Our Schools

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Monday Morning, April 8th, 1872.

I am gratified in the enjoyment of the privilege of continuing our Conference, and rejoice in the instructions and testimonies of the Elders which have been given during the two days past. There are a few subjects I feel anxious to lay before the brethren and sisters. I should be glad, had I strength and opportunity, to explain many things more minutely. I feel that God is with us, but that a great and fearful responsibility rests upon our heads. In order that we may be prepared to enjoy the blessings of our high and holy calling we should be diligent, humble, faithful, and constantly unite our powers of mind to magnify our Priesthood. One great responsibility which rests upon us is the education of our children—the proper forming of their minds and understandings, not only in the ordinary branches of education, but in the principles of our holy religion.

I understand from the reports of Mr. Robert L. Campbell, Superintendent of common schools for the Territory, that there are about thirty thousand school children in the Territory, between the ages of four and sixteen.

Our golden browed neighbors here in Nevada, who have for several years enjoyed all the benefits and blessings accruing to common schools from a State government, have about four thousand, if I am rightly informed, and no doubt, with the means which they possess, they are enabled to get up excellent schools.

It appears to be a portion of the policy of the national government never to do anything for schools in a Territory. When a Territory becomes a State, the policy of Congress, in years past, and it will probably continue to be so in years to come, has been to extend liberal privileges and immunities, in the donation of lands and of the percents from the sales of public lands within the State for educational purposes—the support of common schools and universities. This parsimonious policy towards Territories may be an enlightened one, and it may not; having lived in a Territory most of my life I may not be considered a proper judge. Suffice it to say, however, that so far as legislation for education is concerned, or any encouragement or assistance extended from the United States to the people of the Territories, their children must be raised in absolute ignorance. The result is, that whatever progress is made or improvement attained in these directions in the Territories is due entirely to the energy, enterprise and enlightenment of the inhabitants—the hardy pioneers who break the ground, make the roads, fight the Indians and create the State.

The report of the Superintendent of Common Schools for this Territory goes to show, not only that there are about thirty thousand school children, but that they have attended school a greater portion of the time than is sometimes reported in the new States, and in some of the older ones, where they have all the advantages granted by the general government. This speaks well for the pioneers of Utah; it is a proud record, and one of which the Latter-day Saints may justly boast. It is true that most of our schools are simply primary schools; but, from what I have seen while visiting a good many of them, I know they are vastly superior to schools which I attended, more or less, in my earlier years in other States and Territories. I am proud of these facts; but at the same time there is a great deal in our system that is not by any means up to the mark. All that has been done has been done voluntarily. The school laws of Utah Territory authorize districts to establish free schools, if they choose to do so, by a two-thirds vote of the inhabitants of the district, and a number of districts have adopted this system with satisfactory results. Otherwise the schools are sustained by the tuition fees of the pupils, with the exception that taxes are generally levied on the property in the school districts to assist to build schoolhouses and to supply a portion of the expenses and extend some little aid to the more indigent, that all may have the privilege of going to school. A general free school system has not been inaugurated, and any man who will coolly, deliberately and wisely consider the condition, associations and changeable nature of the government of our Territory, will see the wisdom of not entering upon such a system until it can be done under the regulations and privileges which a State government would bring. At least, that is my judgment on the subject, though we have advocates for the establishment of a general free school system now. I want to say in relation to this, that perhaps there are counties where such a system might be adopted with advantage; but if it were adopted generally throughout the Territory, it would have to contend with difficulties and dangers which I would wish to avoid. As I am not here to deliver a political speech I shall not, of course, undertake to explain what these are. I will simply refer you to certain little difficulties that have occurred in neighboring States in relation to the handling of school funds, and other important items, which show the delicacy of these matters unless they are in the hands of the most reliable men, who are absolutely responsible to the people by whom they are appointed and elected.

I feel satisfied, notwithstanding this good record, that there is a very great necessity for the minds of many people to be stirred up in relation to the education of their children, the building of good, healthy, well-ventilated schoolhouses, and the sending of the children to school, providing suitable books and seats. I remember once, in a new country, going into a schoolhouse, and finding the children packed almost like herrings in a box, some on the floor, some on seats, little fellows with short legs sitting on high benches, and all breathing air that, perhaps, might not inaptly be compared to that of the black hole of Calcutta. A couple of men, ignorant even of the most simple principles of ventilation, were laboring to teach these children, and I have sometimes taken the liberty to carry a carpenter’s saw into a school to saw off the legs of the benches to make them a proper height to correspond with the length of the children’s legs, for I do despise the idea of putting small children upon a high bench and large children upon a low one. I am very fond of seeing straight, erect, well-formed boys and girls, and in three months a little inattention on the part of teachers, trustees, and school superintendents in matters of this kind, will crook the necks, crook the backs, weaken the stomachs, produce deformity, lay a foundation for consumption, and shorten the children’s lives ten years. I suggest to the brethren from all parts of the Territory—go into your schoolrooms, measure the children’s legs, if you please, and the benches, and see how they correspond. See whether the little fellows sit up straight, or humped up as if they were trying to imitate the back of a camel or dromedary, and give particular attention to the manner in which the schoolrooms are ventilated. Do not deprive the little fellows of the most necessary and the cheapest of all elements—atmospheric air, in its purity, and thereby sow in their systems the seeds of premature death.

There are many persons come into the Territory who do not speak the English language. I think more institutions should be got up in all the neighborhoods to encourage the learning of our tongue. I know young people generally learn it pretty quickly; but as the laws and most of the public speeches are made in the English language, it is important even in Welsh, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German and French settlements, that the language in which law and justice are administered, and in which public meetings are generally conducted, should be well and properly understood.

It occurs not only with some of the foreign emigration, but with some other persons, that they fail to appreciate the necessity of education, and of sending their children to school. Good and wholesome influences, exercised through teachers, Elders and Bishops, should be brought to bear on all this class of people, to show them the importance of educating their children. There are Elders who seem willing and ready to take missions to the most distant foreign countries, but when they are invited to go into a schoolroom to teach a school, they will say, “Well, I can make more money at something else, I would rather be land speculating, go a lumbering, or set up merchandising.” Let me say to you, brethren, that there is no calling in which a missionary can do more good, either man or woman, than to teach a common school, if he or she is qualified to do so.

We are very well aware that it is but little use to whip “Mormon” children. You undertake to thrash anything into them, and you will most surely thrash it out of them. It was never any use to undertake to drive or coerce Latter-day Saints, they never could be coerced in their religious faith or practice. It is not their nature, and the mountain air our children breathe inspires them with the idea that they are not to be whipped like dogs to make them learn. The manner in which it must be done is by moral suasion, superior intellect, wisdom, prudence and good straightforward management in forming the judgment of the pupil by cultivating his manly qualities. This principle should be carried out in all our schools. In my boyhood discipline was enforced by the application of the blue beech switch. The blue beech does not grow in this country, but many schoolmasters in former times in New York and New England were provided with these tough limber switches, and I have seen them used among the scholars with fearful effect, and in cases where I am satisfied the pupil was less at fault than the preceptor. I know they say Solomon declared if you spare the rod you will spoil the child. My opinion is that the use of the rod is very frequently the result of a want of understanding on the part of a spoiled parent or teacher in guiding, direct ing and controlling the feelings and affections of children, though of course the use of the rod in some cases might be necessary; but I have seen children abused when they ought not to have been, because King Solomon is believed to have made that remark, which, if he did, in nine cases out of ten referred to mental rather than physical correction. I will, however, allow other men who have taught school, as a profession, to offer their suggestions on these subjects; but I will say that I have known Professor Dusenberry teach a hundred scholars—the wildest, roughest boys we had in a frontier town, and never lay a stick on one of them. He has done it term after term, and the children liked and respected him and would mind him, and there was nothing on the face of the earth that seemed to hurt their feelings more than to feel that they had lost the confidence of their preceptor. This was simply the result of cultivating reasoning powers in the minds of the children, and I am happy to say there are many such teachers now in Utah.

I will say a few words in relation to normal schools. As I said before, we have had nothing to encourage primary schools but what we ourselves with our bone, sinew, energy and enterprise have done. So it is with the more advanced branches. The Deseret University has made efforts to establish graded schools for the education of teachers. This has been done by small appropriations from the Legislative Assembly and Salt Lake City and County; but the great mass of the work has been done by individual enterprise. There are many at the present time in Utah who have been thus educated, who devote the winter season, and many of them the summer, to teaching schools. The energy of Superintendent Campbell in introducing suitable books and apparatus, and to improve the condition of our schools has been commendable; and the Timpanogos branch of the University of Deseret, at Provo, one at St. George and several others established in the Territory for the education of teachers have had their good effects. But their effects are limited, compared with what they might be, and I am sorry to say that several of our young men have been under the necessity of going to universities in other parts of the world to obtain an education, which it is desirable we should have the facilities to give them here. Brethren and sisters, take this matter to your hearts, for it is one of the great missions of the Latter-day Saints to do all in their power to educate the rising generation and to teach them the principles of eternal truth.

