Written Sermons and Extempore Preaching—The Priesthood—Opposition to It

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Nov. 20, 1870.

In rising before the Saints I ever feel a desire to be guided and inspired by the light of the Holy Spirit to speak as the circumstances and condition of the people require. It is not as I used to observe in my boyhood. I would hear our minister pray the Lord to give him His Spirit to dictate and indite precisely such matter as should be suited to the wants and condition of the assembly, and then be would open his Bible and slip in his written pamphlet and read a sermon. Now, I confess that I never had such remarkable answers to my prayers on this subject. The Lord furnished it to him already written and pointed plainly, and he had nothing to do but to read it. Whether preaching by notes in this way is the better policy or not is doubted by many of the Protestant churches; but I believe it is the custom among most of them. There are some clergymen who differ from this rule, thinking probably that, if a man sits in his study and composes his discourse, he does not have the spirit of delivering it and enforcing it upon his audience as if it were delivered extemporary.

With the Latter-day Saints the idea of writing sermons or preparing addresses beforehand is entirely discarded, it never was practiced amongst them. It was the order of God to choose the weak things of the world. The learned, as a general thing, scouted the idea of the Lord revealing Himself to an ignorant man like Joseph Smith, or of Joseph Smith having faith to obtain knowledge from God. I know they used to say, “Why did not the Lord call upon a learned man who has devoted his whole life to the study of divinity if He wanted anything done?” The real fact was they thought they knew too much, they would not listen to anything the Lord might have to say. He simply called upon Joseph, because he got puzzled with hearing those learned men preach. He had heard them preach four or five different doctrines, and then had seen them quarrel over the converts; he went humbly to God and asked Him, according to the advice given by the Apostle James, who says, “If any lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” Joseph Smith was just foolish and simple enough to take this advice, and he went humbly before the Lord and asked Him which was the right way, and the Lord showed him. To be sure, I have heard, in theory, sentiments of this kind in the sectarian world. I have heard men pray the Lord for a pentecost in their meetings. You know on the day of Pentecost the disciples prophesied, and spoke in so many tongues that devout men from almost every nation under heaven, assembled in Jerusalem, heard the Gospel preached in the language in which they were born. Now, if any such event should take place in a Christian church in modern times there would be a very great excitement, the people would be alarmed, they do not believe in any such thing. The gifts of the Spirit—tongues, prophecy, &c., were done away with long ago, they say, and they are governed by the written word, and they differ very much in their interpretation of that written word.

Joseph Smith taught that every man and woman should seek the Lord for wisdom, that they might get knowledge from Him who is the fountain of knowledge; and the promises of the Gospel, as revealed, were such as to authorize us to believe, that by taking this course we should gain the object of our pursuit. “He that believes in me,” says the Savior, “the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these, because I go to the Father.” We find that, when the Savior commenced his mission, he came to John and was baptized of him in Jordan, thus setting an example for others to follow; and he declared that those who believed in him must take up their cross and follow him. He furthermore promised them that, in rendering obedience to his doctrines, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and be born of the Spirit; and that by the light of the Spirit he would lead them into all truth and make known to them things to come.

How many of us Latter-day Saints are living up to this calling and in the light of this Spirit? How many of us are guided as we ought to be by the light of the Holy Ghost? Have not many of us become careless, thoughtless, negligent, heedless, and turned away to the right or to the left, and fallen into snares and temptations, and suffered ourselves to be led astray by false spirits and the doctrines of devils?

The Apostle says the Lord set in His Church Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, that they who believe might be no more children, carried away by every wind of doctrine, by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive. Hunt the world for this organization and you cannot find it except among the Latter-day Saints; it does not exist anywhere else, that is, so far as travel and a knowledge of humanity have developed. I remember once going to a Baptist church when quite a youth. I asked the gentleman at the door what church it was. He said it was the Church of Christ. Said I, “What Apostle built it up?” He said, “There are no Apostles in these days.” “Well,” I remarked, “Paul tells us that God sets in His Church first Apostles.” “Oh,” he replied, “the organization of the priesthood, with its authority and power, as mentioned in the New Testament, is done away.” That is the trouble throughout Christendom. This man to whom I refer, asserted however that they had the priesthood in the Baptist Church, and that it had descended to them through the Waldenses. This idea naturally sets us to inquire who the Waldenses were. One Peter Waldo, we are told by Buck, was a merchant who used a certain portion of his fortune in hiring a monk to translate the four Gospels; and on the strength of this work he commenced preaching and gathered around him a number of persons who believed in his doctrines. They were severely persecuted by the Catholic Church, which anathematized them and inflicted upon them every penalty in its power—even excommunication, sword and fire. Notwithstanding all this the Waldenses progressed, and their doctrines and the work they performed was a nursery for the Reformation.

But so far as the question of priesthood is concerned, if the Catholic Church had the authority, it cut the Waldenses off; and if it had none, all the Waldenses had was derived from it, for the Waldenses were seceders from the Catholic Church. The result is that the Baptists could have no priesthood except by special revelation, and to this they lay no claim whatever.

The same rule will apply to other denominations; for I believe all of them have to acknowledge that they received, either directly or indirectly, their priesthood originally from the Roman Catholic Church. Now if that church is not true, the priesthood which came from it could not be true; if their priesthood and authority were genuine and bona fide, their expulsion of the so-called Reformers would have its effect; the result is that, viewed in any light whatever, these various denominations are left without a duly authorized and legal priesthood. Unless the Catholic Church had it, they could not receive it from it; and if the Catholics did have it they cut the Reformers off, or expelled them. If you talk with the various Protestant denominations about these points they will tell you that the Catholic Church had degenerated, that it had gone into darkness, was anti-Christ, and all this sort of thing, which doubtless was correct; and according to modern revelation this must be true; and being true, we are urged to the conclusion that all the sects and parties of the religious world are wandering in darkness.

Now one denomination out of five or six hundred, more or less, the number grown out of the original Church, might probably be correct; but it is quite certain that no two of them, differing in faith and practice, could be; and under these circumstances the difficulty would be to determine which was right. It was in this position of perplexity and doubt that Joseph Smith was placed when he went and asked the Lord to tell him which was right; and the Lord revealed to him, through an holy angel, that they were all wrong, and said He: “I call upon you to go and preach the Gospel in simplicity and purity.” The result was that the Elders went forth and proclaimed the Gospel, and it produced a very singular effect on the minds of the people. A few received it, but they were treated with scorn; their preachers were mobbed, daubed with tar and feathers, pelted with eggs, their houses torn down and burned, and finally the leaders of the Church were murdered, and their followers expelled from the face of society and driven into the wilderness, or were compelled to renounce their religion, and the very great majority took shelter from the face of man in the midst of wild deserts, savage beasts and savage men. This was the history of it, and this tells why we are here.

Now, brethren, knowing these facts are we faithful to our calling? Do we live in the enjoyment of the Holy Spirit? Or do we suffer the things of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the trials incident to our humanity to lead us into difficulty and cause us to forget God, to neglect our prayers, our tithes and offerings, our fast meetings, our secret prayers, and other duties devolving upon us as Saints? How is it with us? Let us ask ourselves these questions and awake to the performance of our several duties. If we have been careless, repent of the carelessness. If we are negligent, wake up! If we suffer ourselves to do wrong, cease to do so, and live in obedience to the principles of our faith and the dictations of the Holy Spirit. The fact is, in relation to our religion, that if we do not abide by it and observe it, it would have been better for us if we had never known it; and if we do observe it, much is expected at our hands, both on our own behalf and on behalf of our forefathers.

You know Paul tells us, in the 15th chapter of Corinthians, speaking of the resurrection, as an argument in favor of it, “Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” This was a principle connected with the Christian religion that pertained to the dead, and it was so thoroughly understood that it was used as an argument in favor of the doctrine of the resurrection. I suppose that this is seldom or ever thought of by the Protestants; and when Joseph Smith came forth and announced that it was the duty of the Latter-day Saints to go forth and be baptized for their relatives who had died without the knowledge of the Gospel, it was regarded as an astounding idea; yet, as I understand the passage in Corinthians, no man can give any other interpretation to it.

In order to have the benefits and blessings of this ordinance resting upon ourselves and our progenitors it is necessary for us to live up to our calling and to pay strict attention to our duties. According to the revelations which were given through Joseph Smith certain places were set apart for the administration of these ordinances. Temples had to be built and fonts prepared and dedicated for this purpose.

The Prophet Malachi, in speaking of the latter days, says, “the day shall come that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, it shall burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” But the Lord declares through Malachi that He will send the Prophet Elijah before that great and terrible day shall come, and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest He come and smite the earth with a curse. This prophecy has a reference to the revelation of the doctrine of baptism for the dead in the last days.

The Apostle Paul, in enumerating the great blessings which were bestowed on the ancients through faith, speaks in glowing terms of those who subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens; he says women received their dead to life; others were tortured, sawn asunder, wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, and dwelt in dens and caves of the earth, and all this for the faith; and then he winds up by saying that they without us could not be made perfect. Think then, brethren and sisters, of the duties that we owe to ourselves and to our ancestors! But, if we suffer ourselves to go into darkness, if we indulge in wickedness, fall into snares and temptations, we lose the Holy Spirit and the blessings which pertain to ourselves and our progenitors, referred to by Obadiah, who says that in the last days saviors shall stand on Mount Zion, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

These sentiments may be clearly and readily appreciated by Latter-day Saints; and to stir them up to diligence, faithfulness and obedience I would refer them to the revelation given on the 19th of January, 1841, through Joseph Smith, relative to the building of the temple at Nauvoo. It was there said that there was not a baptismal font in the world, and the Church was required to build that Temple, and the promise was that if it was built the people should receive certain blessings. It was further stated that when the Lord commanded any people to do a work, and they were hindered from performing it by their enemies or by oppression, the Lord would not require that work at their hands any more. No people on the face of the earth, probably, during the present generation at least, or perhaps in any other, were more oppressed than were the people of Nauvoo while laboring to perform this work. They were persecuted in various ways: attacked through vexatious lawsuits by the State of Missouri and by the State authorities of Illinois, and all means that could be taken within reach of the law were used to bring distress upon them. Then the conclusion was, that if law could not reach them powder and ball should, and the result was that the Prophet and Patriarch of the Church were murdered, and other Elders severely wounded. Hundreds of houses were burned and every kind of outrage that could be imagined was committed on the Saints; and while building this Temple the brethren had to stand guard at night; and when working they were in a manner compelled to have their weapons of defense in one hand and their tools to work with in the other. But they continued amid all this storm of persecution, during which numbers had to flee to the wilderness, until the Temple was finished and dedicated; and having completed this task they had the promise of the Lord to go with them into the wilderness, with all the powers, blessings and privileges of the Priesthood, that in the wilderness they might receive and administer the ordinances for their dead.

We should now continue the work for the Temple which the Latter-day Saints are always commanded to build. We have a foundation here, a very good substantial one, and that must be approved by good men and pleasing to the Lord. We have to haul the material seventeen miles to continue this work, which has been interrupted from time to time through various causes. Still it progresses and we should not let it sleep, but should continue the work until we have an edifice reared according to the pattern, and dedicate it to the Most High God; and build in its basement a baptismal font, something after the pattern of King Solomon’s brazen sea, for the baptism of the dead, that within the walls of that sacred edifice we may be able to perform the duties and ordinances pertaining to the dead which God has commanded. Every Latter-day Saint, man or woman, young or old, should feel alive and awake to this great duty.

I understand why it is that men persecute the Latter-day Saints. It is because of the priesthood and power which exist among them: Satan stirs up the hearts of the children of men to wickedness, and to hate and persecute the Saints, to drive them and murder their leaders. This is the only cause; for the Latter-day Saints, from the time of their organization to the present time, have been the most orderly, law-abiding, industrious, temperate, and moral people that have lived on the face of the earth; and they are the same in this Territory as they have been elsewhere. For instance, let a man pass through this country, as Major Powell did last year, and he comes back and published a statement that he has visited five hundred miles of Mormon villages, and has seen a people happy and contented, and has not seen a grog shop, a loafer, drunkard or idler; but everybody enjoying himself, and that peace and good order prevail throughout, such a man will have the same greeting as Major Powell. “Why, Major, you are interested some way or the other; the ‘Mormons’ have got you blinded.” That, is the spirit and feeling manifested if a man tells the truth about the Latter-day Saints; and it is one of the greatest evidences of the truth of the work. The Lord says, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.” Sometimes I have known the papers say this and that good thing about the “Mormons,” and I have said, “What’s up? Are we getting wicked, that the world loves us?” And I almost wondered at it. The fact is we should live our religion, keep the commandments of God and observe all things required of us, and care nothing whatever what the world either says or does about us. “Well, but suppose they should get up armies and kill you?” If they do they will send us right straight to heaven; and our duty is to labor in this life as long as we can and do all the good in our power, and never flinch from the truth or the principles of eternity. If our enemies are permitted to kill us they ensure to us a martyr’s crown, and we go to glory celestial. I have heard of men so foolish as to jump overboard from Zion’s ship because they thought she was going to sink. Why, if she does we shall only sink with her, and the man who jumps overboard is sure to sink anyhow.

I know men who apostatized in Missouri just to save their property. We were told there, “If you ‘Mormons’ will renounce your religion, you can stay here on your farms.” I remember one man who stayed there just for that reason. I got a letter from him a short time ago. He professes to be a friend to the “Mormons;” but he apostatized from them for the sake of keeping his property. I could have stayed in Missouri, and President Young could have stayed there, if we would have renounced our “Mormonism,” and our faith in Joseph Smith as a prophet, in the ordinances of anointing the sick with oil and baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; but we knew these things were true, and we would not renounce them, and we had to leave what we had. Some called it a sacrifice. To be sure it was a pretty country and rich soil, and we had made handsome improvements, and were having many beautiful farms opened around us; and we were building towns and villages. But what were they when compared with our religion? We built them, and we knew how to build more; we had tried it twice in Missouri and in Illinois; and when they drove us again we thought that we would go into a country so wretched and miserable that no man on earth could want it. So we came right into the heart of the American Desert and built this place; and singularly enough, some say now, that this is too good a place for the “Mormons,” and they must drive us out.

Now, brethren, if we live our religion and are faithful to the Lord, we may escape the necessity of being driven again. It will not be a great while before many of us will take great pleasure in moving; because when the day comes that the Constitution of the United States becomes the supreme law of this land—the land of America, every man will be protected in His religious faith, and then we will go right back to Jackson County, and build a Temple, the most beautiful ever built on this continent or any other. We are going to do it, and the time is not far distant; and knowing this, our hearts do not cling in the least to any spot in the world any longer than is necessary to stay there to do our duty. When that day comes, and it will come, our countrymen will become so converted that their intolerance will cease and they will come to the conclusion that all men may enjoy their faith in the Supreme Being as they please without being interrupted. If we wait awhile, and are worthy, we will see this day and then we shall be able to go and build our Temple.

Now let us all be diligent and faithful and trust in the Lord and seek His protection; for it is worth all the protection a man can give a thousand times told. What can man do? He can kill the body. What else? That is the end of it, he has no further power. The principles of Mormonism cannot only destroy the body, but the soul and spirit; and they can confer the bliss of eternal glory and increase.

I do not expect to be permitted to address you again for some months. I expect to travel and visit the brethren in the southern country during the winter; shall probably visit some thirty-three settlements in our Dixie, and be absent several months. I wish to bear my testimony to the principles of the Gospel which have been revealed. I know these things are true. I don’t come here believing them simply, I know they are true, and that God has revealed them; and I also know that all the plans, powers and schemes of the wicked can never overthrow them. Distress may be brought upon individuals; and the fact is, that many of us, who have seemed to move along prosperously, and have surrounded ourselves in an incredibly short space of time with many of the comforts of life may cling too close to them and be unwilling to surrender them; and it may be necessary that we and the Lord should know by actual experiment whether we worship the things of this world more than we do the things of a better. It may be necessary for us to ask ourselves the question, and consider it thoroughly and carefully: “Do we love the Lord Jesus Christ, and his laws and the principles of his Gospel more than we love a piece of land, a little orchard, a garden, field, store, vineyard, ranch, or a herd of cattle, &c. How is it? Ask these questions, and if we do, it is time for us to repent, and we had better begin and make sacrifices. We had better contribute for the Temple, to help the poor and needy, &c. I remember, very well, reading of a man who came to the Savior, and said, “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” After the Savior had answered him he said, “All these things have I kept from my youth up.” The Savior replied, “Yet lackest thou one thing, go and sell all that thou hast and give to the poor and come and follow me.” And we are told that he went away sorrowful. Why? Because he had great possessions and could not part with them. Are we getting into that track? The Savior once remarked that it was very hard for a rich man to get into heaven. I do not pretend to quote these passages exactly, you are familiar with them. But we are told that it is a very hard matter for a rich man to get into heaven. That is the substance of it. Don’t let us get so rich that we can’t go there; and don’t let us get so poor that we can’t contribute our mite to help to roll on the work of God. I remember reading in the Proverbs of an individual who prayed the Lord not to make him either rich or poor. He didn’t want to be rich for fear he should get proud and forget the Lord; and if he became poor he was afraid he might steal and take the name of the Lord in vain. We don’t want to go to either extreme. The time is coming, and is not far hence, when the Latter-day Saints will get so much knowledge of the things of God that they will be able to bear wealth and control it, and use it to the glory of God; and when that time comes, to use a familiar expression, “the Lord will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon them that there will not be room to receive it.”

I ask my brethren and sisters to cultivate their minds. My counsel is sustain your Sunday schools; remember and send your children there, and go yourselves and act as teachers, and contribute the means necessary to carry them on. Remember also all the duties devolving upon us as Saints in the domestic circle. We are almost all ready to go on a mission to preach; we should not forget to preach in our houses, families and wards, and bear testi mony to the truth, and don’t let heathens grow up in our midst. Impress on the minds of your children their duties. You understand the law in relation to it. We are commanded to teach our children the principles of salvation, the doctrine of repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the principles of righteousness to that extent that when they reach a proper age, they will wish to be baptized. We are to set before them examples, precepts and teachings, that they may grow up without sin unto salvation. These are duties devolving upon us. And when any of our children rebel against us and turn to wickedness, for all have to have their trials and temptations, parents ought to ask themselves, “Have we done our duty?” You know it is said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Now, a very excellent way for parents to pursue with regard to their children, is to walk in that way themselves.

I bear my testimony to the principles of the Gospel, and I pray that the blessings of Heaven may be upon you; that you may be able to keep the faith, understand the law and abide in it, and roll on the great and glorious work. In a short season we shall be with you again, bearing our testimony, for we are determined to fulfil our calling and preach the Gospel, which was sealed upon our heads by Joseph Smith, by the commands of God. Bear testimony of the truths of salvation, and instruct the children of men; and there is no field in which greater good can be done in preaching and in missionary labor by the Elders of Israel than in Utah amongst the Latter-day Saints.

May the blessings of Israel’s God be upon you all is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Gathering the Poor—Religion a Science

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden City, Nov. 13, 1870.

While I attempt to speak to the people I would like their attention, and for them to keep quiet. I do not particularly object to the crying of children, but I do to the whispering of the people. I suppose that, if we were in the congregations of some of our Christian fellow countrymen, we would not hear any children crying. I believe they have none in some societies. I am very happy to hear the children crying when it is really necessary and they cannot be kept from it. One thing is certain, wherever we go there is a proof that the people are keeping the commandments of the Lord, especially the first one—to multiply and replenish the earth.

The first of my remarks this afternoon will consist of a petition. We are told to pray, and this is one of the practices that we consider absolutely necessary. We frequently offer prayers to kings, legislators, presidents, governors, etc.; but I am going to offer up a prayer to the Latter-day Saints and my prayer is simply—I beseech you, my brethren and sisters, in the name of the Lord, in the name of humanity, in the name of honor and for the sake of honor, justice and mercy, that you do listen and pay attention to the exhortation of my brother Joseph, delivered this morning, in behalf of our poor brethren in foreign lands. I might ask the Lord a thousand times over to deliver them from the oppression and poverty with which they are now surrounded, and He would not do it unless the means were provided; He will not do it without agents and agencies. He will not build balloons or come down with his chariots and pick up the poor in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Scandinavia, the islands of the sea, or any other parts of the globe where they dwell, and load up with them and their baggage and bring them to this land while He has given us the ability to gather ourselves and the poor. If the Latter-day Saints do not understand this, it is time they did. And when we pray the Lord to open the way for the gathering of the poor, we merely mean that He will operate upon the hearts of those who have the means, that they will be reasonable with themselves, their faith and covenants and the requirements of God and toward those who are members of the same family with us.

You heard the statement of Brother Joseph this morning, and there are a great many witnesses here, to the truth of what he said. When people are in poverty and in their low estate, when they are pinched with hunger and destitute of the clothing necessary to make them comfortable, how deeply they can feel for their friends! But place those very ones where they can have all they need to eat, of food that relishes and suits their appetite, and clothing enough to keep them warm and comfortable, and many of them will sit down and fold their hands, and if you speak to them about the wants of their poor brethren in foreign lands, and mention their own situation in former days, their reply will be: “Oh, I had forgotten all about that! Yes, I believe, now you mention it, that I have seen the time when I had not sufficient food to satisfy the demands of hunger, nor clothing to make me comfortable and respectable. But, dear me, I had forgotten all that, that was in the past, and I have plenty now, and, what is that you are saying?” “’Why, your brethren and sisters in foreign lands are suffering.” “What! Did you say that some of our brethren and sisters are suffering? I have enough to eat, and all the clothing I need to make me comfortable, and a pretty good cabin that I built myself, and I am in debt to no one and quite happy and comfortable; and I wish you would not trouble me about other people.”

This is the story and these are the feelings of some of the Latter-day Saints that have been gathered from the depths of poverty. I do not wish to chide them for their well doing, and neither do I nor my brethren require of them things that are unreasonable; but we are under obligations to our families, connections and friends, and then to the whole human family. We are not independent of them; we are not here isolated and alone, differently formed and composed of different material from the rest of the human race. We belong to and are part of this family, consequently we are under obligations one to another, and the Latter-day Saints in these mountains are under obligations to their brethren and sisters scattered in the nations who, through indigent circumstances, are unable to gather to themselves the comforts of life. No matter what may be the cause of their poverty, they are helpless and destitute. Could I pick out any in this congregation who have been in these circumstances? I presume I could, a few score.

Sometimes I am inclined to be silent rather than speak of facts that have come under my own observation. I have seen people in districts of country, where they were so destitute of the comforts of life that if they gave a meal to a friend they had to pinch themselves, perhaps, for a week, having barely sufficient to keep body and spirit together; and yet when these very individuals get into circumstances in which they are well fed and well clothed they forget their former lives.

There are certain things connected with what we see and know to be facts, that actually form principles, and resolve themselves into eternal principles; and if people could see and understand them they would be a benefit to them. But we are on the surface, or outlines of the facts concerning the Latter-day Saints. There are many of our brethren who have been born and brought up in America, who have never been called to pass through the ordeals of poverty that some of our people have in the old countries. A few of these American Elders, wanting in faith, honesty and integrity, while on foreign missions, have borrowed money from these impoverished people, with a promise to pay when they returned home; but these promises have not been observed. I do not know whether there are any such Elders here this afternoon; but, whether there is or not, I want to say to them, wherever they may be, that I have no fellowship for a man that will make a promise and not fulfil it, and especially under such circumstances as I am talking about now; and if there is such an Elder in this congregation I say omit partaking of the sacrament here today, and never cease your efforts until you pay that honest debt. I do not offer this as a petition, but as counsel, to be observed by all such individuals in the Church on the penalty of being disfellowshipped by the Saints. But to myself and all of you who are free from such obligations I pray you to listen to the prayers of those who are asking for deliverance; and I have a few words to say with regard to this matter on this wise: We have nothing but what has been given or loaned us of the Lord; and if we have our hundreds or thousands we may foster the idea that we have nothing more than we need; but such a notion is entirely erroneous, for our real wants are very limited. What do we absolutely need? I possess everything on the face of the earth that I need, as I appear before you on this stand. I am not hungry, but I am well fed; I am not cold, but I am well clothed. I am not suffering for a hat, for I have hair on my head, and when I go outdoors I have my hat to put on; and with these and a shelter to protect me from the scorching heat or the piercing cold I have everything that a man needs or can enjoy if he owned the whole world. If I were the king of the earth I could enjoy no more. When you have what you wish to eat and sufficient clothing to make you comfortable you have all that you need, I have all that I need. Some persons, I know, will ask, “Why not give the rest to the poor?” I will answer this question, as far as I am concerned, by saying I do give to the poor and am willing to.

