly knowledge, makes them wise in all things, causing them to become an infinitely better people than they were before. Who cannot see, if he will open his eyes to the evidence that God has caused to accomplish His work, which is God’s work and which is the Adversary’s?

In speaking in this strain I am speaking of what I know. I am not telling you what John, Peter or Paul said 1,800 years ago, and what Moses left on record. I stand here as a witness, corroborating what they have written. I know for myself that God has spoken from the heavens and restored the everlasting Gospel in its purity to the earth; that He has ordained His servants and given them the power and authority which were held and enjoyed in ancient days. I know that He has restored to the earth the ordinances of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost with its gifts and blessings. These things I have received and have enjoyed them myself, hence I know they are true. I know God is the same yesterday, today and for ever, and bestows His blessings upon all who will humble themselves before Him, and seek unto Him in the name of Jesus.

May God help us all to live so as to secure and preserve this testimony is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Reflections of the Gospel of Christ—Intelligence and Progress

Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Jan. 10th, 1869.

If the congregation can bear with me a few minutes I have a few reflections to offer with regard to our religion. It is a matter that should occupy the attention of the wise, the good and the noble. When we converse, in public or private, on the religion we profess, we are apt to regard it as something strange, new; something unheard of before, and as being unworthy of the attention of the wise and to be passed by by the great and noble. These reflections I have, and I presume others have them. Why is it so? The question can be readily answered by saying that the natural man is at enmity with God. That fallen nature in everyone is naturally opposed, inherently, through the fall, to God and to His Kingdom, and wants nothing to do with them. Is there anything connected with our religion that is derogatory to the character of the most refined? No, there is not. Though there may be good morals taught in the world our religion strengthens that which is good and adds to it, and is calculated to benefit everyone. It reaches after every condition of the human family from the time that Adam came to the earth to the latest of his posterity, no matter where they are. It calls upon those who are now here in the flesh and commends itself to the good. Are the nations wise? Admit that they are, what would the Gospel of the Son of God do for them? Make them wiser. Are the people good? O yes, we say they are. What would the Gospel do for them? Make them better. It will add virtue to virtue, knowledge to knowledge, holiness to holiness, godliness to godliness, brotherly kindness to brotherly kindness, charity to charity and every qualification calculated to ennoble, benefit and exalt the intelligence that is now upon the earth, even into the presence of our Father. Now we possess intelligence as nations, as individuals, as rulers and as ruled, as ministers, as speakers, as preachers and as people. We belong to that family that is crowned with intelligence, the highest there is in the eternities.

Is there anything in our religion that should startle the nations of the earth? No, there is not, not the least thing in the world. And yet we talk about it as though the people would be struck with wonder if we should tell them what it is. Why it is nothing more than to receive the things of God—the knowledge that God possesses, and by which He has been crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives; the knowledge that is possessed by the angels and by those who live in the presence of the Father; to receive of that knowledge, to dispense it to others, and through this to acquire every qualification necessary to prepare us to enter again into His presence. Is there anything very starting about this? No, there is not. Not alluding to anything that has been said here, we always talk and feel as though there is something or other about the Gospel of the Son of God that the people cannot bear. What is it? Truth. “What caused the Latter-day Saints to embrace the Gospel?” is a question that has been asked your humble servant many times. The answer is very obvious and clear—because it is true. The very reason why I embraced the Gospel is because it contained all truth. Is there anything so startling about this to men and women, intelligent beings, who are fashioned after the very image, and who are the children of our Father and God, whom we worship and who sits enthroned in yonder heavens and who rules, governs and controls all things? I pause upon this; He controls all that He can control. He will not control you and myself in our own agency; but He will control and govern and bring forth the results of our acts, let them be good or evil.

We are the offspring of that Being, each and every one of us, no matter who we are. If we go to the West, East, North or South or to the uttermost parts of the earth, and gather up the human family and bring them here, they are the offspring of that Being we worship as God. Is this very strange? Is this anything that should be very startling to the minds of any people on the face of the earth? I ask you, my brethren and sisters, is there anything so very strange in this? And yet, perhaps, the most of us who are now here in this room today, mingle with those who fear not God nor regard His word in the least, and we would almost be ashamed to acknowledge that we are professors of religion, that we are Latter-day Saints, that we believe in Jesus Christ, that we have been baptized for the remission of our sins and that we believe in the ordinances of the House of God. How is it with each and every one of you on this point?

We see the inhabitants of the earth are filled with intelligence. Look at the progress made during the past few years in the sciences, and perhaps we may say, in some particulars, in the arts; but especially in the sciences. From whom has this knowledge been obtained? Has man, of himself, searched out the improvements by which the human race is now so much benefited and blessed? No, he has not. Where did he get it? It came from Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, no matter what it is, if it be to make any one of these my sisters excel as a wise and discreet housekeeper even that knowledge comes from Him. We have received our lives and everything that tends to life and salvation, to truth and holiness; everything pertaining to the things of God, in the heavens, on the earth, all mechanism, every improvement that is made has its source with God.

Now what is there about our religion that should be very startling? We say we have progressed; so we have. We say the religion we have embraced will increase and extend on the earth. This I believe myself, but whether we shall be benefited by it or not depends entirely upon our faithfulness to it. Do you think the Lord Almighty will reveal the great improvements in the arts and sciences which are being constantly made known and will not revive a pure religion? If any man imagines that with the mighty strides which the sciences have been making for a few years past, there will be no improvement in religion that man is vain in his imagination. God will improve the religion of the nations of the earth in proportion to the improvement made in the sciences. This is true whether you believe it or not. The Lord has commenced the work, and it is a marvelous one.

Let me ask my brethren and sisters around me, Can you tell when the first carding machine was brought to America? Do you remember, my aged brethren and sisters, when you used to have to card your cotton and wool and tow by hand? Yes, many of you, Americans, remember it; (it is not so with our foreign brethren;) but some of the Americans here can remember when there was no such thing on the continent of America as a carding machine. Yet now look into the houses of the poorest sisters we have and see the crockery, and fine linen with which they can spread and adorn their tables! How was it seventy years ago? It is only a little over a hundred years since they first made crockery in England, and since I can remember the people used to eat off wooden plates. But see the advancement and improvement the Lord has conferred on the children of men, and then say if you think He is not going to improve their morals and their religion. It is a mistaken idea to suppose that He will not. He will improve us in every sense of the word, in every trait of life, and bring us up to the wisdom He designs to bestow upon His children here on the earth. If we reject this truth and knowledge we shall go back to ignorance. Let the inhabitants of the earth join hands now to obliterate this people called Latter-day Saints and their religion from the earth, and they will go to heathenism; but let them favor, foster, nourish and cherish them, and the sciences will ad vance with double strides from what they have hitherto. These are a few of my reflections.

As to the morals of the world, I have said it a great many times and still say that there are just as good men and women on the earth in other societies and communities as we have here, as far as they understand; and we are after such ones.

Now, my brethren and sisters, be encouraged, and if you meet with a gentleman, do not say, “well, I think he does not profess religion, and it will not do for me to say I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” but take a pride in acknowledging the Savior. Train and educate yourselves until you will take a pride in acknowledging God the Author of all. Take a pride in the religion that makes you pure and holy, and that produces in the heart of every individual who embraces it a feeling to be truthful in every word he speaks, to be honest in every act he performs, in all his dealings with his neighbors. Take a pride in this and fear not the wicked.

I have often said, and I can say it now in truth, there is not a wicked man on the face of the earth but what reveres a pure servant of God. They may not acknowledge it with their organs of speech, but in their hearts, sentiments, and feelings they revere such a character. When they see a pure and holy man or woman, say they, “I wish I was as good as you are.” Then let us take a pride in acknowledging our religion and living it, by being virtuous, true and good in everything, and then take pride in educating your minds until you can conquer and control yourselves in everything. Educate your children in all the knowledge the world can give them. God has given it to the world, it is all His. Every true principle, every true science, every art, and all the knowledge that men possess, or that they ever did or ever will possess is from God. We should take pains and pride to instill this knowledge into the minds of our neighbors, and our brethren, and rear our children so that the learning and education of the world may be theirs, and that virtue, truth and holiness may crown their lives that they may be saved in the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord help us to do so. Amen.

The Sacrament—A Saint of God—The Eternity of Our Religion—Matrimony

Remarks by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Jan. 10th, 1869.

It is a great privilege to meet together as the Saints of the living God. It is a great privilege, after a lapse of 1,800 years; to participate in the memorials of the shed blood and broken body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And whilst we are doing this we look forward to the time when Jesus will again come, and when we shall eat bread with Him in the Kingdom of our God. These are thoughts that naturally crowd upon the mind while partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper. The ordinance has a tendency to draw our minds from the things of the world and to place them upon things that are spiritual, divine, and heavenly; and that are in accordance with the nature, desires, and attributes of man. It is a great privilege to have one day in seven set apart for the worship of the living God. Men differ in their opinions as to what day it ought to be. That is a matter, however, of very little importance. We meet together as servants and handmaidens of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we participate in the emblems of his broken body and shed blood. We think, we reflect, speak and cogitate upon things that are calculated to elevate our minds, to impart comfort to our spirits, and to bring peace, joy and happiness, whether reflecting upon things of the past, present or future.

To be a Saint of God is to occupy a high position before God, angels and men. The light of truth, the revelations of Jehovah, and the holy priesthood, which the Saints of God enjoy, are the greatest boons that Heaven can bestow upon mortals. In this respect we stand alone in the midst of the nations of the earth; and in this respect we approach nearer to the object of our creation and the designs of our being than any other people that exist, at the present day, on the face of the whole earth. Notwithstanding our many weaknesses, imperfections and follies the Lord still continues His mercy, manifests His grace and imparts unto us His Holy Spirit, that our minds may be illuminated by the light of revelation. He is still leading us onward, very slowly, it is true, in the paths of life, in the way that leads to principalities, powers, thrones and dominions in the eternal worlds.

We stand, as I have already said, a distinct and peculiar people; for whatever our weaknesses and imperfections may be, and they are many, there are no people at the present day who enjoy the privileges we are in possession of. Who is there that is acquainted with God? To whom has He communicated His will? Where are the people who today rejoice in the blessings of revelation? Where shall we find, today, an organization of the holy priesthood? Where shall we find a people to whom God communicates His will? Nowhere. There are no people who profess this, or lay claims to associations of this nature, or to blessings similar to those we enjoy. You may search in vain among the nations of the earth for such a people. You may investigate the various religious, social and political systems that exist upon the face of the earth and it is nowhere to be found. We stand alone in this particular among the nations of the earth—the blessed of God, the adopted of the Lord, the chosen of the Great Jehovah, to whom He has deigned to manifest His will, and reveal His purposes; and by whom he designs to build up His Kingdom and to establish righteousness upon the earth.

We occupy then, as I stated before, a very important position, and it is well for us, Latter-day Saints, to consider well our pathway, to reflect on our actions, and to seek to pursue that course whereby we shall be able to magnify our callings, honor our God and our priesthood, stand approved before God, angels and men, and acquit ourselves in all respects as Saints of the Most High God: that we may ask and receive the blessings of Heaven upon us, upon our wives and children, upon our progenitors, and our posterity worlds without end.

Our religion is not a religion of a day, a month, a year or a lifetime; but it reaches back into eternity, operates in time and stretches forth again into eternity. It embraces every truth that ever did exist, that exists now, or ever will exist. It is adapted to the wants and capacious desires of immortal minds. It emanated from God and leads back again to Him, and it is very properly said that in Him we live and move and have our being. As immortal beings we are interested in the light of that truth which He has developed and in the blessings of the everlasting Gospel of which He is the author. And standing in this capacity it is well for us to consider the course we pursue.

We are living in an age pregnant with greater events than any other age the world has ever seen. There have been times when God has specially manifested Himself to individuals and nations, and when the revelations of His will have been made known, to a certain extent, to His people, and when His people have been gathered together; but there never was a time so important as the present. It is not merely the word of the Lord to one man or to a few men, or a peculiar dispensation to the Israelites or the Nephites; but it is the dispensation of the fullness of times when God will gather together all things in one, and when He will settle up the affairs of the nations of the earth, and the people of the earth, whether they be living or dead, whether they have slept thousands of years or have yet to come into existence. It is the time in which He has organized His church according to the pattern that exists in the Heavens, in which all the various organizations and priesthood that ever existed are concentrated. This is the age when the Saints are no longer to be trodden down, or wickedness and iniquity triumph, but when the righteous shall bear rule and the dominion of God be established. If there ever was a time when covenants were entered into associated with the people of God on the earth, it is now. If there ever was a time when the dead were to be redeemed, it is now. If there ever was a time when God’s mercy was to be extended to His people, it is now.