I have had the pleasure of visiting a good many Sunday schools, from time to time, from a very early period after they were established in this Territory, and I can speak highly of their influence and the benefits they have produced. I visited a Bible class while at St. George, composed of young gentlemen and ladies, and I found that they were as well instructed in relation to the principles of the Gospel, as laid down in the Bible and in the revelations of the Lord, as a very large portion of the Elders. I was very glad to see it. I visited Sunday schools when I could in the course of my travels, and I was gratified to see the progress that has been made. I want to stir up parents to the necessity of fitting up and encouraging their children to attend Sunday school. I also want to encourage them to attend themselves and act as teachers; and for the young men and young women, whenever they can, or those whose family arrangements are such that they can attend to it, to volunteer and contribute their exertions in carrying on Sunday schools. A great many Elders have devoted much time to this useful and important subject, and have labored to teach, encourage and strengthen Sunday schools. Last summer, two weeks previous to the celebrated Methodist camp meeting that was held in this city, Dr. Vincent, a Methodist minister, and two others connected with Sunday schools, by their own request, addressed in this Tabernacle about four thousand Sunday school children. They told me they had visited the Sunday school in the 13th Ward, and had addressed the scholars there, and they said that that Sunday school was highly creditable. But although they gave us so much credit, they went away feeling very bitter towards us. I asked them if they had not been treated as well here as we would be in their society. “O, yes,” said they, “We were invited to attend Sunday schools and we did so. We were allowed to address the children, and at our request four or five thousand were brought together for us to talk to.” And they went on and told how well they were treated; but notwithstanding that, they said they had been told from the most reliable sources that a great many men had been killed in this country for not being “Mormons.” Said I, “You have been most foully gulled by somebody.” Dr. Vincent replied, “The authority is most reliable, for it came from our officers.” I said to him, “The officers change so often that they can have no personal knowledge on these subjects. Some of them are interested in promoting difficulty with the people of Utah. No man was ever killed in Utah for his religion; and if the few cases of murder that have occurred here were thoroughly investigated they would be found to be the result of private quarrels; and there have been five hundred percent less of such cases here than in any other new State or Territory with which I have been acquainted; and the country cannot be found on the face of the earth where the population is scattered over such a large area which has maintained such perfect police regulations, and these statements are simply scandal.”

I name this circumstance from the fact that a man who had been so liberally treated by the Latter-day Saints, who had had the privilege of speaking to the largest collection of school children that he probably ever saw in his life, would believe lies told him by renegades, and carry them away and publish them rather than the real facts which he had the privilege of seeing, hearing and learning from reliable authority while here.

I wish to stir up our brethren to continue their labor in Sunday schools, and, in doing so, to continue to sustain liberally the Juvenile Instructor. Place it in the hands of your children, it contains some of the best reading matter for them I know of, and its circulation should be widely extended. I notice from pieces published by Protestant ministers who have established churches in this city, that their principal hope of converting the “Mormons” is by leading, (I call it misleading) away their children. They despair of converting the old ones who are perfectly established in their religious faith; and their hope appears to be in misleading their children by getting them into their schools. By so doing they can probably draw them away from the Latter-day faith, and through the children they may also succeed in gaining over some of their parents. The enemy of all righteousness is sagacious, and so are his servants, and I think it quite honest, but not very creditable to Christian ministers to frankly acknowledge that their business here is to try and entice children from their parents. But so far as this is concerned our brethren and sisters should learn a lesson by it, and see that the persons who educate their children do not plant in their hearts falsehood, deception, wickedness and corruption. They should place them under the tuition of those who will teach them the principles they are employed to teach, and not instil into their minds those things that will lead them to destruction. The catechism for children, exhibiting the prominent doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, should be in every family, school and Bible class.

I think measures should be taken to increase the circulation among the people of the Deseret News, and the standard works of the Church. A great many read them, and many do not; and if in the various neighborhoods, a little more pains were taken, the information they contain could be more widely disseminated. I know the enemies of Zion are willing take any pains in the world almost to circulate lies; why should we not take a little pains to circulate truth, and to spread and to disseminate abroad pure and holy principles? I call the attention of Elders of the various stakes to these subjects.

Peace to the faithful. Amen.


Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Morning, April 6th, 1872.

Owing to a spirit of persecution and religious bigotry, alike disgraceful to the age, the enlightenment of the present generation and the nation in which we live, our First President is not permitted to be with us. While we regret such a state of affairs, we rejoice in the many liberties, privileges, blessings and powers which are extended unto us. It is not by any means strange that, while the world has been plunged in ignorance upon matters of religion and morality, and broken up into factions, on the appearance in the midst of the whole, of a small body of men, illiterate in their character, proclaiming to the world that they are inspired of the Lord, and undertake to introduce system and principles calculated to elevate mankind from degradation and destruction, and exalt them to eternal glory and endless increase, they should be misunderstood; it has been so in all ages of the world. When our Savior visited the earth bringing the simple principles of salvation, he was misunderstood, misapprehended, persecuted, imprisoned, crowned with thorns, tortured, as a man who was opposed to the religion of the age, and dangerous to the State. He was accused of a great variety of crimes, of being a pestilent fellow, and was finally put to death by a class of men a great number of whom were zealous professors of religion—elders, high priests, rabbis, doctors of the law and others claiming to be exceedingly holy. Jesus, in referring to the history of the past, said that the fathers of those who persecuted him had slain the prophets, and such was the case; and we find that, in every age, when God inspired a man to proclaim the Gospel of salvation, all, or a large portion of mankind, were ready to denounce him and put him to death, to whip, imprison, annoy, lie about him, proclaim all manner of evil against him, and so on, until his influence should be annihilated from the earth. The same principle still exists, and the Latter-day Saints have had to contend with it. When Joseph Smith, in 1830, organized the Church with six members, the war as it were commenced; a few hours only had passed away when he was arrested, taken before a magistrate and accused of prophesying. He was discharged, arrested again, taken before another magistrate, and finally a declaration was made that if the law could not reach him, tar and feathers and mob power should. This is a very poor argument and shows the weakness of those who have recourse to it.

We live in an age of science, in an age when intelligence is being developed in a great many directions, and when the learning of man is vastly extended. The Apostle Paul cautioned the Saints in his day to beware lest any spoil them through philosophy and vain deceit; yet the religion of Jesus Christ embraces every true and perfect principle, every correct science, every principle of philosophy—that is every true principle, and is calculated to benefit mankind in every way; and yet the laws of life as revealed, explained and developed in the organization of the human family are trampled under foot and very little understood. God has commenced a work in these last days to elevate mankind, to save them, to increase them, to place them on a footing of independence; to cause them to love one another and to lay a foundation for peace and harmony, that bloodshed and war, contention and devastation shall cease; that the power of the oppressor shall be broken and that the honest in heart may have the privilege of dwelling together and building up Zion in all the earth, and of continuing the blessings and ordinances of exaltation for time and throughout all eternity.

There is no doubt but Satan stirs up the hearts of the children of man to disobedience and to war against the principles of righteousness; but they are true. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, he was a minister of the Most High; he brought forth pure and holy principles, principles which are calculated to save and exalt mankind. He was slain, and those who received his testimony were robbed of all they possessed and driven into the wilderness under the influence of religious fanaticism and bigotry, which apprehended nothing but their utter destruction. God preserved them, blessed them, and they spread abroad in the midst of these valleys; they converted the desert into fruitful fields, and laid a foundation for the redemption of the human race, and thank God for these privileges.

We want while we are here at Conference, to have our brethren collect in their minds—that is, leave their business out of doors. It is a good time to come to Conference, a splendid time to do business and all that; but while the hours of Conference are on, let us come to meeting, give strict attention to what is said and done, and call upon God in mighty prayer, that he will deliver Zion from her oppressors; that he will bless the efforts of his servants for the advancement of his work; that he will bless the Missionaries that are sent abroad, and those who are abroad among the nations, and the missions of the native elders in the various counties; that he will open the way that the poor may be gathered. And, by the way, while we are doing this, let us reflect how much we can do to aid the Perpetual Emigration Fund, in bringing home the Poor. Many of them have been scattered among the nations half a generation and more, and they are unable to gather home. Think of these things. Pray the Lord to give his servants wisdom; pray the Lord to strengthen the President of the Church—Brigham Young, heal his body, make him strong, sound and healthy, deliver him from the power of the oppressor and those who seek to destroy him, that he may have wisdom, intelligence and power to preach to and teach the Saints, and to counsel and guide the affairs of the great work which God has entrusted to him. Let us devote a few days, as the case may be, to counsel, to instruction, to bearing testimony, to acquiring a knowledge of the things of God, speaking of those things that are for the welfare of Zion; taking counsel together as to the best course to pursue on the various subjects that are before us—forwarding the building of Temples, &c.