If the poor had all the surplus property of the rich many of them would waste it on the lusts of the flesh, and destroy themselves in using it. For this reason the Lord does not require the rich to give all their substance to the poor. It is true that when the young man came to Jesus to know what he must do to be saved, he told him, finally, “sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me;” and a great many think that he told the young man to give away all that he had, but Jesus did not require any such thing, neither did he say so, but simply, “distribute to the poor.” If the poor knew what to do with what they have many, yea very many, in this land would have all that is necessary to make them comfortable. But it is different with the great majority of our friends over the water—they are fettered and bound, and in the prison of poverty, and have not power to extricate themselves from the thralldom and wretchedness they are in, and hence it becomes our duty to lend a helping hand and send for them.

Many of us may think that we have nothing we can spare; but the providences of God might speedily make us think otherwise. If the Lord were to let loose our enemies upon us! Let Him hiss for the fly, and whisper for the locust, and they would come here by myriads and eat up every green thing there is in these mountains; and when they were destroyed, if the Lord so willed it, they could commence on the people and the cattle and devour every living creature on the land. Do we know this? We might know and realize it. Then, if we had a little bread to eat we should be happy and contented, and in our poverty we would be willing to divide with and assist our poor brethren and sisters, and help to save them from starvation. But now the cry is, “I have a house, and I want my furniture! I have a farm, I want my teams and my wagons, and then I want a carriage and time to ride,” until the whole world is swallowed up by the few.

You will excuse me if I say a few words with regard to myself in these charitable sermons. What is my feeling today? The same as it has been for years concerning houses, lands and possessions. I say to the people, “If you will give me for my property half what it has cost me I will devote that means for the gathering of the poor and the building of Zion upon the earth, and will start again with nothing. I have done it before, and I am willing to do it again if the people will take my property on these terms, and the means, to the last dollar, shall be used to send for the poor if they apostatize the next year. They will not apostatize where they are now; you could not hire them to do it, you could not whip them to it; you cannot starve their religion out of them; but bring them here and give them houses and lands, horses and chariots, make merchants and traders of them, and give them our means, then some of them will apostatize, but not all. Some of them will apostatize for very little, it takes but few dollars; but they will not do it where they are. I would bring them here if they would apostatize, for they must have a chance to prove themselves before God and angels with regard to their integrity to and faith in the religion that we believe in.

Now, brethren and sisters, I pray you to remember the poor, and every time you feel like spending twenty-five or fifty cents in tea or coffee, liquor or tobacco, stay your hand and put that money into a safety or charitable fund to help to gather the poor. Brother Joseph has been pleading for them; I am giving you the plan. If we will leave off tea, coffee, liquor and tobacco and devote the means as I have requested, we shall bring the blessings of heaven to ourselves and bestow the blessings of earth upon our brethren and sisters, and we shall feel that comfort and consolation that we could not feel otherwise. Our hearts will rejoice, our food will be sweet to us, our dreams will be pleasant and our reflections will be filled with peace, comfort and consolation in the power of God. But if we shut up our bowels of compassion our condition will be exactly the reverse.

If the people will take this course towards their poor brethren and sisters it will relieve our hands at once. I suppose that there is a million of money now due the Perpetual Emigration Fund; by those who have been gathered who have not paid their arrearage. But we cannot get it. If we were to send an agent through the Territory to collect this indebtedness from these brethren and sisters, it would probably cost more to sustain him than the amount he would collect, consequently we conclude to say nothing about it, and to use the means we have or that is contributed for this purpose.

As for our being comfortable, I will venture to say that we could pick out, in this congregation, needless articles of dress that have cost several hundred if not thousands of dollars. I do not like to charge the ladies with extravagance, but how many yards of cloth does it take now to make a dress? If Brother Heber C. Kimball were here he would tell you he used to buy six yards of calico for his wife Vilate, who was a tall woman. That used to make a dress, and it was a pretty large pattern; then it got up to seven since my recollection, then to eight, then to nine, then to eleven, and I have been called upon to buy sixteen, seventeen and eighteen yards for a dress. I know there is a cause for this. My wife will say, “Dear me! Sister so and so wears such and such a thing, and I want to look as well as she does; and you have plenty of means, Brigham; O, yes, you have plenty of means, and you can buy it as well as not.” Well, all that I have said, and my general reply is, “If I am pressed to the necessity of indulging my family in these needless articles the responsibility must be upon themselves, not upon me.” I will not take that responsibility. In the day of reckoning if we are in debt and found wanting in consequence of our extravagance I will not bear any more responsibility than I have incurred in my own person in the gratification of this taste for needless articles of dress, and that will not be much I reckon.

Now, brethren and sisters, do you indulge in this taste for fashion and frivolity in dress? Most assuredly you do, and circumstances right before my eyes furnish proof of this. I will venture to say that my mother wore the cloak and hood that her mother before her wore, and wore them until the day of her death when she had occasion to wear a cloak; and when she left this place for the next apartment she was forty-nine years old; and they went to her daughter. I do not know what has become of them. She did not take a cloak worth twenty-five, thirty, forty or fifty dollars and sit down in it with a child with a piece of meat in each hand to grease it all over. But, now, let some women get a silk or satin dress and they will, perhaps, while wearing it, take up a child that has a piece of chicken in one hand and a piece of pork in the other, or a cup of milk to drink, and as likely as not some of it is spilled on the dress, and then they say, “Well, I declare my dress is spoiled.”

I recollect very well, and so do others in this room, when our fathers and mothers raised the flax and the wool, and when it was carded with handcards, spun on handwheels, and woven into cloth on handlooms, and in this way the wants of the family had to be supplied or they had to go without. But now every woman wants a sewing machine. What, for? To do her sewing. Well, but she can do a hundred times as much sewing with a machine as she could by hand, and she does not need a machine more than one day in two or three weeks. “O yes,” she says, “I want my sewing machine every day of my life.” “What are you going to do with it?” “I am going to sew;” and when the sewing machine is procured they want a hundred times as much cloth as they used to have. Now, too, they want a hired girl for every child; and a hired man to every cow in the yard. I will admit that I am extravagant in these expressions; but they show the present condition of affairs. The improvements which have taken place during the last half century in matters pertaining to domestic life are wonderful, but has not the extravagance of the people kept pace with these improvements? It is true that the people are getting wiser in some respects, and some are getting wealthy; but there is only so much property in the world. There are the elements that belong to this globe, and no more. We do not go to the moon to borrow; neither send to the sun or any of the planets; all our commercial transactions must be confined to this little earth and its wealth cannot be increased or diminished; and though the improvements in the arts of life which have taken place within the memory of many now living are very wonderful, there is no question that extravagance has more than kept pace with them.

We talk to the Latter-day Saints a great deal, and we wish them to become a thinking people, a people that will reflect and begin to systematize their lives, and know the object of their existence here. This life is as precious and valuable as any life ever possessed, or that ever will be possessed by any intelligent being, and hence the necessity and propriety of understanding its object and using it to the best advantage in every respect, and of understanding principle in all things.

It was observed here by Brother Taylor, this morning, when speaking of the arts and sciences, they are from eternity to eternity. They can neither be increased nor diminished; and the Lord has had to teach the people all that they know, no matter whether it be the wicked who acknowledge Him not, or the righteous, both are alike in that respect—they receive their knowledge from the same source. The construction of the electric telegraph and the method of using it, enabling the people to send messages from one end of the earth to the other, is just as much a revelation from God as any ever given. The same is true with regard to making machinery, whether it be a steamboat, a carding machine, a sailing vessel, a rowing vessel, a plow, harrow, rake, sewing machine, threshing machine, or anything else, it makes no difference—these things have existed from all eternity and will continue to all eternity, and the Lord has revealed them to His children.

In the infancy of creation the human family commenced down at the bottom of the ladder, and had to make their way upward. How small and frail that commencement looks now; why it is considered almost beneath the notice of the wise of this day to talk of the intelligence of our First Parents. When they waked from their sleep and found themselves in a state of nudity, we are told that they hid themselves, because they were ashamed and mortified and did not wish to expose themselves when the Lord came along. And he picked some fig leaves—what a simple idea! He picked some fig leaves and sewed them together and made aprons of them. I do not know whether he used scissors or His penknife for the cutting out of the garments, or what kind of a needle and thread He used, but he made aprons for the whole human family—Adam and Eve! What a simple idea! It is beneath the notice of the mechanic or artist, or the science of the world now-a-days. Yet simple as it seems now, the Lord had to reveal to our first parents the modus operandi of the manufacture of an apron of fig leaves. And when they wanted a little copper made up, after having found the ore, the Lord had to come along and show them how to do it; and how to manufacture the iron. How simple this is! It is beneath the notice of the intelligence and science that are in the world now; the scientific men of the present time say those were the days of ignorance. Yes, that was in the period of the childhood of the human family; in the infancy of the world. But what does it manifest unto us? Why that there is a Being superior to man, and though we may not know the place where He resides, He has come along occasionally and shown His creatures how to make and work up brass, iron, copper, and in fact has revealed to them everything they know at various stages of their development and progress.

The people of this day think they know more than all who have preceded them—that this is the wisest generation that ever did live on the earth. Perhaps it is in worldly things, and in some of the arts and sciences it may be; but there is no question that many things of great worth known anciently have been lost. Archaeological developments and investigations bring to light facts in the mechanical arts which set at defiance the skill of the world in our day. For instance, where is the mechanic now, who can sharpen copper so that it would shave the beard from a man’s face, or chop timber like an axe made of steel? The skill to do that is not in existence now; yet it once was, and many other arts, revealed to man anciently, have been lost through the wickedness of the people.

I want to say a few words about our religion, but first I will ask you to remember this prayer which I offered at the commencement of my remarks with regard to the poor. If you will do that, they will be looked after and brought home. Now we will talk a little about our religion. Ask the scientific men of the world how many of the arts can be reduced to a science? When they are so reduced they become permanent; but until then they are uncertain. They go and come, appear and disappear. When they are reduced to science and system their permanency and stability are assured. It is so with government—until it is reduced to a science it is liable to be rent asunder by anarchy and confusion, and caprice, and scattered to the four winds. Government, to be stable and permanent and have any show for success, must be reduced to a science. It is the same with religion; but our traditions are such that it is one of the most difficult things in the world to make men believe that the revealed religion of heaven is a pure science, and all true science in the possession of men now is a part of the religion of heaven and has been revealed from that source. But it is hard to get the people to believe that God is a scientific character, that He lives by science or strict law, that by this He is, and by law He was made what He is; and will remain to all eternity because of His faithful adherence to law. It is a most difficult thing to make the people believe that every art and science and all wisdom comes from Him, and that He is their Author. Our spirits are His: He begot them. We are His children; He set the machine in motion to produce our tabernacles; and when men discard the principle of the existence of a Supreme Being, and treat it with lightness, as Brother Taylor says, they are fools. It is strange that scientific men do not realize that all they know is derived from Him; to suppose, or to foster the idea for one moment, that they are the originators of the wisdom they possess is folly in the highest! Such men do not know themselves. As for ignoring the principle of the existence of a Supreme Being, I would as soon ignore the idea that this house came into existence without the agency of intelligent beings.

Well, the Latter-day Saints are beginning to comprehend that true religion is a science; and their religion consists of principles, law and order, and they acknowledge God in all things; and the time will come when every knee will bow and every tongue confess to and acknowledge Him, and when they who have lived upon the earth and have spurned the idea of a Supreme Being and of revelations from Him, will fall with shamefacedness and humble themselves before Him, exclaiming, “There is a God! O, God, we once rejected Thee and disbelieved Thy word and set at naught Thy counsels, but now we bow down in shame and we do acknowledge that there is a God, and that Jesus is the Christ.” This time will come, most assuredly. We have the faith of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. It is not a frenzied, frantic idea, like the systems of religion invented by men. We have ceremonies, but there is life in those ceremonies; and our religion has organization, body and soul. The religious systems of men have a kind of organization, and seemingly they will build a body, but they have no soul, and some seem to have a soul without a body, but it is like their god, it cannot be found.

We reason with and try to convince the Latter-day Saints that they should live their religion so that God is in all their thoughts and reflections, and they should acknowledge Him in their daily walk and conversation and business transactions as well as in their prayers. Each of us should continually feel, and live so as to have it so. “God must be with me and I must have His Spirit with me under all circumstances.” How many are there of our Elders who carry out their religion in all the affairs of life? Set them to merchandising, for instance, and Brother John, William or Caleb will say, “You set me here at merchandising, and my mind is altogether occupied with my business. I have to lay my plans, and do my best to make my business successful, and I have not time to pray and seek unto the Lord; I have not got the spirit of preaching, and do not call upon me to preach, I cannot do it, I have to attend to this store.” I say it is almost impossible to get it into the mind of a business man that he needs God with him in carrying on his business. Says he, “I must do this by my natural ability; my business qualities must be brought into exercise, and that is all I want.” To persons who feel thus I say, Stop and think! Hold on! Do you know how to buy goods? “Yes,” Mr. Merchant says, “I think I understand goods as well as any man.” Where did you get your knowledge, can you tell me? “Oh, I got that from practice. I have learned, as soon as I touch a piece of broadcloth, linen, or cotton cloth, to tell its quality without ever looking at the fabric; I can tell instantly by the touch of the finger. I have got this by practice.” Very good, we will say you did. Did you plant that ability in your finger, and which gives sensibility to your nervous system from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet, which is the foundation of the knowledge you have acquired by practice? Acquired or practical knowledge is one thing, but natural or internal knowledge is the foundation of practical or acquired knowledge, and without this in the soul no being could acquire it any more than this stand, not one particle more. Now, Mr. Merchant, that is the secret of your acquired knowledge or skill. Then acknowledge it, manly, honestly, uprightly, firmly, and positively, and give God the praise and honor, for to Him they belong.

Do you need anything more than this innate ability to acquire knowledge to guide you and to ensure success in your business? Yes, you do. They say when a person preaches experience, the facts are not easily got over. I am going to tell Mr. Merchant what he needs. You take a man who conducts his business on his own resources, and however well he may lay his plans his business frequently fails on his hands and he becomes bankrupt; for he cannot foresee what is going to transpire in the markets. “Well, how are you going to prevent such mishaps?” You need the Spirit of the Lord to enable you to foresee. This is what is needed when you buy goods, where you trade and do business; you need the spirit of revelation to be with you. We frequently hear our merchants say they cannot do business and then go into the pulpit to preach. I will say that there is not a merchant in this Territory who attends to as much of what is called worldly business, or temporal things, as I do, yet I can afford to preach several times each week, and say my prayers as long as I wish to. Now, if I preach experience, who can controvert it? If anyone does not believe my statement, let him live with me and he will soon learn that a pressure of business that will take a merchant a week to think about, I know the moment it is mentioned to me. I see and understand it from beginning to end, and I say, at once, “Do thus and so,” “Go yonder,” or “Take such and such a course;” but I need the Spirit of the Lord continually to guide and dictate me in business pertaining to farms, merchandising, mining, missions, buying, selling, etc., etc.; and the more I have to do the more revelation I need, and the more acute my spirit must become.

It is a great mystery to many people, and especially to strangers, how I have preserved myself. My life depends upon the Spirit of the Lord, although my body gets sometimes a little out of order, and it is very probable my stomach will ache pretty bad after this loud talking, for I am neither iron nor immortal. But a great many marvel at my preservation. I have revealed the secret a great many times, and can now—I never worry about anything. I try to live so as to know my business and understand my duty, and to do it at the moment without a long study. If ever I am in the least bothered with anything that comes before me it is in some frivolous case, trying to give counsel and advice to an individual without doing any mischief. If they want to do right, regardless of self or the world, it is no trouble to tell them what to do. And I say to a farmer or a merchant, if you want to live so as to prolong your days, never worry about anything; but have the Spirit of the Lord so as to know what to do, and when you have done or counseled right never fret about the result. It is in the hands of the Lord, and He will work out the problem, and you need not be at all afraid of the matter. And this is true of all the acts of the children of men. The Lord has constituted us rational beings, and our volition is free to choose good or evil, just as we will; but when we have followed out our choice the Lord will overrule the result of our acts—it is in His hands and He will bring it out to suit Himself, and He will make the wrath of man praise Him. When men undertake, as we see them occasionally, to interrupt every movement of the kingdom of God, and lay their plans, and have the train well laid in their own minds, for the destruction of the kingdom, the first thing they know they are in the mud and the Saints are thrown up. We have seen this scores of times. It is just so in the world. Men may propose, but God will dispose according to His good will and pleasure.

I want to say to the Latter-day Saints, and to those who are not Saints, we have faith in God, and we have a reason for it. Every character who has declared himself to be God, except the one we serve, has failed and been foiled in his calculations; he has come short in his plans and been put to shame. There is no question but foul spirits have declared themselves to be deities; we have history to this effect. But they have come off in shame. But the Lord is our God and it is He whom we serve; and we say to the whole world that He is a tangible Being. We have a God with ears, eyes, nose, mouth; He can and does speak. He has arms, hands, body, legs and feet; He talks and walks; and we are formed after His likeness. The good book—the Bible, tells us what kind of a character our Heavenly Father is. In the first chapter of Genesis and the 27th verse, speaking of the Lord creating men, it reads as plain as it can read, and He created man in His own image and likeness; and if He created Adam and Eve in His own image, the whole human family are like Him. This same truth is borne out by the Savior. Said he, when talking to his disciples: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” and, “I and my Father are one.” The Scripture says that He, the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with His train; I do not know who they were, unless His wives and children; but at any rate they filled the Temple, and how many there were who could not get into the Temple I cannot say. This is the account given by Isaiah, whether he told the truth or not I leave everybody to judge for himself.

The Bible also says the Lord talked with Moses; He talked with the rich and the poor, the noble and the ignoble. He sent His angels, and at last sent His Son, who was in the express image of the Father–His Only Begotten Son, according to the flesh, here on this earth. That is the God we serve and believe in. He is a God of system, order, law, science, and art; a God of knowledge and of power. He says to the human family, “Do as you please, but I will overrule the results of your actions.” He says to the wicked, “You may fight these Latter-day Saints, but they are my people, I have called them, and commanded them to come out of Babylon and to gather themselves together. You, wicked world, may fight them; you may lay your plans and schemes, but with all your machinations and wisdom I will show you that I am greater than you all, and I will put you to shame, and blast your expectations, and disappoint your calculations, and your attempts to injure my people will be foiled; for Zion shall arise, her glory shall be seen, and the kings of the earth shall enquire of the wisdom of Zion; and God shall be great, and His name shall be terrible among the inhabitants of the earth; and He will bring forth His kingdom and establish His government, and Jesus will come and rule, King of nations, as he does King of Saints.” We have law, we have rule, we have regulations; and they are here, they are written and published to the world. They are in the Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and we call upon all the earth, the rich and the poor, to hearken unto these things! Who will receive them? Not many rich, not many noble, not many great men of the earth; but the poor of this world the Lord has chosen, and He will make them rich, and they will be heirs of the earth. But they will be heirs with pure hearts, not with that covetousness we see manifested now. When we are prepared to receive the kingdom in its purity, and to honor its laws and principles in our lives, just so soon the Lord Almighty will bestow upon us strength, power, wisdom, glory, riches and honor, and all the good things that pertain to His kingdom; and the Lord will be great among the people, and they will revere and acknowledge His name.

God bless you brethren and sisters, Amen.

Our Traditions—Receiving Counsel

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden City, Nov. 13, 1870.

The instructions which we have heard from our brethren, this morning and afternoon, are calculated to benefit every one of us, if we have listened attentively and are disposed to treasure them up in our hearts; but that is the great difficulty with us as individuals and as a people. We hear so much good instruction that it is apt to pall upon us, like persons who have plenty of food; they sometimes eat to satiety and lose their appetite, their food does not relish as it did when they were pinched with hunger and did not have such abundance. I do not know that you ever have that feeling here in Ogden; it is a feeling that no Latter-day Saints should have. In fact, there is this peculiarity about the truth, as it is preached by the servants of God—the more it is listened to the more it is sought after and cultivated, and the more precious and sweet is its influence upon the hearts of those who take this course. But where there is indifference and formality, and people don’t seek, as Brother Heber used to say, to dig down to the roots, it may in such cases become wearisome and fail to have the effect it should have. But when I look at the progress that the brethren and sisters are making I feel gratified. There are times, perhaps, when I feel as others do—that we are not making the progress that we should do; that we are more careless and harder in our hearts and less under the influences of the Holy Spirit and the counsels of the servants of God than we should be. This is my feeling sometimes; but when I look calmly at the Saints, and consider the many difficulties with which they have to contend and the vast amount of tradition that has to be uprooted and overcome, I am gratified at the progress which they make, and feel comforted in the prospects that are before us, and before the Zion of God with which we are connected.

It is these traditions that we have to contend with that are so difficult for us to overcome, that interfere so seriously with the progress of the people in the things of God. They cling more closely to us than many of us imagine, and it is only when the Spirit of God rests upon us and we realize its power to a greater extent that we can understand and comprehend the power of tradition over our minds and conduct. This is the great obstruction to the teachings of the Elders and to the reception of and obedience to counsel; and that prevents the people being united as the heart of one man. It is this which prevents us entering upon the more perfect order that God has revealed, and that gives our enemies more power in our midst than they otherwise would have. It should be the aim of every one of us to seek, as far as possible, to put these things away from us. It is our privilege to have power from God, to have sufficient faith bestowed upon us through His Holy Spirit, to overcome these traditions. The writers in the Book of Mormon, in speaking of the veil of darkness that rested upon the minds of the people, alluded to it as a veil which can be rent asunder by the exercise of faith and by the blessing of God upon His Saints. There is a veil over our minds in consequence of the Fall, and our being shut, as it were, through that, from the presence of God. He can see us, but to us He is invisible, and we can know Him only through His Holy Spirit, as He reveals Himself to us from time to time. In consequence of this the adversary has great power over the hearts of the children of men; and it is only by exercising faith, by seeking earnestly for that Spirit which He bestows, that we are enabled to counteract this darkness and the influence which Satan seeks to exercise over our hearts.

I rejoice in one fact which God has revealed; it comforts my heart when I think of our condition and circumstances and of His kingdom, and that is that we live in the day when, according to the words of the prophets and according to the revelations which God has given to us in this dispensation, the power of Satan is becoming less and less, and the power of God is to increase and to be made more and more manifest, to the exposing of the works of darkness and to the breaking of the yoke which the enemy of all righteousness seeks to fasten upon the minds and understandings of the children of men.

It is a glorious thought for us to reflect upon that we live in a day and at a time in which God has promised to exercise His power in our behalf; when He and Jesus and the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect are all engaged with us in hastening the great work of redemption, and in banishing from the earth the power of evil which has so long held it in thralldom. God has given us this promise, and if we will labor with the zeal and industry which should characterize His Saints in carrying out His purposes He will bestow upon us every blessing that we need, and will give us power, as I have said, to overcome our traditions, to see the things of God in their true light, and to behold the truth in all its splendor and beauty.

There is one great truth that we have to learn. Brother Carrington alluded to it in his remarks; and all the Elders allude to it more or less when addressing the Saints, and that is, that the Gospel offers every advantage to those who obey and are faithful to it that God can bestow upon His children. There is no advantage to be gained outside of this Church or outside this Gospel; there is no blessing that we can seek for or desire, or that would be proper for us to receive under our present circumstances that we cannot obtain inside the Gospel, or inside the truth; or that we can obtain outside the Gospel, or by departing from the servants of God. You may let your minds run, if you please, over all there is pertaining to the earth and man, or that will contribute to the happiness of man on the earth, and you cannot conceive of any blessing or advantage that is not within your reach legitimately, if you pursue the path God has marked out and by abiding the counsels He makes known from time to time.