The very introduction of this Gospel, as first proclaimed, was, “I saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue and people; crying with a loud voice fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come.” The Gospel has been proclaimed among the nations of the earth. These Elders have been as messengers to the nations, clothed upon with the holy priesthood and the power of God, and have borne their testimony thereunto. And we have done more than this, we have been fulfilling the word of the Lord given anciently to His servants by the spirit of prophecy—gathering His “people together, those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice.” We have been gathering the people together for years. What for? Why the Lord says, I will take one of a city and two of a family, and bring them to Zion, and I will give them pastors after my own heart who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding. They have been fed heretofore with the theories and dogmas of men, but I will pour out my spirit upon my people and instruct them in the principles of righteousness, that I may have a people who will listen to me and will pursue the course I shall dictate.

We are here today, that we may be instructed in relation to all things pertaining to our associations with each other, our intercourse with the world, our political organization, in things pertaining to our welfare—our blessings, anointings, endowments, sealings and covenants, and the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth. We have not gathered that we may accumulate riches, or possess the honors of this world only; but that we may have the blessings of eternity, and enjoy the spirit of truth; that we may be so led as to secure to ourselves the favor and approbation of the Almighty. Hence we are taught some of the smallest things that men can think of, and also the greatest and most sublime principles that have ever entered into the heart of man. We are taught all principles that are interwoven with the interest, peace and happiness of society here, and that will prepare us for associations with God in the eternal worlds.

We have here our Schools of the Prophets, in which we are taught how to manage our temporal affairs and how to avoid the snares that exist in the world; whom to deal with and whom to let alone; how to raise stock, how to cultivate our farms, and how to conduct all the affairs incident to human existence. We are also taught about God and eternity; about our associations before we came here, our relationship to God at the present time, the destiny of this and other worlds and everything pertaining to this life and that which is to come.

The fact is the Gospel of Christ embraces all truth. It found us, when first revealed, ignorant, dark, benighted, besotted, depraved, corrupted and degenerated, ignorant of God and of almost every true principle. It is humiliating to reflect that, after all our boasted intelligence and knowledge of collect principles, government, morals and religion, we should be found so weak, ignorant, degraded and debased. It is humiliating in the highest degree to reflect, that, after all the boasted intelligence of men, we can scarcely find one true principle in existence. Men say, “we have been taught good morals.” To a certain extent good morals are taught, but even their teachers did not know them correctly; they exist in most instances in principle only, and not in practice. They think they have had some tolerably good religion, but their religion is little better than that of the ancient heathens who used to bow down to sticks and stones. What knowledge do men possess of God? None what ever. The most intelligent among the most enlightened nations of the earth, when you come to scan their ideas, what are they? A God without body, parts and passions. And this is the God they worship and adore, a being that exists everywhere and yet is nowhere, no personal presence or associations. I remember a Jew coming to me once to talk to me on this subject. He was a very learned man. Among other things he was almost afraid to mention the name of Deity; but he spoke of Him as being everywhere, but as having no personal presence. He could not conceive the idea of a being having an existence like a man, and having a body, parts and passions, and yet at the same time being felt everywhere. I said, “here is a candle, is there not?” “Yes.” “Is that light connected with that candle?” “Yes.” “Has that a stationary and positive existence there?” “Yes.” “What is this light all around here, it emanates from that candle, does it not?” “Yes.” Then why can’t God exist on the same principle as that candle, or as the sun and other things exist? But yet that is the acme of perfection, the sum total of the intelligence of the nations of the earth in relation to the being of a God. They have no ideas of Him. How can they have? They have been without revelation. He has not communicated His will nor revealed Himself to them; then how can they have any ideas of that of which they have had no opportunity of obtaining knowledge? It is impossible. Faith, we are told, comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And how can they hear without a preacher, and how can he preach except he be sent? And as they had nobody sent among them by God to communicate His will, they were all ignorant together. We were part of them; we were dug from the same pit and hewn from the same rock, and had no more knowledge than they; and if we have any knowledge of God and correct principles now, it is because God has revealed them to us through the medium of this Gospel which He has made manifest in these last days through Joseph Smith. What knowledge have we, of ourselves, of our relationship to eternity? None. Where is the man on the face of the wide earth who has a claim to a wife in eternity? There is not one outside of this church. They do not profess it, they know nothing of such a principle. The extent of their covenants is that they are married until death parts them, and that ends the matter. Who is there who has any idea of associating with their children in the eternal world? They think about it. There is nature, or a kind of instinct that leads to reflections of this sort. But they have not the privilege of entering into covenants of this kind. There are a great many other principles connected with this Gospel of which, as the scriptures say, they are as ignorant as brute beasts that were made to be taken and destroyed.

Do they have any correct ideas at all in relation to matrimony? None in the least. Their actions, feelings and propensities are corrupt, depraved and brutalized. They are ignorant alike of religious, social and political matters, and they know not how to manage anything committed to their care. What do they know about governing the world? Who knows how to regulate the affairs of the nations? The man cannot be found; but anarchy, disorder and confusion prevail to a very great extent throughout the nations of the earth, and the seeds of dissolution are sown among the whole of them. The rulers of the earth know not how to unite and cement their people or to regulate their affairs, for it can only be done on the principle of revelation. What are the armies and navies of the nations for? Why is it that England, France, Portugal, Spain, the United States and the various nations of the earth must have their armies and navies? Why is it that they need millions of men and a vast amount of treasure for their protection? Because the nations regard their neighbors as bands of robbers who will commit acts of aggression upon them unless they have sufficient force to repel them. And yet they wipe their mouths and say, “we are very civilized, enlightened and intelligent.”

This is the condition of things among the nations of the earth. They watch one another with the greatest scrutiny. The various officers who manage their national affairs want to know how many thousand soldiers there are in the army of the nation contiguous, and whether it is safe for them to reduce their armies or not, just the same as we do here when we have hundreds of blacklegs in our midst, and have had to increase the number of the police to guard ourselves against their inroads and aggressions. They know it is the nature of men to aggress upon and take advantage of their fellows, and to rob, plunder and destroy, and that to preserve their nationality they must maintain a force sufficient to repel the inroads of their neighbors. This is their position, without saying anything about the debauchery, fraud, corruption and wickedness that abound to so great an extent amongst them. And this is civilization, this is Christianity; this is the height of the glory and intelligence of the 19th century.

Now, something is needed to regulate these things. We read of a time when Jesus shall rule and when the Saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom and have the dominion, and when He shall rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth. People are afraid when they hear the Saints talk about rule and dominion that they too are going to turn national robbers, and take the sword to slay and destroy and lay waste whenever they have the opportunity. Such is not their feeling or desire; that is God’s province. He will make the wicked slay the wicked, and will turn and overturn until He accomplishes His purposes. He has introduced the wedge of truth. It begins to penetrate among the people, and many begin to quail in consequence of it. It will continue to spread, grow and increase until it will cover the whole earth. He desires in the first place to impart to us some of the leading or first principles of the Gospel of life, truth and intelligence that we may be the honored instruments in His hands in establishing truth, in rooting out iniquity and bringing to pass His purposes upon the earth.

This is what we are aiming at. This is why we meet together, why we are gathered together, why we preach. This is why we have our Schools of the Prophets, why we administer in the ordinances of the House of God. This is why we build our temples and endowment houses that we may be taught and instructed, sanctified and set apart; that we may be full of the Holy Ghost and the power of God, that we may stand forth as the elect of God, as the chosen of Jehovah to bring to pass the things spoken of by the prophets. This is the aim of all our associations and operations in life and in everything pertaining to the holy priesthood. If God placed formerly in His church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the Saints, the work of the ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ, He has placed in His church in these last days, presidents, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, bishops, high councils and all the various organizations of His church for the perfecting of His Saints, the establishing of righteousness, the building up of His Kingdom, the triumph of peace, the overthrow and destruction of wickedness and the powers of darkness, and for the introduction of everything calculated to exalt and ennoble man in both time and eternity.

May God help us to be faithful in the name of Jesus. Amen.

America a Choice Land—Its Aborigines

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Old Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, Dec. 27, 1868.

In ancient times there were certain great decrees which the Lord of all the earth made concerning this Continent and the inhabitants that should, from time to time, possess the same. This Continent was first settled, after the Flood, by a colony from the Tower of Babel, who were a righteous people. They were a people with whom God conversed, and to whom He made Himself manifest in a very wonderful and marvelous manner. How many people lived here before the Flood is not for me to say, as it is not revealed. We may, however, observe, that so far as new revelation has given us information on this subject, this Continent of ours may be ranked among the first lands occupied by the human family. The very first man who had dominion on the face of the earth, under the direction of the Heavens, once dwelt on this Continent. His name was Adam. Whether his first residence was on this land, whether the garden that was planted for his occupation was on this Continent, or some other, is not revealed in any written or printed revelation. But he certainly did, in the course of his lifetime, either from this being his native land, or by emigration, actually come in possession of this part of the globe; and a large settlement was formed, and the righteous who lived before the flood inherited it, and no doubt, left their blessing on the land. It was here where Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah and Noah dwelt. It was on this land where Noah built his ark, which was blown by the winds of Heaven away to the east, and landed on Ararat. It was here where Enoch preached and published glad tidings of great joy; it was on this land—the American Continent—where he gathered the people from many nations, and built up a city and called it Zion. It was here where the people of God flourished before the flood, and were of one heart and one mind, having an experience of some three hundred and sixty-five years in order to bring about a sufficient degree of righteousness and faith to be taken away from here and translated to some other region. It was here where Enoch was clothed upon with the power of God to that degree that he was enabled to publish to the inhabitants of the earth things that were before his day, even from before the foundation of the world, and also to prophesy of things that should transpire from his day down to the end of the world. It was here that he continued his preaching to the inhabitants of the city of Zion until he made them so acquainted with the law of God, and inspired them with such faith that the earth could not contain them. It was by his faith and the faith of his people that the very elements around him felt the power of God; and when he spake the word of the Lord the earth upon which he stood trembled and shook by the power of the Almighty, and the mountains fled from before his presence, and the great rivers of this Continent were turned out of their courses, and all things seemed to feel the power of the Lord. Even a new land came up out of the great deep, and so fearful were the enemies of the people of God, and so great was the terror of the Lord upon them, that they left this country and went forth upon the face of the waters and occupied the land that came up out of the deep. These things are not revealed to us by the Bible, or by tradition, but by the inspiration of the Almighty through that great modern prophet who was raised up to commence this marvelous work of which you and I are now partakers.

A few hundred years after all these things had transpired on this Continent, and Noah and his family, the only survivors of the Flood, had been wafted away to distant lands, and had peopled a portion of Asia, the descendants of Noah undertook to build a great tower that they might make themselves a great name, instead of fulfilling the purposes of the Almighty, in spreading forth, and occupying and subduing the earth. The Lord was very much displeased with them on that occasion, because of the wickedness that existed in their midst, which was calculated to be strengthened through their unity. Hence He made a decree, according to the old Book—the Bible, that they should not dwell thus, together. He confounded their language, and swore in His wrath that they should be scattered. A portion of the people from that tower came to this Continent.

There is something very remarkable in connection with the colonization of our Continent by people from that tower. I said they were a righteous people. Perhaps this may surprise some, especially if they have drawn the conclusion that all the people who engaged in building of that tower were wicked. But there were some few families among them who served the Lord their God, and when they learned the decree of Jehovah, that their language was to be confounded, and the people scattered to the four winds of heaven, they had considerable anxiety on the subject. They were anxious that they might be favored of the Lord and that He would lead them to a choice portion of the earth. They made it a subject of earnest prayer, and God heard them, and the language of the righteous portion of the people was not confounded. And God gave them a commandment to go down from the tower to a valley that was northward, called the valley of Nimrod, named after a mighty hunter who existed in those days. After they had come down into this valley by the command of the Lord they collected seeds and grain of every kind, and animals of almost every description, among which, no doubt, were the elephant and the curelom and the cumom, very huge animals that existed in those days, and after traveling and crossing, we suppose, the sea that was east of where the Tower of Babel stood, and traveling through the wilderness many days, with their flocks and herds, their grain and substance, they eventually came to the great Pacific ocean, on the eastern borders of China or somewhere in that region. They were commanded of the Lord to build vessels. They went to work and constructed eight barges. They did not understand the art of Navigation as we do in these days. They had no astronomical instruments by which they could ascertain the altitude of the sun, or the altitude of the moon and stars, by which they could determine their position on the great and mighty ocean. But the same God who had led them from the Tower of Babel and had gone before them in a bright cloud by day, and had hovered over their camp and had directed them in their journey through the wilderness, was their navigator in crossing the ocean. They entered these eight barges, about the construction of which it may be well to say a few words. A great many opposers of the Book of Mormon, in reading the account of these vessels, have really supposed that there was an insurmountable difficulty connected with the building of these barges because there happened to be a hole in the top, and another hole constructed in the bottom to enable the beings shut up in them to be watertight. These vessels were built, not in the form of a tea saucer as has been represented by some “anti-Mormons” in their discussions; but the Book of Mormon informs us that they were peaked at the ends, and enlarged as they came to the middle, and they were tight like a dish on the water, and were very light, like to the lightness of a fowl. They were exceedingly strong, and the length of a tree. This is a phrase very similar to one used by Isaiah who says, “the age of His people shall be as the age of a tree.” Isaiah does not say what kind of a tree. It was simply a way the ancients had of comparing a great many things. Now these vessels were so constructed that when furious winds should blow upon the face of the great deep, and the waves should roll mountains high they could without imminent danger plunge beneath the waves, and be brought up again to the surface of the water during tremendous hurricanes and storms. Now to prepare them against these contingencies, and that they might have fresh air for the benefit of the elephants, cureloms or mammoths and many other animals, that perhaps were in them, as well as the human beings they contained, the Lord told them how to construct them in order to receive air, that when they were on the top of the water, whichever side up their vessels happened to be, it mattered not; they were so constructed that they could ride safely, though bottom upwards and they could open their air holes that happened to be uppermost. Now all our ships at the present day are constructed with holes in the bottom as well as in the top. I have crossed the ocean twelve times, but I never saw a ship yet that did not have a hole in the bottom for the convenience of passengers, and it is one of the simplest things in the world to have holes in the bottom of a ship if you only have tubes running up sufficiently high above the general water mark. These were so constructed that when the waves were not running too high, air could be admitted through unstopping the holes which happened to be uppermost.