After last Conference President Young and myself made a journey to St. George. His health was very poor and he was quite feeble when he left here. When he reached that mild climate, or rather, that even, dry climate, he seemed immediately to commence to recruit, and while we remained there—we were absent about ten weeks—he improved very much; but in consequence of the persecution which was inaugurated against the Latter-day Saints, aiming at him directly, it became necessary for him to return in the midst of a very cold and stormy season, and very muddy roads. While at St. George he selected a spot, laid out the foundation and dedicated the ground and made a commencement, to build a temple, which is being continued under the direction of President Erastus Snow, that the ordinances of the holy priesthood, which should be administered only in a Temple, may be attended to in that part of the Territory, in the neighborhood and vicinity of those settlements.

Our brethren can observe that a very handsome addition has been made to the foundation of the Temple here since the last Annual Conference, and they can now begin to form some idea of how the work is going to look. When you realize that all the granite that is in that immense foundation has been hauled some seventeen miles with oxen, mules and horses, you must realize that a very great job has been accomplished. But at the present time we have a railroad almost into the quarry, and the result is that the labor has been greatly lessened, and the rock and the sand and other building material can be brought here at vastly less expense than formerly, and consequently we will be able to push the work forward more rapidly. We want the brethren and sisters—all of them, to feel an interest in the tithes and offerings for the Temple, and in the labor upon it.

All must be aware that considerable expense and a great deal of time and disarrangement of business has been caused by the persecutions and prosecutions of the last year. But we are very glad that Cooperative Associations for mercantile, manufacturing, agricultural, grazing and other purposes that have been forming in this City and throughout this Territory for several years past, have proved in an eminent degree successful, manifesting what wonderful results can be accomplished by the Latter-day Saints when united in the exercise of their several duties and in the performance of their labors. The want of unity and organization causes the loss of a good deal of time, and hence the necessity of organization and united efforts.

The ladies relief societies in all the several settlements wherever they have existed have also been in many respects highly successful, and great blessings to the community—looking after the poor and introducing improvements, encouraging and enabling women to take charge of branches of business that are suited to their strength, knowledge and condition. It always did seem to me ridiculous to see a man six feet two and weighing two hundred and twenty measuring tape or ribbons in a store; and I shall be very thankful when I can see changes effected to such an extent that nimble fingers, suited to handle light goods will be permitted to follow that kind of employment, and so on throughout the whole organization of society. Let those great big men go and dig the rock, handle the saw log, or do something that their strength was made for, and not let their giant power wilt away in the shadow of a store. However these are things yet to come. It is not my design to offer many remarks, but merely as an introduction to the conference, to express my faith. I know that this is the work of God, and that all the efforts of wicked men to trample it under foot will be vain. I know the Lord has commenced his great work of the latter days, and that Zion will triumph. This is my testimony. I am not talking what I guess at, what I imagine or what I think, but what I verily know—God has revealed it unto me. Brethren, if you have not this knowledge within yourselves, seek it of the Lord by obedience to his laws, by observing his counsel, by walking in his ordinances, by laboring for the upbuilding of Zion, and you will obtain it, and it will be like a well of water springing up in your hearts unto everlasting life.

May the blessing of Israel’s God be and abide upon you forever and ever. Amen.

Continued Revelation

Discourse by Elder John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, March 17, 1872.

In rising to address the congregation this afternoon, I do so, as I always do, with very great pleasure. It always affords me gratification to contemplate the things pertaining to the Church and kingdom of God, and to the interests of humanity on the earth. I love to speak of these things, I am always pleased to hear of them, and I am as willing to listen to the truth when emanating from some person else as I am to communicate it to others, as it may be made manifest to me. I feel as our Elders generally do—that we are seeking to communicate—not our own special ideas, or any peculiar theory that we may have entertained; but, under the guidance of the Almighty, that we may instruct and teach as we may be led and guided by the Spirit of the living God. I feel, as it is expressed in the Scriptures, “That it is not in man to direct his steps,” and it is not especially in man to teach things pertaining to eternity, or to the everlasting welfare of the human family, unless he be under the guidance and direction of the Almighty, and feels that he is simply an instrument in His hands to unfold and develop certain principles that are made manifest unto him. I feel always willing to hear, to teach, to receive instruction, or to communicate unto others those principles that are calculated to promote their happiness and well-being in time and in eternity. These things lie at the foundation of the happiness of the human family; they emanate from God, our Father, in whom, we are told, “we live and move and have our being,” and upon whom we are dependent for all the blessings we enjoy, whether they pertain to this world or the world to come. Ignorant of all true principles without inspiration from him, we feel at all times that it is necessary for us to be under his guidance and direction, and to seek for the aid of his Holy Spirit, that we may be led and taught, instructed and directed in all of our acts and associations in life, that we may be prepared for any events that may transpire, associated with the affairs of this world or relative to the world to come. We look upon ourselves as eternal beings, and that God is our Father. We are told in the sacred record of truth that he is the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh—of all flesh that has lived, that now lives or that will live; and it is proper that we should have just conceptions of our relationship to him, to each other, to the world wherein we live, to those who have existed before us, or to those who shall come after us, that as wise, intelligent beings, under the inspiration of the Almighty, we may be able to conduct our steps so that our pathway in life may be such as to secure the approval of a good conscience and of God, angels and good men; and that whilst we live upon the earth we may fulfil in an honorable manner the measure of our creation, and, obeying our Creator, feel that he is indeed what the Scriptures represent him to be, and what we believe him to be—“the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh.”

There is a feeling generally extant in the world that God is a great and august personage who is elevated so high above the world, and is so far separated from humanity that it is impossible to approach him, and although the Christian religion, under whatever form it may be practiced, teaches mankind to pray unto God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet it is very few who suppose that their prayers amount to anything, that God will listen to their supplications, or that they will prove of any special benefit. A feeling of this kind tends more or less to unbelief instead of faith in God, and hence we find very few men in our day who act as men of God did in former days, that is, seek unto him for guidance and direction in the affairs of life. If we examine what is termed the sacred history of the Bible, we shall find that in the various ages of the world, until soon after Christianity was introduced, there was a feeling among men to call upon God and to have their prayers answered—a feeling that if they would approach the Most High and call upon his name in faith, he would answer their supplications and give unto them wisdom, intelligence and revelation for the guidance of their feet in the pathway of life; and it was not based as it is now, generally, upon some old theories, or upon communications made unto others; but if we trace the records of Scripture through, we shall find that men generally sought for themselves guidance and direction and revelation adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed.

If we go back to the time when Adam first made his appearance on the earth, the Lord God we are told communicated with him, gave him certain commandments, told him what he should do and what he should not do; and when he transgressed the law, we are told that he heard the footsteps of the Lord in the garden, and he heard his voice speaking unto him, and when, at the dictum of the Almighty, he was expelled from the paradise in which he lived, an angel was placed there as a guardian to prevent his return.

From the accounts that we have in our possession of events that took place soon after that time, we learn that the Lord communicated his will unto others, and there was a man called Enoch, a very remarkable personage, whose history is very brief indeed, considering the important events that transpired during his day. We are told that he walked with God, had communication with him, and that “He was not, for God took him.” Our recent revelations give us information pertaining to this same man—that he gathered together a people, that he taught them the principles of the Gospel, that he gathered together all who would listen to the principles of truth previous to the flood, and that he and his city were translated, or as the account of the Bible says—“He was not, for God took him.”

By and by another event transpired. The people became excessively wicked and corrupt, so much so, that, as the Scriptures informs us, “Their thoughts were only evil, and that continually;” and in consequence of this the Lord decreed that he would destroy the people from the face of the earth. But before he did it he gave revelation unto Noah, telling him that the destruction of all flesh upon the earth had been decreed by the Almighty in consequence of the wickedness of the people; and Noah had special revelation given to him adapted to the circumstances which surrounded him, and the age in which he lived. He was not told to build a city, to preach the Gospel and gather the people as Enoch had done; but he was told that the wickedness of all flesh had come up before the Almighty and that he had determined to destroy them with a flood; and Noah, believing in God and in the revelation which he gave unto him, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, built an ark, and gathered into that ark himself and wife, his sons and their wives, and two—male and fe male—of the various kinds of beasts, birds and creeping things that dwelt on the face of the earth. History records the coming of the flood, the destruction of the world by it, and the preservation in the ark of those who had listened to the word of God and to whom he communicated his will.

Subsequent to this time a variety of singular circumstances transpired and there existed many prominent characters both good and bad, worshipers of God and worshipers of idols. We find that after the re-peopling of the earth after the flood men set to work to build a tower, and the Lord confused their languages and scattered them from hence, throughout all the earth. About this time a singular kind of personage appeared on the stage of action, named Abraham. He had been taught by his father to worship idols; but the Lord had manifested himself to him on certain occasions and instructed him in the true religion. He did not teach him as he taught Enoch, or as he had taught Noah; the circumstances of Abraham were different from those of Enoch and Noah, and if Abraham had the history of their times, as he unquestionably had, for Abraham was contemporary with Noah and Noah with Adam, and must have been acquainted with the events which had transpired, from the days of Adam at least from information given by Adam to Noah and by Noah to himself, he would know that the revelations they received were not applicable to his case, but he needed revelation from God for his own guidance and direction, that he might be led aright, and that he might be able to instruct his children after him in the path they should tread, in the principles, doctrines and ordinances that should be according to the mind and will of God.