A great many do not comprehend this; and this is one of the traditions that we have to contend with, and it arises from the lack of faith in our hearts, and the unbelief that we have received from our forefathers. And we have to contend with it when counsel is given to us in relation to our temporal circumstances and other matters. It is frequently the case that we cannot see any particular advantage in that counsel; it does not strike us favorably. We imagine that some other course would be better for us to pursue, and that by adopting some other line of policy or conduct greater advantages would accrue unto us. But we have to learn, if we have not already learned it, that obedience to counsel is the policy for us to pursue; and that when we indulge in thoughts of an opposite character we suffer ourselves to be led astray by the power of the adversary. Hence it has become almost proverbial among the Saints that the path of counsel is the path of safety. Those who have had years of experience in the Church have arrived at the conclusion that the path marked out for us to walk in by those who have authority to counsel and dictate is invariably the path of safety to those who adopt it. But our traditions interfere with this.

You look back over the policy that has been taught us for the past few years. I refer more particularly to this because, having been at home in the midst of the Saints, I have been more familiar with the counsels given. I can cast my eyes back for that time, and see, and doubtless you can when you reflect upon it, that there have been many items of counsel given that the Saints have been reluctant to obey or adopt, and which, if they had been carried out in the spirit in which they were given, would have resulted in great advantage to us as a people, and doubtless as individuals. I will refer to one item, that has been talked about a great deal—namely, sustaining our enemies. Now it seems that a moment’s reflection on this point would satisfy every individual that the policy foreshadowed in this counsel was the best that could be adopted by a people surrounded with such circumstances as those surrounding us. But how difficult it has been to induce the people to carry that counsel out; why it has been so difficult that in some instances men have actually run the risk of losing their standing in the Church of Jesus Christ rather than forego the gratification of traditions and desires, which, seemingly, have taken entire possession of them—namely, to do as they please in relation to these matters.

Now, as I have said, a moment’s reflection ought to satisfy everybody that this is the true course for us to pursue; that if we intend to build up the Zion of God and to become a great people, it is essential that we should concentrate our means in one channel; that we should sustain those who are friendly to and whose whole interest is centered in the cause of Zion; and that, instead of spending our means in fostering a power in our midst that is opposed to the work of God, we should be willing, rather than do this, to forego what may seem to be an advantage to us, and even deprive ourselves of comforts and submit to privation if necessary to carry out this policy. If our minds were not blinded by tradition we should see at once that it would be an advantage to us as a people to put our means in one direction, and not allow it to go outside the kingdom of God any more than it is absolutely necessary; and that we should never use the influence which God has given us, or the means which He has bestowed upon us to foster or maintain any man or anything that is opposed to His cause. Why, the security that we have here in these mountains depends upon our taking this course to a very great extent.

We are engaged, as has been remarked, in a warfare. The enemy that we have to oppose is one that does not relent in the least degree; he does not yield or show the least sign of mercy or even to give us fair play; but continually shows a disposition to crowd us to the wall and take every advantage, and to overwhelm us in every possible manner. God has brought us to this land; He has given it unto us and has made it a blest land for our sakes. He has sustained us in a wonderful manner for a great many years, and has given unto us the means whereby we could surround ourselves with those things necessary for our convenience and comfort. For long years the effort has been incessant on the part of God’s servants to induce us to become a self-sustaining people. Now that the railway is completed we can see God’s Spirit and His wisdom in this, impelling His servants to dwell upon this theme. Year after year, conference after conference, and meeting after meeting were the Saints instructed and continually urged to establish home manufactures, and to develop the resources which they had in their own midst, so that they might become self-sustaining. There was a providence in this. As I now view it, I can see its force more clearly than ever, although I always saw the force and necessity of the counsel; but now that events have worked out the results that we see around us, I can see the propriety in God inspiring His servants to give this counsel so many years ago. He could see in His divine wisdom that a day was coming when we should be, so to speak, overwhelmed, or when attempts would be made to overthrow us, and when there would be a greater necessity, apparently, than at that day, that we should be able to sustain ourselves, and to keep our means within ourselves, and not be under the necessity of fostering those from abroad who might come amongst us to acquire fortunes from our means and labors. For years has counsel on these subjects been reiterated in our ears, and scarcely a meeting has been held by the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, or any of the Elders of Israel in which this subject has not been prominently dwelt upon, the Elders feeling in their spirit and in their entire being that it was essentially important that the Latter-day Saints should carry out this policy strictly. We can now begin to see, if this counsel had not been given, and the Saints had continued to spend their money with anybody and everybody, no matter if it were the greatest enemy of the kingdom of God, what would have been our position today. Our enemies would have been in our midst, numbering hundreds where they now only number tens; and the efforts to disintegrate the kingdom of God might have been attended with a degree of success, whereas they have been entirely abortive.

You may trace the counsels that have been given to us from the beginning, one step following another in natural order and succession; one principle leading to another, and one important truth engendering, as it were, another important truth, revealing it and bringing it more forcibly home to our minds, until finally cooperation and its necessity have been brought to our attention and enforced upon us. Here tradition has come up again and has had its effect; and it has required days, weeks, and it may be said years of preaching to bring this principle home to the minds of the Latter-day Saints, so that they could see and understand its beauty and propriety, and the advantages which would result from its adoption in our midst. If we had not these traditions to contend with, cooperation would be sustained with hardly a dissentient. We should grasp the idea at once, and see beauty in it. We would say, “That is a principle I can recognize; I see its force and its advantages, and I am ready to adopt it and carry it out.” But no, there are these traditions; there is this unbelief, this reluctance on the part of the people to part with their old systems and to adopt the principles of the Gospel and the revelations of Jesus Christ, as they are given unto us. There is that terrible tradition, that has such strong hold of all our minds, that the Priesthood of God and the religion of Jesus Christ have nothing to do particularly with temporal matters. It is a tradition almost as old as Christianity. It has come down to us for generations and centuries, and is fully interwoven in the hearts, minds and feelings of the children of men, and it is an exceedingly difficult thing to get them to comprehend that temporal things and spiritual things are alike in the sight of God; that there is no line of demarcation between the two; that the religion of Jesus Christ applies to one as much as another, and comprehends within its scope, temporal equally with spiritual matters.

This has made it difficult to enforce upon us the necessity of practically carrying out the principle of cooperation. “O,” say men, “that is a temporal matter, pertaining merely to the buying and selling of goods; it is not particularly connected with life and salvation or with eternal glory in the kingdom of God.” But there they mistake. I look upon that principle, though it may be subordinate in some respects, as divine, as coming through revelation, and as necessary in its place as any other principle that can be mentioned which is connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are all alike to me—all alike necessary and divine. Divine wisdom has prompted their practice, and has inspired the servant of God who presides and whom God has chosen to be His mouthpiece in our midst, to reveal them, one as much as another, unto us as a people.

When we have practiced this principle long enough, and are sufficiently advanced in it, there are other principles, now ahead, which we shall be prepared to enter upon and practice. But we must get rid of this tradition that envelopes us and which lies in our pathway, and which is so serious an obstacle to our progress. As fast as we overcome our traditions there will be other principles revealed to us, and thus it will go on, law after law and principle after principle being revealed until we shall be prepared to enter into the glory of our God, and to dwell in the presence of God and the Lamb.

It is essentially necessary then, in view of these things, that we should exercise faith. Our minds should be drawn out and our faith exercised. It may be but little in the beginning. As the Prophet Alma said, when addressing the people on one occasion, and referring to the word of the Lord, it was like seed planted in the heart; its influence and effect at first were not very powerful; but if it were planted in the heart, by and by it began to germinate and grow and the possessor of it said, “Why it is a good seed, I feel it growing!” And if it were nourished, and cherished it would continue to grow until, to use a figure, it would become a great tree, and fill the whole man with light, knowledge and wisdom, and with the gifts and qualifications necessary to make him perfect before the Lord. Our faith may be small in the beginning, but if we cultivate it, it will grow; if we do not it will die out, noxious weeds will spring up and choke it. But if we exercise it as we should, the veil of darkness that separates us from God, and which prevents us comprehending the things of His kingdom, will grow thinner and thinner, until we see with great distinctness and clearness the purposes of God our heavenly Father, and comprehend them as He designs we should, and carry them out in our lives.

This should be our aim as a people and as individuals, every day living so near to God that we shall have more of His Spirit and power, and more of the gifts and endowments of the holy Gospel of the Son of God. If we take and continue in this course we shall feel and understand that we are progressing in the knowledge of God and in the comprehension of truth. And let me tell you, my brethren and sisters, if we thus live, when counsel is given, no matter what it may be, or what principle it may refer to, it will be plain and simple, and as clear unto our minds as the light we now see; and our understandings will be enlightened by it and we shall see beauty in it. If it be to stop trading with our enemies, we will adopt it. We shall feel, “That principle is true, it recommends itself to my understanding; the Spirit of God bears witness to my spirit that it is true, and I will adopt it.” And then, after awhile, when cooperation is taught unto us we will receive that also in a like spirit and faith; and if our minds are possessed of the Spirit of God we will say, “There is light in this principle; I see its advantages, I will sustain it by carrying it out myself, and I will try and exercise influence with my friends and induce them to do the same, that it may become universally practiced in the midst of the Saints.” It will be thus, if we live our religion, not only with every principle that God has revealed, but that He may hereafter reveal. We shall know for ourselves concerning them; they will be plain and simple and in harmony with our feelings. There will be no disturbance of mind, no difficulty in carrying them out. This will go on under the leadership of him whom God has chosen to be our guide, and we shall progress step by step, week by week, gaining power, knowledge, influence, territory and wealth, until we shall emancipate this land and redeem it from the thralldom of sin and from the power of Satan; and the kingdom of Satan will recede before the light, faith and power of the Saints of the kingdom of God.

This is the work in which we are engaged. It is not a work to occupy our attention for one day, and then have it diverted from it for a week; but it is the work of our entire lifetime, all that we have to do. It is a mission that God has given to us here on earth. We can’t be engaged in anything more noble than this work, for it is the work of God—a work in which He, Himself, is engaged—a work that occupies the attention and labors of Jesus, and every holy apostle, prophet, and Saint that has ever lived on the earth. These things are not gained without exertion; they require industry, zeal and attention on our part; and when we thus bestow attention on the work in which we are occupied, why God is with us, angels around about us, the heavens are open to us, the Spirit of God is poured out upon us, and our lives are a pleasant flowing stream, full of peace, joy and heaven. We feel that we have heaven indeed, here below; and wherever we go we carry this holy influence with us and diffuse it around us; and thus the power of Satan is weakened on the earth, and the power of God is increased.

There are some of the brethren and sisters, doubtless, who cannot see these things in this light. You will hear them very frequently say, “I cannot see this counsel, I can’t comprehend it, it don’t strike me;” but there is no fault in the counsel. They would, by their words, reflect on the counsel; they would convey the idea to those who listen to them, that there is something at fault; they are right, but the counsel is wrong. Now, it may be given as a rule, I believe, to the Latter-day Saints, that in every such case, whether it be man or woman, he or she has got to repent and seek unto the Lord for faith and for the light of His Holy Spirit to be given unto them.

How was it with us when we first heard the truth? Oh! How sweet and delightful the sound of the Elder’s voice when he proclaimed that God had spoken from the heavens; that angels had come to the earth again, and that the holy Priesthood was bestowed upon men! How sweet, when he said that the Church was organized with its ancient power and purity and pristine fullness; that the Holy Ghost, with its wealth of gifts, and blessings, had been bestowed upon men! How was it with those who were prepared for these tidings when they heard them proclaimed? Their hearts burned within them and they were filled with joy when the testimony of the truth came to them; and when other principles were taught unto them, O, the joy that filled them in listening to them, and they knew by the testimony of Jesus and by the Spirit and power of God that rested upon them that these things were true! They could get up in their meetings and testify “I know this is true.” When they heard the gathering preached they had the testimony that it was true; and some had it before it was preached. They knew it was from God and that God established His Zion, and their hearts burned at the thought that they would soon be with the Saints of God in Zion. They yearned for the land of Zion and for the society of the people of God. This was their testimony, and they had it in the States, Europe, Africa, Asia, islands of the sea, and in every land where the Gospel has been preached and the people have been prepared to receive it.

This has been the testimony, and if this spirit has continued to rest upon them every principle that has been taught has been plain and delightful to them. Is not this our experience, brethren and sisters? We can all bear testimony to it. Then whence come this darkness and these doubts respecting counsel? Whence comes this query about cooperation? Whence comes this distrust about other counsel in relation to temporal matters? Why, it is very easy to understand whence it comes and what its origin is. It can be traced to neglect of duty, to the hardening of the heart, to the indulgence of a spirit of unbelief, to the neglect of prayer, to becoming selfish and sordid, and to the commission of sin. There are causes for all this, for let me tell you, and testify to you today, that the Latter-day Saint who lives near to God, and has the Spirit of God constantly resting upon him or her, never has any doubts about any principle that God has revealed. When the gathering was taught they were prepared for it; when the payment of tithing was taught they were prepared for it; when consecration was taught they were prepared for it; when the move South was taught they were prepared for it; when the move back was taught they were prepared for it; when celestial marriage was taught they were prepared for it; when the word came, “Cease to trade with our enemies,” they were prepared for it; and when cooperation was taught they were prepared for it. There was no doubt in their minds, because the same Spirit that taught them that this was the truth in the beginning, and that God had spoken from the heavens, taught them also that all these things were true. But when you have doubts respecting counsel given by the servants of God, then be assured, my brethren and sisters, there is room for repentance; we are not living as near to God as we should do; we have not the Spirit of God as we once had it, and we should seek unto God with full purpose of heart, that the light of His Spirit may be bestowed upon us again. Then, when the servant of God stands up and teaches us concerning the things of the kingdom, his words will find a lodging place in our hearts; his counsels will be clear and sweet unto us, and there will be no dubiety, no distress, neither any disposition to repel these counsels or to feel offended at them. And if the word come to us to go on a foreign mission, to go to “Dixie,” to Bear Lake, or any other place to perform this or that labor, we shall be ready to obey, for the Spirit will reveal to us beforehand what we have to do and prepare us for its performance.

These are the privileges of the Latter-day Saints. I talk not of something that is theory, or away off, or that happened years ago; I talk not of that which is out of our reach, but I speak of that which is within our reach, within the reach of all: it is practical. We can obtain and possess and enjoy it; and if we do not, we do not live up to our privileges as Latter-day Saints. O! I feel sometimes, I wish I had the tongue of an angel to proclaim to the children of men the glad tidings of salvation that God has revealed to us in the day in which we live. This blessed time! This time of times, when God in His mercy has restored His Church to the earth, and has given us prophets and Apostles and the Holy Ghost and its gifts; and in His great mercy has brought us to this land, where we can dwell in peace, where we can go out and in before the Lord without any to molest or make us afraid.

My brethren and sisters, what blessed privileges we do enjoy when compared with the Saints in former days; and even when compared with our own circumstances in the early history of the Church, what blessed privileges God has given us in this glorious land! We have rulers of our own choice—men whom God has chosen; we have the voice of God in our midst, so that we need not walk in darkness and doubt. There is no uncertainty in all the land of Zion concerning the purposes of God. It need not be said of us as it was of Israel, “There is no Urim and Thummim; there is no dream or vision, and no prophet in the land.” We have the prophet of God; we have the visions of the Almighty; we have the Spirit of God descending upon us like sweet dew; we have the gifts of the Spirit of God; we have the Gospel in the fulness and plenitude of its power. We have all this, and we have the promises of God concerning us and our posterity; and, as I have said, we have this glorious land of freedom and liberty, where we can build up the kingdom of God in power and great glory; where we can be a free people, if we so choose. If this is not the case, it is because we are wicked, because we disobey counsel; because we harden our hearts and have placed ourselves in a position to be scourged. It is not God’s will that we should be, or that our enemies should have power over us. It is His good will and pleasure to give unto us the kingdom and dominion, and to strengthen and uphold us.

Let us then be faithful! Let us live day by day, from morning until night, in the moments of business and when perplexed with its cares, with our thoughts on the kingdom, and our prayers ascending to the God of our fathers, yea, unto our Father, for His blessings upon us; and that He may fill us with His spirit and prepare us for the things that await us, and help us to be faithful even unto the end.

That we may all be thus faithful and overcome, and be counted worthy to sit down with our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with all the holy ones in the presence of God and the Lamb, and be crowned with glory, immortality and endless lives, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Gospel and the Things of the World—Consistency—Works As Well As Faith—The Word of Wisdom

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden City, Nov. 12, 1870.

In rising before you this evening I desire an interest in your prayers that I may be able to speak to our mutual edification. I realize, most truly, in my own experience, that it is a very difficult matter to rise before a congregation of Saints and preach the Gospel without the assistance of God’s Spirit; I do not feel capable of doing it, and I therefore pray that that Spirit may be enjoyed by us who are here this evening. I feel that we have had a good and profitable time today, if we can but treasure up the instructions which have been given. But the great difficulty is—we are too careless, listless and unconcerned in relation to what is taught us from time to time; we do not weigh, with that thought and care that we should do, the instructions and counsels which we receive. We allow other things to occupy our minds; the cares of the world, the desire for gain, the anxiety to promote our own interests and to provide for the necessities of life choke out the word of God to some extent. This is too much so with the Latter-day Saints, and it is pre-eminently so with the world at large. They do not believe the Gospel when they are taught it, which is the reason that our Elders meet with so little success abroad. The world has grown so indifferent to the Gospel, that it is almost impossible to excite inquiry regarding it. Perhaps one cause of this is that there has been too much teaching and too many varieties of it, and the minds of the people are unsettled and filled with speculation regarding the principles of salvation. They see men preaching various doctrines, hence they conclude that they who claim to be ministers and presume to preach have neither the authority to do so, nor the spirit of the Gospel, the knowledge of the truth or the testimony of Jesus, and they are losing confidence in them. People who reflect cannot do otherwise, for, however much the various gospels are taught to the people, nothing but dissatisfaction, doubt and disappointment result therefrom. There is no prospect, to all earthly appearance, of their ever arriving at a knowledge of the truth; in fact, the Christian world today are in exactly the position described by the ancient Apostle—they have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof;“ and “they are ever learning, but never come to the knowledge of the truth.”

But while this is the condition of the world, why should we, who have received the Gospel, as revealed in our day through Joseph Smith, sink to a level with them in our faith and actions? Having received the Gospel, it is our privilege to receive the testimony of the same; and if we have not, it is our own fault, for it is promised freely to every man and woman who will obey it; and there is not a son or daughter of Adam with common reason, but he or she is entitled to a perfect knowledge of the Gospel of salvation upon rendering obedience to its requirements; and if all who do so do not receive the promised blessings, it is their own fault, and not the fault of the Gospel or its Originator. The Gospel plan is broad and ample, and its Author has promised that they who seek shall find, and to them that knock the door shall be opened. James, the Apostle, says, “If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” This is well known in the world, for the Scriptures are read there, and they are aware of the existence of these promises; and I presume that many of them endeavor to ask for what they need in conformity with the teachings of the Scriptures; for they do certainly realize, to some extent, that they need wisdom and understanding which they have not, and which seems out of their power to obtain. But why do they not get what they ask for? The promise is very pointed, and is given in language that cannot be mistaken. James explains this. Says he, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.” “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” But he who asks in a proper manner, who humbles himself before the Lord like a little child before its earthly parent, and is willing to trust in God, and comes before him doubting nothing, that man, or that woman, will receive what he or she shall ask for. God has said it; He has promised it by the mouths of His servants, the Prophets and the Apostles, and the promise is sure and unfailing; and if there is any fault, it is on our part, and through our own lack of faith, meekness and humility before the Lord.

The Apostle James says that “ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” We may ask blessings of the Lord, from now to all eternity, and if we ask with pride and ambition in our hearts, and with a desire to increase our worldly possessions for our own aggrandizement, God will not grant what we ask. Hence the necessity of learning how to approach our Creator, and of asking Him according to the way He has appointed.

When we meet together it is for the purpose of listening and being instructed and uniting our hearts in prayer to God, not as individuals, but as a community, that by our combined supplications we may obtain from His hands that which we need. We do not come together, as some do, to admire fashionable attire; but we meet to worship God, and to be instructed regarding the principles of salvation, that we may be strengthened and encouraged in the prosecution of the labors devolving upon us, in overcoming the evils of our own fallen natures and bringing ourselves into subjection to the law of God. Those who come together for this purpose will receive their reward.

There are evils in the midst of Israel as well as in the world, arising from pride and neglect of duty. Many have no anxiety for anything but the things of the world. A man, for instance, has a farm and flocks, and they engross his whole time and attention. If he does take a little time to rest from his toils in the field and attends meeting, he comes drowsy and thoughtless, and leaves no better than when he came. He has learned nothing; in fact he did not come to be taught. He came, perhaps, simply because it was customary, or because some of his family or neighbors came, and not because he felt any interest in being there himself. If an angel should address a congregation of such individuals, his words would have no effect. The words of an angel would have no effect on the minds of women who attend meeting to look at the bonnets of their neighbors, or to see how the fashions change, any more than upon the minds of men who do the same thing for form’s sake. Such persons have no conception of truth, and have no place for its reception; it is shut out from their understanding, and they sit like figure heads, and derive no benefit from the instructions of the servants of God. So far as their influence goes, if they have any, it is as a damper thrown upon those around them.

I do not believe it would be necessary to preach so much to the Saints, as it now appears to be, if we lived our religion, and would exercise one-tenth part of the faith that we should exercise for our own good and the good of Israel; but, under present circumstances, it seems to be absolutely necessary to preach day after day and week after week to the Saints to keep them anywhere within the bounds of the Gospel. We are so easily led astray, so easily benumbed and chilled in our perceptions of truth. If there ever was a time that we needed to live the religion of Jesus Christ it is at the present. We should begin to realize that every man and woman is an agent, and exercises a certain amount of influence in the sphere in which he or she moves. Parents have an influence over their children; children have an influence over each other; neighbor has an influence with neighbor; and although we may not perceive that our example has any influence or weight, I assure you many times injury has been done by acts that we regarded as trifling through the influence they had upon our neighbors or children. Who can tell the result of a promise, made and not kept, by a father to his child? Will the child grow up in the belief that the father and mother guilty of this practice, mean what they say, or that they say one thing and mean another? From the conduct of the parents in this respect the child is very likely to take license to follow their example, and perhaps to do worse. Who can tell how long evils of this nature will tell upon children, transmitted through them to their posterity? Yet we see fathers and mothers set an example before their children which they themselves condemn and warn their children against. The inconsistent conduct of parents has a tendency to blunt the sensibilities of children, and to lead them from the way of life and salvation, for if parents teach their children principles which they do not practice themselves, that teaching is not likely to have much weight or effect, except for evil. We do not look at and reflect upon these things as we should. What will a child, when he begins to reflect, think of a parent who, professing to believe that the Word of Wisdom is part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and has been given by revelation, violates it every day of his life? He will grow up to believe that his parent is a hypocrite and without faith in the Gospel. They who take such a course incur fearful responsibilities. We cannot be too consistent in our course, neither can we be too faithful in fulfilling promises.

What confidence would you have in a man who will tell you, “Tomorrow morning I will pay you what I owe you;” but when tomorrow morning comes he does not fulfil his word? You meet him during the day and says he, “Brother, I forgot all about that little matter, but I will call in the morning.” The morning comes, but he does not come, and so it passes on day after day, and that promise remains unredeemed. You may extend this to any other promise or profession. If men are untruthful and fail to meet their obligations, you come finally to the conclusion that they are dishonest and all confidence is lost in them. They cannot be trusted in anything, and you are compelled to regard them as little else than liars and swindlers, and you avoid having anything to do with them. Yet there are such men who have been down into the waters of baptism for the remission of sin, and have covenanted with God to forsake every evil. What does such a profession of repentance amount to? No mouth profession of repentance is acceptable to God unless it is carried out in practice. We must have works as well as faith; we must do as well as pretend to do. The majority of the Latter-day Saints that have been gathered to these valleys any length of time have made covenants with God that they will keep His commandments, and walk in the counsels of the Almighty at all hazards; yet many, nevertheless, continually dabble in the contemptible customs of corrupt and degenerate human nature. Instead of raising themselves to the standard of the Gospel, they are content to descend to the level of the wicked and corrupt. Many of the Elders of Israel who have responsibilities resting upon them, with which they will find they cannot trifle with impunity, are taking this course all the time. What wonder, then, that the Spirit of the Lord is grieved? What wonder that the Latter-day Saints need to be preached to continually? It is no wonder to me when I contemplate the condition of the people of these valleys, and especially Salt Lake City, Ogden, and our cities contiguous to the railways.