But the most wonderful thing concerning the first colonization of this country after the flood was the way that they navigated the great Pacific ocean. Only think for a few moments of the Lord our God taking eight barges, launched on the eastern coast of China, and bringing them a voyage of three hundred and forty-four days and landing them all in the same neighborhood and vicinity and at the same time. This was a miracle. This was not done by the aid of steam, or by the navigator’s art, but it was by the power of the Almighty God. He it was who controlled these vessels; He it was who governed the winds of heaven; He it was who brought them up out of the midst of the deep, when they were swallowed up, and He it was who guided them safely to this American shore.

They landed to the south of this, just below the Gulf of California, on our western coast. They inhabited North America, and spread forth on this Continent, and in the course of some sixteen hundred years’ residence here, they became a mighty and powerful nation. Although they became a great and mighty people, they were oftentimes very much chastened because of their sins. Here let me observe that before they arrived on this land the Lord said to them, “I design to lead you forth to a land that is choice above all other lands on the face of the whole earth; and this is my decree concerning the land which you are to occupy, that whatever nation shall possess the land from this time henceforth and forever shall serve me, the only true and living God, or they shall be swept off from the face thereof when they are fully ripened in their iniquity.” The Jaredites had this decree before them, before they set foot on this Continent. It was before them during the whole term of their existence here, that inasmuch as they would serve God they would be prospered, and inasmuch as they would not serve Him great judgments were upon them. Hence they were afflicted oftentimes because of their wickedness. On a certain occasion there were a very few individuals, Omer and his family and some few of his friends, that were righteous enough to be spared out of a whole nation. The Lord warned them by a dream to depart from the land of Moran, and led them forth in an easterly direction beyond the hill Cumorah, down into the eastern countries upon the seashore. By this means a few families were saved, while all the balance, consisting of millions of people, were overthrown because of their wickedness. But after they were destroyed the Omerites, who dwelt in the New England States, returned again and dwelt in the land of their fathers on the western coast.

I merely mention these things to show how the Lord operated among the first nations of the old inhabitants of this country, in order to fulfill His decrees. They could not fall into wickedness, and still be suffered to prosper on the face of this land. The decree had gone forth, it must be fulfilled. Finally, some sixteen or seventeen centuries after they landed here, they became so violently wicked, and transgressed the commandments of the Lord to that degree that they were really swept off to a man. The whole nation perished. Their greatest and last struggles were in the State of New York, near where the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated were found. There they fought day after day; there they struggled, one party against the other until millions were swept off. Only one man survived his nation for a very short space of time to see the fulfillment of a prophecy that was uttered by a great and mighty prophet that lived in those days, who stated that he should be permitted, after his nation was destroyed, to behold the colonization of the land by another people. This man, whose name was Coriantumr, King of a certain portion of the Jaredites, after the destruction of his nation, wandered, solitary and alone, down towards the Isthmus of Darien, and there he became acquainted with a colony of people brought from the land of Jerusalem, called the people of Zarahemla. He dwelt with them for the space of nine moons, and then he died.

After the destruction of the Jaredites, the Lord brought two other colonies to people this land. One colony landed a few hundred miles north of the Isthmus on the western coast; the other landed on the coast of Chile, upwards of two thousand miles south of them. The latter were called the Nephites and Lamanites. It was some four or five centuries after these two colonies came from Jerusalem and occupied the country before they amalgamated. A little over one century before Christ the Nephites united with the Zarahemlaites in the northern portions of South America, and were called Nephites and became a powerful nation. The country was called the land Bountiful, and included within the land of Zarahemla. But to go back to their early history. Shortly after the Nephite colony was brought by the power of God, and landed on the western coast of South America, in the country we call Chile, there was a great division among them. The righteous were threatened by the wicked who sought to destroy them. The Lord warned Nephi, their leader, to flee from among the Lamanites, to depart for the safety of himself and his family and those that believed in the revelations of God. Nephi and the righteous separated themselves from the Lamanites and traveled about eighteen hundred miles north until they came to the head waters of what we term the Amazon River. There Nephi located his little colony in the country supposed to be Ecuador, a very high region, many large and elevated mountains being in that region.

Here the Nephites flourished for some length of time. The Lamanites followed them up and they had many wars and contentions, and finally the Lamanites succeeded in taking away their settlements, and the Nephites fled again some twenty days’ journey to the northward and united themselves with the people of Zarahemla.

I mention these things in order to impress one particular item upon the minds of the Latter-day Saints concerning the inheritance or possession of this land. The Lord not only made decrees in the early ages with the first colonists that came here, but He renewed these decrees every time He brought a colony here, that the people should serve Him, or they should be cut off from His presence, and you will find that God, in every instance, has remembered these decrees. And there is one thing remarkable in relation to the history of these nations, and that is the rapidity with which they departed from the faith and righteousness and the love of the true God. Sometimes they would, after some great judgment, or scourge had fallen upon them, causing the death of many of them, repent and become a righteous peo ple; and God would bless them again, and they would begin to rise up and prosper in the land. But perhaps in the course of three or four years a people that were almost wholly righteous would turn from their righteousness to folly, sin and wickedness, and bring down another heavy judgment on their heads. And thus generation after generation passed away among the former inhabitants of this land, and they had their ups and downs. Every time the majority of the people transgressed, a tremendous judgment would come upon them; and every time they repented before the Lord with all their hearts, He would turn away His wrath and begin to prosper them.

Now, these same decrees, which God made in relation to the former nations that inhabited this country, extend to us. “Whatever nation,” the Lord said, “shall possess this land, from this time henceforth and forever, shall serve the only true and living God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of His wrath shall come upon them.” Since this ancient decree there are many nations who have come here. And lastly Europeans have come from what is termed the old world across the Atlantic. And lately the Chinese are beginning to come across the Pacific, and this continent is becoming extensively peopled. Many millions are already upon it. They have constructed many great and populous cities and have become very powerful on the face of the land; but they are nothing compared with the numerous hosts of the Jaredites that once spread over all the face of North America. But yet they are numerous, and are considered one of the most powerful nations on the face of the whole earth; and their resources are very great, and the prosperity which attended our fore fathers in establishing settlements on the face of this land, in establishing a free government, with freedom of the press and religious worship, was very great.

They imagine to themselves that this prosperity is to continue forever, that there is to be no end to their greatness. Now I can tell them, as I have told them ever since I was a boy, their greatness will not protect them; their present prosperity will not protect them. There is only one thing that will protect the nations that inhabit North and South America, and that is to turn to the Lord their God with all their hearts, minds and strength, and serve Him with full purpose of heart, and cease from all their wickedness. That will protect them. If they will do this they will spread forth and become ten times stronger and more powerful than they have ever been, and the Lord their God will bless them more abundantly than hitherto. But on the other hand if they will not do these things the decree that was made in ancient times is just as certain to be fulfilled as the sun shines in yonder heavens.

We have seen, in a very small degree, the chastisement of the Almighty upon the present powerful nation of which we form a part. Great has been their chastisement in some respects; but in other respects they hardly seem to feel it. But still look at the desolation that certain portions of our fair country have had to endure by the depredations of hostile armies one against another. Tens of thousands rolling in the dust in their blood; whole towns and cities laid waste, and the country for hundreds and hundreds of miles, as it were, in perfect desolation. Railroads that cost millions torn up, cars and merchandise destroyed, and the whole country involved in a debt that perhaps will require a lapse of many years before much more than the interest on it is paid, and for which severe taxation must be imposed on all the inhabitants of the land. And, when we include both the North and the South, perhaps two or three millions of lives have been lost; if not altogether lost by the weapons of war in battle, they have perished in consequence of the difficulties and afflictions that generally attend armies.

This great war is only a small degree of chastisement, just the beginning; nothing compared to that which God has spoken concerning this nation, if they will not repent. For the Lord has said in this book, (the Book of Mormon) which has been published for thirty eight years, that if they will not repent He will throw down all their strongholds and cut off the cities of the land, and will execute vengeance and fury on the nation, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. That He will send a desolating scourge on the land; that He will leave their cities desolate, without inhabitants. For instance the great, powerful and populous city of New York, that may be considered one of the greatest cities of the world, will in a few years become a mass of ruins. The people will wonder while gazing on the ruins that cost hundreds of millions to build, what has become of its inhabitants. Their houses will be there, but they will be left desolate. So saith the Lord God. That will be only a sample of numerous other towns and cities on the face of this continent.

Now I am aware that it is almost impossible for even some of the Latter-day Saints to get that confidence and that strong faith in the events which God intends to accomp lish on this land in the future to believe in such a thing, to say nothing about outsiders, that do not believe a word of it. Outsiders do not believe it any more than they believed me when I was a boy and took that revelation which was given in 1832, and carried it forth among many towns and cities and told them there was to be a great and terrible war between the North and the South, and read to them the revelation. Did they believe it? Would they consider that there was any truth in it? Not in the least, “that is a Mormon humbug” they would say. “What! This great and powerful nation of ours to be divided one part against the other and many hundreds of thousands of souls to be destroyed by civil wars!” Not a word of it would they believe. They do not believe what is still in the future. But there are some in this congregation who will live, to behold the fulfillment of these other things, and will visit the ruins of mighty towns and cities scattered over the face of this land destitute and desolate of inhabitants. If inquiry shall then be made, why such great destruction? The answer will be, wickedness has destroyed them. Wickedness and corruption have brought about the fulfillment of the ancient decrees of Heaven concerning this land. Wickedness and corruption have brought desolation into their towns and cities. The time will come when there will be no safety in carrying on the peaceable pursuits of farming or agriculture. But these will be neglected, and the people will think themselves well off if they can flee from city to city, from town to town and escape with their lives. Thus will the Lord visit the people, if they will not repent. Thus will He pour out His wrath and indignation upon them and make manifest to the people that that which he has spoken must be fulfilled.

But what shall become of this people? Shall we be swept off in the general ruin? Shall desolation come upon us? Shall we feel the chastening hand of the Almighty like those who will not repent? That will depend altogether upon our conduct. We have it within our power; God has granted it to us, to save ourselves from the desolation and calamities that will come upon the nation. How? By doing that which is right; by living honest before God and all men; by seeking after that righteousness that comes through the Gospel of the Son of God; by following after the law of Heaven; by doing unto others as we would have others do unto us; by putting away all the evils and abominations that are practiced by the wicked. If we do this prosperity will be upon the inhabitants of Utah; prosperity will be upon the towns and cities erected by this people, the hand of the Lord will be over us to sustain us, and we will spread forth. He will multiply us in the land; He will make us a great people, and strengthen our borders, and send forth the missionaries of this people to the four quarters of the earth to publish peace and glad tidings of great joy, and proclaim that there is still a place left in the heart of the American continent where there are peace and safety and refuge from the storms, desolations and tribulations coming upon the wicked. But on the other hand, Latter-day Saints, how great are the responsibilities resting upon us and upon our rising generations. If we will not keep the commandments of God, and if our rising generations will not give heed to the law of God and to the great light which has shone from Heaven in these latter days, but turn their hearts from the Lord their God and from the counsels of His priesthood, then we shall be visited like the wicked, then we shall have the hand of the Lord upon us in judgment; then that saying that the Lord has delivered in the Book of Doctrines and Covenants will be fulfilled upon us, “that I will visit Zion, if she does not do right, with sore afflictions, with pestilence, with sword, with famine and with the flame of devouring fire.”