There is something humorous in a history that we have in relation to this personage. The priests of those days offered sacrifices to their gods, and, like the priests of these days, they were generally opposed to new revelation from God. Abraham’s father had instructed him in the doctrines of these idols, and had sought to induce him to have faith in them and in their power, authority, and dominion, telling him what great personages they were. But Abraham, inspired by the Lord, went on a certain occasion into the temple of these gods and smote them right and left, upsetting and breaking them in pieces. His father came in and asked what he had been doing, what great sin this was that he had committed, why he was so sacrilegious in his feelings and so wicked as to seek to destroy these gods? Said he, “Father, I did not do anything to them, they quarreled among themselves and went to work fighting and knocked one another down, broke one another’s heads and knocked off one another’s arms and legs.” “Oh,” said his father, “my son do not tell me anything of that kind, for they are made of wood and they could not move or stir from their place nor knock one another down; it has been some other agency that has done it.” “Why, father,” said he, “would you worship a being that could not stir or move, that had hands and could not handle, that had legs and could not walk, a mouth that could not speak, and a head and it was of no use? Would you worship a being like that?” But nevertheless our history informs us that the priests were angry and stirred up his father against him. But the Lord inspired Abraham to leave there. The Bible tells us the Lord said to him: “Get thee up from thy father’s house, from the land wherein thou wast born, and go up to a land I will show unto thee, and which I will afterwards give unto thee for an inheritance.” And we are told that “he went up, not knowing whither he went.”

There is something very peculiar about this little history, so far as we have it in the Bible. I think I see this man of God rising up, after he had incurred the displeasure of the priests and his father, and had slain these gods, making preparations to leave his native country. I fancy I see some of his neighbors coming to him, and saying: “Abraham, where are you going?” “Oh,” says he, “I do not know.” “You don’t know.” “No.” “Well, who told you to go?” “The Lord.” “And you do not know where you are going?” “Oh, no,” says he, “I am going to a land that he will show me, and that he has promised to give me and my seed after me for an inheritance; and I believe in God, and therefore I am starting.” There was something very peculiar about it, almost as bad as us when we started to come off from Nauvoo: we hardly knew where we were going, but we could not have rest, peace or safety among the Christians, consequently we left them and started off to the Rocky Mountains, under the direction of God, hardly knowing whither we went, just as Abraham did, and I do not think we were any bigger fools than he, for he went just about as we did, not knowing whither he went.

Afterwards the Lord gave him a son, for when He was an old man, and his wife Sarah was seventy years old, they were childless, and at this advanced age the Lord gave them a son. There had been no event of that kind ever transpired before in the history of the Bible, and if it were the Bible they had to look at, it would have been of no use to them, for they could not get any instruc tions there how they were to act; but he feared God and put his trust in him, and the Lord gave him revelation. The angel of the Lord, we are told, visited Abraham and his wife, and told her she should have a son. Sarah was a good deal amused at it, and laughed over the matter, for she was about seventy years old and thought it rather strange that she should have a son at that age, and she laughed at the idea, as many of our old sisters would unquestionably do now if they were told such a thing. It seems all very natural when you look at it just about as it is. And when the angel asked her why she laughed, she lied and said: “I did not laugh,” she did not want to have it known that she laughed at what the Lord said. “Nay, but,” said he, “thou didst laugh.” And as the time came round, lo and behold she had a son and called his name Isaac. And after this the Lord seemed determined to try Abraham and see whether or not he would be faithful to him and obey him in all things. He had obeyed him in breaking up those Gods, and in leaving his father’s house and going up to a land that he had shown unto him, and the Lord was determined to try him to the uttermost, and see whether he would obey him yet further. “Now,” said he, “Abraham, take thy son, thine only son Isaac, and go to a place that I will indicate, and offer him up as a burnt offering before me.” That was a curiosity, it had something odd and strange about it. It was not really what you would call philosophical; it was not in accordance with any principles that we could understand anything about, in our day; and it would have been difficult for Abraham to have reasoned it out why he should be called to offer up his son as a sacrifice. Nothing of the kind had ever transpired before as a precedent; no such thing written in the Bible that had taken place among men before. In offering up his only son there was something very peculiar, not especially as a sacrifice, but it came in contact with every parental feeling which he must necessarily have felt for his only child. This, in and of itself, rendered it one of the most severe and painful trials that could be placed upon man; but there was something else connected with this which was explained by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, when speaking of these things, said God was determined in these days to have a tried people as He had in former times, and that he would feel after their heartstrings and try them in every way possible for them to be tried; and if he could have invented anything that would have been more keen, acute, and trying than that which he required of Abraham he would have done it. But that, no doubt, was one of the greatest trials that could have been inflicted on any human being. Notice the old gentleman tottering along with his son, brooding over the promises of God and the peculiar demand now made upon him. Says he: “Isaac, let us go up into the mountain here, and offer a sacrifice to the Lord.” And he took him along; they ascend the mountain, they gather together some rocks and together build an altar; they gather the fuel and place it on that altar; and when everything is prepared Isaac says: “Father, here is the altar and here is the wood, but where is the sacrifice.” What would the feelings of a father be under such circumstances? Says he, with a heart gushing with sorrowful emotions, “My son, God will prepare himself a sacrifice,” and finally the old man gave his son to understand that he was the sacrifice, and he bound him and placed him on the wood upon the altar, and lifted the knife to strike the fatal blow, and while his arm was outstretched the Lord spake, saying: “Abraham, lay not thine hand upon the lad, for the Lord shall provide thee a sacrifice,” and he looked round and found a ram in a thicket, and he placed it on the altar and offered a burnt offering before the Lord. The Lord then took him aside and said: “Lift up thine eyes eastward, westward, northward and southward, for to thee and to thy seed after thee will I give this land; and thy seed shall be as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and like the sand on the sea shore so shall they be innumerable; and in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” The Lord proved him and found him faithful in all things. That was a severe test to human nature; but there were other ideas crowding on his mind that were ten thousand times more formidable than these paternal feelings which gushed and welled up in his bosom when told to offer up his son as a sacrifice. What was it? Why the Lord had told him that he would make of him a nation and a multitude of nations, and that he should be the father of many nations, and yet he told him to go and offer up his only son. And he was an old man and his wife an old woman; and it was not only the idea of taking the life of his son that was crowding upon his mind, but the cutting him off in regard to posterity and the promises that God had made to him in regard to the magnitude of the peoples that should arise from him, or from his loins, and leaving him, as it were, a dry root, helpless, hopeless, tottering on the grave without any heir. Paul very justly remarks that in the midst of all these things, “he staggered not through unbelief, but was strong in faith giving glory to God; believing that he from whom he had received him, as it were from the dead, would be able, if he had even slaughtered his son, to raise him from the dead.” He was strong in faith, says Paul, “giving glory to God.” He had had the visions of his mind unfolded in regard to the future; he had looked through the dark vista of future ages. Inspired by the spirit of revelation he contemplated the purposes of God as they rolled forth in all their majesty and glory and power, and considered that He was to be one of the great actors in this great world drama that should be exhibited in the after ages or time, and in the eternities that were to come. Jesus said of him, “Abraham saw my day and was glad.” But he saw in this, apparently, all his hopes blasted; but notwithstanding he had faith and confidence in God, and he stood there like the beaten anvil to the stroke, or the sturdy oak defying all storms and blasts and influences. He was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Nothing but the spirit of revelation could have given him this confidence, and it was that which sustained him under these peculiar circumstances.

He then told him that, by and by, his seed should go down into bondage in Egypt, and should remain there four hundred years, and that then they would be delivered. He also made promises concerning his posterity, telling him they should inherit that land; and yet, singular to say, notwithstanding these revelations and promises from the Lord, several thousand years after, when Stephen was referring to these promises, he said, “he gave him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foot;” but he told him that he would “give it to him, and to his seed after him, for an everlasting inheri tance.” And as we have to do with a truthful God, and with eternal things, we expect that these promises will be literally fulfilled, and that God will accomplish all things that he spoke to him pertaining to his seed. But there was one peculiarity about this that I wish to notice in connection with others—that when God gave revelations to the human family in the different ages of the world it was particularly adapted to the circumstances in which they were placed. They were not dependent, as Christians are now, simply on the Bible or upon some old revelation, from which they could learn many great things, but they could not learn what was necessary, what plan it was proper for them to adopt under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed.