What is to become of us, if we are to give way to every temptation, and ape every poor skunk that comes from the world? I mean those who do not regard themselves as gentlemen; I do not mean men who profess to be gentlemen and who carry out their professions, and there are many such in the world. I now have reference to that class who do not scruple to do any mean thing to serve their purposes or gratify their desires. Some of us, I regret to say, feel to follow their examples in our dealings, habits and customs. What will God do with us? What are we worth? What will we come to? What will God Almighty make of us? What kind of an exaltation, glory and reward will we gain if this is the height of our ambition and the strength of our morality, integrity and stamina in the cause of Jesus Christ? It will be said to such, “Depart from me, ye cursed, I never knew you.” “What, Lord, never knew me? Why, I am Elder B—. I lived at Ogden, or Salt Lake City, and associated with Thy servant Brigham, with the Apostles, and with the Elders of the Church. I bore the Holy Priesthood; I have healed the sick by the laying on of hands; I have cast out devils in Thy name, and you don’t know me?” “No, I don’t know you; depart from me, ye cursed.” “Why?” “Because you are a hypocrite, a liar, a sophist, a poor, weak, miserable creature, who didn’t live near to God and had not strength to overcome the follies and weaknesses of your own nature, but were ready and willing to fall right into the habits and follies of the people from the midst of whom you were gathered that you might escape their plagues and the destruction to which they were doomed.”

I would not give much for a man that could not be a Latter-day Saint in one place as well as another. If a man cannot be a Latter-day Saint in the mountains, canyons and fields, or in the midst of strangers, as well as at home under the droppings of the sanctuary in the midst of his brethren, he has not got the pure metal in him, and the time will come when he will be tried and will fall, just as sure as he lives. I want to see men live their religion everywhere, and while performing every kind of labor. The idea is quite prevalent with a certain class of Latter-day Saints, that if they engage in mining they must adopt all the habits of the miner—they must swear a little, swagger a great deal, drink liquor, tea and coffee, because they are in the mountains mining, as was the case at our drill to some extent. For the first two or three meals the tea or coffee was scarcely thought of; but before the camp broke up I noticed several good brethren who never missed having tea or coffee at their meals, and they endeavored to justify themselves because they were on a campaign. I enjoyed my cup of cold water while there, and had as good health as any of them. I don’t believe that wrong is right anywhere. God has said it is wrong to take hot or strong drinks. I believe that He meant what He said, and that it applies to me today, tomorrow, next week, and through my whole life, whether in the canyons or at home, or wherever my lot may be cast. I also believe that it applies to the whole Church, that no man or woman can consistently rear a family in the Church unless they will strictly observe these counsels of God given for the guidance and salvation of all Saints. I believe that men and women who are rearing families and neglect these things incur fearful responsibilities.

God has given much to us, and He will require much at our hands. He has restored the Gospel with its gifts, blessings and powers; He has restored the Holy Priesthood, and has organized His Church on the earth; He has deigned to acknowledge His people, and has signally blessed them since the Church was organized to the present moment. We have professed to receive that Gospel, acknowledged the name of God, and have been gathered out from the nations of the earth for the purpose of being purified ourselves, that we may have power to save our children, setting before them worthy examples, and rearing them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that God may have a pure and righteous people, whom he will delight to acknowledge and honor. This is one object of our gathering together; but take heed lest, through our unfaithfulness over the little God has imparted unto us, He will be unable to bestow the great blessings which He has in store for the faithful. The Lord will give to those who merit. His compassion is turned to us continually, but we do not realize it.

I rejoice in being able to testify to you that we have received the Gospel that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that he was instrumental in the hands of God in revealing principles that are calculated to unite the whole human family in the bonds of fellowship, brotherhood and love, and making of them one people, with one King, on the face of the earth. I know this, and I bear my testimony to it, as one having received a knowledge thereof, for I do know that this is true. But, notwithstanding this knowledge, salvation depends upon ourselves; we are agents, and can choose or reject the Gospel, follow the examples of the Savior or Lucifer. It is left optional with us. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and have the privilege of attaining to glory and exaltation in the kingdom where Jesus and the sanctified dwell, but it is left optional with us to choose or refuse. God has declared that He will require nothing at our hands but what He will enable us to perform. If He asks and requires duties of us that are difficult for us to perform, looking at them naturally, He will give us power to accomplish them. But unless we are worthy, and use all the energy and intelligence that we possess naturally, the promise on His part will not be fulfilled, because it is made on conditions that we do our part.

I would now warn my brethren and sisters to look well to their ways in future, and to let their words and examples be such as to ensure upon them the blessing and approval of God. If they profess to be Latter-day Saints and desire to continue steadfast, they should prove before God and their brethren that they have repented of their sins with a repentance that needs not to be repented of; for if we repent only in profession and say that we are Latter-day Saints when we are not, it is a mockery before God, and we incur the penalty for hypocrisy which will be awarded to us sooner or later.

He called forth the Prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation to be His agent in establishing His Gospel upon the earth, that the honest in heart, like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is over, might be gathered out as the Apostle John beheld in vision while on the Isle of Patmos. He saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, crying aloud, “Come out of her, O, my people.” The same great truth is also contained in the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph, and the Saints are being gathered from the uttermost parts of the earth that they may receive the ordinances and blessings of the Gospel, that they may be prepared to rear, to the name of God, temples and cities and communities worthy of His continual blessings and favors.

This is the work before the Saints; and the residue of the inhabitants of the earth will be visited with the judgments of the Almighty, and “Babylon the mother of harlots,” will fall to rise no more. I tell you, in the name of Israel’s God, that this world and its inhabitants are doomed; their doom is sealed, and the only way of escape is the Gospel of the Son of God, the door to which is baptism for the remission of sins, after repenting of and forsaking every practice that tends to degrade and degenerate the human race. Nothing but this will save the world from the doom that is hanging over it, which God has decreed shall be poured out upon it. When the testimony of His servants has gone forth in the midst of its inhabitants.

They are first to be warned by the testimony of His servants, afterwards by the voice of thunders and lightnings, earthquakes, famines, pestilence and devastation; and He will send them in their midst until they are wasted away, whether the world believe it or not; they may laugh the declaration to scorn and derision, and regard it as fanaticism; but that little stone seen by the Prophet Daniel, which was taken out of the mountains without hands, is beginning to roll, and it will as surely break in pieces the great image, as that the great image exists. The kingdom of God exists, and it will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth, just as Daniel foresaw. I am a witness to this, and so are the Latter-day Saints. We do know that God has revealed these things, and all who desire can test what we say, and prove whether we speak of ourselves, or are commanded of God. The path is clear, so that all may know whether we speak the truth and have received the Holy Ghost and the Gospel of the Son of God or not—repent of your sins by forsaking them; be baptized by one having authority, for the remission of sins, and have hands laid on you for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and you shall know whether the doctrine we preach is true or false, and whether or not this is, as we say, the only way in which man can obtain eternal life. We invite all men to walk in this path, and we are fearless as to the result, for in my own experience, in hundreds and thousands of instances, I have received a witness and testimony that this is the truth. Thousands of Latter-day Saints can bear the same testimony, and we desire that all the honest in heart may receive this testimony, and know for themselves. I bear this testimony for the benefit of those who know not, but desire to gain a knowledge of the truth; and also for the benefit of the weak, if there be any here, who may be called Latter-day Saints. I have borne this testimony to strangers abroad, and I do it here for your encouragement. Amen.

The Word of Wisdom—Spiritualism

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Oct. 30, 1870.

I can say to the people, as I have frequently said, if we were apt scholars to learn the truth and to understand the mind and will of God concerning us, and would then each and every one of us with fervency perform his duty, it would not be necessary to talk quite so loud and quite so long as we do now. But we are still children and can learn but little at a time; and we need to have our lessons repeated in our hearing very frequently, for we are apt to lay down our books when we go out of these schools where instructions are given. We are very apt to slumber and sleep and forget what resolutions we have made in our own minds, and to forget what we have heard from the servants of God. If we could learn our lessons, treasure them up and practice upon them, it would not be necessary to spend so much time in talking or in listening to these who talk; but it is necessary for us to talk and then to practice and show the people as well as teach them how to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is quite a pity that we do not understand things! Take the inhabitants of the earth as they are, and in many things pertaining to what is called worldly wisdom—mechanism, the sciences and the arts, there seems to be a great deal of knowledge displayed; but they are ignorant, at the same time, of the fountain of this knowledge. They cannot conceive of anything any broader or deeper than the extension of their own minds and that of their neighbors. If we—that is, mankind generally, could understand that whatever we enjoy, whatever wisdom and knowledge we possess, is bestowed upon us by and comes from God, we should perhaps be more willing to acknowledge Him in these blessings; and until the people called Latter-day Saints do this, we shall continue to talk to them and to ourselves.

The Word of Wisdom has been preached to this people, first and last, a good deal, that is the written word in the Doctrine and Covenants. It has been read and taught to the people now, some thirty-eight years! And yet we neglect to observe this trifling lesson concerning our health. Is it not strange? Yes, it is; it is passing strange; it is astonishing! How many there are of our brethren who say, “I can’t dispense with my tobacco! I can’t lay down my pipe or cigar and let it alone; I must take it up again, I can’t live unless I have a little tobacco in my mouth, or in my nose.” I have no knowledge of their using it in their ears. Old men, middle-aged men, men strong in intellect and physical force, athletic men, will say, “I must have a little tobacco.” Is this the case with the Elders of Israel? You recollect that, here, a year ago I think it was last Conference, if my memory serves me aright, when the Bishop of the Church was presented for acceptance to the people, and then his counselors came up, I made this reservation—I would vote for them if they would let their liquor and tobacco alone; and I believe the people voted for them on the ground that they were to cease using ardent spirits and tobacco. If they have not used it from that day to this, there were but few days that they did not use it. They should be examples to the Church; they should be like fathers to the Church. If they are really the counselors of the Bishop, they should practice everything that is good that he practices; and if the Bishop himself should neglect any duty, they should perform their duty as counselors, and should teach, guide, direct and counsel the Bishop to improve in his life.

But to return to the brethren and the use of tobacco. There are many of our Elders who say, “I can’t live without indulging in this unseemly appetite.” To say that the nature of man requires tobacco and spirits is absurd. I do not know but we might prove that the nature of a dumb brute desires this at certain times. I am not sure but what certain would drink liquor if it were reduced considerably; perhaps they might drink it when rather strong. I think I have heard of some few instances in the course of my life. But you put cattle into a field where there is tobacco and you will see that none of them will eat it unless they are sick, they will take it then, but at no other time. If a horse, ox or sheep be in good, ordinary health it will not touch it, and to say that it is necessary for man is absurd! Well, is it good for nothing? Was it created in vain? No, the Word of Wisdom tells us that tobacco is for sick cattle, and the dumb brute will demonstrate this if it is sick and can get at it. The tobacco plant and the lobelia plant are similar in taste and outward appearance, though not in their effects; but the former is for cattle, the latter for man. The difference in their effects is chiefly, that lobelia has no narcotic influence, while tobacco has.

I wish to ask those brethren who are in the habit of using tobacco, Won’t you leave it alone and try lobelia, and see if you can become attached to it? If you can, it will prove that it possesses narcotic properties; if you cannot, it will prove that it possesses no such properties. Mankind would not become attached to these unnecessary articles were it not for the poison they contain. The poisonous or narcotic properties in spirits, tobacco and tea are the cause of their being so much liked by those who use them. I hear something occasionally about tea, but I say if the ladies would take the natural leaf from the stem and dry it upon wood they would not become attached to it as they do to the green tea, Young Hyson, Gunpowder and other popular brands, for these kinds are cured on copper, and they partake more or less of the nature of the copper on which they are dried, through being impregnated with its poisonous qualities.

I say this to the brethren and sisters, that they may see if they can become attached to and really crave any of these stimulants that do not contain quite a quantity of poison. There is no doubt whatever that the food we eat, and which is absolutely necessary to sustain us, contains poison. I do not dispute that the poison contained in the bread that has been distributed from the table this afternoon, if extracted by a skillful chemist, would be enough to kill; but still, as combined with the other constituent elements of which bread is composed, it is not injurious, and we eat it without harm. But where we find so much poison in articles the people will become very strongly attached to them in a very short time. For instance, how quickly persons become attached to the practice of opium eating; they cannot live without it! If there was no poison in it it would not operate upon the system as it does. In some countries it is said that the fair sex are in the habit of arsenic eating, and this is for the special purpose of improving the complexion. Let a lady commence taking the smallest possible particle of this article, and if she continues the practice, in a few years she will not be able to live without it.

Many of our sisters think they cannot live without tea. I will tell you what we can do—I have frequently said it to my brethren and sisters—if they cannot live without tea, coffee, brandy, whiskey, wine, beer, tobacco, &c., they can die without them. This is beyond controversy. If we had the determination that we should have, we would live without them or die without them. Let the mother impregnate her system with these narcotic influences when she is bringing forth a family on the earth, and what does she do? She lays the foundation of weakness, palpitation of the heart, nervous affections, and many other ills and diseases in the system of her offspring that will afflict them from the cradle to the grave. Is this righteous or unrighteous, good or evil? Let my sisters ask and answer the question for themselves, and the conclusion which each and every one of them may come to is this, “If I do an injury to my child, I sin.”

We very well know that the customs which prevail in the world are such as to cause millions and millions of children to go to untimely graves. Infants, children, youth, young men and young women, thousands and tens of thousands of them go to an untimely grave through the diseases engendered in their systems by their progenitors. Is this wrong or is it right? If it is wrong we should abstain from every influence and practice which produces these evil effects; if it is right, then practice them. But we say it is wrong; God says it is wrong, and He has pointed out in a few instances the path for us to walk in, by observing the Word of Wisdom, and He has declared that it is fitted to the capacity of the Saints, yea the weakest of all who are or can be called Saints. And this Word of Wisdom prohibits the use of hot drinks and tobacco. I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned therein; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use. And the Lord said hot drinks are not good for the body nor the belly, liquor is not good for the body nor the belly, but for the washing of the body, &c. Tobacco is not good, save for sick cattle, and for bruises and sores, its cleansing properties being then very useful.

Now then, will we observe the Word of Wisdom? Will we let our tea, coffee, whiskey and tobacco alone? Shall I answer for my brethren and sisters? Yes, I will answer. A large proportion of the Elders of Israel will let these things alone, they do let them alone; but there is a certain percentage of them that you might as well talk to the wind as to talk to them about these things. As for my sisters, I can answer the question for them. They may not have their tea on the table when the husband sits down to breakfast or supper, and their teacups, saucers and teapot may be out of sight, but I will insure that many of them take a little tea for the stomach’s sake in the course of the day, whether the father or husband knows anything about it or not; and if the question is asked why I think so, I answer from the statistics of the sales of tea and coffee in our stores; they prove this. We were very urgent, a year or two ago, with regard to the Word of Wisdom, and the influence then raised made an impression on the people which caused them to forsake the use of these unnecessary articles for the time being. It was our wish then, and is still, that the money generally paid out for tea and coffee, liquor, tobacco, &c., be used to send for the poor Saints and bring them to a land where they can accumulate the common necessaries of life, instead of staying in their own land, and going down to an untimely grave for the want of food. I recollect one sister said to me, one day, “Brother Brigham, here is twenty dollars”—I think that was the sum—“I give this into the poor fund. At such a time you advised us to let our tea and coffee alone, and contribute the same amount that we would expend for these articles in bringing the poor from the old country. It would have taken me twenty dollars to supply me with these articles to this time. I have saved the money; my health now is more than fifty percent better than when I left off tea. I can now work ten, or perhaps twelve, hours a day easier than I could two or three when I took these stimulants.” Some others have sent in a few dollars thus accumulated for the relief of the poor; but I think most of our sisters have taken to their old practice of drinking tea again. Perhaps I do not judge rightly, but my conclusions are formed from information in my possession, as to the amount of this article sold.

As far as I can learn the cup of tea stands on the stoves in the houses of my near neighbors, associates, and those with whom I am best acquainted. I go along occasionally and take up a tin cup, and say, “What is this?” “It is a little tea; we have just made a little tea this morning;” or, “we thought we would have a little tea this morning.” I have not seen any on my table, but frequently I am asked, “Will you have a little tea?” I can say I have tasted it to see whether I have liked it or not. I have desired not to like it. I never was in the habit of using it, except a very small portion of my life. But I do not like it. It has got to be made very delicate, about as weak as if for a child, and then a good share of nice cream and sugar in it for me to like it at all. I have frequently taken a spoon and said, “Let us see what you are drinking? Oh, yes, tea! It wants a little sugar and cream in it.” If you who use it will drink a large share of sugar and cream in it, it will not have that same influence on your stomach as if you drink it raw, I mean without the sugar and cream; it will not injure the coating of the stomach to the same extent. And if you adopt this practice, adding a little more sugar and cream, and having your tea gradually weaker and weaker you may finally get rid of it.

I ask again will we observe the Word of Wisdom? “No, we will not, unless we have a mind to.” That is the answer. “If we have a mind to and feel disposed to do so, we will observe it, but not without.” I say to all the Elders of Israel, if it makes you sick and so sleepy that you cannot keep out of bed unless you have tobacco, go to bed and there lie. How long? Until you can get up and go to your business like rational men, like men who have heads on their shoulders and who are not controlled by their foolish appetites. I have said to my family, and I now say to all the sisters in the Church, if you cannot get up and do your washing without a cup of tea in the morning, go to bed, and there lie. How long? Until the influence of tea is out of the system. Will it take a month? No matter if it does; if it takes three months, six months, or a year, it is better to lie there in bed until the influence of tea, coffee and liquor is out of the system, so that you may go about your business like rational persons, than to give way to these foolish habits. They are destructive to the human system; they filch money from our pockets, and they deprive the poor of the necessaries of life. Hundreds and thousands could have keen brought here to this Territory, where they could have had food to eat, raiment to wear, and been taught so as to have a house of their own, could have known how to build a good cabin, lived under their own roof and eaten their own bread; whereas, now they are perishing by scores and hundreds. Do these habits rob the poor? Yes, they do. Do they produce evil? Yes, they do. They do not bring that sweet satisfaction of the Spirit of God to our hearts and our feelings and affections that would come to us by the observance of the Word of Wisdom, and using the means thus wasted to feed the poor and clothe the naked.

A few words with regard to our tithes and offerings—a subject that was presented to the people yesterday. You come to the rich, that is, those who are best off, for we cannot boast that anybody is rich in our community, but those who have the most means, as a general thing, do the least. Our tithes and offerings are neglected; the poor are needy, they want bread, and a little of something to make them comfortable. There may be a few, perhaps, sick in this Ward, and the next, and so on through the Wards, and there is nothing contributed for their assistance. I know it is the disposition of many to turn round and say, “We pay our tithing.” I want to inform the Latter-day Saints that since we have been in these valleys there has not been one-tenth part of the tithing paid into the Church that was due to it; but everything that we can rake and scrape goes to the poor, and for the building of the kingdom of God, as it was designed; and the poor and the needy get pretty much all of it. If they do not, I do not know it. It is left in the hands of our agents and clerks, and I know it is dealt out to our workmen and the poor as long as we have anything left. And then upon this God has blessed me sufficiently that I feed and clothe my scores of poor, independent of the tithing office; and He will bless any man, any family, or any people who is liberal. As it is written in the good book,” The liberal man deviseth liberal things,” and if he deviseth liberal things by his liberality he shall stand. The Lord will bless that people that is full of charity, kindness and good works. When our monthly fast days come round, do we think of the poor? If we do, we should send in our mite, no matter what it is. What is it to give ten or twenty pounds of flour, or a hundred pounds of flour? What is it to give a little meat, or sugar, or a little money, or whatever is wanted? Does it impoverish us? It does not. If this people have not been sustained by the hand of the Almighty, I ask how they have been sustained? Could any other people have lived in these valleys except the Latter-day Saints? No, they could not. The elements would not have produced the corn, the wheat, the oats, the rye, the peas, the barley, the vegetables and the fruit. These elements in which we live would not have produced them for anybody else. But the Lord suffered us to be driven here from our homes, and He promised us He would lead us into a goodly land. He has done so. He has blessed the soil, the water and the atmosphere; He has blessed the shining sun and the falling rain, and He has forbidden the hoary frosts to cut off our crops, as they did when we first came here; and we have been sustained and preserved, and if the Lord Almighty has not done it, let some man tell who has. As far as my knowledge goes, the providences of God have sustained this people, the hand of the Lord has fed and clothed them, and given them all they possess. We were not fit to live in Christian society; we were not worthy of the holiness, beauty, excellency and glory of the Christian world, let our enemies tell the story; but they must drive us into the wilderness, there to perish as they thought. And if God has not sustained us after all that we have passed through, let some one tell how we have been sustained.

Will He sustain us in being covetous? No; let the hearts of the people dry up with regard to the poor, in sending for those in foreign lands, in sending the Elders to the nations of the earth, in preaching the Gospel, in purifying ourselves here; let us neglect the Word of Wisdom, neglect our prayers, tithes, offerings, donations, and public works, and see how much we will enjoy the Spirit of the Lord. The danger now in the midst of the people arises from their neglect of these things; it leaves them in cold and darkness. See the apostasy in our midst; see also the love of riches. The spirit of the world and of apostasy is prevalent here, and the people want stirring up, and sometimes I feel as if they wanted a rap on each side of the head to wake them up, that they may see where they are going and what they are doing.

How is it with most of those who were our merchants here? “A little more of your money, brethren and sisters;” and the best of them are so today. I hardly know where I could draw the line of distinction between the just and the unjust; between those who, while trading, let their avaricious, craving disposition control them, and those who dealt justly. It is hard to draw the line between them, the feeling was to general. “A little more of your money, a little more wealth, a little more ease, a little more land, a little more means, a little finer house, a little better carriage, a few more horses, a few more possessions; give us your money, it is all we want of you.” And that spirit is distributed among the people.

I will stop right here and say to the Latter-day Saints, I have sought to teach you how to get rich, but I never taught you to neglect your duty; I never instructed you nor taught you to forsake the Lord; and today I would rather not own one farthing, and take my valise in my hand, as I did at the rise of the Church, and travel among the nations of the earth, and beg my bread from door to door, than to neglect my duty and lose the Spirit of Almighty God. If I have wealth and cannot use it to the glory of God and the building up of His kingdom I ask the Lord to take it from me. But how is it with some of the people? A little more ease, a little more ease to my eyelids; as the Prophet said, “a little more sleep and a little more slumber and a little more folding of the hands.” Say some, “We are pretty easy in circumstances, have quite enough to last us through life; but we want a little more for our children; and when we get enough for them we want a little more for grandchildren, and then a little more for our great-grandchildren,” and finally they never want to stop until they get the whole world; and, in very many cases, what they get will canker their souls and send them down to hell. It has been so in this Church from the beginning.

I will say to you that we have the capacity to receive, but we need teaching continually. We had three sermons this morning, and we had not half enough; and we shall keep this meeting two hours this afternoon; and we might talk to each other again tomorrow morning, and continue until our hearts get full of the kingdom of God, and building it up and the establishment of peace and righteousness upon the earth. We are called, as it has been told you, to redeem the nations of the earth. The fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without the fathers. There must be this chain in the holy Priesthood; it must be welded together from the latest generation that lives on the earth back to Father Adam, to bring back all that can be saved and placed where they can receive salvation and a glory in some kingdom. This Priesthood has to do it; this Priesthood is for this purpose. God has revealed the plan of salvation, we know how to carry it out. If we neglect this will we be justified? No, we will not; we must carry out this plan of salvation, and in so doing we expect the whole world to be against us. It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise. It was told you here that Brother Joseph warned the Elders of Israel against false spirits. It was revealed to me that if the people did not receive the spirit of revelation that God had sent for the salvation of the world, they would receive false spirits, and would have revelation. Men would have revelation, women would have revelation, the priest in the pulpit and the deacon under the pulpit would have revelation, and the people would have revelation enough to damn the whole nation, and nations of them, unless they would hearken to the voice of God. It was not only revealed to Joseph, but to your humble servant, that false spirits would be as prevalent and as common among the inhabitants of the earth as we now see them.