New here we have the choice. It is within our reach; we can put forth our hand after prosperity, peace and the extension of our borders, and have all these things multiplied upon us, and the power of God within us; His arm to encircle round about to protect us from every harm and evil. And on the other hand we can reach forth the hand and partake of wickedness and bring desolation and destruction upon our borders. Which shall we do? We are agents; we are left to our own choice. God has said that He would plead with His people. I expect that He will. “I will plead,” saith the Lord, “with the strong ones of Zion until she overcomes and is clean before me.” There is some consolation in reading this declaration of the Lord. Though we have to receive great chastisement, though He has to plead with us by judgment, tribulation, famine, by the sword and by the vengeance of devouring fire, yet after all, when He has afflicted this people sufficiently, there will be some few that will be spared and will become clean before the Lord.

It is quite a consolation to read that the armies of Israel will eventually become sanctified, and as clear as the sun, as fair as the moon, and that their banners will become terrible to the nations of the wicked. Yet we may have to pass through, by our own wickedness, many calamities that may overtake us. I hope not; but I do not know. I may say that my hopes are strengthened in regard to this matter, for what do I behold here in this Territory? I behold a people that have been willing to sacrifice all that they have for the sake of the Gospel; that have been willing to forsake their native kingdoms and countries and to journey by sea and by land to come here to serve God. I see a people, the majority of whom are willing to give heed to the counsels of the servants of God that are in their midst. Hence I look for peace and prosperity, hence I look for the arm of the Lord to be extended in behalf of this people so long as there is a majority of them who desire to do right, so long as there is a majority who feel to unite their hearts to carry out the great principles of eternal truth and righteousness that have been revealed. So long will the Heavens be propitious, and we shall find favor in the sight of the Most High. But remember the inhabitants who once dwelt on the land; remember their afflictions and their calamities; remember that judgments were poured out upon them because they would not be obedient. Let them be an everlasting lesson to us who live in these latter times. Let us serve God and we shall be blest, we shall prosper if we keep His commandments. Amen.

Preaching the Gospel—Disobedience and Persecution—Exclusiveness—The Search After Happiness

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Old Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Nov. 29th, 1868.

To the Latter-day Saints the Gospel of life and salvation is worthy of particular attention. In my reflections upon the great work that the Lord has commenced, its operations appear marvelous to me. I look upon those who have separated themselves from sin with a great deal of pleasure and delight; they are a very peculiar people. When the elders go and preach the Gospel, all who have the privilege of hearing, with a very few exceptions, are convinced of its truth in a greater or smaller degree. Perhaps there may be a few who have received traditions to that degree that the truth cannot find the way to their hearts; but such persons are very rare. When a man preaches the Gospel by the power of God sent down from heaven, it is hard for me to believe that they who hear him are not convinced of its truth. Then, when I look upon the few of the blood of Ephraim scattered among the people who have the courage, fortitude and self-will to acknowledge the truth of the Gospel and to yield obedience to it, I think they are very peculiarly organized.

This Gospel is adapted to the capacity of the whole human family. Why are the principles of truth and the people whom embrace them so ridiculed? I can attribute it to nothing but sin, or a determination to do that which is wrong. Go to these portions of the world where the El ders have labored their lives almost out to preach to the people the words of eternal life and to put them in possession of that which would save them here and hereafter, and it has been the fact that hardly a word of truth has been told about us. This is astonishing. And this work, according to the words of the prophet, is “a marvelous work and a wonder.” It appears to me that if the human family had the least conception of the principles of life and salvation, they would not do as they do, or they must believe that they would be chastened, like disobedient children, who many times, seemingly, are disobedient expressly to be corrected. There is no need of this, especially among the Latter-day Saints. What few words I have to say to them is upon this wise—be perfect, wise, pure, holy, and fear and revere the word of the Lord, His commandments and requirements.

When we look at the Latter-day Saints we ask, is there any necessity of their being persecuted? Yes, if they are disobedient. Is there any necessity of chastening a son or a daughter? Yes, if they are disobedient. But suppose they are perfectly obedient to every requirement of their parents, is there any necessity of chastening them then? If there is, I do not understand the principle of it. I have not yet been able to see the necessity of chastening an obedient child, neither have I been able to see the necessity of chastisement from the Lord upon a people who are perfectly obedient. Have this people been chastened? Yes, they have.

Although we preach the Gospel of life and salvation to the inhabitants of the earth, and tell them that this Gospel is calculated to save every son and daughter of Adam and Eve who will hearken to it, whether it be those who have lived, those who are now living, or those who may hereafter live, will the present generation have this Gospel? No, they will not. Why? Because they have so much religion already that they do not know what to do with it. I have often said to them, “If you will not believe the Gospel, because you say you have religion already, will you not please repent of your religion?” Is there any need for them to repent of their religion? Yes. Why? Because it is not correct. The whole world of mankind is full of religion, and if they do not worship one object they worship another. It is just as natural for the children of men to worship and revere something as it is to breathe, hence the Christian world is full of religion, and it is the same with the heathen world. We, too, have our religion, and it is adapted to the capacity of the whole human family. It does not send a portion of the people to howl in torment forever and ever, but it reaches after the last son and daughter of Adam and Eve, and will pluck them from the prison, unlock the doors, and burst the bonds and bring forth every soul who will receive salvation.

I ask the nations of the earth what objection is there to this? “Oh,” say they, “you are different from us.” How different? “Why you have many doctrines we do not believe in.” We cannot help it. We have taken this book, called the Old and the New Testament for our standard. We believe this book and receive it as the word of the Lord. Not but there are many words in this book that are not the words of the Lord, but that which came from the heavens, and which the Lord has delivered to us, we receive, and especially the sayings of the Savior. We receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and we believe in Him as our Savior. There are many persons in this city who ridicule the idea that Jesus was the Christ; but take those very individuals, both male and female, and let them square their course through life in all respects according to the words of the Savior, and would they not be better men and women than they now are? Yes, they would. Then where is the harm or evil of believing in a character whose doctrine from beginning to end is perfectly pure and holy? Although the children of Judah, universally, and many others ridicule the idea that Jesus is the Christ, yet take the doctrines that He taught His disciples and which they preached to the people, and endeavored to practice, and let any people live in accordance with them, and you will find a pure, holy and perfect community. There would be no wars, bloodshed nor contention among them as nations, communities, neighborhoods and families.

It has been said here that there are some whose feelings cannot accede to all that is taught by the Latter-day Saints. But let me say there never was a doctrine taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles, by the prophets before them, or by Joseph Smith and this people, but what, if followed out, brings peace to every family and individual who observes it. Do we enjoy peace? A great many do not. What is the reason? Because they do not faithfully carry out those doctrines.

I am going to ask a question—Is there any necessity, my brethren and sisters, that you and I should suffer persecution to perfect us? Are we willing to be obedient, and to sanctify ourselves and to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts without the rod of chastisement? If we are, we shall bring in the doctrine that has been taught to the people on temporal matters. We say, and profess, that we are one, and in a great measure we are. In our religious and political sentiments we are one; but in the pursuit of life and happiness, as individuals and families, we are not one. Now, if we will believe the Gospel, which can do no harm to anyone—I say this for all ears—it does not contain a single doctrine but what is true. You may ask the question: Has no one Elder in Israel ever taught false doctrine? Yes, but no man has who has been authorized to teach, guide and direct the Saints. Did Jesus, Peter, James, John or Joseph Smith ever teach a false or incorrect doctrine? Not that you or I know of; we cannot find it. Now, if we have got correct doctrines, and will fashion our lives by them we may sanctify ourselves without being chastened.

We look forward to the day when this people will be pure, holy and sanctified, and when we will be prepared to build up Zion. Are we prepared now? No, we are not. We are only professedly Latter-day Saints; practically, we are only so in part. To be a Saint is to be as Jesus was; to be assimilated to the spirit and character which He exhibited while here on earth. Now, I exhort the Latter-day Saints to live so that each and everyone may enjoy the spirit of the Lord Jesus day by day, that we may be one in all things, in temporal matters as well as spiritual.

As I have but a few minutes that I want to speak, I shall now come to temporal matters. You and I wish to live, and to have the privilege of pursuing, unmolested, the path that leads to happiness. Now, I cannot say it of you all, but I can of a few here, that they have been trying to serve the Lord for nearly forty years. During that period we have passed through scenes we do not wish to behold again. Five times many of us here have been broken up, and have left our houses, gardens, farms, orchards, vineyards and all we had, and have had to run for our lives. What for? Because we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ—and tried to practice the doctrine He taught. For anything else? No. Were all perfect? No. Did some sin? O, yes, we were all sinners. Why were we obliged to leave our homes? Did we disturb our neighbors, or pilfer and purloin their substance? No. What did we do? We taught the Gospel of life and salvation. Not that all were righteous, but our sins—of worldly-mindedness, covetousness and selfishness—were between ourselves and our God, and for this the Lord suffered us to be chastened. The faith that we profess is the best and the only doctrine calculated to save the children of men.

I say, five times some of this people have been broken up, and the last time, when we left the State of Illinois, we cut our road through the timber, we hunted our path over the prairies, and dug our roads through the canyons, for fourteen hundred miles to this place, because we were obliged to go somewhere.

Our prophet, before us, told us that if we could get out of the way of Christianity, so called, and civilization, we could serve God and build up His kingdom, and we could be happy. We came here to these isolated and lonely valleys. Who led us here? Did our nation hold out a fostering hand to us? No: to this day they never gave us a dollar; but now we expect they will give us our homesteads here. Have the wicked become more righteous? No. Has the world become more enlightened in the things of God? No, it has not; and the enmity that did exist, exists still, and has grown, increased and strengthened, and this warfare between the power of the devil and the power of Jesus Christ will continue until Jesus obtains possession of the kingdom. These words are meant for the ears of all, both Saints and sinners.

Did we ask any of the outside merchants in this City to come here? They are called “gentiles,” but we do not know whether they are “gentiles” or not, for a gentile is one who has none of the blood of Israel within him. There may be some of this class among the Israelites. But what do these outsiders follow us up for? They say “we know you Latter-day Saints are a very nice people, very kind, very free, generous and benevolent; we know you believe in helping the stranger, and that is not all, we know you believe in giving all your substance to your enemies.” Is this proved? Yes, right here before our eyes. Now, I would say to every man and woman on the earth if I could speak to them, it is no matter what men say, but it is how they say it, I will tell you what we want—and we know what you want—we want the privilege of building up the kingdom of God on the earth, and of living in peace one with another. We want our streets so that we can traverse them in safety by day or by night, and so that if a midwife is called up at midnight, or one o’clock in the morning to go to a neighbor’s house she can go there without being plundered or destroyed before she gets to the place of her destination. And if our daughters are out visiting until nine, ten, eleven or twelve o’clock at night, that they can pass along these streets without molestation. We want a community that does not take the name of God in vain; that does not lie, or purloin that which is not their own, and that will live day by day, week by week and year by year in perfect peace. This is not according to the feelings of a great many, they would rather see quarrelling and strife. I have learned of so many facts that exist in the world in relation to contentions, speaking of them in a family capacity, that to my certain knowledge there is more there with but one wife than here where there are ten, where this obnoxious doctrine our brother has just referred to is practiced. So don’t worry about contentions any of you, for they exist all over the world. Look at the kings and queens, and then at the lower classes; and from them to the House of Representatives, the lords, dukes, knights and every grand character you can mention or think of, and how do they live? We know how they live, they live in jeopardy, in fear, and jealousy, which is the mother of torment. And the inhabitants of the earth are jealous of one another, and they have reason to be. Have we any facts in the case? Yes, thousands of them, all over the world. Take the king upon his throne, he must pay a doctor more than anybody else, or he will be poisoned to death. It is so with the queens, if they have not power to buy everybody around them there is no knowing what day poison will be put into their coffee or their tea or some of their food. If the husband steps out of doors, she don’t know where he is; and if the lady is left alone in the house or rides out, the husband does not know where she is. But you come to the Saints and you know about them. If we send an Elder to preach the Gospel and he travels the earth over, when he returns we know where he has been and what he has been doing, and if he has been guilty of that crime to which the world is so much addicted he cannot keep it; he must confess it; then he is not a fit character to be a member of the Church or an Elder in Israel, and we deprive him of his standing and license. But you take an Elder in Israel who honors his calling, and though he may travel the world over, his wife, at home says: “I am perfectly satisfied with regard to my husband, he would suffer his head to be taken from his shoulders before he would violate his covenants with me, they are sacred before God.” It is so with our women as well as our men; it is so with Israel in the latter days. Here I pause, and say, not with all Israel.

Our sisters need not be worried about any doctrine. Brother Penrose said it would be better for them if they believed in the doctrine of polygamy. But they do believe it; they know it is true, and that is their torment. It perplexes and annoys many of them because they are not sanctified by the spirit of it; if they were there would be no trouble. I want to say this much—the sisters do believe it. Where is the proof? You take a woman in this Church who does not believe in the doctrine of celestial marriage or plurality of wives, and she does not believe anything at all about the Gospel, and she will soon manifest this by her unwise course, and by and by she drops off and away she goes. But our sisters believe and know that this doctrine is true, and consequently they feel bound to abide it.