We find, in continuing the history of these things, that after the children of Israel had been in Egypt for a length of time, God sent them a deliverer—he raised up Moses and inspired him with the principle of revelation, told him he had a work for him to do, that he was to deliver Israel from the bondage that had been placed upon them by the Egyptian kings. Moses shrank from the responsibility, and told the Lord that he was a “man of stammering tongue and of slow speech,” and that he was not competent to perform a work of such magnitude. The Lord told him never to mind, it would be all right, that he would provide a spokesman for him in Aaron his brother, and Aaron should be a mouthpiece to the people, and Moses should be as a god to Aaron and dictate him in the course that He should take. And this very Moses gives us an account of all the histories that we have in relation to the dealings of God with the human family from Adam’s day until the time in which he lived. There was something peculiar about the mission that he had. He was sent on several occasions to present himself before the Egyptian king with a message from the Lord that he should let his people Israel go, and in these various messages you will find, just as I stated before, the revelations that he had were adapted to the particular circumstances he was placed in. He was not told to build a city as Enoch had been, and to gather a people together to be translated; he was not told to build an ark, as Noah did; he was not told to leave his father’s house and go to a strange land, as Abraham was; he was placed in other circumstances—he was going to be the deliverer of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and to lead them to that land which God had promised Abraham, and consequently he had to have direct communication with the Lord—revelation to guide him in the course that he should pursue in the work that he had to perform. The result was that after many revelations he took Israel out of Egypt, he brought them into the wilderness, he passed them through the Red Sea, and he went upon the mountain, conversed with God and received from him tables of stone written by his own hand for the guidance of the people, and was under the direction of the Almighty in all his moves. He built an ark, not according to his own judgment or wisdom, not according to anything that he read of in the Bible, nor according to any previous revelation or communication; but the Lord told him to see “that he made all things according to the pattern that he had shown him in the mount,” and he did so. And the people traveled on through that wilderness, and were there for forty years, a pillar of fire leading them by night and a cloud by day; and when that pillar of fire or cloud rested they rested, when it lifted up they moved, and followed its guidance. And Aaron went and ministered in the Tabernacle and approached before the Holy of Holies, and all these sayings, doings and events that then transpired were under the immediate revelation, dictation and guidance of the Almighty. The Lord at that time desired to make of Israel a great nation, a kingdom of priests. They had the Gospel preached unto them in the wilderness, so Paul tells us, but they were rebellious, wayward and stiffnecked. It was the design of the Almighty to lead them into the presence of God, that they might see him as Moses did, and as the seventy Elders of Israel did, that they might converse with him and obtain intelligence from him, and be under his special guidance and direction; but they could not endure the Gospel, and therefore we are told “the law was added because of transgression.” What was it added to? Why, to the Gospel. What was the Gospel? A principle of revelation; it always was. It was the same Gospel that Jesus had that was revealed to them. The Scriptures tell us that it “brings life and immortality to light;” and whenever in any age of the world men had a knowledge of life and immortality, of the purposes of God and his future designs, and of the future estate of mankind, it came through the Gospel, for it is the Gospel that brings life and immortality to light; and wherever the Gospel exists, there exists a knowledge of life and immortality; and wherever a knowledge of life and immortality does not exist the Gospel does not exist. The children of Israel, then, were placed under the law—a schoolmaster, we are told, “a yoke that neither they nor their fathers were able to bear.” This Peter tells us.

Then there were other Prophets after Moses who appeared on the stage, such as Job, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah and many others, who had communication with God and received a knowledge of his will and purposes, and prophesied under the inspiration of the Almighty and testified of events that should afterwards transpire. To these men we are indebted for the Bible, that is, for the Old and New Testaments; to them and their revelations, to the communications that they had, the ministering of angels and the opening visions, and the unfolding of the purposes of God, and the various histories and dealings of God with the people; to them are we indebted for the Bible that we Christians of the present day talk so much about. To these men who made this Bible we are indebted for any knowledge that they had about God; and that Gospel, we are told, brings life and immortality to light.

We are now sometimes told by people here, at this present day, that we have the Bible to go by. Indeed? We have the Bible, have we? Yes. Who made that Bible? Did the Christians? No, they did not. The early Christians had something to do with making the New Testament Scriptures, but not the Old Testament; and then, as I have told you heretofore, these men always had revelation given them adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed. But you read the Bible through, and you will find that the Scriptures that are given to us are simply an account of revelations, communications, prophecies and the ministering of angels, and the power of God made manifest to the ancient people of God who had the Gospel. What! Do you mean to say, then, that all these men had the Gospel? I most assuredly do, for without that they could not have had a knowledge of life and immortality. Did Abraham have it? Yes, if Paul told the truth, he did. What does he mean when he says, “God, foreseeing that he would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham?” What does he mean when he tells us about Moses and the children of Israel? Says he: “We have the Gospel preached unto us as well as they; but the word preached unto them did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it; wherefore the law was added because of transgression.” What was it added to? Why, to the Gospel, for they had the Gospel before, and the law was added not as a peculiar kind of a blessing that some people speak of, but as a peculiar kind of a curse—the law of carnal commandments—“a yoke that we nor our fathers were able to bear.” And when Jesus came, what did he bring? Why, the Gospel, and with that Gospel light and revelation and communication with God, and ministering of angels and the gifts of tongues and healing and prophecy, and the power of God made manifest among the people as it was in former times. Life and immortality were again brought to light, the heavens were again unveiled, angels ministered to man, and they had a knowledge of things to come. The law was added because of transgression, and when the Gospel came, it came not to do away with the law or the Prophets, but to fulfil them. It was not a law of carnal commandments and ordinances, but “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which makes us free from the law of sin and death;” the law of the Gospel whereby men were adopted into the family of God, and became “heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ,” that “if we suffer with him,” as he once said, “we shall also reign with him, that both may be glorified together.” It was a thing that adopted them into the family of God, and made them heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ his Son, and one of the principles of eternal life, and like all other revelations, was adapted peculiarly to the position that they then occupied. It was called the Gospel, and there was a Priesthood connected with it, and what was that called? Why, the Melchizedek Priesthood. What did the Melchizedek Priesthood do? It held the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God. And who was Christ? He was a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And what did he introduce? The Gospel. And who was Melchizedek? A man that blessed Abraham we are told, and to whom Abraham paid tithes of all that he possessed; and Paul tells us that, “Verily the less is blessed of the greater,” and this Melchizedek was greater than Abraham was, although Abraham was the father of the faithful. What kind of a thing did Jesus introduce when he came? He introduced the Gospel; he had the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. What did Melchizedek have? Why, the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, if you please. If Christ’s Priesthood was after his order, the Melchizedek Priesthood must be after the order of the Son of God. And if Christ introduced the Gospel, Melchizedek had the Gospel, and Melchizedek blessed Abraham, and he had the Gospel preached to him, so says the Bible that the Christians profess to believe in.

Well, then, if this has been the way of God’s dealing with the human family in all ages, it would seem that he would continue to deal with men on the same principle now.

John the Revelator speaks of a time when “an angel should fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the face of the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, crying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” Who was it that saw this? Why John, on the Isle of Patmos. But didn’t he have the Gospel? Yes. But he saw that a certain power would arise that would make war against the Saints and overcome them, that they should be given into the hands of this power to a certain time. Then he tells us afterwards that, after all these events should have transpired, and all the apostasy and the rising of “Mystery, Babylon,” the “Mother of Harlots,” and the abominations that should exist on the face of the earth, says he, “I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the face of the earth.” What do you mean by the everlasting Gospel? Why, the same Gospel that Jesus taught, the same Gospel that Abraham, Moses, Enoch and Adam had—that everlasting, eternal, unchangeable principle that brings men into relationship with their God, unveils the heavens and the purposes of God to the human family, and leads them in the paths of life. “I saw another angel flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto those who dwell on earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, crying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heaven, the earth, the seas, and the fountains of waters.” This was the declaration of John.

Now, then, an event like this was to transpire; the everlasting Gospel was again to be introduced to man upon the earth. Joseph Smith came forward telling us that an angel had administered to him, and had revealed unto him the principles of the Gospel as they existed in former days, and that God was going to set his hand to work in these last days to accomplish his purposes and build up his kingdom, to introduce correct principles, to overturn error, evil, and corruption, and to establish his Church and kingdom upon the earth. I have heard him talk about these things myself. I have heard him tell over and over again, to myself and others, the circumstances pertaining to these visions and the various ministrations of angels, and the development of the purposes of God towards the human family. And what does he do? Bring us something different? Yes, in many respects, but not different in regard to our connection with God. Different as regards the age in which we live and the circumstances with which he was surrounded, but not different as it regards bringing men to a knowledge of God. He taught precisely the same principles and doctrine and ordinances that were taught by Jesus and his disciples in their day. He organized Apostles; he had Prophets in his Church. He told them that inasmuch as they would do right and keep his commandments, they should have the gift of the Holy Ghost. He led them forth and baptized them, just as John and the disciples of Jesus did. He baptized them in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins, and told them they should receive the Holy Ghost. He organized his Church precisely upon those principles; but it was a different dispensation—“the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God would gather together all things in one,” prophesied of by Paul; when his people should be gathered, as the Scriptures say, from the east, the west, the north and the south; when he would take “one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion and give them pastors after his own heart, that could feed them with knowledge and understanding.” It was a dispensation to prepare the people for the events that should transpire on the face of the earth, that they might no longer be led astray by the cunning craftiness of men whereby they lie in wait to deceive, but be led by the spirit of revelation and brought into communication with God. Hence the people that I see before me today—the major part of this congregation and the people that inhabit this Territory, have been brought together under these auspices, by the preaching of the everlasting Gospel, by being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, having hands laid on them for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and they have received of that Spirit, and they know for themselves of the truth that they have received, and consequently they cannot be twisted about by every wind of doctrine. They know and appreciate the truths they have received, and they have faith in God, for the Gospel they have obeyed leads them to a knowledge of God, whom to know is life everlasting.