Seeing that I have got on this thread, I will ask, Is there any revelation in the world? Yes, plenty of it. We are accused of being nothing more nor less than a people possessing what they term the higher order of Spiritualism. Whenever I see this in print, or hear it spoken, “You are right,” say I. “Yes, we belong to that higher order of Spiritualism; our revelations are from above, yours from beneath. This is the difference. We receive revelation from Heaven, you receive your revelations from every foul spirit that has departed this life, and gone out of the bodies of mobbers, murderers, highwaymen, drunkards, thieves, liars, and every kind of debauched character, whose spirits are floating around here, and searching and seeking whom they can destroy; for they are the servants of the devil, and they are permitted to come now to reveal to the people.” It was not so once, anciently or formerly, when there was no Priesthood on the earth, no revelations from Heaven. Then the Lord Almighty shut up this evidence, and all intercourse between men on the earth and the foul spirits, so that the latter could not deceive and destroy the former with their revelations. But God has spoken now, and so has the devil; Jesus has revealed his Priesthood, so has the devil revealed his, and there is quite a difference between the two. One forms a perfect chain, the links of which cannot be separated; one has perfect order, laws, rules, regulations, organization; it forms, fashions, makes, creates, produces, protects and holds in existence the inhabitants of the earth in a pure and holy form of government, preparatory to their entering the kingdom of Heaven. The other is a rope of sand; it is disjointed, jargon, confusion, discord, everybody receiving revelation to suit himself. If I were disposed to go into their rings I could make every table, every dot, every particle of their revelations prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I could lay my hands on the table with them, and if I would consent to have the spirits wrap, I would make them prove every time that Joseph Smith was a prophet; but let me go, and another man come along, a wicked man, and he would have all the evidence he desired that Joseph was not a prophet of God. I could make them say, every time, that this is the Church of Christ; while a wicked man might enter the circle and he would be told that this was not the Church of Christ; and this is their system—it is confusion and discord. It is like a rope of sand. There is no order, no organization; it cannot be reduced to a system, it is uncertainty. That is the difference between the two spiritual systems—yes, this is the higher order of spiritualism, to be led, governed and controlled by law, and that, too, the law of heaven that governs and controls the Gods and the angels. There is no being in heaven that could endure there, that could abide the heavens unless he is sanctified, purified and glorified by law, and lives by law. But take the other party, and it is without law. Well, what is it? Death. What is that? Dissolution of the body. And what will be next? The second death, and I leave every person to speculate to suit himself with regard to that; but the Scriptures say “Blessed is he on whom the second death hath no power;” and they who serve God and keep His commandments, that receive the holy Priesthood of the Son of God, have something tangible, and if they live according to this law the second death has nothing to do with them. They are above it, free from it, they are masters of it, for they command in the name of Jesus, and their words are obeyed; and what they say shall be done, is done. This is the authority that God gives. As the Scriptures say, “Whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth, is loosed in heaven; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth, shall be remitted to them in heaven; and whosesoever sins ye retain on earth, are retained in heaven.” This is the authority of the kingdom of God on the earth, and we possess and expect nothing less.

Look at the Christian world! How many times it was said to me, in my early career: “Oh, if the Lord had spoken to such a man, to such a divine that we have all confidence in; if the Lord had revealed His will to that man, we could have believed the whole thing.” The Lord Almighty could not do it. Do you know the reason why? I do. I was acquainted with some of the best reformers that ever walked on the American continent, as good to all appearance as lived. They would say: “We have prayed, we have fasted, we have sought, we have believed, we have had faith that God was about to reveal something from the heavens, but He has not revealed it to us.” That was the trouble. They had their way marked out before them, and if the Lord would not walk in that path they would not have anything to do with Him, and their conduct proved it. When men say: “O Lord, we are the clay, you are the potter! Fashion, shape and make us, and do with us as seems good in Thy sight, only let us know Thy will, we are here to perform whatever Thou requirest,” it makes me think of that second person that came forth in the heavens when the voice went forth: “Who will redeem the earth, who will go forth and make the sacrifice for the earth and all things it contains?” The eldest son said: “Here am I;” but he did not say “send me.” But the second one, which was “Lucifer, son of the morning,” said, “Lord, here am I, send me, I will redeem every son and daughter of Adam and Eve that lives on the earth, or that ever goes on the earth.” “But,” says the Father, “that will not answer at all. I give each and every individual his agency; all must use that in order to gain exaltation in my kingdom; inasmuch as they have the power of choice they must exercise that power. They are my children; the attributes which you see in me are in my children and they must use their agency. If you undertake to save all, you must save them in unrighteousness and corruption. You will be the man that will say to the thief on the cross, to the murderer on the gallows, and to him who has killed his father, mother, brothers, and sisters and little ones, “Now, if you will say, I repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, or on the Savior of the world, you shall be saved.” This is what all the religious sects of the day are saying now, but Jesus did not say any such thing.

How many churches are there upon the earth? Two. Let everybody speculate just as much as they please about this, there are no more, and the earth never saw but two, and there never will be but two. If one is for good, what must the other be? Why, for evil. If one is right, what must the other be? Why, wrong. And there cannot be two just right without being one. The Father cannot operate without the Son, neither can the Son officiate and operate without the Father. They cannot divide their kingdom, and one go to the right and the other to the left, like Abraham and Lot, when they divided their stock; no, they must live together; they must be one, and labor together, and all their efforts being for the salvation of the human family, must be one. If they made a division they would fall. Consequently the Lord Jesus works just as he said he would. “I come not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” He also said, “I do nothing of myself; but what I have seen the Father do, that does the Son.” “Whosoever has seen the Son has seen the Father.” All this you know, with hundreds of other Scriptures and testimonies had in ancient days, showing that the people must be sanctified by law, they must live according to that law; and they must be justified, purified, and sanctified in order to get into the kingdom of heaven, that is, the highest glory.

That saying, “the highest glory,” may give rise to a little speculation on the part of some. Let me quote one passage of Scripture. When Jesus was about to go hence, said he, “I will go away, but I will not leave you comfortless, but I will send you another comforter,” &c. I have not worded it exactly as it is in the Scriptures, that is a little fuller. He then said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it had not been so I would have told you; but I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also.” What kind of mansions did Jesus refer to? This is a question which I shall not pretend to answer at this time, for I have not time; neither how many there are, nor the rules, laws and regulations that pertain to each. But Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions;” or, in other words, in my Father’s dominion are many houses, apartments, degrees, &c. Well, what does this signify, if it does not mean in my Father’s house or dominions are many grades and degrees of glory? Now speculate just as much as you please; it is no matter how much you say or think or reflect upon this. There is space, and in that space there are mansions or kingdoms which God has prepared for His children to inhabit, according to their several capacities. We shall all go somewhere, and all upon whom the second death has no power will live eternally. We want to prepare for that mansion that Jesus went to prepare for his disciples.

The whole world of wickedness is opposed to this kingdom; but when they reduce every doctrine and principle that is believed in and preached by the Latter-day Saints, they will not find one iota, I will be as particular as Bro. Carrington was in defining the wisdom and power of man, and I will say there is not the dot of an i nor the crossing of a t that makes anything against the welfare of the human family for time or eternity; but all for comfort, help, satisfaction, glory and immortality; and all for the glory of God, to be crowned with glory and eternal lives in the presence of the Father and the Son. Every doctrine and principle that is believed in and taught by the Latter-day Saints leads, guides and directs man into the presence of the Father and the Son. May God help us to take that path. Amen.

Meeting in Conference

Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Oct. 6, 1870.

As we have met in the capacity of a General Conference, we shall expect to hear instructions from the Elders pertaining to the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth. This is our calling, this is the labor devolving upon us, and it should occupy our attention day by day from morning until evening and from week to week; in fact, we have no other calling or business, and if we are humble and faithful, God will strengthen us and increase our ability and give us power sufficient to accomplish the tasks devolving upon us in the performance of His work.

The oracles of truth are delivered; men have been called and ordained; the gifts and graces of the Gospel are restored; the kingdom is organized; it is committed to the servants of the Lord, and if we are faithful we shall bear it off; we will establish it and make it firm in the earth, no more to be interrupted or removed, and the teachings that we shall hear will be pertaining to our spiritual and temporal labors in this kingdom. With God, and also with those who understand the principles of life and salvation, the Priesthood, the oracles of truth and the gifts and callings of God to the children of men, there is no difference in spiritual and temporal labors—all are one. If I am in the line of my duty, I am doing the will of God, whether I am preaching, praying, laboring with my hands for an honorable support; whether I am in the field, mechanic’s shop, or following mercantile business, or wherever duty calls, I am serving God as much in one place as another; and so it is with all, each in his place, turn and time. Consequently our teachings during Conference will be to instruct the people how to live and order their lives before the Lord and each other; how to accomplish the work devolving upon them in building up Zion on the earth. To accomplish this will require steady faith and firm determination, and we come together in this capacity that our faith and determination may be increased and strengthened. When we have spent three, four or five days together in giving instruction, we shall only just have commenced to instruct the people; and when we have spent a lifetime in learning and dispensing what we do learn to our fellow beings, we have only commenced in the career of intelligence. Our faith and prayers, the ordinances that we attend to, our assembling ourselves together, our dispersing after attending to the business of life, in our schools, all our educational pursuits are in the service of God, for all these labors are to establish truth on the earth, and that we may increase in knowledge, wisdom, understanding in the power of faith and in the wisdom of God, that we may become fit subjects to dwell in a higher state of existence and intelligence than we now enjoy. We can attain to this only by adding faith to faith, knowledge to knowledge, temperance to temperance, patience to patience, and godliness to godliness, and so increasing in the principles of happiness and salvation.

We shall call upon the Elders to speak to the congregation as they assemble here from day to day, and I hope and trust that the brethren and sisters will treasure up in their hearts the instructions that they receive, and that they will carry them out in their lives. This Sunday religion that a great many of our Christian brethren believe in and practice, when their everyday life is spent in selfishness and for self-aggrandizement, will not do for the Latter-day Saints; with us Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday must be spent to the glory of God, as much as Sunday, or we shall come short of the object of our pursuit. Consequently we must pay attention to the things that we hear, and to the principles of the religion that we have embraced in our faith, and seek diligently to break up the prejudices and prepossessed notions and feelings that have woven themselves around us through the traditions of the fathers, and endeavor to know and understand as God knows, that we may do His will. Our traditions are so firmly fixed in our feelings that it is almost impossible to rise above, override, or get rid of them; they cling to us like the affections of tender friends. But we must learn to know the will of God and do it, and let our traditions go, then we shall be blessed.

There are many things that we should understand with regard to ourselves and our children; and when the mind opens upon the vision of life by the spirit of revelation, there is not a person but what can see the eternity of teaching yet to be imparted to the Saints.

I trust that we shall be edified and rejoice together, and shall return from this place strengthened and confirmed in our faith and hopes, feeling that steadiness of nerve, by the spirit of revelation, that we shall not be wafted to and fro, imagining a thousand things incorrect, and pass by those doctrines and truths that are calculated to exalt the human family.

Texts for Preaching Upon at Conference—Revelations—Deceitfulness of Riches—One-Man Power—Spiritualism

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1870.

I have a request to make of the doorkeepers and of those brethren who seat the congregation, as also of our sisters, some of whom, I see, are occupying a few of the seats that we usually reserve for strangers. We should be very much pleased if the sisters would fill up other parts of the house first, and we would like the brethren who seat the congregation, to see that the seats generally occupied by strangers are held in reserve today until the meeting commences; then, if those for whom they are reserved do not come to fill them, they may be used by the sisters. I hope this will be recollected and observed.

As our brethren of the Twelve will address us during the Conference, I feel like giving them a few texts to preach upon if they choose to do so. I should have no objection to hear them discourse upon union of action, or concentration of faith and action, or, as some call it, cooperation. That is one item. I would also like to hear them give instruction with regard to our traditions; instruction on this subject is necessary all the time. We must overcome them and adopt the rules laid down in revelation for the guidance of man’s life here on the earth. If any of our brethren feel to speak upon this subject we should be very pleased to hear them; if they are not disposed to preach to the text, they may preach from it, as most ministers do. I have heard very few ministers preach to their texts, they generally preach from them.

The education of our children is worthy of our attention, and the instruction of the Elders from this stand. It is a subject that should be thoroughly impressed upon the minds of parents and the rising generation; and those who wish to preach from this text may do so. And if they do not feel to preach to the text, they may preach from it.

The subject of the building of the Temple is a very good one for occupying a portion of the time. The ordinances of the House of God are for the salvation of the human family. We are the only ones on the earth at the present time, that we have any knowledge of, who hold the keys of salvation committed to the children of men from the heavens by the Lord Almighty; and inasmuch as there are those who hold these keys, it is important that they should be acted upon for the salvation of the human family. The building of Temples, places in which the ordinances of salvation are administered, is necessary to carry out the plan of redemption, and it is a glorious subject upon which to address the Saints.

The gathering of the House of Israel is another text upon which the brethren might address the Saints with profit. We are in the midst of Israel; they are also scattered among the nations of the earth. They are mixed with all nations, especially the tribe of Ephraim. These are to be gathered out. We have Israel in our midst; we live upon their land; we have communion with them and we are under the necessity of feeding and clothing them to a certain extent, and to preserve peace with them at present, until they come to a knowledge of the truth. I mean the Lamanites, the aborigines of our country. They are of the House of Israel.

Not least nor last, but one subject that I would as soon hear treated upon in this house as in any other place, is the union of the sexes. We cannot go into any town or little village in the Territory but we find quite a large number of young people who have arrived at a marriageable age and still they remain single. But this can be accounted for to some extent. The young man says, “I dare not marry a wife, the fashions and customs of the world prevail among the ladies here to such a degree that I should need a fortune to maintain one.” The young lady says, “I don’t wish to marry unless I can find a husband who can take care of me and support me according to my idle wishes.” By their acts only can people be judged, and from observing them we must conclude that the ideas of the young men are too true, they are founded in fact. This should be done away. Such feelings, views and influences should be dispelled from and broken up in the midst of the people. Our young men and women should consider their obligations to each other, to God, the earth, their parents, and to future generations for their salvation and exaltation among the Gods and for the glory of Him whom we serve. These are not idle tales, they are not fictions, but facts; and for a community, believing as we do, to live like the Gentile nations in these things is very incorrect. It is not according to our faith; we should put our faith into practice, and be willing to sustain ourselves, each and every one of us. Our young folks who have arrived at years of maturity should think and act for themselves. They are citizens of the earth; they have a share here, and have a part to bear—a character to form and frame and present to the world, or they will sink into oblivion and forgetfulness. These things are of importance to us at least, and especially in this nation, where many of the people are wasting away their lives, bartering away their very existence, and will hardly receive in return therefore a mess of pottage.

The education of youth is an important text for the brethren to preach from. A very high value should be placed upon it by the Saints. We have the privilege of enjoying the spirit of revelation and the knowledge which comes from above, and in addition to this, every branch of education known in the world should be taught among and acquired by us. All the arts and sciences, and every branch of mechanism known and understood by man should be understood by this people. But no matter how much knowledge we may acquire in a worldly point of view, by study, unless the revelations of the Lord Jesus are dispensed to each and every individual, they cannot use or apply their acquirements to the best advantage. A man may know facts without revelation. The mathematician, for instance, may acquire a great amount of knowledge without any special revelation by the Spirit of the Lord to enlighten his mind; but still he will not know and understand what he might if he had applied his heart unto wisdom. So it is with all the sciences.

These principles should be considered by this people. This is the place, brethren, to teach them. But I will give a caution to my brethren, the Elders—never undertake to teach a thing that you do not understand. Such things will come into your minds; but without launching out on such subjects, questions may be asked and answered, and we gain knowledge from each other. There is plenty within the scope of our own brains that, by the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, will enable us to tell many things—more than the world or even more than the Saints can receive.

Suppose a man should come here and tell you the very nature of our Father Adam—tell precisely how he was organized, his height, his proportions, the extent of his knowledge, tell you the agreement that was entered into, the amount of knowledge that he had to forget to reduce himself to the capacity of a corruptible being! Suppose this could all be told to the congregations of the Saints, what would they know about it? Very little. There may be some minds which could grasp some things pertaining to it, but others could not. The spirit of revelation can reveal these things to the people, but unless they live so as to have the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will remain a mystery, for there is a veil before the minds of the people, and they cannot be understood. Some of these principles have been taught to the Latter-day Saints, but who can understand them?

Brother Orson Hyde referred to a few who complained about not getting revelations. I will make a statement here that has been brought against me as a crime, perhaps, or as a fault in my life. Not here, I do not allude to anything of the kind in this place, but in the councils of the nations—that Brigham Young has said “when he sends forth his discourses to the world they may call them Scripture.” I say now, when they are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible, and if you want to read revelation read the sayings of him who knows the mind of God, without any special command to one man to go here, and to another to go yonder, or to do this or that, or to go and settle here or there. In the early days of the Church, if a man was going to sell a farm he must have a revelation—Joseph must receive and give a revelation. Many men would not do one thing until God had given them a revelation through the prophet. It must be: “Thus saith the Lord, sell your farm, devote such a portion of your means to education, or printing, or for distributing knowledge to the world. Devote such a portion of your means to do this, and such a portion to do that.” I have known a good many men in the early days of the Church who had property, that must have revelation to know what disposition to make of their substance; but who, when they received it, were sure not to strictly obey it. What did revelation do for such persons? Nothing but seal their condemnation. Why do the people want revelations to damn themselves?

Give the mind of the Lord to this people here in this Conference, would they observe it? There is a few who would like to; but take some of those who are called Latter-day Saints, would they follow it if it were given them? I know they would not, still the Lord is merciful and forbearing and He bears with His people. He has borne with and blest us, to see if we would walk in the knowledge of the truth and yield strict obedience to His requirements.

Poverty, persecution and oppression we have endured; many of us have suffered the loss of all things in a worldly point of view. Give us prosperity and see if we would bear it, and be willing to serve God. See if we would be as willing to sacrifice millions as we were to sacrifice what we had when in comparative poverty. Men of property, as a general thing, would not be. We know this, God knows it, and He has to treat us as unruly, disobedient, slow to think and slow to act—as a set of children.

It has been said, time and time again, that if the people would live worthy of the great things God has in store for them, they are ready to come forth for their salvation and edification; but until we improve upon little things and hearken to the voice of the Lord in our first duties, He is not going to bestow the great mysteries of the invisible worlds upon us. We know too much already unless we do better. You may think I am complaining; well, I am just a trifle. I see the Latter-day Saints here and there going to destruction, apostatizing. “Oh,” say they, “we have a little wealth, a little means,” and in some instances that is leading them to destruction.

These merchants that we have made rich, where are they? Those who are not in fellowship and some who are in fellowship with us? They are in our midst, but their feelings are, “We want more, we want your money, Latter-day Saints.” Ask them to sacrifice their all and see what course they will take. When they came here they had not a wagon and did not own five dollars in the world; we have made them rich. Is there one in ten that would endure if we were to get a revelation for them to make a sacrifice of all they have? No, they would lift up their heels against the Almighty and His Anointed. Whether I am complaining or not, this is too true.

Now, brethren, preach the things that we verily believe, and when we come to points of doctrine that we do not know, even if we have good reason to believe them, if our philosophy teaches us they are true, pass them by and teach only to the people that that we do know.

You can know nothing of this Gospel short of the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ. If our Gospel, that we preach in this house and that the Elders of Israel teach, is hid to any man on earth, it is because he is lost. It is not hid to him whose eyes are open to the things of God; he understands it. When he hears the voice of the Good Shepherd, when he hears sound doctrine—that that comes from God, he knows it and receives it. Says he, “That is right, correct, that is congenial to my ears and sits smoothly and satisfactorily on my understanding. I like that doctrine because it is true. The reason we like “Mormonism” is because it is true. It is good; it embraces all the good there is in the sciences, and all that ever was revealed for the benefit of the children of men. There is no art beneficial to the human family but what is incorporated in our religion. The only true philosophy ever revealed by God to man on this earth is comprised within and is part of our religion. It embraces the whole man and all his talents and time while he lives here on the earth, and then will only prepare him, let him do his best, to enter a higher state of glory, where he will see that he is but just commencing to learn the things of God and the riches of eternity, to know and understand the life of those immortal beings who dwell in light and live in glory and who are surrounded with light, glory, immortality, and eternal lives, and live in accordance with the laws which control the Gods. When we have learned all that we can learn here by a close application in our lives to the faith which Jesus has unfolded, we shall see that we are then just commencing to learn, as it were; and when the spirit is reunited with the body we shall be prepared to enter into the joy of our Lord.

A good deal is said about so much power being given to one man. What does man’s power on the earth consist of? Of the influence he possesses. If a man have influence with God he has power with Him. Again, if he has influence with the people he has power with them; that is all the legitimate or righteous power man has. We have influence; God has given it to us, and the Latter-day Saints delight to place that confidence in us that is deserving, and the wicked world cannot help it. It may be a great pity in the estimation of a great many, but still the world cannot help it; and justice, mercy, truth, righteousness, love, and good will command this respect, and the worthy get it. We have heard considerable about “down with the one-man power!” All right, down with it! What is it and how are you going to get it down? When you get down the power of God, that which is called one-man power in the midst of the Latter-day Saints will fall, but not before! It is no more nor less than the concentration of the faith and action of the people. And this brings to my mind the facts that exist with regard to the faith of the Latter-day Saints.

When we go into the world we find quite a portion of the people who belong to a class called Spiritualists. I do not know that I am right in styling them a class, but they aspire to be so considered. They would like to have it considered that “Mormonism” is nothing but Spiritualism; but it is temporalism as well as Spiritualism. A great many want to know the difference between the two. I will give one feature of the difference, and then set the whole scientific world to work to see if they can ever bring to bear the same feature in Spiritualism. Take all who are called Spiritualists and see if they can produce the order that is in the midst of this people. Here are system, order, organization, law, rule, and facts. Now see if they can produce any one of these features. They cannot. Why? Because their system is from beneath, while ours is perfect and is from above; one is from God, the other is from the devil, that is all the difference. Now see if the whole Spiritualist world can organize a community of six individuals who will agree for a year, that will not fall to pieces like a rope of sand. Now, Spiritualists, go to work, bring your science to bear and demonstrate the fact that you have a system if you can. We have demonstrated it to the world; it is manifest, it is before us, we see it, it is tangible, we can see its results, it has wrought wonders. See if they can do like this. If the kingdom of the devil can do like the kingdom of God on the earth, it is deserving of credit; but its members can only divide and subdivide, produce confusion on confusion, disorder following on the heels of disorder, one to the right, another to the left, another for the front, another for the rear, one pulling this way, another pulling that, sect against sect, people against people, community against community, politically, religiously, and I may say morally to a great extent; and I do not know but I might say scientifically, although the sciences agree better than the faith, feelings and imaginations of the people. Now try this, Spiritualists! This is a text for you; and when you have produced order, system and unity among the inhabitants of the earth we will look and see what more there is that we have that the world have not. I am not going into details at all, but I just mention this to see if the Spiritualists can systematize or organize anything. When they have done this it will be time enough to admit that they have some science; but until then we will say that Spiritualism is a mass of confusion, it is a body without parts and passions, principle or power, just like, I do not like to say it, but just like the so-called Christians’ God. The creed of the so-called Christians represents that their God is without body, parts or passions; and it should be added, without principle or power, for the latter is the corollary of the former. When we see anything that has solidity and permanency, that produces good, that builds up, creates, organizes, sustains, and betters the condition of the people, we pronounce that good and from God; but when we see that that injures, hurts, destroys, produces confusion in a community, disturbance and discord, strife and animosity, hatefulness and bitter feelings one towards another, we at once pronounce it evil, and declare that it springs from beneath. All evil is from beneath, while all that is good is from God.