Now, I will return to my remarks about our present condition. We do not wish to be broken up and compelled to leave our homes again. What do you want, outsiders? You want all the money the “Mormons” can make. I do not blame you for it, I never did. It is reasonable and right, and you are as much entitled to it as to any other money you can get. But we are not going to let you have it. Is there any harm in this? “Exclusive,” are we? We are not half exclusive enough. There is no other way to save this people from being broken up again than by trading with ourselves. I know this as well as I know the sun shines. I have passed through it, and know all about it. Now, I do not wish to see this people, of whom I am proud, and in whom I delight, pack up their goods and go off again. Where should we go? When we were in Missouri we had a place we could go to; when we were in Illinois we had a place we could go to, but now, that we have come here to the middle of this continent, where can we go? Is there another place we can go to?

If I were to say to the financial world, we have taken it into our heads to do our own internal business, and not foster those in our midst who are not of us, what would they say? They would say this is the first step the Latter-day Saints ever took that manifested wisdom. How exclusive do we want to be? Just enough so to sustain and preserve ourselves, to build our own houses, make our gardens and orchards, our carriages and our own places of amusement, like our theater. I built that theater to attract the young of our community and to provide amusement for the boys and girls, rather than have them running all over creation for recreation. Long before that was built I said to the bishops, “Get up your parties and pleasure grounds to amuse the people.” This brings my former experience and that of my friends right to me. Whenever we get into the kingdom of Heaven, where God and Christ dwell, we shall find something more to do than to “sit and sing ourselves away to everlasting bliss.” The mind of man is active, and we must have exercise and amusement for the mind as well as the body.

You go into that theater, and what is there behind the curtain that would disgrace the most perfect lady on the face of the earth? Not the least in the world. I have to watch some who come here as actors and actresses, and if they do not manifest the marks and traits of a lady and gentleman, I say, “Stop a moment. I want to tell you something. Your course will lead you wrong, and if you persist in it you cannot present yourself before the public.” So much for that.

We say to the bishops and to everybody, exercise yourselves, provide innocent amusement for the youth, attract the minds of the children, and get the upper hand of them and be on the lead. I see mothers right among us whose course is very imprudent with their children. You ought always to take the lead of your children in their minds and affections. Instead of being behind with the whip, always be in advance, then you can say, “Come along,” and you will have no use for the rod. They will delight to follow you, and will like your words and ways, because you are always comforting them and giving them pleasure and enjoyment. If they get a little naughty, stop them when they have gone far enough. We say to the brethren, humor your wives and children as far as you can, but when they transgress, and transcend certain bounds we want them to stop. If you are in the lead they will stop, they cannot run over you; but if you are behind they will run away from you. Husbands, always be in advance of your wives, and then if they undertake to do something that is very displeasing to you they will run right against you, and then stop and sit down because they can’t go any further. Do you know how to do this? “No,” says one, “I don’t know that I do.” Well, then, learn by searching after truth, according to the revelations given in this book. Search after truth in all good books, and learn the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God, and put them together and you will be able to benefit yourselves.

I will now say to my friends—and I call you all, and all mankind, friends, until you have proved yourselves enemies—you who do not belong to this Church, that we have got the Gospel of life and salvation. I do not say that we have a Gospel, but I say that we have the definite and only Gospel that ever was or ever will be that will save the children of men. Hearken to this every one of you, and all the inhabitants of the earth, and do not say, “you are Mormons, and we do not want to hear anything about you.” Wait until you have searched and researched and have obtained wisdom to understand what we preach, or to prove it to be untrue. If you cannot prove it untrue and are not disposed to receive it, let it alone. If it is the work of God, it will stand. What do you say, outsiders? What do you say, Christian world and heathen world? If we have the truth to present to you, which will do you good here and hereafter, which will save you today and tomorrow and every day, until it saves you in the kingdom of God and brings you to a perfect state of felicity and happiness in the presence of the Father, will you have it?

I want to say again to the brethren and sisters—and this is the great secret we are teaching in the School of the Prophets—be exclusive enough to sustain the kingdom of God. We want our means ourselves, and if we trade with outsiders at all we want it to be yonder at a distance, and not here. What do you say to this, friends? Is it wisdom? Try it, and see what you would do under the same circumstances. Have you been driven from your homes? Yes, there may be a few from the Southern States who have been driven from their homes and suffered the loss of all they had on earth; but it was not for their religion. We suffered at the hands of Missourians and Southerners for our religion; they have suffered for their wickedness. We have never suffered as they have. But we do not want to suffer again; we do not want to be driven from our homes again. We like this country, and we do not want to support any persons in our midst who will lay a foundation to overslaugh this people so that they will have to pull up stakes and leave. “A burnt child dreads the fire.” Do you know it? Put your hand in the fire until it has burned you severely, and it will cause you pain enough to remember it for years, and until you have forgotten that pain you will not want to put your hand in the fire again. But we did not put it there, somebody else did.

Have we not the right to our own money? We are not digging for gold and silver; we are not bringing a society here among whom you can hear shooting all night long through our streets, or cursing and swearing or fiddling and dancing. Do you want this “civilization,” outsiders? There may be a few who do not. I will tell you what the priests want. They want to see a groggery at the corner of every street, and houses of accommodation between and behind them, and they want to hear cursing and swearing, and they want to see drinking and carousing and the drunkard falling in the street and rolling in the mire, then they could come along with their long faces, crying, “Oh, what a sinful people!” We do not want any such thing. We want to see every countenance full of cheerfulness, and every eye bright with the hope of future happiness.

Do you suppose you can find a person on this earth who is not seeking for happiness? There may be a few who, if they are not seeking for happiness, are seeking to get rid of their misery. This makes me to think of one I heard of who committed suicide in New York, in one of those fine houses, which you would suppose was a palace, where ladies and gentlemen live in a perfect paradise, but which are in reality gambling houses. This individual that I heard of had played there all night, and in the morning, when his last dollar was gone, he leaned back on his seat and said, “I am played out,” and drawing a pistol from his pocket he shot himself and fell dead on the floor. This man sought to get rid of his misery.

The whole world are after happiness. It is not in gold and silver, but it is in peace and love. Did I say love? Yes. You watch your own feelings when you hear delightful sounds, for instance, or when you see anything beautiful. Are those feelings productive of misery? No, they produce happiness, peace and joy. Well, then, pursue and walk in that path that leads to that, and walk in it day by day. And you, sisters, cease trading with any man or being in this city or country who does not belong to the church. If you do not, we are going to cut you off from the church, for we are determined not to be driven or broken up again, and we are determined to deal with love and sustain our nation, our community. We mean to live here. We came 1,400 miles to get away from that power which is trying to get into our midst to break us up again. We have subdued the country and made it fruitful, and have fed hundreds of thousands passing on their way east and west, and we calculate to stay here if you will do as I tell you, and cease trading with those who are not of us. Do you suppose that Jesus did not understand the spirit and the feelings of the world when He said, “He who is not for us is against us.” Every man and woman of intelligence that ever was or ever will be upon the earth is either for God or against Him.

When I see the Latter-day Saints I see a motley mass of dispositions, a perfect curiosity. I was in a store not long since, and they asked my opinion with regard to the amount of trade that would be done this season providing we had plenty of goods. Said I, “you must find out how much money the Latter-day Saints have, and then how much credit they have, and you will find out pretty nearly how much business will be done.” If we were like other people and would only hearken to wisdom, these men sitting each side of me today, instead of spending their money would save it and buy the land that will shortly be in the market. The government has at last condescended to take into consideration the propriety of selling their land to the Latter-day Saints. A few have tried year after year to get up an act to prevent us from owning a foot of land in America, but they are out of the way. Now we have the privilege of purchasing our lands, and if our brethren had any wisdom they would purchase them. “O,” but says one, “why we can get a homestead.” I would rather pay my $200 and buy their lands, and tell them we made the country and now we are willing to purchase it. We are willing to pay our taxes, and we have proven that we are willing to fight their battles, and to do anything to promote peace and happiness in the country. But we say, hands off.

Now, if you don’t want to quarrel, take measures to prevent it. That is what we are after. We are trying to get the people to hearken to counsel that will prevent a quarrel, and a serious one. If you can prevent a quarrel in a family you do a good thing. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We are peacemakers. We are preserving the peace. Is it our right? You take the Catholics in London, and they would go by a thousand doors to find one of their own faith to spend three halfpence. Do not the Jews do it? Yes, they do it all over the world. They say we are obliged to trade with them, but we are not. We would just as soon trade with them as anybody else outside the Church. But do they build up the kingdom of God? No, they hold the very name of Jesus in derision, and yet they are as full of religion as any sect there is. You may take the Mother Church, and the whole family of Protestants, and the House of Judah is as full of religion as any of them. But are they correct? No, they are not. We offer life and salvation to the whole human family in the Gospel of the Son of God, and if they are not disposed to receive it they will suffer the conse quence. It is for the Latter-day Saints to live their religion.

Now, brethren and sisters, do you think it is necessary for us to be chastened? Can we not sanctify ourselves without the chastening hand of the Almighty upon us? We can, if we will do as we are told. By whom? By the Old and New Testaments, and all the revelations given in them and the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. They all center on one point in this respect—You, Saints, gather yourselves together, sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, live by yourselves and build up the kingdom of God. We might just as well stay in Scotland as to be here in the midst of the wicked and ungodly; just as well stay in Scandinavia as come here, if we have to dwell amid drunkenness and debauchery. You have gathered out to sanctify yourselves. Then live your religion, sustain the kingdom of God and those who sustain it, and let everybody else alone. May the Lord help us to do it. Amen.

The Testimony of the Latter-Day Saints—Their Duties—the Testimony of the Spirit of God

Discourse by Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Nov. 25th, 1868.

Somewhat unexpectedly I am called to stand before you, but I do so with pleasure, as I have a testimony to bear to the work we are engaged in; and it gives me pleasure when an opportunity is afforded to give expression to my feelings in relation to that work. That we have the Gospel and have enjoyed its blessings, and that the ordinances of the Gospel have been administered to us as Latter-day Saints, there are thousands of witnesses in this Territory and in many places in the world. The testimony of the truth of this work is not confined to one or to a few; but there are thousands who can declare that they know it is true, because it has been revealed to them.

We as a people are increasing in numbers, and the Lord Almighty is increasing His blessings upon us, and the people are expanding in their understandings and in the knowledge of the truth. I feel grateful to my heavenly Father that I have been permitted to live in this generation, and have been permitted to become acquainted, somewhat, with the principles of the Gospel. I am thankful that I have had the privilege of having a testimony of its truth, and that I am permitted to stand here and elsewhere to bear my testimony to the truth that the Gospel has been restored to man.

I have traveled somewhat among the nations preaching the Gospel and have seen something of the condition of the world, and to a certain extent have become acquainted with the feelings of men, and with the religions of the world. I am aware that the Gospel, as revealed in the Bible, cannot be found in the world; the ordinances of that Gospel are not administered in any church except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If we make ourselves acquainted with the tenets of the religious world we shall find that they have not the Gospel nor its ordinances; they have a form of godliness, and I have no doubt, are as sincere as we who have obeyed the Gospel as revealed from heaven in these days. But they are devoid of the knowledge which we possess, and it is from the fact that they deny the source by which they might receive this knowledge—namely, revelation from Jesus Christ. In their minds they have closed up the heavens; they declare that God has revealed all that is necessary, that the canon of scripture is full, and that no more will be revealed. Believing thus, they close up the avenue of light and intelligence from heaven; and this will continue so long as they continue in their present course of unbelief. They will not listen, as we have heard this afternoon, to the testimony of men who tell them that the Lord lives, and that He is able to reveal His will to man today as ever. They will not heed this testimony, consequently they close the door of light and revelation. They cannot advance, nor learn the ways of God nor walk in His paths.

We testify that the barriers which separated man from God have been overcome, that the Lord again communicates His will to man. “But,” says one, “How shall we become acquainted with these things? How can we know that you are not deceived?” To all such we say, repent of your sins in all sincerity, then go forth and be baptized, and have hands laid upon you for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that spirit will bear record to you of the truth of our testimony, and you will become witnesses of it as we are, and will be able to stand forth boldly and testify to the world as we do. This was the path pointed out by Peter and the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, when the spirit of the Lord Almighty rested, upon them with great power to the convincing of the hearts of the people, who cried out, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” And Peter said unto them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This was the counsel given them, and inasmuch as they obeyed it they were entitled to the testimony of the Holy Spirit which would bring peace and happiness and reveal to them their duties and enable them to understand their relationship to God.