Now this is the position; it is just the same as they had in former days. The Gospel that they had in any age of the world was to lead men to God; the Gospel that we have, and that we have taught to you, is to lead you to God, to righteousness, to virtue, purity, integrity, to honor, to revelation, to a knowledge of the ways of God, and of his purposes pertaining to you and your families, to your progenitors and your posterity; pertaining to this world and that which is to come. It is a revelation adapted peculiarly to the position that we occupy in these last days. How very remarkable many Scriptures are on these points, “I will take one of a city and two of a family.” And what will you do with them? “I will bring them to Zion.” And what will you do with them there? “I will give them pastors after my own heart that shall feed them with knowledge and understanding.” Not with theories, ideas and uncertainties; not with the dogmas of men, but with the knowledge of God, with revelation, with an understanding of the principles of eternal truth. And this is why we are assembled here as we are on the present occasion. What shall we do then? We will live our religion and keep the commandments of God. Cultivate the spirit of revelation that you have then, as the Scriptures said formerly, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.” Another passage, in speaking of certain individuals, tells them that they have received an unction from the Holy One, and they know all things, being instructed and taught by the Spirit of eternal truth. This is what the Bible speaks of in former times. “And ye need not,” says he, “that any man should teach you, save the Anointing that is within you, which is true and no lie.” Let men feel the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord and that Spirit will lead them into all truth, will bring things past to their remembrance and it will show them things to come, as it did in former times.

I remember Joseph Smith speaking to me upwards of thirty years ago. Says he: “Brother Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost. Now follow its teachings and instructions. Sometimes it may lead you in a manner that may be contrary al most to your judgment; never mind, follow its teachings, and if you do so, by and by it will become in you a principle of revelation, so that you will know all things as they transpire.”

How does that agree with the other—“You have received an unction from the Holy One and know all things, and need not that any man should teach you, save the Anointing which is within you, which is true and no lie?”

We have been taught and instructed in many principles that the world know nothing about, and that we know nothing about, and that Brother Young knew nothing about, nor Brother Joseph, nor the Twelve, that nobody knew anything about until God communicated it; and you, under the influence of that Spirit, know of a truth and rejoice in the truth, and the truth has made you free; and when you hear men talking about how bad they feel for you because of your fanaticism, what do you feel like? Say you; “Poor things, you do not know what you are doing.” Preserve your pity for yourselves and your children; keep your high, exalted notions, if you have any, for we are satisfied with ourselves and our principles. We know in whom we have believed, and no power can overturn us. We have been baptized into one baptism, we have partaken of the same spirit; we are all built up together in the faith of the everlasting Gospel, and our progress is onward, onward, onward, until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and he will reign with universal empire, until error and folly, and vanity and corruption, and wickedness of every kind will fail and dissolve before the rays of eternal truth which God has revealed, and in which he will continue to reveal, until the Kingdom of God shall prevail and extend throughout the wide world. We are happy we live, and we rejoice in the blessings that we have received, and we pray our Heavenly Father to keep us faithful.

I will tell you the only thing I am afraid of about the Saints is that they will forget their God and that they will not live their religion; then again I have not that fear, because I know the generality of them will. I know this kingdom will not be given into the hands of another people. I know that it will continue to progress and continue to increase in spite of all the powers of the adversary, in spite of every influence that exists now, or that ever will exist on the face of this wide earth. God is our God, and he will bring off Israel triumphant.

May God help us to be faithful and to keep his commandments, in the name of Jesus, Amen.


Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 10, 1872.

The speaker who addressed you this forenoon, referred to another book, that is called the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I will select a few words from that book this afternoon—a part of the 8th paragraph, of the 21st section, being a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, in September, 183l. The word of the Lord to the Prophet reads thus: “For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her; And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven. And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen.”

Much has been said since the rise of this Church in regard to the Zion of the latter days, and much more might be said, for after we have said all that we can say, as far as God has revealed, I presume that we shall not be able to portray scarcely anything compared with the glory and greatness and the excellency and the beauty of that people and of that city that are called Zion, to be built up on the earth in the latter times.

The first question that naturally presents itself to the mind in regard to Zion is this: What is Zion? What are we to understand by its term? Is it a city? Is it a people? Is it a good people or a bad people? What may we understand by the term as used in the Scriptures? There are a great many ideas among the children of men in reference to this term, especially among all Christian denominations. I presume there is not a people on the whole face of the earth who profess to be Christian but what have their definition of the term Zion. If we go to the Catholics they tell us that they are Zion—that they are the only people whom the Lord acknowledges as Zion. If we go to the Greek Church, that has existed contemporary with the Catholics for many centuries, and inquire of them what their understanding is concerning Zion, they will tell us that it is the Greek Church. You go to all the Protestant denominations that have dissented from the Catholics and from the Greek Church and inquire of them what Zion is, and the answer of the greater portion of them will be, it is the various Christian denominations, such as the Lutherans, the Church of England, the Methodists, the various order of Baptists, and the various Christian denominations that have arisen during the last three or four centuries. Go to the Latter-day Saints and inquire of them what Zion is, and they will tell you it is the Church of the living God wherever it can be found. Consequently in order to ascertain what Zion is it is necessary for us to understand what the Church of the living God is, and try to distinguish between that Church and all other Churches. I shall endeavor, in a very few words, to mark out some of the distinguishing features between the true Church of the living God and Churches built up by human wisdom; and when we have ascertained what the true Church is we shall then have learned what the true Zion is.

I will begin with some of the first principles which God has revealed, and which it is necessary for mankind to obey before they can constitute a part and portion of Zion. Before Zion, or the Church of the living God, can have any existence on the earth it is very important and necessary that there should be divine administrators. What I mean by this is, men having a divine mission, a divine call—being called of the Lord by the spirit of revelation to build up Zion on the earth. And when I speak of men having a divine call I do not mean those who have merely an impression, as a great many ministers among all religious denominations say that they are called of God because they have an impression that God has sent them, and they go forth and preach their peculiar doctrines, as a mission which they have to deliver to the people. One man who says he is sent of God preaches baptism by sprinkling; another man sent by the same God, or who professes to be, teaches baptism by pouring water on people. A third man, who says he is sent of God, and has an impression to preach, preaches that baptism by immersion is the only true mode, and is to be administered to those who have experienced religion, and have obtained forgiveness of sins. A fourth man comes forth and says he is called of God, and has a divine mission, and the way that God has taught him is to be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins.

Now we must not undertake to suppose that God is the author of all these different methods, and that he sent all these different ministers. If he sent any one man to baptize by sprinkling, then those who baptize by immersion are false teachers, running of their own accord. If he sent any one man to pour water on those who are candidates to be baptized, he has never sent any persons to sprinkle, neither to baptize by immersion; and if we can ascertain who it is that is sent, and what the form of ordinances is that are to be administered, then we shall understand something towards the first principles of the building up of Zion on the earth, or, to come more directly to the point, concerning these divinely authorized messengers. How should true messengers of heaven be sent? In what way has God always sent them? By divine revelation. Now there never was a dispensation since God made man on the earth wherein a message was sent forth to the human family unless there was revelation connected with that message, unless the ministers who bore that message forth to the human family were divinely called by revelation, new revelation I mean. I need not go back and trace the callings and the gifts of God unto the patriarchs before the flood, nor those who lived immediately after the flood, nor in the days of Moses, nor in the days of the prophets who followed Moses; nor in the days of Jesus, nor in the days of the Apostles. All these are before the people, the callings and the gifts that were manifested in those days among the various dispensations which God has introduced among the human family. In all these various dispensations God has directly spoken from the heavens; he has communicated his will to the human family. He has raised up revelators and inspired them, he has filled his servants with the spirit of prophecy, that they should foretell the future. He has inspired them to write revelations, and hence in all these different dispensations the God of heaven has thus authorized the children of men to build up his Zion on the earth, and without these no such thing as Zion can be built up among the children of men.