I did not think to preach you a sermon when I commenced, but to call upon some of the brethren to do so. I have given them some texts, and they may preach to or from them, just as they please. Some of them will probably talk about organizing the kingdom of God on the earth, and so governing a community as to make them of one heart and one mind. I am prepared to prove to any sensible congregation, any good philosopher or thinking person or people, who have steady brain and nerve to look at things as they are, that can tell white from black and daylight from midnight darkness, that the closer the connection in a business point of view that a community hold themselves together, the greater will be their joy and wealth. I am prepared to prove, from all the facts that have existed or that now exist in all branches of human affairs, that union is strength, and that division is weakness and confusion.

I do not know but I will advert once more to Spiritualism. Spiritualism is like Methodism and the sects of the day exactly, I mean so far as unity of faith or action is concerned. When I was a Methodist, as I was once, they said to me, “You may be baptized by immersion if you absolutely require it, but we do not believe in it, but we do believe in giving every person his choice.” “Well,” said I, “I believe in it. There are some things required in the doctrine of the Close Communion Baptists which I cannot subscribe to as well as to most of the principles that you hold in your catechisms, and in the tenets of your church, but,” said I, “they believe in baptism by immersion, and I want to be baptized by immersion;” and finally they consented to baptize me, and did do it. So say the Spiritualists.

Another one says, “I want to kneel down in the water and have the water poured on my head.” Says the Methodist priest, “We don’t believe in it, but you can have it done. It is no matter, one method of baptism, perhaps, is as good as another.” So say the Spiritualists. Another one says, “I want to get down into the water and be baptized face foremost.” “Well,” says the priest, “we don’t think it makes any difference, and if you really desire it, you may have the ordinance administered to you according to your wishes.” So say the Spiritualists. Another one says, “I want to sit in my chair and have the minister dip his fingers into a bowl, and put it on my forehead, and call that baptism in the name of the Trinity.” The Methodist says, “We will consent to that; it is just as good as anything else.” So say the Spiritualists. Another one says he wants to kneel down in the water and have water poured on him. The priest consents to this also. So do the Spiritualists. Why do I say this? Because men baptized by these various methods can all get communications, they say, from the spirits sanctioning each and every different form of baptism. The Methodists say, “We believe in a God without body, parts and passions;” so say the Spiritualists, the Presbyterian and other sects, but the Latter-day Saints do not. And in reference to the ordinance of baptism; the Latter-day Saints say, “Go down into the water and be buried with Christ in the water; and come out of the water as Christ came up out of the water, when the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove rested on His head, and a voice from heaven was heard saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.’ He will tell you what to do, teach you correct doctrine. He has no traditions to overcome, no prepossessed notions taught by parents, binding him to the sects that are now on the earth. Hear ye Him! Have hands laid upon you that you may receive the Holy Ghost.” The Latter-day Saints say to the people, “Believe in God the Father and in Jesus, the Son! Believe in the gifts of the holy Gospel! They are as ready to be bestowed upon His children at this day as any other in the history of the world. This is the time to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; this is the very time that we should acknowledge him and believe in his ordinances and in the gifts and graces that are promised to the children of God. We are living in a Gospel age and dispensation, we are living right in the day in which, as the Apostles said on the Day of Pentecost, the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Has the Lord called upon the children of men in this day? Yes, in the east and the west, from the north to the south, and in the uttermost parts of the earth. He has called upon the inhabitants of the earth to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Suppose this order of things had continued from the days of the ancient Apostles; suppose there had been no backsliding, no merchants to lift their heels because they are getting rich, no apostates, and the successors of the Apostles had received the holy Priesthood and had gone to the uttermost parts of the earth, where would have been your paganism today? It would not have been on the earth; infidelity would not have been known. Children would have been taught the ways of the Lord and brought up in the way they should go, and the whole world would have been full of the knowledge of God, instead of being in darkness as now!

The Power of Tradition on the Human Mind

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sept. 25, 1870.

A few words to the Latter-day Saints. First, I feel very thankful for the privilege of returning to my home and my friends that dwell here in this city. I am thankful that I am able to stand before you to bear my humble testimony to the truth. Truth, in the end, will prevail.

You have been hearing a description of our travels, of the route we passed over, and the ministrations to our comfort from our friends in the South. I feel wearied, having been broken of my rest a good deal, not being able, while traveling, to ob tain the quantity of rest that I require. I feel almost unable to stand here before you, still I look flush and hale and hearty, and think that I have probably gained from six to ten pounds of flesh since I have been gone. We have only traveled a little over nine hundred miles in 28 days. How many times we have preached I do not know. I have not kept count. Whenever we came to a settlement, either in the daytime or evening, while stopping to feed, the brethren would say, “Can’t we have a meeting? We want a meeting! Brethren, will you hold meeting? Frequently we would say, “Yes,” and while our animals were refreshing themselves, we would assemble with the people and talk with them.

It made no difference how arduous our labors had been; if we had traveled and preached a month without sleep, I don’t know that the brethren would have supposed that we needed rest. I asked one brother, a presiding Elder, who wanted to have a meeting, how old his father was. “Why,” said he, “he is sixty-seven.” I suppose that man does not do as much labor in a month as I do in a day, take it year in and year out. Still I may be mistaken in this. Said I, “Brother, if your father had endured what I have endured for three or four weeks past, and was asked to go to meeting and there spend an hour or two, talking to the people, you would feel insulted, and would consider it an imposition for your father to be required to labor without cessation.” Said he, “I did not think of that.” Said I, “I am considerably older than he is, yet look at my labors!” So we passed on and did not have a meeting. But it was meeting, meeting, meeting, from the time we left this city until our return.

In our communications to the Saints I have taken the liberty to speak of our traditions. The world of mankind have no idea of the force of tradition upon them, it does not come into their hearts, they do not contemplate it; if they did they would correct many of their errors, and cease a great many of their practices, and adopt others more in accordance with the principles of life and truth. We wish the Latter-day Saints instructed in such a way that the traditions they communicate to their children will be correct. If we did but understand truth from error, light from darkness, and knew the will of God perfectly and were disposed to do it, it would be just as easy to give our children an education to profit themselves and others, to enable them to be profitable to the human family, and to show forth that wisdom which God has given us, as to take a course to fill their lives with error and wrong. Many, very many, people regret much of their lives, because, through circumstances over which they have had no control, they have been deprived of the knowledge that some few possess. It makes no difference how children are brought up so far as the permanence of the impressions and habits of childhood are concerned. Whether surrounded with error or truth, the web woven around them in childhood’s days lasts, and seldom wears threadbare; but in many instances it grows brighter and brighter and stronger and stronger until its possessor goes down to the grave.

You have heard it declared here, within the few minutes just passed, that we have the truth, the Priesthood of the Son of God; that we are endowed with that understanding and wisdom by the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we do know the way of life and salvation, and know, better than any other people, the course to pursue here on this earth to prepare us for glory, immortality and endless lives which are to come. If this is the fact, we should manifest and show it forth to God and man by our teachings, practice and every act of our lives.

I may say that the infidel world has grown up in consequence of false religions; it has been strengthened by false theories. For any individual in the world to teach what he does not practice is a stumbling block to all beholders; then if the Latter-day Saints know the truth and do it not, certainly, great will be their con demnation. Hence it stands us in need to be on the watch continually. I do not know of a more absolute monarch that ever reigned on earth than the one who has perfect control over his passions. Do you know of a more absolute monarch than such a person? If you do, I do not. We should all learn to govern and control ourselves! The question may be asked, “Can we govern our own thoughts?” Yes, we can by steady application in gathering to ourselves reflections, thoughts and meditations which are according to truth and righteousness and justified of God and of all the good on the face of the earth, we can avoid evil thoughts, communications, reflections and enticements, and can bring the whole man into subjection to the law of Christ. Is this the fact? It is. If we are filled with good thoughts, ideas and feelings formed upon precepts which God has taught for the salvation of the human family, our communications will be beneficial to our fellow beings. This is to the Latter-day Saints.

When I look over the character of the few who have been gathered together—a pretty fair representation of almost all nations, it is astonishing to see the various ideas of right and wrong entertained by them in consequence of their traditions, and the teachings they have received from their fathers, mothers, schoolmasters and school madames; the priest in the pulpit and the deacon under the pulpit. I say it is astonishing to see this variety—all springing from tradition. Not but what there should be a great variety; we see a variety of countenances in the human family, and we may also expect a variety of dispositions; but all these dispositions can be governed and controlled by the principles of right and righteousness.

Our traditions, then, should be correct! We should know how to teach our children correct principles from their youth up. The first thing that is taught by the mother to the child should be true; we should never allow ourselves to teach our children one thing and practice another. I have sometimes said to my sisters, “Do not teach your children to lie.” This is the course pursued by many, without designing to do so. The very first lessons that are given to the infant mind capable of receiving impressions is to falsify or tell that which is untrue. “Well,” says a mother, “if I do so, I do not know it.” It may be quite true that you do not know it. But what did you promise your little girl if she would do so and so? Did you promise her a present for well doing? “Yes.” Have you recollected it? “No, it has gone from my mind,” says the mother. If she does ill have you promised her a chastisement? “Yes.” Did you keep your word? You have not, and the child forms the conclusion in its own mind directly that the mother tells that which is not true—she says she will do this or that, and she does not do it. It is an easy lesson for mothers to learn to pass their time with their children and never give them a false impression. Think before you speak; promise your children nothing. If you wish to make them presents, do so; if you promise a chastisement, keep your word, but be cautious! Never give a promise for good or for evil, but let the reward come in consequence of well doing, and chastisement in consequence of doing ill. Silence is a thousand times better than words, especially if those words are not in wisdom. But so great is the love of the mother for her offspring, so tender the feeling with which she regards it, that many cannot see wrong in the acts of their children; and if they do, they will pass it without chastisement, even if chastisement has been promised. These are our traditions, and so great is their power that we are governed and controlled by them continually.

I sometimes bring up circumstances to illustrate the traditions of the fathers. We in this country are acquainted with a great many different classes of people; different sects and beliefs in religion, and with a great variety of beliefs in regard to morality. If a mother, for instance, permit her child to bring eggs into the house, when she does not own a fowl, she knows that they come from some other source. If her child pick up a knife that does not belong to her and bring it to the house, she cultivates dishonesty in the child; and from such little circumstances, thousands of which occur, the principles of dishonesty grow and strengthen with the strength of the individuals until they become natural thieves. Perhaps this term is too harsh, and should not be so applied; it might be better to say that, through habit, such individuals become accustomed to appropriate the property of others to their own use.

I will tell a little circumstance that I was acquainted with; I was not an eyewitness of it, but had it from one of my neighbors. A Methodist preacher, in company with a friend, was returning from a preaching tour, and while passing a plow lying by the side of a man’s farm the companion of the priest had considerable difficulty to prevent him putting the plow into the wagon. Said the priest, “It will be lost, it ought to be taken care of;” and he would have taken care of it by taking it home, making use of it and wearing it out, without advertising it, and the owner of the plow would have had to buy another. That is appropriating other people’s property to our own use. In this case the partner of the priest forbid it. Said he, “Take that and lay it by the fence; it belongs there; do not put it in the wagon,” and the priest did so. You may ask, “Was he a good man?” Yes, as good as he knew how to be according to his traditions.

So many circumstances flood upon my mind with regard to these traditions, that I hardly dare commence saying anything about them, that I have seen and learned. One man brings up his child to strictly observe the letter of the law. The spirit and essence of his teaching to his child is, “You must not break the law, if you do you will be chastened by the law; but at the same time,” says the father, and he may be a deacon or a priest, “if you can, take advantage of the poor in their daily labor, in purchasing your neighbor’s property”—for instance, perhaps he owns a small farm by the side of him, who, through necessity, is obliged to sell, and if he can purchase it for one-half or one-third its value in cash he will do it, because the law will not condemn such an act. This is tradition or the influence of it; but in the eyes of God he who thus takes advantage of his neighbor’s necessities is as guilty as if he had robbed him.

Do we know of any here who have been brought up to work on the first day of the week, and who would like to do so now? Yes, we have them. Can they refrain from doing something or other that is like labor on the Sabbath day? It is almost impossible; they must work on the Sabbath. There is a certain class of our Christians by whom the first day of the week must be devoted to labor, just to show to their fellow Christians that they are not sectarian in their feelings. Say they, “One day to us is as good as another. God is the author of all days; all days are His, and to show to the Christian world that we are free from their narrow, illiberal views, we labor on the first day of the week.”

Another class of the religious world, equally conscientious with that to which I have just referred, is as stringent in prohibiting all kinds of labor on that day. Towards evening on the seventh day of the week the father cries to the children, “Your chores must be done by sunset;” and as soon as the rays of the glorious orb of day have disappeared, parents and children assemble, and chapter after chapter of the Bible is read, and comments are made thereon; and there the children sit until bedtime, and on the first day of the week they repair to the Sunday school, or to the house of worship, and so spend the Sabbath, believing that it is wrong to walk out, to play, or even to laugh; but when sunset comes again, away go the children to work, and the hurry of the world again begins. Do we see any such traditions as these? Yes. The traditions of another have been of such a nature, perhaps, that all labor must cease at twelve o’clock on Saturday night sure, and as soon as twelve o’clock on Sunday night comes we are at liberty to work again; and so we might go through the thousand traditions, the effects of which we see manifested by our fellow creatures around us.

I was traditionated to believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and I believe it is a Bible doctrine. I do not think I am mistaken in my religious faith. My priest would pray, “Father of all mercies, God of all grace, make thou one in our midst! Send thou the Holy Ghost upon us, upon our minds, that we may see! Reveal thyself unto us as thou dost not unto the world! Give unto us thy mind and thy will! Give unto us the revelations of thy Son, and bestow upon us thy power and the influence thereof;” and after making such a prayer the sermon that would be preached would deny every word of it. Ask the ministers of the Christian world if the Holy Ghost is given in this day, and they will tell you “no.” I have heard it preached hundreds and perhaps thousands of times. Ask them if God manifests Himself to the human family in this our day, and you will be informed that “He does not; that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain the word of God, the plan of salvation, and all that is necessary to save the human family. God does not reveal Himself; He does not come down to dwell with the children of men; the Son of God does not come to visit his people; the Holy Ghost is not given as in ancient times.” Ask them if the gift of healing is with them, and the reply is, “No, it is done away.” “Have you the gift of prophecy?” “No, it is done away.” “Have you the gift of seeing spirits?” “No, it is done away; all these gifts are done away and we want you to understand that we do not believe them.” All this is in accordance with their traditions, and it is taught to the children, and they are confused in their understandings. Well, the Latter-day Saints know better than to teach their children one thing at one time and another at another time; they also know better than to teach their children principles and doctrines in theory which they deny in practice. The Latter-day Saints are not at liberty to do this; we are not so called; we have not so received the Gospel; but having received the truth in our hearts, we should practice it in our lives, and on this basis —the truth as it is in Jesus—should the traditions which we instil into the minds of our children be built.

With regard to the faith that the Lord has revealed for the salvation of the human family, teach them principles that are correct. Do not say, “Do not do this or that, child, the Lord sees you!” “Well, ma,” says the child, “I heard the minister say today that the Lord has no eye, how can he see me? How is this, ma? I want to know; is this true, or is it not true? You say that the Lord looks upon my acts, and knows everything I do, and will judge me according to my acts; yet I heard the minister say today that the Lord has no body and no parts, that He has no ears, that He has no head, that He has no arms, that He has no feet, and so on. How is this, ma?” And the child is confused in its mind and does not know what to believe; it is lost in its thought. The same is true of grown people. The children know very little more than their parents, but they would if they were let alone. I will illustrate this by a simple fact, if I do not prove it. You go to the heathen nations, the aborigines of our country, for instance. They believe nothing in religion as we suppose, yet their ideas of God and heaven are far above those entertained by professed Christians. They believe in a God who has body, parts and passions, possessed of principle and power; who can see, handle, walk, talk and communicate. This is their faith; whether it is through tradition I cannot say. If they have no traditions on these points they have certainly imbibed these ideas from some source, and whether natural or by tradition it is immaterial to me. They are a people who know nothing of the Bible or of the Christian religion, and still their ideas are more correct than many of ours. This will illustrate what I wished, to my own satisfaction.

I say, with regard to traditioning children falsely, especially in religious matters, rather let them alone; give a good common education, and no teachings whatever with regard to the Bible, and their own philosophy will teach them there is a Supreme Being, better than many who, though identified with Christian nations, have repudiated their religious notions. I mean the infidel world, and its members are very numerous. The philosophy of the child, if untrammeled by false tradition, will teach him, by what he sees every day, that there is a Supreme Being—a supreme principle and power somewhere. It cannot think of anything but what is brought into existence in some way or other. Nothing is self-made or self-existent. This is the natural philosophy of the thinking child. As it grows up, the idea naturally suggests itself to its own mind, “I did not bring myself here; I have parents. I understand this; this is on natural principles. I can, to some extent, understand the creations which are before and around me.” Says the child, “I can understand very readily that if we cast wheat into the ground when it is properly prepared, it produces wheat; if we cast corn into properly prepared ground it will produce corn. So of rye, the various grass seeds, shrubs, plants and flowers—they all yield according to their kind.” This, the child naturally understands, “but,” he says, “where is the origin of myself? I know not; yet it must be somewhere. The origin of life whether human or inferior, must be lodged in some character whom I have not seen! Follow it back, no matter whether it be for six thousand years, six millions, six million millions, or billions of years, the figures and numbers are immaterial, I must have come from some source, my natural philosophy teaches me this.” But, leaving the natural philosophy of the child free from false tradition let us inquire. What does the philosophy of the Christian sects, or many of them, not all, teach? “God made the world in six days, out of nothing!” This is very wrong; no child should be taught any such dogma. God never did make a world out of nothing; He never will, He never can! There is no such principle in existence. Worlds are made of crude element which floats, without bounds in the eternities—in the immensity of space; an eternity of matter—no limits to it, in its natural crude state and the power of the Almighty has this influence and wisdom—when He speaks He is obeyed, and matter comes together and is organized. We take the rock, and the lime from the mountains and burn it and make mortar with lime and sand and lay the foundation of houses, and rear the superstructure with bricks, stones, adobies or lumber. We bring these elements together and organize them according to our pleasure. We should teach our children that God has so organized the earth from the rude, rough native element. It is true that some believe that it never was created. Well, all right then! It is here anyhow; they cannot dispute the fact that the earth is here, no matter how long it has stood!

This calls to my mind some circumstances of our trip. We had Major Powell with us on some portions of our journey South. He is now preparing to explore more of the Colorado. He was engaged in this undertaking last year; then he went on his own responsibility. This year he has received a little aid from Congress. One evening while sitting by the camp fire, said I, “Major, how long will it take light to come from the nearest fixed star to the earth? Some of our astronomers say thirty thousand years.” Said he, “O dear! Thirty thousand years will not do it, it will take as many millions of years.” Well, that opened up conversation, and I do not know but I might have indulged in a little of my boyism. In our journeyings we came to some petrified trees lying on the ground; they were broken to pieces. Some had very fine quartz between the bark and wood, very finely formed, beautifully crystallized, perfect diamond shape. Said I, “Major, how came these here?” Well, he did not know when they were brought, or how they had become petrified; they had certainly, according to his opinion, come from some other country, for no such trees grow here now. In our travels we came to one place where there had been a slide of rocks, and there was a perfect bed of oyster shells in the rock—perfect rock. Said I, “Major, how long has it taken for these shells to become petrified?” He philosophized a little upon it, when I said, “Look here, you and I both know that there are springs of water that will petrify things of this kind in a short time, and that petrified human bodies have been exhumed which, it was known, had not been buried very many years, and how do you know that it has required a hundred and fifty million of years to bring about what we now behold? It may only have required eighteen years!” I recollect a circumstance bearing on this question, which occurred in the State of New York, which I will relate. A certain lady had been laboring under disease, pain and sorrow for eighteen years, her sufferings and the nature and character of her affliction baffling the skill of the best physicians; after suffering for the space of time I have mentioned she died, and, for the cause of science, was opened by the surgeons, when a petrified child was taken from her. That was near Utica, in the state of New York. How long did it take to bring about this petrifaction? Certainly not millions of years as some of the philosophers talk about. All that can be said of such things is that they are phenomena, or freaks of nature, for which the knowledge and science of man cannot account.

Since I parted company with Major Powell I have heard another story, which will furnish another problem for the geologists to solve. A short time since a piece of petrified bacon was found on the trail of Colonel Fremont, and there is no question but it was left where found by his party when exploring in the Rocky Mountains. It is petrified, having become perfect rock. We all know that it is not half a million years since Colonel Fremont and his party went through this region of country. It is impossible for man to tell the cause of certain freaks of nature unless it is revealed to him by divine wisdom, unless his eyes are open to understand the invisible things of God; for the ways of God and His dealings are very different from the ways and dealings of the children of men. Yet there is nothing done only on the science of true philosophy if we did but understand the facts. If we cannot define the power by which these things are done it is not our prerogative to dispute the effects, for they are before us. These and kindred topics give rise to much speculation on the part of the scientific; but it is for me to wait until their causes are made known from the proper source. It is very sure that there is no such thing in existence as a piece of wood being turned to stone without the action of elements upon it; and though we do not understand the combination, nature, and action of those elements, we can see their results.

A few words more with regard to our traditions. We want he Latter-day Saints to believe and practice every correct principle with regard to their religion, also with regard to their moral lives. We know there are a great many who depend upon a moral life for future happiness and joy, believing that will prove satisfactory. I can tell you that I would rather have the practice of a good moral religion without any faith at all in a Supreme Being, than to have faith in a Supreme Being without any moral good action, and a life filled with vice, sin and iniquity. That is my choice, I will say that sin or evil is simply doing that which injures some thing or being. This is sin; but that that promotes life, happiness, peace, joy and the well-being of intelligence—no matter what the degree is—that promotes happiness, builds up, refines and makes better, is as good religion as we can ask for. This is the doctrine of the Son of God; but there are thousands of these little intricate questions or ideas connected with salvation which are mysteries to the human family, which it would take a lifetime to teach to them unless the revelations of God were given to open up their minds at once, that they might see things as they do exist.

Let us train our minds, first to think aright, believe aright, that the meditations of our hearts may be correct, for our actions will naturally correspond with that that is in the heart. This, my brethren and sisters, is our duty. Train ourselves with regard to our faith. Believe the Scriptures as they are. I have met with a great many gentlemen who refer to the dead languages for the proper interpretation of the Scrip tures, which, to my mind, is folly, and absurd in the extreme. If I were a divine, and had all the learning which could be bestowed upon a mortal being, and considered that the Bible is translated incorrectly, I should hold myself accountable and responsible to give a correct translation as quickly as time and opportunity would permit, that all people might know the truth. So I hold every divine, and especially those who preach for hire and divine for money, for they have nothing else to do. I have to raise my own potatoes; but yet I would find time to do this. I say it is an absurdity in the very nature of good sound argument and reason to refer to the dead languages for the true interpretation of the Scriptures. Take the Bible, then, as it is. If it is not translated correctly, wait until it is. It will do for us as it is, consequently we teach the principles it contains to each other and to our children, and endeavor to avoid giving them false ideas with regard to the faith of the Gospel that we believe in.

We believe in our Father, and do not apply this term to a nonentity—to a fancied something that never existed; the application would not be correct. We do not so use language. We use this term to a being, and we claim this title as children. He is our Father; He is our God, the Father of our spirits; He is the framer of our bodies, and set the machine in successful operation to bring forth these tabernacles that I now look upon in this building, and all that ever did or ever will live on the face of the whole earth.

This is the doctrine taught by the ancients, taught by the prophets, taught by Jesus, taught by his Apostles, taught by Joseph Smith, taught by those who believe the same doctrine that Joseph Smith believed in—the revelations that God has given in modern times, who believe in that Being after whose image and in whose likeness man was formed, framed and made, precisely like Him that made him. This is the doctrine. To believe that He lives; He is a Being of place, of habitation. He dwells at home; His influence fills immensity to us; His eye is upon all His works, and He sends forth His ministers to administer here and there according to His will and pleasure. He has given His son, according to His good pleasure, to redeem the earth, and all intelligent beings thereon, and all inanimate matter, if there is any such thing; to redeem the whole earth and all pertaining to it, and it is His good pleasure to do it. The reasons why He did it are plain and obvious, though we may not say anything about them today; yet there are reasons for all this, and that that we may call eternal philosophy, God’s philosophy, the philosophy of angels—natural philosophy, reasonable philosophy, that commends itself to the human mind, to the intelligence that man possesses, will explain it. If men understood the religion that we believe in they would receive it; it naturally commends itself to the conscience of every just and righteous person, and none such would refuse it if they understood it.