If we look at the condition of the world today we must come to the conclusion that peace is not likely soon to be established on the earth. There is nothing among the nations that tends to peace. Even among the religious societies the tendency is not to peace and union. They do not bring men to a knowledge of God; they do not possess that “one God, one faith, one baptism, and one hope of their calling” that are spoken of in the scriptures. Every man has gone according to his own notions, independent of revelations, and hence confusion and division exist, their churches are broken up, and they are quarreling and contending with each other. And as it is in the religious, so it is in the political world, they are all divided, and the more energy they put forth to make proselytes, the greater are their contentions, and the further they go from the mark. This is the condition they have been in, and the course they have been pursuing for almost eighteen hundred years, until, today, they have become so divided that I think it would puzzle anyone to tell how many religious denominations there are in Christendom. There are thousands too, who, in consequence of the strife and contention among the religious sects, have become entirely skeptical respecting religion of every kind, and they have concluded that there is no God, at any rate that there is no God among “Christians”—that all religionists are fanatics and are deceived. The sectarian systems of religion are calculated to lead men of reflection and intelligence into skepticism, to cause them to deny all interference of God with men and their affairs, and to deny even His right to interfere.

The Lord Almighty is the Creator of the earth. He is the Father of all our spirits. He has the right to dictate what we shall do, and it is our duty to obey, and to walk according to His requirements. This is natural, and perfectly easy to be comprehended. The Gospel has been restored to the earth, and the priesthood again established, and both are enjoyed by this people; but those unacquainted with the workings of the Gospel and the priesthood look upon us with wonder, and are astonished at the union that exists in our midst. We move as a man, almost; we hearken to the voice of our leader; we are united in our faith and in our works, whether politically or religiously. The world cannot understand this, and they behold it with wonder.

Let me tell my brethren and friends that this is one of the effects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have become united in our faith by one baptism; we know that Jesus Christ lives, we know that He is our Savior and Redeemer, we have a testimony of this independent of any written books and we testify of these things to the world. This unison in the midst of the people called Latter-day Saints, and their prosperity are hard for a great many to understand. I have, however, heard it said, that we have not made such rapid advancement in material prosperity as we boast of, and that we are not so wealthy as our neighbors. But when our circumstances, and the condition of the country when we came here are considered, I think this statement cannot be sustained. When we came here we were penniless, and we have not had the advantage of wealth or commerce to help to enrich us, but all we possess, is the result of our own physical labor and the blessing of God. We have labored under great disadvantages in freighting our goods and machinery over these vast plains, and besides this we have had a barren soil and drouth to contend with, and when all these things are considered I think we have been prospered more than any other people. And as it has been in the past so will it be in the future—we will increase, and extend our borders, for this is the work of God, we are His people, and He will continue to bless us as He has done hitherto.

Our business is to learn our duties one towards the other and towards our leaders. This is a lesson that we seem rather slow to learn. But it should be with us, as Br. Miller said this morning, when our leaders speak it is for us to obey; when they direct we should go; when they call we should follow. Not as beings who are enslaved or in thralldom; we should not obey blindly, as instruments or tools. No Latter-day Saint acts in this manner; no man or woman who has embraced the Gospel has ever acted in this way; but on the contrary they have felt to listen cheerfully to the counsels of the servants of God as far as they were able to comprehend them. The difficulty is not in getting the Latter-day Saints to do right, but in getting them to comprehend what is right. We have obeyed the counsels of our leaders because we have known they have been inspired by the Holy Spirit and because we positively have known that they have been given for our good. We do know and have always known that our leaders have been fathers to us, and that they have been inspired with wisdom superior to that which we possess. For this reason we take hold of everything they present to us for the good of Zion.

We are engaged in the great latter-day work, of preaching the Gospel to the nations, gathering the poor and building up Zion upon the earth. We are working for the triumph of righteousness, for the subjugation of sin and the errors of the age in which we live. It is a great and glorious work. We believe it is right to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We believe it is wrong to lie, steal, commit adultery, or any act forbidden by the Gospel of Christ. We believe in all the teachings of the Savior and in everything that is good and moral, and calculated to exalt mankind or to ameliorate their condition, to unite them in doing good. These are among the principles of the Gospel, and these principles have been taught to us from the commencement of our career as members of this Church. These principles are carried out among us to an extent not to be found among any other people. We do not believe in worshipping God or being religious on the Sabbath day only; but we believe it is as necessary to be religious on Monday, Tuesday and every day in the week as it is on the Sabbath day; we believe that it is as necessary to do to our neighbors as we would they should do unto us, during the week as it is on the Sabbath. In short we believe it is necessary to live our religion every day in the week, every hour in the day, and every moment. Believing and acting thus we become strengthened in our faith, the spirit of God increases within us, we advance in knowledge and we are better able to defend the cause we are engaged in.

To be a true representative of this cause a man must live faithful to the light that he has; he must be pure, virtuous and upright. If he comes short of this he is not a fair representative or this work. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect law of liberty. It is calculated to lead man to the highest state of glory, and to exalt him in the presence of our Heavenly Father, “with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” If there is any folly to be seen in the midst of this people, it is the folly and weakness of man, and is not because of any failing or lack in the plan of salvation. The Gospel is perfect in its organization. It is for us to learn the Gospel and to become acquainted with the principles of truth, to humble ourselves before God that we may bring ourselves into subjection to His laws, and be continually willing to listen to the counsels of those whom the Lord has appointed to guide us.

We know that God has spoken; we testify of this. We stand as witnesses to the world that this is true. We ask no odds of any man, community or nation on the face of the earth in relation to these things. We bear a fearless testimony that they are true. We also bear testimony that Brigham Young is a prophet of the living God, and that he has the revelations of Jesus Christ; that he has guided this people by the power of revelation from the time he became their leader until the present, and he has never failed in his duty or mission. He has been faithful before God, and faithful to this people. We bear this testimony to the world. We fear not, neither do we heed their scorn, contempt or sneers. We are used to it. As Br. George A. has said, we have seen it and heard it, and have become inured to it. We know in whom we have believed. We know He, in whom we trust, is God, for it has been revealed to us. We are not in the dark, neither have we obtained our knowledge from any man, synod or collection of men, but through the revelations of Jesus. If there be any who doubt us let them repent of their sins. Is there any harm in your forsaking your follies and evils, and in bowing in humility before God for His spirit, and, in obedience to the words of the Savior, being baptized for the remission of sins, and having hands laid upon you for the gift of the Holy Ghost that you may have a witness for yourselves of the truth of the words we speak to you? Do this humbly and honestly, and as sure as the Lord lives I promise to you that you will receive the testimony of this work for yourselves and will know it as all the Latter-day Saints know it. This is the promise; it is sure and steadfast. It is something tangible; it is in the power of every man to prove for himself whether we speak the truth or whether we lie. We do not come as deceivers or impostors before the world; we do not come with the intention to deceive, but we come with the plain simple truth and leave it to the world to test it and get a knowledge for themselves. It is the right of every soul that lives—the high, low, rich, poor, great and small to have this testimony for themselves inasmuch as they will obey the Gospel.

Jesus in ancient times sent His disciples forth to preach the Gospel to every creature, saying they that believed and were baptized should be saved, but they that believed not should be damned. And said he, “These signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” These are the promises made anciently; and there are thousands in this Territory and in this congregation who can bear testimony that they have realized the fulfillment of these promises in this day. The healing of the sick among us has become so common that it is apparently but little thought of. We have also seen the lame made to walk and the blind to receive their sight, the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. These things we have seen done by the power of God and not by the cunning or wisdom of men; we know that these signs do follow the preaching of the Gospel. Yet these testimonies of its truth are but poor and weak when compared with the whisperings of the still small voice of the spirit of God. The latter is a testimony that none who enjoy it can deny; it cannot be overcome for it brings conviction to the heart that cannot be reasoned away or disproved, whether it can be accounted for on philosophical principles or not. This testimony comes from God and convinces all to whom it is given in spite of themselves, and is worth more to me than any sign or gift beside, because it gives peace and happiness, contentment and quiet to my soul. It assures me that God lives, and that if I am faithful I shall obtain the blessings of the celestial kingdom.

Is this unscriptural or contrary to reason or to any revealed truth? No, it is in consonance with and in corroboration of all revealed truth known to man. The Lord Almighty lives, and He operates by the power of His spirit over the hearts of the children of men and holds the nations of the earth in His hands. He created the earth upon which we dwell, and its treasures are His; and He will do with us according as we merit. As we are faithful or unfaithful so will the Almighty deal with us, for we are His children and we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

We have a glorious destiny before us, we are engaged in a glorious work. It is worth all our attention, it is worth our lives and everything the Lord has put into our possession, and then ten thousand times more. Indeed there is no comparison, it is all in all, it is incomparable. It is all that is and all that ever will be. The Gospel is salvation, and without it there is nothing worth having. We came naked into the world and shall go hence the same. If we were to accumulate half the world, it would avail us nothing so far as prolonging life here, or securing eternal life hereafter. But the Gospel teaches men to be humble, faithful, honest and righteous before the Lord and with each other, and in proportion as its principles are carried out so will peace and righteousness extend and be established on the earth, and sin, contention, bloodshed and corruption of all kinds cease to exist, and the earth become purified and be made a fit abode for heavenly beings; and for the Lord our God to come and dwell upon, which He will do during the Millennium.

The principles of the Gospel which the Lord has revealed in these days will lead us to eternal life. This is what we are after; what we were created for, what the earth was created for. The reason that we are here is that we may overcome every folly and prepare ourselves for eternal life in the future. I do not think that a principle of salvation is available only as it can be applied in our lives. For instance, if there is a principle calculated in its nature to save me from the penalty of any crime; it will avail me nothing unless I act upon it this moment. If I do this and continue to do so I act upon the principle of salvation, and I am se cure from the penalty of that crime and will be forever so long as I abide by that principle or law. It is just so with the principles of the Gospel—they are a benefit or not, just as they are or are not applied in our lives.

Then let us be faithful and humble; let us live the religion of Christ, put away our follies and sins and the weaknesses of the flesh, and cleave to God and His truth with undivided hearts, and with full determination to fight the good fight of faith and continue steadfast to the end, which may God grant us power to do is my prayer in the name of Jesus: Amen.

The Joy and Happiness Imparted By the Gospel—Sectarian and Revealed Religion—Oneness the Order of God

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Nov. 1st, 1868.

Having been called upon to address the Saints this afternoon, I do so with the greatest of cheerfulness, feeling to rejoice before the Lord at having the privilege. I esteem the blessings that have been bestowed upon this people far above all the riches, wealth and honors that could possibly be bestowed upon them by men. There is something connected with the dispensation of the Gospel which has been revealed to us, that is calculated in its very nature to inspire the heart of the true Saint with joy. There is no other religion extant among men, calculated to impart the same joy and happiness as that which we have embraced.

To believe in a God who once freely conversed with His children and took them into close communion with Himself, and revealed to them many great and precious things and filled them with the Holy Ghost, but who, in later times, to another class of His children refused the same blessings, is a horror to my feelings; it would impart no satisfaction, happiness, true joy, or peace of mind to me, or any other person. Yet we have been educated, before embracing the fullness of the Gospel, in a variety of religions wherein we were taught that God was once a God of power, and that in former dispensations He made bare His arm among the people; but we are told by the various religious sects of the day that for the last 1700 years these great manifestations of His power and goodness have been withheld from the children of men.

What satisfaction is this to me or to any real true-hearted Saint of God? If I were very hungry, having fasted a long time, and my appetite craved food very much, what would be the use of me reading of people having enjoyed themselves with a great variety of palatable and healthful food 1,800 years ago? How much would this satisfy the cravings and wants of my nature? Suppose I should find a very hungry people, or many congregations of them, who had fasted until they were almost ready to perish for the want of food, and I should say to them, “Cheer up, brethren, let your hearts be glad and rejoice exceedingly, for the Lord fed five thousand in ancient days on a few loaves and fishes, but you need not expect that He will do any such thing for you.” Do you think such a people would feel like clapping their hands or shouting for joy at such an announcement? I look upon all the sectarian religions of the world, in which our fathers have believed, in this light. Give me a religion that will feed the soul in my day; give me a religion that will privilege its believers to hold converse with God in their own day; that will inspire their hearts with the revelations of Heaven, and manifest those things which are great and heavenly and reveal to them their duties while they live. If I can’t have a religion of this description, I say good bye to all religions. Nothing short of that will satisfy me as an individual.

A great many good and wholesome truths are taught, notwithstanding, by almost every religious society, perhaps we may say all, not excepting the heathen nations, who worship idols. They have a great many good and wholesome principles among them, as well as a great many that are evil, and which are calculated to darken the mind, corrupt the heart, and lead them astray from the true God. If the religions of the day were full of evil from beginning to end; if there were no principles of morality included within them, they would not be calculated in their nature to bring so many into bondage and subjection to them. But because they have some good, wholesome, moral principles mixed with their foolish, vain traditions, and powerless forms, millions are dragged into their snares.