Those persons were not only called by revelation, but they also were guided after they were called by the spirit of revelation in all their travels. Sometimes when they, of their own accord, would have a disposition to visit a certain city, town, neighborhood or nation, the Spirit would speak unto them and say: “Not so, that is not the place for you;” and they would be constrained by the Holy Ghost not to travel in that direction, but to go to some other city that that same Spirit should designate and point out to them. Thus they were guided and directed where they should go, what they should preach, what form of doctrine to deliver to the people, what kind of ordinance to administer to them; every particular was given by revelation from the Most High.

Let us stop right here and enquire. Have there been any Christian denominations for the last seventeen centuries that have enjoyed this spirit of divine revelation? If there have been, then Zion existed on the earth during the period this spirit of revelation was enjoyed. When this spirit of revelation ceased Zion ceased; when people ceased to be called by direct revelation, and the Scriptures ceased to receive any additional books, then Zion ceased among the children of men. When mankind came to the conclusion that their own wisdom was all-sufficient, independent of any more revelation, Zion ceased from off the earth.

How long is it since Zion ceased? For everybody will admit, among all Christian denominations, that there has been no revelation for some seventeen hundred years—among all the Protestants of the present day, among all the Catholics that lived before them and that now live, and among all the different peoples and nations and tongues that have received the doctrines of the Catholics, or of the Greek Church. They all admit that, they all testify and acknowledge that God has had no inspired men on the earth since the days of the Apostles, consequently he has had no Church on the earth, for whenever the Church of God exists there exists prophets and men who are capable of writing Scripture; there exists men who have communion and fellowship with God; there exists men to whom the Lord communicates his will by the ministration of holy angels and by his own voice. Therefore when these things ceased, and men ceased to be inspired to write Scripture, and the Scripture was pronounced full and complete, sealed up as it were, that moment the people called Zion are banished from the face of the earth; or in other words the Church of the living God has no existence thereon.

There was a Zion on the earth in the first century of the Christian era. They were Christians; they believed in Christ; they worshiped Christ, they received his ordinances, they were filled with the spirit of revelation, they had their inspired prophets and revelators; they had their heavenly visions; they had the ministration of angels; they could hear the voice of God; they could behold in heavenly vision the face of the Lord Jesus Christ after he had ascended to his Father and was glorified at his right hand. They bore testimony that they had seen him, that he had conversed with them and that he had communicated his will unto them. These were Christians; that was the Christian Church; that may be pronounced Zion.

What existed after this? The Apostles were put to death; they were hunted from nation to nation; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins in the dens and caves of the earth, of whom the world was unworthy. Their followers were put to death by hundreds, by thousands, by tens of thousands; and after a while there sprang up a people that pretended to be Christians—followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, having no apostles, no inspired men, no revelation, no ministration of angels, none of the characteristics, except a few forms, of the Christian Church as it existed in the first century of the Christian era. This class of men, calling themselves Christian, uniting with the various forms of the pagan religion, adopting many of their cere monies and institutions, became very popular, and finally some of the pagans embraced Christianity and were placed, as it were, upon the throne, and what they termed Christianity became very popular indeed. How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostasy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations.

She is termed, in other places, by the same prophet, “The whore of all the earth,” making the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Some three centuries ago there came out some excellent men, named Martin Luther, John Calvin and many others that might be mentioned, who protested against the wickedness and abominations of the Church wherein they had been educated, and of which they had been members. Because of their protestations against the mother Church they were called Protestants. They pronounced her the whore of all the earth; they declared that she had no authority, that she had none of the blessings and gifts which characterized the ancient Christians. They came out and established other Churches. The Lutheran Church prevailed in Germany and various portions of northern Europe. The Calvinist Church or Presbyterian Church was also established. Henry the Eighth established and became head of the English Church. Wesley, at a later period, established a Church which has grown to great numbers at the present day. But among all these Churches where are the characteristics of Zion? We hunt for them in vain. Go to all these 666 different Protestant denominations that have come out from the mother Church, and inquire of them, Have you inspired men among you? And their united voice is that God speaks no more in our day; no other message is given from heaven; no voice is heard from the eternal worlds; no angels are sent in these days; no inspired apostles are raised up to establish the Church and the Kingdom of God; no men are filled with the spirit of prophecy to portray the events of the future, or to accomplish and perform the work of God in our day. We enquire, “What have you?” “Oh we have 666 different denominations and we have surnamed ourselves Christians. We are Bible Christians.” How mistaken they are! Bible Christians were those who believed in having apostles and inspired prophets among them. Bible Christians could receive more revelation and add more books to the Bible; Bible Christians could converse with the Lord, and oftentimes beheld the face of Jesus; they could commune with holy angels; they had authority from God to lay hands upon those whom they baptized, for the reception or baptism of the Holy Ghost. This was what constituted ancient Zion; but inquire for these characteristics among these 666 different Christian denominations and they will tell you they are all gone, they have not any of them amongst them. Now suppose we take their word for it! I do, I really believe them. I think they tell the truth when they say they have no inspired men. I believe them when they say they have neither prophets nor apostles among them. Why do I believe them? Because they have received no new books in addition to the Bible, and whenever God had a people on the earth they were constantly giving new books, inspired from on high, and when that ceases we draw the conclusion that inspiration has ceased.

Under these circumstances what is to be done? If the world has thus apostatized, and there has been no Church of the living God, no Zion among the nations for the long period I have named, what are we to expect? Is the world always to remain in this condition? Has God spoken for the last time? Were the few favored Christians who lived in the first century of our era the last ones who were to be favored with a message from heaven? I think not, the Bible tells us a different story altogether. That book tells us that there is to be one of the greatest dispensations ushered in upon the face of the earth that ever has been since the creation of man, and I profess to believe the Bible. When I read the words of the Apostle Paul about the new dispensation that should take place after his day, I believe it. You will find in the first chapter of his epistle to the Ephesians that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he shall gather together in one all things that are in Christ, whether they be in heaven, or here on the earth. A dispensation of gathering, a dispensation called the dispensation of the fulness of times, a dispensation in which the very heavens, and all the spirits of men that are behind the veil are to be gathered in one; all things that are in Christ to be gathered in one, preparatory to the great resurrection that will take place in that dispensation.

The dispensation that was introduced in the days of the apostles was not a dispensation of gathering. When the apostles went forth to build up the Church of Christ at Corinth or at Ephesus, in Galatia or any other part of the earth, the Christians all remained where they received the Gospel except those who were driven into the mountains by the persecutions of their enemies. But in the last dispensation there is to be one feature characterizing it that did not characterize the dispensation established by the ancient apostles, namely the gathering together of the people—all that are in Christ from the ends of the earth. When that dispensation is introduced Zion will be introduced again, the Lord will bring again Zion.

Many of you who are Bible believers have read a great many prophecies about the Zion of the latter days and how the Lord should bring again Zion, which seems to intimate that Zion was once on the earth, that it was lost from the earth for a certain period of time, and that the Lord was going to restore it once more. Let us hear what Isaiah has said on this subject: “Thy watchmen shall lift up their voice, with the voice together shall they sing, for they will see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” But perhaps strangers may inquire, How are we to know the period or age of the world when the Lord shall bring again Zion, or in other words restore his Church to the earth? What are the signs of that day, that we may discern the signs of the times? I will tell you how you may know that period. If you will go to the 102nd Psalm of David you will find a clue to that period. I think I will read a little of that psalm for the benefit of strangers. “When the Lord shall build up Zion he shall appear in his glory.” I think this gives a clue to the period, for everyone will admit that the Lord has not yet appeared in his glory. We are looking for him. The Christians of all denominations expect that he will appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The Latter-day Saints expect this in common with all other Christians. But before he appears in his glory he is going to build up Zion, that is, Zion must again be built up on the earth: and if there is not a Zion built up on the earth before he comes, or in other words, if there never is to be another Zion built up on the earth, then he never will come. But when we see the day arrive that the Lord begins to establish his Church on the earth once more, characterized by apostles and prophets, and introduces a dispensation of gathering, wherein all in Christ shall be gathered together in one; when the period of time shall come that the watchmen in that Zion shall see eye to eye and with the voice together sing, we may know that the Lord is coming in his glory, and is near at hand.

We will read a few other passages in the same psalm. “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come.” The Lord has a set time for a great many of his purposes. A set time for the scattering of Israel; a set time for Jerusalem to be trodden down by the Gentiles until their times are fulfilled; a set time for the stone out of the mountain to be cut without hands and the kingdom of God to be organized on the earth; a set time for the coming of the angel with the everlasting Gospel to be preached to all people, nations, kindreds and tongues; a set time for the Lord to favor Zion, as is here declared. “For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.”