Well, then, we ought, in the first place, to train ourselves to believe correctly, to think correctly, and to practice correctly, and instil correct principles into the minds of the rising generation, so that when they are old they will not depart from them. This is the idea, and not bring up the children as we bring them up. You recollect the wise man said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That is, teach them correct principles. If we do that, they will understand the principles by which God lives and acts, and has brought forth the earth and the intelligence it contains; the intelligence he has entrusted to man in giving him eyes to see and ears to hear—properties that are worthy the attention of a God—that will enable Him to contrast and know, from reason and from self experience, the good from the evil. I say if we train our children so as to place them in possession of these principles we shall train them in the way they should go, and the saying of the wise man will be verified—they will not depart from it.

In teaching false doctrine there always will be more or less of truth mixed with it; there always has been where anything of importance has been taught. The enemy, the serpent, who beguiled our first mother, told some truth. Said he, “If you take this and eat thereof, your eyes will be opened and you will see as the Gods see.” This was true, but when he told her that she would not suffer death as the consequence of so doing, he lied—told that that was not true. He mixed some truth with the error he taught; her eyes were opened, or how could she have seen?

If I were to preach to this congregation, who have been brought up in countries where there is no fruit raised, and I was to teach them that there is such fruit as oranges, if you had not seen or tasted them how could you know whether I told the truth or not? If I were to say to this congregation there is such a fruit as a sweet apple, but you had never seen nor tasted nor had any knowledge of it, how could you tell whether I told the truth or not? But having tasted the bitter and the sweet; having enjoyed ease and suffered pain; having seen the light and endured the darkness, you know that which is good and that which is evil. Without this experience how could we know it? Consequently God has committed to the children of men this knowledge, and He has made it plain and reasonable before them, that they should know as well as the Gods, that they might choose the good and refuse the evil. So it is, and so we should be taught.

And then, with regard to the religion of God, of His Son Jesus Christ, of the holy angels and of the prophets and Apostles, from first to last, it can never injure any soul who will receive it. If men would observe that, they would never go to war with each other, they would never destroy a good work that others have performed. It is an evil principle which introduces destruction, wickedness and confusion into any community whatsoever. A good principle—that which is of God, ornaments, builds up, gathers the elements, beautifies the earth and makes it like the garden of Eden; it improves the hearts of the people, teaches children right doctrine, correct principle, to which they will adhere through life. Through imbibing false ideas, principles and teachings, children become as the old Indian said. The missionary had been trying to instruct him in the saying, “Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it;” but the old Indian gave it a little different interpretation. Said he, “Bring up a child and away he goes.” So it is now—we bring up children and away they go. Look at our young, middle-aged and old men! Look at the community that we have in our country and in other countries! You take the sons of those flaming divines! If you want to find the most polished, complete and perfect outlaws that can be found, you hunt up the son of some priest who has received a liberal education; after having been taught the highest branches of education, away he goes. At least the son of such a man is just as apt to do so as the son of the lawyer, farmer, mechanic, judge or statesman. This is for the lack of correct tradition, and this shows the force of early training and of the traditions imbibed in childhood. The power of it upon myself is perfectly astonishing to me; with all that I have learned from the Scriptures and from the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, the traditions of my earliest recollection are so forcible upon me that it seems impossible for me to get rid of them. And so it is with others; hence the necessity of correct training in childhood.

Teach your children honesty and uprightness, and teach them also never to injure others. As I say to my sisters sometimes, “Look here, my dear sister, if your child quarrels with your neighbor’s child, do not chasten your neighbor’s child. Go and make peace, be a peacemaker. Teach your child never to do a wrong; and if your neighbor’s child has injured you or yours, or taken anything from you, never mind. You stop until you find out. Perhaps the child has meant no wrong. You should learn the facts in the case, and go with a meek, humble, quiet spirit, and peace will result.” How many neighbors become enemies to each other in consequence of contention with children! Woman will contend with woman, “Your child injured my child,” and so on. Why if you understood and would practice the true doctrines you would not mind this; you would say, “It is the act of a child and not of a matured mind; it is only the work of children.” Perhaps it may have done some mischief; and if so, reason with it, and teach it never to do anything wrong among its playfellows, but to promote good feelings continually. You will see occasionally a child that is ready to give up everything rather than have contention; and why not have it so with all. It might be so, just as easy as it is otherwise. Let mothers be possessed of a meek, humble, quiet spirit in childbearing, and when their children come forth into the world and commence on this stage of action, teach them correct principles, and by imbibing them they will be enabled to lead lives of purity, joy, peace and tranquility that surpasses all understanding. So let our traditions be, and never do or say a wrong thing. Never do or say that which we shall regret. Watch yourselves day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. Keep a guard over yourselves so that you will never do or say anything that you will regret hereafter, and your lives will be filled with usefulness, and you will increase your own peace and promote it among your neighbors, and this will insure a great degree of salvation here, and prepare for a higher degree hereafter. The principles of life and salvation are the greatest blessings which can be bestowed upon us here on this earth. The greatest gift God can give to His children is eternal life. We have its principles in our possession. We know how to teach and to live them, and how to practice them so as to enjoy their benefits. This is what gives peace and joy to the heart. Who else that live on the earth could endure as the Latter-day Saints have endured, if they did not enjoy the Spirit of the Lord? If they had not the spirit of peace and union and of love to God and to one another and the whole human family? Let our traditions and practices be such that we can say, to the whole world, in the words of the Apostle, “Follow us, as we follow Christ.”

This is the doctrine. In our scanty, hasty reflections to the Latter-day Saints we say, live your religion! If you do, you will do no evil to any person on the face of the earth. I sometimes ask myself the question, “Do people understand what we teach, believe and practice?” They cannot see and understand as we see and understand; they cannot believe as we believe, if they did they would never do as they do—that is our enemies.

I have occupied all the time I should this morning. This is only a little. God bless you. Peace be with you. Do right. Love God and keep His commandments, and, in the words of the Scripture, “Eschew evil!” Have nothing to do with it. Let us seek continually to do good to ourselves and each other, that when we sleep in our mother dust, when these tabernacles take that happy nap in the bosom of our mother earth, our spirits may be prepared for higher society than we enjoy here. This is my desire and prayer for the good all the day long. God bless you. Amen.

The Gospel—The One-Man Power

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 24, 1870.

Short sermons are very frequently interesting, if the speaker can say what he wishes to say from the time he commences to speak until the end. But most of us who are public speakers labor under timidity, and experience that lack of the governing and controlling principle which pre vents our doing this. I notice this in almost every public speaker I hear. It is seldom that a speaker can arise and deliver his thoughts and reflections readily, unless his speech and subject have been studied and fixed previously. For my part, as far as my public speaking is concerned, I do not know that I ever troubled myself to take thought beforehand of what I should say. There have been times in my life that I have been led to lecture on certain principles, and on such occasions my mind would be confined to those principles alone, consequently my subject would be before me more immediately. But upon rising to address the people I trust in Him from whom we all derive the power of thought and reflection, and I strive to express my reflections acceptably to God and to my hearers.

The Gospel, whose principles we have been hearing about this morning, is the Gospel that every Christian professes to believe in. I do not know of a Christian but what will admit that the Bible is true; then where is the difference between the Latter-day Saints and the various Christian sects that dwell on the earth? The difference is that we believe enough to obey; while they believe just enough to acknowledge but not to obey.

If there be one principle in this Gospel that we preach that is not perfectly true, we would like some divine to make us acquainted with the fact; and prove by principles of true philosophy wherein it is not true, or wherein it is injurious to those who believe it. We believe that every principle that God has revealed to the children of men is strictly true, and absolutely beneficial to the life of every intelligent being that dwells upon the whole earth. We have come to this conclusion, for we have tried to learn and understand and to carry out in our lives the principles of the Gospel that we believe in, and if we sum them up, in a few words, we might, with the strictest propriety, use the words of one anciently, and say that the Gospel is “peace on earth and good will to men.” We can also say truly that this is eternal life to know the only wise God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. But when we examine the faith and acknowledgements of the Christian world we find that, with all their professions, they are involved in midnight darkness concerning the true nature and character of God. Is there a divine on the face of the whole earth who can give you or me any description of the Being that the whole Christian world worship as God? There is not. Where is the proof of this assertion? I am a witness; their writings are witnesses; their sermons are witnesses; their declarations are witnesses. Yet this book, the Bible, portrays the character of God, the Father of our spirits, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as clearly as any work ever written by man portrays the shape, nature, construction and constitution of the human frame. If this is so, why do not the Christian world believe in it? The Latter-day Saints do believe enough of it to try and carry it out in their practice.

What do we believe about the faith that Jesus revealed? He said a great deal with regard to life and salvation. His Apostles wrote and taught after him, and the Gospel was among the children of men from the days of Adam until the coming of the Messiah; this Gospel of Christ is from the beginning to the end. Then why was the law of Moses given? Just answer the question! In consequence of the disobedience of the children of Israel, the elect of God; the very seed that He had selected to be His people, and upon whom He said He would place His name. This seed of Abraham so rebelled against Him and His commands that the Lord said to Moses, “I will give you a law which shall be a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ.” But this law is grievous; it is a law of carnal commandments. Still it will be hard for any divine that now lives to draw the line between the law of carnal commandments and the law of divine commandments. I have not seen them who can do it.

I ask what is the nature of our religion? Why, it is “peace on earth and good will to men” in every particular; and if its precepts be observed it will fill society with peace, joy, wealth, beauty and excellence; it lifts man above the things of earth, gives him the philosophy of eternity, and shows the works of God in all their glory and magnitude, and leads the mind of the creature to admire and worship the Creator. Is this the fact? Certainly it is. I have not found anything in my religion that will do harm to any creature on the face of the earth. I have not found errors in our religion. Are there errors in the people? O yes, plenty of them. I recollect a gentleman from Philadelphia who was tarrying in this city for the benefit of his health, but was called home on business, who said he believed the Bible and believed all, as far as he had learned, with regard to the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. Said he, one day, when visiting me for the last time, “Mr. Young, am I to understand that you consider yourselves perfect?” I said to him, “Such an idea with regard to us is a mistaken one, and if you entertain it you have not got the matter placed correctly in your mind. Let me correct you, so that when at home you may meditate upon it. The doctrine that we preach is perfect; but our lives are very imperfect. To say that a human being is perfect, that he has no errors, would say that he is divine—a God or a holy angel. But we are in a world of sin and darkness, a world that knows not God; in a world where error dwells and reigns supreme. “Now,” said I, “remember this. The doctrine that we preach is from God; this doctrine is pure and holy; it is without spot or blemish; and it is the doctrine of the Son of God, the Savior of the world.” Is it good for man here? Certainly it is—the best that can be given to any beings on the earth; to organize a society, to rule a family, to dictate and control scholars at school, to rule, govern and control an individual, a community, a nation or kingdom, it is the very best code of principles and laws ever delivered to the children of men. In all my researches into the doctrine of Jesus I have never found an error.

It has been observed here this morning that we are called fanatics. Bless me! That is nothing. Who has not been called a fanatic who has discovered anything new in philosophy or science? We have all read of Galileo the astronomer who, contrary to the system of astronomy that had been received for ages before his day, taught that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of our planetary system? For this the learned astronomer was called “fanatic,” and subjected to persecution and imprisonment of the most rigorous character. So it has been with others who have discovered and explained new truths in science and philosophy which have been in opposition to long-established theories; and the opposition they have encountered has endured until the truth of their discoveries has been demonstrated by time. The term “fanatic” is not applied to professors of religion only. How was it with Dr. Morse, when shut up in the attic of an old building in Baltimore for more than a year, with a little wire stretched round the room, experimenting upon it with his battery, he told a friend that by means of that he could sit there and talk to Congress in Washington? Was he not considered a fanatic, and wild, and crazy? Certainly he was; and so it was with Robert Fulton, when he was conducting his experiments with steam and endeavoring to apply it so as to propel a vessel through the water. And all great discoverers in art, science, or mechanism have been denounced as fanatics and crazy; and it has been declared by their contemporaries that they did not know what they were saying, and they were thought to be almost as wild and incoherent as the generality of the people now think George Francis Train to be.

I will tell you who the real fanatics are: they are they who adopt false principles and ideas as facts, and try to establish a superstructure upon a false foundation. They are the fanatics; and however ardent and zealous they may be, they may reason or argue on false premises till doomsday, and the result will be false. If our religion is of this character we want to know it; we would like to find a philosopher who can prove it to us. We are called ignorant; so we are: but what of it? Are not all ignorant? I rather think so. Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed “the man in the moon,” and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized. Every planet in its first rude, organic state receives not the glory of God upon it, but is opaque; but when celestialized, every planet that God brings into existence is a body of light, but not till then. Christ is the light of this planet. God gives light to our eyes. Did you ever think who gave you the power of seeing? Who organized these little globules in our heads, and formed the nerves running to the brain, and gave us the power of distinguishing a circle from a square, an upright from a level, large from small, white from black, brown from gray, and so on? Did you acquire this faculty by your own power? Did any of you impart this power to me or I to you? Not at all. Then where did we get it from? From a superior Being. When I think of these few little things with regard to the organization of the earth and the people of the earth, how curious and how singular it is! And yet how harmonious and beautiful are Nature’s laws! And the work of God goes forward, and who can hinder it, or who can stay His hand now that He has commenced His kingdom?

This brings us right back to this Gospel. God has commenced His kingdom on the earth. How intricate it is, and how difficult for a man to understand if he be not enlightened by the Spirit of God! How can we understand it? O, we have nothing to do but to humble ourselves and get the spirit of the Lord by being born of the water and of the Spirit; then we can enter into it. How is it if we are not born of the Spirit? Can the natural man behold the things of God? He cannot, for they are discerned spiritually—by the Spirit of the Almighty, and if we have not this Spirit within us we cannot understand the things of God. But the most simple thing in the world to understand is the work of the Lord. What shall we do? Divest ourselves of great, big “Mr. I.” Let him fall at the feet of good sound reason. What next? Humble ourselves before the Lord and receive the truth as He has revealed it, then we will be born of the Spirit. Then if we wish further blessings, be born of the water; then, if we wish further blessings, receive the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and if we wish still further blessings, live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth, that is spoken from the heavens, then things will be brought to our remembrance by the Comforter that Jesus promised his disciples, which should show them things past, present, and to come.

This is the Gospel as we believe it. Is there any harm in it? Not the least in the world. Should we not obey it? We should. Should we not obey the requirements of Heaven? Certainly we should. Would it be the least injurious to the human family to receive the Gospel of the Son of God, and to have the man Christ Jesus to rule over them? Not at all; but, on the contrary, it would fill them with peace, joy, love, kindness, and intelligence. Would the principles of the Gospel, if obeyed, teach us to control ourselves? They would. They will teach men and women to govern and control their own passions. You very frequently hear it said, “Such a man or woman has too much temper.” This is a mistaken idea. No person on earth has too much of this article. But do we not frequently see the evil conduct of people through allowing their passions and tempers to have full control of them? Certainly we do. What is the difficulty? We want the spirit, knowledge, power and principle within us to govern and control our tempers; there is no danger of having too much if we will only control them by the Spirit of the Almighty. Every intelligent being on the earth is tempered for glory, beauty, excellency and knowledge here, and for immortality and eternal lives in the worlds to come. But every being who attains to this must be sanctified before God and be completely under the control of His Spirit. If I am thus controlled by the Spirit of the Most High I am a king, I am supreme so far as the control of self is concerned; and it also enables me to control my wives and children. And when they thus see that I am under the government and control of the Good Spirit, they will be perfectly submissive to my dictates. They feel and say, “Yes, father, or husband, certainly, you never require anything that is wrong; I have learned that long ago. Your judgment and discretion and the power of thought and reflection in you are sufficient; you know what is right.” And if I could extend this power I could reign supreme, not only over my family and friends, but also over my neighbors and the people all around me. Could the spirit of error, hatred and wickedness perform this? No, it can be accomplished only by means of the meek and humble spirit of the Lord Jesus. If an individual is filled with that, it makes him a perfect monarch over himself, and it will give him influence over all who will hearken to his counsel. What a pity it would be in the estimation of the wicked and corrupt, if any man on the earth really did possess this power! Suppose that Napoleon, for instance, was actually filled with the power of God to that degree that the whole people of France would love him as much as a child ever loved a parent, because they knew every word he uttered was full of wisdom and would produce health, wealth, joy and peace among all classes; would elevate the suffering poor—those in need and distress, fill them with knowledge and wisdom and give them the good things of life, why, there would be a general outcry against him, and he would be denounced because of the exercise of the “one-man power!” But let him be a devil and rule with an iron rod, a tyrant’s hand, and take off heads every day by the score or hundred, and there would not be a word said against him! Let the good I have referred to be brought about, as it would be, under the rule and government of Heaven, and the ruler would be called a tyrant. But this is the way to rule, no matter what the inhabitants and the wise men and philosophers of the earth may think; and the time will come when this earth will be revolutionized by these principles, and when through their influence war, dissension, hatred, malice, and persecution will cease among the children of men and when there will be a universal reign of peace and righteousness. Suppose we live to see it! We shall all be of one heart and one mind, shall we not? I will here ask, for my own satisfaction, what will you do, Mr. Politician, when there is no division at the polls, but when the cry will be, from one end of the earth to the other, “We want one man only, but the best that can be found for this office; this is the only man we want!” Your occupation will be gone about that time. Will there be wars in those days? No, they will be done away. Any contentions then? No, all will be peace. Bickering and strife will have passed away, and a better spirit will have taken possession of the minds of the people, and they will be peaceful, joyous, kind and full of benevolence, and the general feeling will be, “Friend, what can I do for you? Brother, how can I do you good?” or, “Sister, can I add to your comfort, or make any addition to your joy and peace here on the earth?” You and I are looking for this day. Let me ask the poor miserable apostate, the hater of God and righteousness, “Do you not think that will be one-man power?” I reckon it will. That is what leading men everywhere are after now, not only in this country, but in every other; they are all scrambling after it, and they are mad because they cannot get it.

I think I will take the liberty of relating a little circumstance which was related to me. Whether it is a fact or not I cannot say. Some of our good government officers here inquired of a man from the Southern part of the Territory: “Do you know Brigham?” “Yes, I know him very well.” “Do you not know that he is trying to influence the election?” “No, I never heard anything about it.” “Can’t you make oath that he has always guided and influenced the elections in this Territory?” The man said, “No, I am not well enough acquainted with him nor with politics to know anything about it.” I laughed heartily inside at the poor miserable fools when I heard this. Why, yes, I would govern and control the elections of the earth if I desired and could; certainly I would, and help yourselves the best way you can! Bless my heart, who don’t do it? The poor creatures! Isn’t that what they are after? Would not they do it if they could? I can govern and control the Latter-day Saints, not by the iron hand, but by the principles of true government—the principles of our religion, which, in their very nature, are bound to make those who will be guided by them healthy, wealthy and wise. I think we are doing our best at it; and I also think that we will go on and be successful in this good work in spite of earth and hell.

I say God speed everybody that is for freedom and equal rights! I am with you. Whom do we want to fill our public offices? We want the best men that we can find for governor, president and statesmen, and for every other office of trust and responsibility; and when we have obtained them, we will pray for them and give them our faith and influence to do the will of God and to preserve themselves and the people in truth and righteousness. I have talked as long as time will allow. God bless you. Amen.

Preaching the Gospel—The Principles and Spirit of the Same

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 17, 1870.

I realize that it is quite a trial for young men, who have just started in the life of the Gospel, to speak to an audience, either large or small. In my observation and experience I have noticed that most speakers are timid at the sound of their own voices. If it were prudent and wisdom we would not ask our young brethren to speak when they return home, but would let them pass along and gratify their own feelings, without speaking to the congregations of the Saints. This timidity, experienced on rising to address their fellow creatures, is in all, with very few exceptions. I think I have seen a few men in my life that I suppose never were troubled or felt that trembling, fearfulness, timidity, bashfulness or any hesitancy whatever to get up and say what they had a mind to; but such persons are very rare. I do not know whether I ever saw a female of this character or not, but I think I have seen a few men. As far as I am concerned, although I have addressed congregations so many times, I have scarcely ever felt free from this timidity when rising for that purpose. When I view the faces of my fellow creatures I behold an embodiment of intelligence before which my nature, according to this life, shrinks; and this is the case with most speakers. Still, in my experience, when it has been my duty to declare the Gospel of the Son of God to the children of men, I have found that the Lord has strengthened me; He has given me His Holy Spirit, and when enjoying it while talking to the people fear or timidity soon disappeared. This is the experience of my younger days; and this is the case with our young Elders. When they rise they feel this timidity of which I have been speaking, but if they enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, their humanity or the weakness of human nature is soon forgotten. I know how to feel for and sympathize with them; I have realized all that they have realized for my experience in my early career as a preacher of the Gospel was similar to theirs. I was ignorant of letters to a great degree, yet I had been a Bible student from my youth; but when the Spirit of the Lord was upon me it was no matter to me who heard my voice when declaring the principles of the Gospel, or who felt disposed to dispute, criticize, or spiritualize or do away with the Scriptures of divine truth. To me it was nothing; they were like children, and their efforts were no more than the efforts of babes. I do not think I have ever seen or been acquainted with a “Mormon” Elder who has enjoyed the spirit of his mission but who was able to stand before the learned and wise and before the divines of the day and preach the Gospel fearlessly, for the simple reason that they have not the Gospel. They may have a gospel; I do not dispute that; and they have also their creeds and forms of worship; but when they take this book (the Bible) for their guide, in their religion, faith and works, they are one with us; then we have no disputations, no contentions, no room for arguments; but when they do away with the Scriptures and turn the truth of God into a falsehood, and manifest the same spirit as that manifested by the children of Israel, namely, to transgress every law, to change every ordinance and to break the covenants delivered to them, why the Elder of Israel has God to back him up; he has the word of the Almighty to sustain him; he has the Bible in his hand to prove that his position is correct, and that theirs is false.

We have labored, toiled and tra veled, without purse or scrip, to preach the Gospel to all nations and people wherever they would hearken. Wherever they would permit us to enter their cities, towns and villages, their meetinghouses, schoolhouses or dwelling houses, we have been ready to preach to them the words of life and salvation. It is our delight to hear the young brethren, who have returned from missions, say the past three or five years, as the case may be, “have been the happiest of my whole life.” Where is the man or woman now living, or that ever did live, that was not happy when in possession of the Spirit of God? It makes its possessors happier than all the pleasures of life. Can wealth and worldly honor give that complete joy and satisfaction which the Spirit of God affords to the humble Saint? No. The possession of everything that we can desire—that our eyes could see, our ears hear, or our hearts conceive, would fall at our feet worthless, so far as their capability of conferring real, genuine joy, satisfaction and pleasure is concerned, when compared with the Spirit of God when it enlightens the mind, enriches the soul and lifts up an individual to behold the things of eternity, the work of God and His designs concerning this earth and the children of men. I say that all earthly things fall at the feet of an individual who possesses the Spirit of God; for his life, hopes, desires, thoughts, anticipations and will are far above the things of this life, and earth sinks beneath him. This Spirit animates our young brethren when faithfully attending to their duties while on missions, and it is this which enables them to say that the time so spent has been the happiest of their lives. This enables our Elders, many of whom are to a great degree destitute of education, to stand before the learned, wise and noble, and the divines of the day, and declare the principles of the Gospel of Jesus. Who could do this under such circumstances without the Spirit of the Lord? I do not know the individual; and if there be those who could they are such as I referred to at the commencement of my remarks who, destitute of a knowledge of their own weakness, can stand up anywhere and speak with boldness, and exhibit themselves, whether it be wisdom or folly to do so. None but those who enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, who are filled with the Holy Ghost, can stand before emperors, kings and wise men of the earth and speak the words of truth with all that simplicity and pleasure that children converse together [with].