I have oftentimes felt to ask the children of men, how they would look upon a man at the head of a family of children, say a dozen of sons, who condescended to be very familiar and sociable with six of them, the elder ones, and taught and instructed them, developed their minds and led them along, unfolding principle after principle to them; and by and by, when the other six came along, believing him to be an impartial being, and learning of the great blessings bestowed upon their brethren, they ask for similar blessings, but not one solitary soul of the six could get a syllable of information from him. Would you not think that such a father had changed very materially, or that the children had incurred his displeasure to that extent that he would not have anything to do with them? Now this is the light in which God is held up by all the sectarian religions of the day.

We Latter-day Saints have come out from all these vain and foolish doctrines; we have renounced them. When the glorious Gospel of the Son of God was sounded in our ears we received it with joy. We saw, in a great measure, the foolishness of the religions we had been taught all our days; we saw how powerless they were. We saw that they had no voice of angels and that God inspired none of them with the spirit of pro phecy; we saw that none of them had revelation, or the visions of heaven opened to their minds; and we also saw the doctrines they taught were foolish, vain and false, got up by the children of men without authority from God, and seeing this we renounced the whole of them.

We oftentimes, in our Tabernacle and meetinghouses, have the privilege of seeing the contrast to this. There are some of our children, born here in this Territory, who, perhaps, have never formed much of an idea respecting the false doctrines with which our forefathers have been bound down for generations. It is true we occasionally tell them, but they cannot realize it as if they had experienced it for themselves.

I consider that the most of what we heard delivered from this stand this forenoon was very good; and according to my views, the principles advanced were wholesome as far as they went. But sound these doctrines to the bottom, and we shall find that they who advocate them believe that King James translation of the Bible contains the last revelation God ever did give, or that He intends to give to the human family. That is what they themselves tell us. Now, what particular use is it to preach up morality and many other good things, and then connect it with a doctrine of that kind? You may think I am hard, but I could not help, while listening this forenoon, contrasting this people with all the light and knowledge that God has poured down from the heavens upon them, with the formal, powerless systems of the children of men in which we were so long traditionated.

When we hear salvation preached we know it is true; when we hear that Jesus is the Author of salvation to all those who obey Him, we know that is true. But when we ascend still further in these great and sublime principles we find that, besides believing that Jesus is the Author of salvation, we must know what He requires of the children of men, and then obey it. We must find out and understand that He is the same Author of salvation that He was in ancient days; that if He did converse with His children in former days, being the same Author of salvation and unchangeable in His nature and attributes, He is willing to speak to His children in these times. Could you get the religious world to believe in or preach such a doctrine? No. Why? Because it contradicts their creeds. They have surrounded themselves as it were with a peck measure and have said to their proselytes, “So far shall you go in this belief and no farther.” You may believe just what the ancients have written, but you must not believe anything further. You may believe that God spoke to Moses and delivered the children of Israel by His power; but you must not believe that He will ever raise up a Moses in our day. You may believe that God gave the keys of His Kingdom to the Apostle Peter, and gave him the power to unfold the principles of eternal life in his day, but you must not believe in any man holding the keys in these days. These are their creeds, and they will cut you off from their church if you profess to believe in new revelations, or in anything not contained in the Bible.

I did not think, when I arose, of saying anything about this subject, but it came into my mind. There are so many great and glorious principles which God has revealed to this people that it seems as though we can hardly get time to speak about the false doctrines of the children of men. We wish to talk about things more glorious; things which are cal culated to revive the hearts of the Saints, to fill them with joy, peace and happiness, and to inspire them with the hope of blessings to come.

We Latter-day Saints have not only embraced the first principles of the Gospel, but we have assembled ourselves from many nations and come here to these isolated vales with the understanding that we were to be taught more perfectly in the ways of the Lord. If we have gathered with any other feelings or views in our hearts we have made a mistake. The Lord our God could not teach, and build us up in the ordinances of His Kingdom, without making us one people. We are expecting to obtain salvation; that is our great object. If that had not been our object but very few people would have come so many thousand miles into this comparatively desert region. This proves the sincerity of those who have gathered; it proves that they have been willing to do almost anything if they could but obtain that salvation which they longed for, and which they desired with all their hearts. You therefore expect, if you are true Saints, as I have already observed, that when you come here you will be taught more perfectly in relation to your duties. Perhaps some may have formed erroneous ideas in regard to these teachings, thinking in their own hearts that when they arrived in Zion—the great place of gathering, they would be taught more perfectly in spiritual duties, and be continually fed with spiritual things. Perhaps some may have imbibed the idea that God would not inspire His servants to say much in regard to temporal matters. This is one of the things we have learned in the world. We not only learn that God does not speak in our day, and that He has no prophets nor inspired men, but we also learn that every man must be for himself, and, so far as property is concerned, the devil for us all. We have been thoroughly taught this lesson, it has been instilled into our very constitutions; and to think that God has nothing to do with temporal matters, and that He can prepare His people to enter the celestial Kingdom and be made one and equal, as it were, in the enjoyment of heavenly things, and yet be as divided as the east is from the west in regard to temporal things, has become a second nature to us. Even the Latter-day Saints, with all their information and knowledge and the blessings they have received, can hardly conceive that the Lord has any business to teach them how to proceed in regard to their temporal business.

The Lord says, “Unto me all things are spiritual.” Did God make this earth? Yes. Well, it was a spiritual work. He spake, His word went forth out of His mouth, the elements were brought together and organized, and the earth was made very good. It was a spiritual work. We may call it temporal; but, God, in all things pertaining to His works, is spiritual, and all things to Him, as He says in one of the revelations, are spiritual. But unto you, ye Latter-day Saint, because of your traditions, He has made a little distinction, and called same things temporal and some spiritual. In the great day of the fullness of the redemption that is promised to the Saints, for which we all hope, do we expect to be admitted into the presence of a Being who has no materiality about Him? Do we expect to be admitted into a heaven that consists of spiritual things according to our ideas? Do we expect when we get there that we will find beings in whose image we are, and yet they be intangible and without substance? If we are material, so will they be. If we have flesh and bones after the resurrection, so will they have flesh and bones. If we are male and female after the resurrection, so will they be in heavenly society. If we have thrones of a material nature, so will they have, and their thrones will be just as material in their nature as the thrones of this world. It is true that those personages, their thrones and the elements by which they are surrounded will all be pure. They will be uncontaminated by sin, being so purified and sanctified that sin will have no dominion there. But because everything there is pure, it does not make it altogether immaterial in its nature, it is still an enduring substance. And when we receive our inheritance there, we shall receive a tangible inheritance, a spiritual inheritance, and a material inheritance. Will it consist of land? Yes, just as much as the land on which we walk; but the land will be purified and sanctified. It will neither be contaminated nor unclean, and none but the clean, pure and sanctified will possess inheritances there. Do we have material books here in this world from which we gain information? Yes. Will they not be material also in that world? Will there not be books and records there in abundance? Will not the acts and doings of the children of men be recorded in books in that world? Will not your sealings and blessings, and the powers and keys that have been bestowed upon you be recorded there in books, as well as in books in this world? Well, then, it is all spiritual and it is all material in its nature. Are we to possess these spiritual and eternal riches that world? We are told in numerous laws which God has given that all of this people are to be made one as it were. No division there; no quarreling about property; no such thing as one person sitting away down in rags and another lifted up with immense riches. What do we read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in a revelation given to Joseph in the early rise of this church, speaking of the property that was placed in the hands of certain individuals who had entered into covenant and an everlasting order? The Lord says, “You are merely stewards; these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain.” “And,” says the Lord, “except you are made equal in the bonds of earthly things, (that is in property) you cannot be made equal in the enjoyment of holy and eternal riches.”

Well, if there is to be an equality in the eternal worlds throughout all the celestial hosts in the enjoyment of eternal riches, is it not necessary for the Latter-day Saints to begin to be one, in some measure at least, in regard to their possessions here in this world?

How thankful I have been in looking at the great movements that are taking place, this Fall, in our midst. What a great revolution is taking place, pointing to this union! Not in its perfection, for the people are not prepared for it. A perfect order cannot be introduced yet; that will exist when you go back to Jackson County. We have not yet learned the lesson that we are but stewards over what the Lord places in our hands. We have not yet learned the law which should govern and regulate these matters. Ever since we entered these valleys every man has been for himself more or less. The merchant to trade and traffic and gain all he could possibly rake and scrape together. The mechanic, the farmer and the manufacturer have done the same; and each one, in all the various branches of business that have been carried on in our Territory, has been constantly grabbing here and grabbing there, each trying to get rich the soonest and to become a millionaire without any great exertion.

Now supposing that one man could possess his tens of millions, what satisfaction is there in that? If a man is engaged in the mercantile profession and is able to lay up gold like the dust of the earth so that he could buy the people of the whole Territory, what happiness or satisfaction would that give him? The satisfaction such a man would enjoy is as I heard a certain merchant relate not long since—“that he had to put wet cloths over his head in order to keep his brain from being turned inside out,” through the care, perplexity and difficulty he encountered in trying to manage in this way, and that way and the other way. What for? Why to grasp and gain more and to heap up property. There is not much happiness, when a man gets into a condition that his whole soul is drawn out after property, and his whole mind, as it were, is carried away with it. How much greater satisfaction it should give to that man to see all the people get rich alike, so far as they can under the present imperfect order of things. It is true all have not the same intellect or capacity; all do not understand mercantile affairs, neither do all understand the various branches of business carried on by the people of this Territory. All may not be able to gather together and heap up wealth alike; but still a poor man may be an honest man; a poor man may be a good man. A poor man who has not the faculty for heaping up riches, may, at the same time, be sincere and honest in his heart, and be striving to do just as much good as the man who is constantly racking his brain trying to obtain property. And how much more satisfactory it would be to the real true-hearted merchant Saint to see all his brethren getting rich and wealthy than it would be to see his millions multiplying around him, and thousands of his brethren sunk into the lowest depths of poverty, many of them scarcely knowing where to get the next meal of victuals.

This inordinate desire for riches is a gentile tradition that we were taught before we came into this Church. We brought these feelings into the church; and when we embraced the Gospel we verily thought it was all spiritual, and had nothing to do with temporal matters. We came to this valley, filled with these notions and traditions. But it is time now that we began to awake up and listen to the counsel of him who is our leader, our Prophet and President. He has been telling us all the day long that we must become more united, that me must seek with all our hearts to be one, not only in regard to baptism and the laying on of hands, and doctrine generally; but united in our interests as a people, in order that we may build up the kingdom of God and extend its borders, that when the time shall come for that great central city to be built up on the consecrated spot this people may have wealth in their possession to perform the work of God. Instead of that now poverty reigns, and I have sometimes thought it would reign until the order of things is changed. Thank God there seems to be now a beginning, a pointing forward to the time when this union shall be brought about. I believe the people now are better prepared to bring about this revolution than they have ever been. Why? Because they have had a long experience. They have had both sides of the question laid before them. By their own acts in this Territory during the last twenty-one years they have seen the results of every man grasping for himself. These results which have been manifested before them for years, and which are waxing stronger and stronger, are building up a power in the midst of this Territory that will cause the Latter-day Saints sorrow in time to come if they do not wake up. But the wealthy men, the merchants, those who have their hundreds of thousands are beginning to wake up, and they are taking hold with a feeling of interest to build up the Kingdom of God according to the counsels which God has imparted to them by the mouth of His servants. If this counsel can only be carried out, not only in our mercantile arrangements, but in every other branch of business necessary for the well being of the people of this Territory, you will find that they will multiply their riches a hundredfold quicker than they will if they act individually.

Has God said anything about temporal riches? Yes. He told this Church, before it was one year old that we should become the richest of all people. His words will be fulfilled. The Lord says we shall not only have the riches of eternity, but we shall have the riches of the earth. God does not care how much wealth His people have, provided they obtain it according to the law he has instituted. Do you suppose that the Lord wants His people to be always bound down with the shackles of poverty, distress and suffering? No. He is willing that you should have your hundreds of thousands. But He wants the riches of His people to be, at all times, in a position to be used, not to aggrandize themselves alone, but for the building up of His latter-day Kingdom here on the earth. We have got that to do. The Lord has decreed in this book that He will consecrate of the riches of the gentiles that embrace His Gospel, unto the poor of His people who are of the House of Israel. Now can we get away from that? No. Here are hundreds of thousands of the poor of His people of the House of Israel on these mountains and in North and South America. God has not forgotten them, though they are degraded to the level of the brute beasts, though they are wandering because of the iniquities and apostasy of their fathers. Although they are in this forlorn and outcast condition, God has not forgotten the promises made to their fathers. They are to be lifted up, and it is to do this work that we are privileged to enjoy their land. We are not in possession of our land of promise particularly, only as we obtain it by a renewed promise; but we are inheriting a land that was given to the remnant of Joseph, and God has said that we must be remembered with them in the possession of this land.