This is my experience. When contemplating what we have passed through in traveling and preaching, it gives joy to many. The contemplation of my own experience, when I have time to do so, is a source of the greatest pleasure; perhaps this is not quite correct, but it is a source of great pleasure to take a retrospective view of the scenes I have passed through, for I can see where God has favored and blessed me. For instance, I recollect the Sunday morning on which I was baptized, in my own little mill stream; I was ordained to the office of an Elder before my clothes were dry upon me. I passed the day in meeting, and one week from that day I had the pleasure of meeting with and preaching to a large congregation. I think there were present on that occasion four experienced Elders, formerly of the Methodist and Baptist persuasions, who had received the Gospel and had been numbered with us. I expected to hear them address the people on the principles that we had just received through the servants of the Lord. They said that the Spirit of the Lord was not upon them to speak to the people, yet they had been preachers for years. I was but a child, so far as public speaking and a knowledge of the world was concerned; but the Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I felt as though my bones would consume within me unless I spoke to the people and told them what I had seen, heard and learned—what I had experienced and rejoiced in; and the first discourse I ever delivered I occupied over an hour. I opened my mouth and the Lord filled it; and from that time, wherever we traveled and preached, the people heard, received and rejoiced in the Gospel, and we baptized our thousands upon thousands.

I recollect when I left, to go to England, I was unable to walk twenty rods without assistance. I was helped to the edge of the river Mississippi and carried across. When brother Kimball and I started on our journey there was a struggle between us and the powers of earth and hell whether or not we should accomplish our mission. We were in the depths of poverty, caused by being driven from Missouri, where we had left all. I recollect that one of my own sisters pitied my condition and situation; she was sorry for me, and said, “Brother Brigham, what necessity is there for you to go to England while you are sick? Why not tarry here until you are well?” I said to her, as I started off one morning, “Sister Fanny, I never felt better in my life.” She was a very eccentric woman and, looking at me, with tears in her eyes, she said, “You lie.” I said nothing, but I was determined to go to England or to die trying. My firm resolve was that I would do what I was required to do in the Gospel of life and salvation, or I would die trying to do it. I am so today.

We landed upon the shores of England, and then I felt that the chains were broken, and the bands that were upon me were burst asunder. Twelve months and sixteen days a few of the Twelve and Seventies tarried in England. In these twelve months and sixteen days, under my supervision, between eight and nine thousand persons were baptized (though some apostatized) before we left, the Churches were organized, the emigration prepared, ships were chartered and companies sailed out. When I landed in Liverpool I had six bits, with which I purchased a hat. In twelve months and sixteen days one of the finest vessels in the harbor tied up eight days to carry myself and brethren across the water. The agents of the vessel said such a thing had never been done before, but they were urgent and anxious to oblige us, for we had chartered and fitted out several vessels, and as our emigration promised to be a large business they wanted to carry us home. In that twelve months we had printed five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon, three thousand hymn books, and commenced the Millennial Star; over sixty thousand tracts had been printed and sent by the hands of the Elders to many of the houses in the towns they visited or distributed in their meetings; and in this way the word was distributed and the work carried on for one short twelve months. Our labor was successful, God blessed us, and when we returned our Book of Mormon was paid for. The gentleman who bound the first Book of Mormon in England binds them today when they have to be bound. We have not owed the first farthing to those who have done this work for us, but have paid promptly, according to promise, for every particle of our printing. Besides doing what I have already mentioned in that twelve months I sustained several families while there, and preserved them from starvation and death. All this was through the blessing of the Lord being upon us. We were strangers and unknown in a strange land, but the work prospered under the hands of the servants of God, and the means to do the work that was done, was procured through our industry and prudence. I have before taken the liberty, in a public capacity like this, to tell my brethren and sisters, that I do not recollect of spending more than one penny, needlessly, while in England, and that was for a bunch of grapes while passing through Smithfield market, Manchester. When I took them in my hand I saw women passing through the market who, I knew, were suffering through hunger, and who probably perished and died. I felt that I ought to have given that penny to the poor. Whenever I went from my office, if I neglected to take my pocket full of coppers to give to the poor mendicants which are everywhere to be met with, I would return to the office and take a handful of coppers from the drawer, and as I walked along would give something to such objects of pity and distress as I met, and pass on without being hindered by them. We organized the Church, we ordained two patriarchs, and from that time we have been gathering the poor.

This is the experience of many of my brethren as well as myself. We have toiled and labored together, gathering the people, preaching the Gospel to the nations, hunting for the pure in heart, those who love the Lord our God, those who believe the Bible. Where is the minister, the deacon, where are the people who believe in God the Father? In our Lord Jesus Christ? Who believe the New Testament? Who will accept of the salvation that is proffered to the human family through the labors of Jesus and his Apostles? We are after them. Is there an individual on the face of the earth that will receive the truth? We want to find him. Who will receive the truth? They who will give all for Christ. Not the proud, not the haughty; not those who set stakes and say the Lord must come to them or they will not have salvation, but they who say, “Let the Lord draw the line and mark the path and we will walk to it.” This must be the conclusion of every person who expects to be saved in the kingdom of God.

We preach faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian world say they have faith. Have they? If they have they will bow down and receive the ordinances of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and thank God that they have the privilege of receiving them. Can they who reject the New Testament and the Son of God, who refuse to receive the ordinances of the New Testament that were placed in the Church and kingdom of God on the earth in the days of Jesus and his Apostles, be saved in the celestial kingdom? I answer they cannot. The Scriptures make this answer; it is the declaration of Jesus and the Apostles; it is the word of the Almighty, consequently we must concur and say the same. Unless we believe the Gospel of Christ and obey its ordinances we have no promise of the life to come. If we ever attain to that it will be only by complying with the terms that Jesus has laid down. We cannot build and plan for ourselves; if we do we shall be like the Jews of old, who, as the prophet says, “have hewn out cisterns that will hold no water.” We must submit to the ordinances of the house of God.

Who is there that can say baptism is not necessary for the remission of sins? Jesus and the Apostles said it was necessary. Can I say it is not? I cannot, and it is a fact that all who receive eternal life and salvation will receive it on no other conditions than believing in the Son of God and obeying the principles that he has laid down. Can we devise any other means and plan of salvation? We cannot. Will we do away with the Bible? We will not; though the Christian world are actually coming to the point that they will dismiss the Bible from their schools; and by and by they will dismiss it from their pulpits and get one to suit themselves; they will hew out for themselves cisterns that will hold no water. They cannot abide the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testament, “and,” say they, “we must alter and change it; it does not suit our condition. It was not written for us; it was written for people in days of old; but we live under different circumstances and the Bible should be altered, and we will assemble our synods and have the Scriptures revised to suit our condition.” Have they commenced this? Yes, and not very recently either. Can you find a copy of the first printed edition of the Bible? We have Bibles between two and three hundred years old, but where can the first Bibles that were printed be obtained? While I was traveling in England there was one sold for five hundred pounds. It had belonged to one of our brethren—had descended to him from his ancestors; and he, not knowing its value, sold it for fifteen shillings. Afterwards, if my memory serves me correctly, it was sold for the sum I have named. We cannot find books of that edition; some that have been altered and changed are plentiful. I mean King James’ translation, and that is good enough for me; it will answer my purpose. But how is it with the Christian world? Will it answer theirs? If it will, why do they not abide by it? Why do they not say, “This shall be our rule of faith, and our lives and works shall correspond with its principles and precepts?” They would do so if they were honest and their belief was sincere. And it will have to be so with them if ever they gain admittance into the kingdom of God, for in the Bible are the words of life and salvation. I ask again, who can say that baptism is not necessary for the remission of sins? The question has been asked, “What virtue is there in the water?” If there is no virtue in it don’t drink it; it is not good for the system if there is no virtue in it. But there is virtue in it. If there is not, we should never apply it to our clothing or to the surfaces of our bodies for cleansing purposes; we should never use any more for cooking; we should never again apply it to the soil for the purpose of irrigation. How inconsistent it is to suppose that water should be used for so many and important purposes in life if there is no virtue in it! But there is virtue in it, and there is virtue in being buried beneath the wave in the likeness of Christ, and coming forth to a newness of life. There is virtue in being born again, whether in the font or in the river, it makes no difference, for Jesus has said that “except a man be born of the water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” When a person is buried beneath the water he comes forth from one element to another, and is literally born again. Who, then, after the declaration of Jesus on this subject, can say that baptism is not necessary or that there is no virtue in the water? I cannot. Who can say that the laying on of hands is not necessary for the reception of the Holy Ghost? It is true that the house of Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before the Gospel was preached unto them. But the Lord had a special purpose in view in its bestowal in their case, namely, the removal of the prejudice of Peter and his brethren, who, being Jews, and full of the traditions of their fathers, thought that the Gentiles—among whom Cornelius and his house were classed—were not privileged to receive the Gospel. But the vision which Peter had on this subject, and the message sent to him by Cornelius in obedience to the command of the Lord in connection with the fact of the bestowal of the Holy Ghost on Cornelius and his family was so convincing to Peter and his brethren that the former was constrained to exclaim, “Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Some may say, “What was the necessity of sending for Peter, one of the Apostles, when they had already received the Holy Ghost?” The simple fact is this: there was nobody to baptize Cornelius and his household, nobody to bury them with Christ in the water; no one had authority to baptize them for the remission of their sins; and consequently, although they had received the Holy Ghost, an Apostle had to be sent for to administer that ordinance. And we read further in relation to this case, that Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Did any others receive the Holy Ghost before baptism? None that we have any record of; but there is no doubt that many who were worthy received it in a measure; but, whether in the days of the Apostles or in our day, when the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins is preached by a servant of the Lord, to persons who have received the Holy Ghost, if they reject that doctrine the Holy Ghost will withdraw from them forever. Is it necessary that believers should obey all the doctrines and ordinances taught and established by the Savior? There is no ordinance that God has delivered, by His own voice, through His Son Jesus Christ or by the mouths of any of His prophets, Apostles or evangelists, that is useless. Every ordinance, every commandment and requirement is necessary for the salvation of the human family.

What are we required to do? To receive the Gospel, the ordinances of the house of God, and then to go on to perfection. We have been baptized for the remission of sins and have received the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost. We have Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and so on. Are we not perfect? According to the testimony of the Apostle we are not. Says he, Hebrews 6th chapter and 1st verse, “Therefore not leaving the principle of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.”

How will perfection be obtained? By all persons in the kingdom of God living so as to be revelators from the heavens for themselves and for all they preside over, that everything they have to perform in this life—every worldly care and duty, and all their walk and conversation before each other and before the Lord, may be marked out by the spirit of revelation. Is this the way to perfection? It is. This is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; this is the Gospel of life and salvation. Who can dispute it? We must destroy the Bible before we can dispute it with any hope of success. But we may do away with the Bible and say it is no use to us, it has lost its virtue; it was written for the people six thousand, four thousand, two thousand, or eighteen hundred years ago, and it is not for us now. We have plenty upon the earth who can tell the will of God to the children of men and lead the people back into the presence of God; and if the Bible were destroyed by accident, it can be rewritten, and all the words of the Lord that are necessary for their salvation can be given to the people. We are thankful for this.

Are we, the Latter-day Saints, loved for entertaining these views and for declaring these truths? “Oh, well,” says the stranger, “you should not be hated.” If we are hated for anything it is for preaching the Gospel of life and salvation. If we are hated for anything it is for good works instead of evil works, no matter who hears, tells or writes to the contrary. Truth is truth and will prevail. Are we in fault for believing in Jesus Christ? We ask the whole Christian world, Can you give us the words of life and salvation, or tell us how to be saved? Could you do this when we belonged to your societies, Presbyterians, Baptists or any of you Protestants? Not the first individual amongst you could point out the path, for one short rod, to the kingdom of God. Do I know this? Certainly I do by experience. I have searched for the truth, though in my youth I was called an infidel, and I was an infidel. What to? This Bible? No, to false creeds, and to professing without possessing, as I am today.

Where is the man who can point out the way of life and salvation? Who can tell us of God the Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and give us their characters? Who can tell about heaven and heavenly things? Who can introduce heaven to earth or earth to heaven and bring man to his Father again, and reestablish familiarity and association between them, which is so much desired by intelligent beings? The prophet of God, Joseph Smith, commenced it in this generation, no matter how odious his name may be to the inhabitants of the earth. I will defy any nation to hate a man more than the Jews hated the name of Jesus Christ—when he lived in the flesh. I honor and revere the name of Joseph Smith. I delight to hear it; I love it. I love his doctrine. Why? Because it is true, and truth will abide when error passes away. Life will remain when they who have rejected the words of eternal life are swallowed up in death. I like the truth because it is true, because it is lovely and delightful, because it is so glorious in its nature, and so worthy the admiration, faith and consideration of all intelligent beings in heaven or on the earth. Should I be hated and my name cast out as evil because I love the truth? Yes, or the words of Jesus could not be fulfilled, for he said, “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” He told his disciples to rejoice evermore and to pray without ceasing when they were held in derision by their enemies, and to lift up their heads and rejoice when all men spoke evil of them, for “behold your redemption draweth nigh.”

Is there any harm in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? I frequently ask the question for my own satisfaction. Is there a doctrine taught in this book (the Bible), that would ruin or injure man, woman or child on the face of the earth? Not one. Is there a doctrine taught by Jesus and his disciples that would not do good to the people morally, physically, socially, religiously or politically? Not one. Did Joseph Smith ever teach a doctrine that would not elevate the soul, feelings, heart and affections of every individual who would embrace it? Not one. Did he ever teach a doctrine that would lead those who embraced it down to wretchedness, woe and misery, that would give them pain for ease, darkness for light, error for truth? No; but just the reverse. He proffered life and salvation—light for darkness and truth for error. He proffered all that was in the Gospel of the Son of God, and proclaimed that very Gospel that John saw the angel flying through the midst of heaven to restore. That angel delivered the keys of this apostleship and ministry to Joseph Smith and his brethren, and commanded them to blow the Gospel trump through all the nations of the earth, and to cry to all who love and wait patiently for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Come out of her, my people, that ye may not be partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.” This was the doctrine of Jesus; this was the cry of John when on the Isle of Patmos. That angel has flown through the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on earth, and his cry was and is, “Come out from Babylon, from pride, from the foolish fashions of the world; come out from the spirit of the world, from the spirit of hatred, anger, malice, wrath, selfishness and every feeling but that is honorable and justified of the heavens. Gather yourselves together! Sanctify the Lord God in your heart.” This was the cry, and it is the cry today, and it will be until the pure in heart are gathered together.

Should the Latter-day Saints be hated for this? “Oh, they have done so many evils!” What have they done? You can see for yourselves what we have done. Mark our settlements for six hundred miles in these mountains, and then mark the path that we made coming here, building the bridges and making the roads across the prairies, mountains and canyons! We came here penniless in old wagons, our friends back telling us to “take all the provisions you can, for you can get no more! Take all the furniture you can, for you can get no more! Take all the seed grain you can, for you can get none there! Take all the farming implements you can, for you can get none there!” We did this, and in addition to all this we have gathered all the poor we could, and the Lord has planted us in these valleys, promising that He would hide us up for a little season until His wrath and indignation passed over the nations. Will we trust in the Lord? Yes.

What have we been doing here? You can see for yourselves that we have been laboring with our hands. We have had no time to find fault with our neighbors or to do them injury, or to do anything else only to make ourselves comfortable, and to prepare as fast as possible for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. See the settlements that have been built up by the penniless, those who had not clothing to last them three months when they came, and some of whom did not bring a month’s provision with them, and did not know that they could raise a thing, only by faith. Yet we came and we have lived and prospered, and here we are. What fault should be found with us? “Oh, you have done so many evil things!” What evils have we done? I am at the defiance of earth and hell to put a finger on the place or time that a false doctrine was taught to anyone, a wrong taught to anyone, or when evil was justified in anyone, all the liars and all the lies on earth and in hell to the contrary notwithstanding.

We believe the Gospel and in Jesus; is there crime in it? No, there is not; and if the inhabitants of the earth are not disposed to receive the Gospel, they have the liberty to reject it. If men come into this Church and are disposed to apostatize, they have the privilege to do so. Every intelligent being has the right to choose for himself whether he will have the man Christ Jesus or Satan to rule over him. He will certainly have one or the other! Just as sure as he is a living being, the Lord Almighty will be his leader, dictator, director and counselor, or the devil will. We cannot live without them. We were brought here; we did not bring ourselves. We were created, formed, fashioned and made independent of ourselves. We are under this law and we cannot get from under it. But the Lord has given us intelligence, and He has set before us life and death, and has said, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” Which shall we take? I will take the Lord Jesus every time. Why? Because his doctrine is so pure and holy. I love it, because in it there is life; because it will endure; while all error, falsehood, lies and liars will be cast into hell; and when they shall be utterly destroyed and wasted away, truth will live and it will endure forever. I think I will hold to it. Had not we better all do so? Do you not think that the Latter-day Saints had better keep their religion and hold on to the faith of the holy Gospel? I say to the Latter-day Saints, it is far better for you to retain your characters as Saints than to let them go. I do not care where you go, if it be among the most wicked band of men on earth, they will respect you more if you retain your characters as Saints than they would if they could say to you, “You have been preaching this doctrine that we call false for thirty, thirty-five, or forty years, and bearing your testimony to its truth, and now you turn round and say it is false. You have just learned that you have been a hypocrite, and that those whom you formerly hailed as brethren and friends are a set of hypocrites.” Such individuals will be branded wherever they go, and they will not be trusted either for good or evil; and if they go to hell they will be despised by the damned. That is the condition of apostates. Why? Because they are traitors, and having lied about one thing they will lie about another; having lied once they will lie again. Is it not so? Yes, everybody will admit that. Well, do you not think that good men and good women had better hold on to their goodness? I think so. When a man by his course in life has acquired a character that is spotless, it is a priceless jewel, and nothing should induce him to barter it away. If the wicked try to bring a blemish or cast a stain upon it their efforts will not be successful. They may throw their mud, but it will not stain the garments of the pure and holy. Had we not better preserve the good characters which God has helped us to maintain? I think we had.

Now, what do we believe in? In anything that will do us harm? Not the least in the world. Our belief will bring peace to all men and good will to all the inhabitants of the earth. It will induce all who sincerely follow its dictates to cultivate righteousness and peace; to live peaceably in their families; to praise the Lord morning and evening; to pray with their families, and will so fill them with the spirit of peace that they will never condemn or chasten anyone unless it is well deserved. They who live in the enjoyment of the spirit and influence of our holy religion will never feel “cross.” That is the common word. Yankees will understand it, for I have seen lots of them cross—out of humor, out of temper. They will never feel like this. They will rise in the morning with their spirits as smooth and serene as the sun that is rising and giving life and heat to the world; just as calm and as smooth as the breezes on a summer evening. No anger, no wrath, no malice, contention or strife. If a wrong arises, the party wronged will go to his neighbor and quietly investigate whether wrong was designed; and if the seeming transgressor is living according to the spirit of his religion, it will be found that he had designed no wrong, and that he will make ample amends, forgiveness will be accorded, and the trouble will end. This is the spirit and teaching of the Gospel. Peace prevails. There are no lawsuits or contentions; no work for a poor miserable lawyer, who is seeking to breed disturbance in a community. I do think very low of that class of men! If I had no better business than stirring up strife in a community, I would pray for my end on this earth, that I might go where I belonged. The teachings of Jesus and his Apostles inculcated peace and prevented contention, discord, strife, quarrelling and lawsuits; and the Gospel, today, has the same effects as then. Here a great many of us have to water from one ditch from year end to year end. But there is no quarrelling over it. Says one, “I am content to have my share at midnight; you can have yours tomorrow at eleven o’clock.” No contention or strife! We meet together and ask God to bless us and to help us to live in the observance of all His laws, and to promote every principle of peace and morality, and so help to make ourselves and our neighbors happy. Is there harm in this? No, there is not. We like it, because it brings us comfort, peace and joy. We may look at the world and we observe a very different state of affairs. What is the condition of the kings of the earth? Can they pass around among their subjects anywhere and everywhere with peace and safety? No, they must have their lifeguards to protect them; they are afraid of being destroyed from the earth. We may go to our political men and ask, “Have you got friends?” “Yes, such a man is my friend, he is a nice, good friend; but take care of that one, He is my enemy.” “What has he done?” “Nothing, only he is trying to break my calculations and plans in my election, and I don’t like him or his party.”

Saints have no such parties and feelings; they have no choice but to get the best there is, and be satisfied; and hence, in their political affairs they have no contention. This is one objection which outsiders have to the Latter-day Saints: they all go and vote one way. Is it not right to do so? Let us think about it. Suppose that we do all actually vote one way, or for one man for our delegate to Congress, and have no opposing candidate, and get the best there is, is that not better than having opposition? What does opposition bring? It certainly brings anger and strife; and of what use are they? They serve no good purpose. Then let us all vote one way, and think and act one way, and keep the commandments of God and build up His kingdom on the earth in peace and righteousness. I certainly think that this is the best idea. We have plenty of competition in our midst, but what will it accomplish? Not much, if anything. They who favor it may contend until they are tired, and then they will drop silently out of the way, and that will be the end of them. Contention does not profit a people.

Have you truth? Let us have it if you have. If people have said to me, in my preachings, “That is error,” I have said, “Perhaps so, but this book (the Bible) is the standard I believe.” I have read out of that book many times to men, and they have said, “Oh, that is the Book of Mormon.” “It is good doctrine, is it not?” and they would not know whether it was the Bible or the Book of Mormon, and yet they would profess to be Bible readers and believers. Sometimes they would listen until tired, and then say, “I will not have any more of that, it is the Book of Mormon,” and some have even gone so far as to say, “It is blasphemous.” I have said, “Will you please look at the title page,” and when they would see that it was the Bible they would say, “Well, I really did not know that such things were in the Bible.”

I say to any and to all, “If you have any truth, let us have it.” If I have errors, I will swap ten of them for one truth. But I have the words of life for you, what have you for me? I ask the infidel world what they can give in exchange for the faith I have in Jesus Christ and the religion I believe in and practice. If I am wrong, mistaken, overzealous, enthusiastic and bewildered in my imagination, what can you give me? “Nothing, we have nothing; we do not believe in anything.” Then I do not see any necessity of trading, for all I have cannot hurt or wrong anybody on the earth. I do not believe or practice anything that will do harm. I have embraced nothing in my faith, neither do I teach any doctrine that will hurt any person; hence, there is no necessity of trading if you have nothing to give me for my priceless jewel. I am for life everlasting. I have a being and a life here; and this life is very valuable; it is a most excellent life! I have a future! I am living for another existence that is far above this sinful world, wherein I will be free from this darkness, sin, error, ignorance and unbelief. I am looking forward to a world filled with light and intelligence, where men and women will live in the knowledge and light of God. Have you anything to give for this? Not the least in the world. Then I guess we will not trade. I have something for you if you will accept of it. If you will hearken to my counsel you will not only have joy in this life, peace in the Holy Ghost here, but life everlasting hereafter. I have embraced the Gospel for life and salvation; I have embraced it for time; I have embraced it for eternity. I calculate to go back and see my Father. Say the Christian world, “Who are you going to see?” A personage very much like myself; my Father, He who begot my spirit; my Father who set in perfect order the machine to produce this tabernacle in which my spirit dwells. “Oh,” say the Christian world, “we don’t believe in such a God as this.” We know you don’t. You don’t believe in a God at all—only a phantom of the brain. Still they mean better; but they are like those who, in olden times, worshipped an unknown God. The inscription on their temple was, “To the unknown God.” This is not our inscription; ours is, “To the known God,” our Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our elder brother according to the spirit. I am going to see Him one of these days if I live so as to be worthy; and when I see Him I shall fall upon His neck and He upon mine, and we shall kiss each other, shouting “Alleluia” that I have returned. Do not you think it will be a time of rejoicing? Yes.

This is the God that we serve and that we know and understand. Is there any harm in all this? Not the least in the world. Peace on earth and good will to men. Christ has died for all; but we can receive the benefit of his atonement on his conditions only, not on our own. We must repent of our sins and be baptized for the remission of them, and have the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost so that the spirit of the Gospel will live within us. Then we can shout Alleluia in praising Him whom we serve.

God bless you, Amen.