If, then, the remnant of Joseph can furnish us a land of promise on which to dwell, and on which to build our buildings and become strong, ought we not in turn to take those riches which we earn by our own industry, and use them for the redemption of that people? We have got to do it. It is the work on our hands. And if we do it we must rid ourselves of this covetous principle that prompts us to take all that we can grasp, and say, “this shall be for me and my family, that I may aggrandize myself, and have things around me far superior to my neighbors.”

This principle must be eradicated from our natures; and I think, so far as my poor weak judgment goes, a foundation has been laid, and a plan devised that will affect every branch of business from the mercantile establishment down to the farmer and mechanic. Everything must be or ganized according to the law of Heaven. This will prepare us for the more perfect law that will come in force, when the Lord shall command this people to go back to the place where the central city shall be built. We have to build that city; we have to furnish riches to do it. We must prepare ourselves for it; and when we get there, there will be more perfect order established than that which is now being instituted.

God has not permitted us yet to enter a perfect order. He told the people when they were scattered from that land to let those laws which He had given concerning the properties of His children be executed and fulfilled after the redemption of Zion. Now, I doubt whether you can execute them before that time; but you can get as near to them as you can, so that you may not be wholly strangers to the order which God will in troduce when you go back to that land. For thus saith the Lord God in one of the new revelations which He has given, recorded in the history of Joseph the prophet, “Behold I will send one mighty and strong, clothed with light as a garment, whose mouth shall utter words—eternal words, and whose bowels shall be a fountain of truth, who shall divide to the Saints their inheritances.” He will send one ordained to this purpose, and to fulfill this particular duty, that the Saints may receive their inheritances after they have consecrated everything in their possession. Then we can build up a city that will be a city of perfection, “the perfection of beauty.” I want to see that day, whether in the flesh or out of it, and rejoice in it, and partake of its glories. May God bless you. Amen.

Southern Missions—Deseret Alphabet—Relief Societies—Home Manufactures

Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Oct. 8th, 1868.

I wish to say to those who are called to go on the Southern mission, that I expect some of them cannot conveniently go; if so, they can be excused just as others have been. I think we called about one hundred and seventy-five one year ago to go on the Southern mission. Of those who responded to that call and went south, twelve or fifteen stayed; the rest have returned, I do not know whether to see their mothers or not. We hope a few will go out of this company, and a few of those will return who were called last year. We have our reasons for requesting the brethren to go into those new settlements; if they do not know the reasons now, let them wait until they do. We calculate to spread abroad, and when we have settled one valley we calculate to settle another. We are settling north, south, east and west, and we mean to keep it up. There are some who will be excused. One of the brethren has excused him self on the ground that he is building himself a barn. Now, this is so reasonable that I think we will excuse him, at any rate until he gets it finished. Perhaps we will find some who have married wives, others who have bought a yoke of oxen, and because of this they cannot go.

There is no necessity for the brethren hurrying away. They can go down this Fall, tarry through the Winter, and be prepared for the Spring. We shall excuse those who ought to be excused, and especially if they are building barns. As for those who have been there and have left, we expect to see the time that they will wish they had stayed there; and that those who have been called and have not gone will wish they had done so.

There are a few items I wish to lay before the Conference before we dismiss, which I think we shall do when we get through our meeting this afternoon. One of these items is to present to the congregation the Deseret Alphabet. We have now many thousands of small books, called the first and second readers, adapted to school purposes, on the way to this city. As soon as they arrive we shall distribute them throughout the Territory. We wish to introduce this alphabet into our schools, consequently we give this public notice. We have been contemplating this for years. The advantages of this alphabet will soon be realized, especially by foreigners. Brethren who come here knowing nothing of the English language will find its acquisition greatly facilitated by means of this alphabet, by which all the sounds of the language can be represented and expressed with the greatest ease. As this is the grand difficulty foreigners experience in learning the English language, they will find a knowledge of this alphabet will greatly facilitate their efforts in acquiring at least a partial English education. It will also be very advantageous to our children. It will be the means of introducing uniformity in our orthography, and the years that are now required to learn to read and spell can be devoted to other studies.

I wish to call the attention of our sisters to our Relief Societies. We are happy to say that many of them have done a great deal. We wish them to continue and progress. During this Conference, many of the ladies have worn very nice straw hats of home manufacture. This is commendable, and this course should be persevered in, until our hats and dresses are the workmanship of our own hands. To my view no trimming for a hat looks more beautiful than a nice straw rosette, bow or button; it looks better than a feather or artificial flower. In our Relief Societies we wish to introduce many improvements. We wish our sisters of experience to teach the young girls not to be so anxious for the gratification of their imaginary wants, but to confine themselves more to their real necessities. Fancy has no bounds, and I often think it is without form and comeliness. We are too apt to give way to the imagination of our hearts, but if we will be guided by wisdom, our judgment will be corrected, and we will find that we can improve very much. We can improve the language we use. I want my children to use better language than I sometimes use. Still, I have thought as the prophet Joseph has said, when you speak to a people or person you must use language to represent your ideas, so that they will be remembered. When you wish the people to feel what you say, you have got to use language that they will remember, or else the ideas are lost to them. Consequently, in many in stances we use language that we would rather not use. When talking to a refined people we should use refined language. When we become perfectly civilized we will leave off every harsh expression. We should correct our children in these matters, and teach them good language. I would like to urge upon my brethren and sisters the necessity of doing this. We should instill into the minds of our children good ideas and principles. If we teach them that there are prophets and apostles now on the earth, we shall teach them the truth. If we teach them that the Bible is true, it will be very wholesome for them to believe; but instead of teaching them that it requires a spiritual explanation, by men not endowed with the Spirit of God, teach them that such a notion is incorrect, and that if the word of God does not mean what it says, no man or woman can explain it without a direct revelation from Heaven.

We wish to introduce into this community manufactures and manufacturing so thoroughly that the people will consider themselves under obligation to feed and clothe themselves. Many of us are in the habit of doing only just what we like to do or of sitting with our arms folded, trusting to others to feed and clothe us. It is the duty of the husband to provide for the wife or wives and children, and it is the duty of the wife or wives and children to assist the husband and father all they can. If it is required of the father or husband to furnish his wives and children with flour, it is equally required of the wives, sisters and daughters to be careful in the use of that flour and see that it is not wasted. If it is the duty of the husband or father to furnish his family with cloth to dress themselves, it is their duty to see that that cloth is cut and made prudently and not wasted. It is a disgrace to a community to drag their cloth in the dirt. How many women are there here today who walked to this Tabernacle without throwing dirt every step they took, not only on themselves but upon those who walked near them? I shun them; when I see them coming I try to make my way in some other direction in order to avoid their dust. I can get enough of it without receiving it from them. If there is a nuisance in the path, they are sure to wipe up a portion of it with their dress, and then trail it on to their carpet or into the bedrooms and distribute it through the house. This is a disgrace to them. It is not the duty of my brethren to buy cloth to be dragged through these streets, and the wife or daughter who will not cease dragging her dress through them, ought to have it cut shorter. I have borne it and so have my brethren until duty demands that we put a stop to it. I have politely expostulated with my wives and daughters on this subject. I have asked them if they think it looks nice, and have been told that it did, their reason for thinking so being that somebody else wore it so. That is all the argument that can be brought in its favor. There is no reason in the world why a dress looks well trailing through the streets.

On the other hand I will say, ladies, if we ask you to make your dresses a little shorter, do not be extravagant and cut them so short that we can see the tops of your stockings. Bring them down to the top of your shoes, and have them so that you can walk and clear the dust, and do not expose your persons. Have your dresses neat and comely, and conduct yourselves, in the strictest sense of the word, in chastity. If you do this you set a good example before the rising generation. Use good language, wear comely clothing and act in all things so that you can respect yourselves and respect each other. We wish you to remember and carry out these counsels.

Can you, ladies, manufacture bonnets for yourselves and daughters, and hats for your husbands, sons and brothers? Yes, you can, and save us scores of thousands of dollars.

I wonder if there is any person in our community who understands the manufacture of silk. We have some raw silk on hand that could be manufactured if we can find persons who understand the business. I am now building a house that will be sufficient to contain a million worms another year, it is a hundred feet long in the clear, and twenty broad. I calculate to fill it with worms next season, and make silk. I am going to invite some of the brethren to make up this silk into thread, and to color it and weave it. We can make our own thread and twist as easily as we can buy it. I have never seen better sewing silk than I once bought of a sister here, of her own manufacture. I would like to find somebody who knows how to manage the worms, and to double, twist, reel and weave the silk.

By ceasing the foolish practice of which we have so long been guilty—namely, trading off our produce at the stores for every little thing we have thought we needed—we shall drive ourselves to the necessity of sustaining ourselves. If we take this course and live our religion, do you think we will be respected? Yes. We are frequently told that the world is increasing in wickedness. We want the Saints to increase in goodness, until our mechanics, for instance, are so honest and reliable that this Railroad Company will say, “Give us a Mormon elder for an engineer, then none need have the least fear to ride, for if he knows there is danger he will take every measure necessary to preserve the lives of those entrusted to his care.” I want to see our elders so full of integrity that they will be preferred by this Company for their engine builders, watchmen, engineers, clerks and business managers. If we live our religion and are worthy the name of Latter-day Saints, we are just the men that all such business can be entrusted to with perfect safety; if it cannot it will prove that we do not live our religion.

A few words with regard to our Emigration Fund. We are going to continue our donations to this fund. We started our new subscriptions here on Tuesday night, and what do you think they amounted to? To two thousand dollars. That was a pretty good beginning. How many names do you think it took for that sum? Just two—a thousand dollars each. Now, sisters, do as you did last year—save the money you usually spend in tea and coffee and ribbons, and let us have it to send for the poor. We did remarkably well last year, though our prospects were not very flattering at the start. On the 1st of February, the time we thought of sending our agents East, we had nine thousand dollars, but on the 17th of the same month when brothers Clawson and Staines started we had a little over twenty-nine thousand. When the brethren said, “How dare you think of sending for the poor, we are getting no means?” I replied, “We will send for them and trust in God for the means.” And the means came in fast. The brethren and sisters brought in their five dollars, their tens, fifties, hundreds, and their thousands, and the poor were gathered. The Walker Brothers gave a thousand dollars, and they will be blest for it, if we do not wish to trade with them. Others of our merchants also contributed liberally. The poor are deserving of it. Why? Because from them they got their means. The merchants of this city have got hundreds of thousands of dollars from the poor, and if they give a little back to them it is no more than their due.

How our friends, the outside merchants will complain because we are going to stop trading with them! We cannot help it. It is not our duty to do it. Our policy in this respect, hitherto, has been one of the most foolish in the world. Henceforth it must be to let this trade alone, and save our means for other purposes than to enrich outsiders. We must use it to spread the Gospel, to gather the poor, build temples, sustain our poor, build houses for ourselves, and convert this means to a better use than to give it to those who will use it against us.

We have talked to the brethren and sisters a great deal with regard to sustaining ourselves and ceasing this outside trade. Now what say you, are you for it as well as we? Are we of one heart and one mind on this subject? We can get what we wish by sending to New York for it ourselves, as well as letting others send for us. We have skill and ability to trade for all we need; and if we have to send abroad we can send our agents to buy and bring home what we need. My feelings are that every man and woman who will not obey this counsel shall be severed from the Church, and let all who feel as I do lift up the right hand. [The vote was unanimous.] That is a pretty good vote. You who feel otherwise have the privilege of lifting up your hand to signify the same. I guess it was pretty nigh right. Joseph used to say, “When you get the Latter-day Saints to agree on any point, you may know it is the voice of God.” I knew this before, but now it is proven to the whole people.

Will the nation find fault with us for this? No. Will the commercial world find fault? No; they will say, “This is the first trait in the ‘Mormon’ character we ever saw worthy of notice; it is praiseworthy, and they will be blessed.” That is what they will say. Why there is scarcely a decent man comes here but what says “Why don’t you ‘Mormons’ do your own trading? Why do you sustain outsiders? It is the most impolitic thing you can do.”

I wish to say to the Conference that for one I feel well satisfied with our labors. We have labored diligently to sanctify ourselves and the people. If we succeed in doing this we shall be prepared to inherit life everlasting in the presence of our Father. I will say to all people, to those in the church and to those out, I want it distinctly understood that if we, that is myself, my counselors and my brethren the Twelve Apostles, and all who are heart and hand with us, can succeed in getting this people to come together in their feelings to sustain themselves and let other people alone, it will be one of the proudest days of our lives. We spread this to the world. Would to God that we had influence enough to induce all the inhabitants of the earth to listen to and obey the voice of God through his servants, to repent of their sins, be baptized for their remission and live to the glory of God that they might receive eternal life. I pray that this may be our lot, and I ask it in the name of Jesus.

This Conference is now adjourned until the 6th of next April.