Now do not mistake, any of you strangers, and think that this was fulfilled in the days of David. It was written for a period long after his day. This shall be written for the generations to come. “And the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” That is, future generations of the earth—those who live at that peculiar period of time when the Lord should again build up Zion on the earth. For “he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those who were appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem.” But, says one, “That means the first time he came.” Let us read the next verse and see if it really means that period. “When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.” Now, were the people gathered together in the days of the first coming of Jesus? No. Were the kingdoms then assembled to serve the Lord? No. Recollect that Paul predicted that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, all things in Christ are to be gathered together in one. Then the heathen nations and the kingdoms of the earth shall be gathered. What for? To be taught in his ways, and instructed to walk in his paths.

We will now quote another passage that has reference to the same great event. It is contained in the 2nd chapter of Isaiah the prophet. “And it shall come to pass in the last days”—recollect now it is a work of the latter time—“It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” When was this fulfilled? Every person with any reflection whatever, that has the least particle of faith in this prophecy, knows that it never has been fulfilled. The Zion that was built up in the days of David and that he dwelt in, the Zion that was in existence at Jerusalem 1,800 years ago was thrown down. Zion was plowed like a field, as the Prophet Micah predicted it would be. The houses, palaces and mansions in Jerusalem that were called Zion were all thrown down, and the beautiful Temple was also torn down and not one stone left upon another. But in the last days “The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the tops of the mountains, shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” This shows that it will be a work that will attract the attention of the nations. It will not be a work like that which is performed by erring humanity, by men without inspiration; but a work of the Lord our God. When he shall build up Zion he will appear in his glory; when he builds up Zion he will bless the inhabitants, the habitations, the palaces, the gates and everything round about that Zion, and the towers within that Zion, all will be blessed according to the testimony of the prophets.

But let us read a little further to show more fully that this was a work of the latter days. “And all nations shall flow unto it and many people shall go and say ‘Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’” Two separate and distinct places. The whole of the twelve tribes of Israel are to return back to Palestine in Asia and rebuild their city of Jerusalem and a temple within that city before, and preparatory to the coming of the Lord. Ezekiel, in describing the latter-day building of Jerusalem, says, “And the name of the city from that day forward shall be ‘The Lord is there.’” After the rebuilding of that city it will never be forsaken, or plucked up. As Jeremiah says in his 31st chapter, “It shall never be plucked up or thrown down henceforth and forever.” It will stand while all the generations of the earth shall stand when the house of Israel shall return and rebuild it under the direction of the Almighty.

But Zion is also to be built up. Another city, not old Jerusalem, but a new Jerusalem, called Zion, upon the great western hemisphere, preparatory to the coming of the Lord. “Out of Zion shall go forth the law,” says the prophet. What law? A law to regulate the nations, a law teaching them how to be saved, a law informing the kings and emperors and the nobles of the earth how they can save themselves, and how they can save their dead. When the mountain of the house of the Lord is established on the tops of the mountains they will gather from all those nations to this house of the Lord, to be instructed in his ways, that is to learn how to save themselves, and how to save their ancestors from generation to generation. How to be baptized for the dead, according to the custom practiced by the ancient apostles; how to administer for and in behalf of the dead. The temple of the Lord, the house of God, that we heard of this morning, is built for that express purpose. See what follows: “And he shall judge among the nations, and rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Now every person will acknowledge with me that such an order of things has not yet been fulfilled. It is the Millennium, it is that glorious period of rest when Jesus, personally, will reign on this earth, when his throne will be built in the temple at Jerusalem, when he will descend on the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem accompanied by all his Saints, as you will read in the last chapter of the Prophet Zechariah: “The Lord thy God shall come,” says Zechariah, “and all his Saints with him, and he shall stand his feet in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem to the east; and the Mount of Olives shall divide asunder, half of the mountain moving towards the north, and half towards the south, and there shall be a very great valley,” and so on. And when he descends with all his Saints on that mountain, and this great convulsion of the earth takes place, then will Jesus proceed down to the new gate that will be built on the east side of the temple—the east gate of the temple, and he will enter into that temple and will seat himself on the throne that will be built in that temple. Ezekiel when describing this, in the 43rd chapter of his prophecy, says, or rather the Lord through Ezekiel says, “Son of man behold the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. And they shall no more defile my name,” and so forth. Here is a prediction that, in that temple will be a certain apartment dedicated and set apart for the throne of the Lord, where he will sit, as the Prophet Zechariah and many of the Apostles have predicted, on the throne of his father David, and judge the whole house of Israel. Dwell with them personally, be in their midst. Where will be the twelve Apostles that wandered about with him, when Jesus comes and sits upon that throne? They will also be sitting upon thrones. Where? In Palestine. “Ye who have followed me in the regeneration shall sit upon twelve thrones, and shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and you shall eat and drink at my table at the time you shall do this.” What? Immortal beings sitting upon thrones, having a table set for them and eating and drinking at the table of Jesus in Jerusalem? Yes, this is what is promised, and what we are looking for; this is the order of things that will come when Zion is fully established on the earth preparatory to that order of things. No wonder that nations will no longer lift up sword against nation! No wonder that kings will no longer fight against kings, and emperors against emperors! No wonder that they will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, for it will be a day of peace and rest, of which our present Sabbath is typical. As there is one day out of seven set apart, sanctified and ordained as a day of rest, so there is one thousand years set apart as a day of rest out of the seven thousand which will constitute the temporal existence of our earth. That will be the time when the Lord Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. That will be the time when the kings and nations will come up to Zion and also to Jerusalem. The kingdoms will be gathered together to serve the Lord.

Supposing some of them should happen to refuse, those that live off a great distance should conclude to refuse, and not go up to worship the Lord of hosts, let us see what will be come of them. After having spoken of the Lord coming with all the Saints with him, and standing his feet on the Mount of Olives, the prophet says: “And it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be clear or dark, but it shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord; not day nor night, but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out of Jerusalem, half towards the former sea, and half towards the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall it be.” Again he says, speaking of Jerusalem, “Men shall dwell in it. There shall be no more utter destruction, Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet; their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongues shall consume away in their mouths.” Again he says: “And it shall be that whosoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them there shall be no rain; and if the family of Egypt go not up that have no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses ‘holiness unto the Lord.’” We see then that the nations of the earth around about Jerusalem will be under the necessity, by the law which God has ordained, to fulfil these prophecies, to go up once a year for the purpose of beholding Jesus sitting upon his throne in the midst of Jerusalem, and of beholding the twelve Apostles as they sit upon their thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. From year to year they will have to go up for the purpose of worshiping him. By and by some of them, perhaps, will get it into their hearts that there is no use in their going up. “What is the use of our taking this long journey to Jerusalem?” and they will begin to say within their hearts—“We can serve God here in our own land just as well as going up to Jerusalem.” Just as soon as they begin to apostatize in this way the Lord will send a plague, a famine, that is, withhold the rains of heaven, so that their lands will be parched up, and if the family of Egypt, that have no rain, refuse to go up, there will be a peculiar plague set apart for them, namely, the same kind of a plague that will come upon the various nations that gather up against Jerusalem to battle just before the Lord comes and stands his feet upon the Mount of Olives. It will be no judgment, no calamity whatever for no rain to be given to the land of Egypt, because they depend on the waters of the Nile, by irrigation they overflow the land, hence it is no particular consequence to the people of Lower Egypt to have no rain.

I mention all these things in order that the Latter-day Saints may be re-refreshed in regard to the great events that must take place in the latter times, and that strangers who are in our midst may have a more full understanding of the views of the Latter-day Saints in regard to the ancient prophecies. You see we are looking for the building up of Zion on the earth, for the lifting up of the standard of the Lord, an ensign for the nations; or in other words, as I read at the commencement of my remarks: “For behold Zion shall go forth and become the joy of the whole earth, and the glory of God shall be upon her and the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall fear and tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones.” Why? Because the Lord himself will be in the midst of Zion, before he comes on the Mount of Olives.

Now here is the difference between Zion and old Jerusalem. The Jews, or many of them, will gather back to Jerusalem in a state of unbelief in the true Messiah, believing in the prophets but rejecting the New Testament, and looking for the Messiah to come, honest-hearted no doubt, many of them. And they will rebuild Jerusalem after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. While in that state of unbelief Gog and Magog, the inhabitants of Russia and all those nations in northern Europe and northern Asia, a great multitude, will gather against the Jews before Jesus comes, and they will fill up the great valley of Armageddon, the great valley of Jehosaphat and all the surrounding valleys; they will be like a cloud covering the land. Horses and chariots and horsemen, a very great army, will gather up there to take a spoil. For you know when the Rothschilds and the great bankers among the Jewish nation shall return back to their own land to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, carrying their capital with them it will almost ruin some of the nations, and the latter will go up against Jerusalem to take a spoil. And they will succeed in taking half the city captive; and when they are in the act of destroying that city, behold the Lord will come with all his Saints, and he shall stand his feet on the Mount of Olives, “And in that day” says the Prophet Zechariah “shall the Lord go forth and fight against all those nations that have fought against Jerusalem, and their flesh shall consume away upon their bones, their eyes in their sockets. This great calamity comes upon the Jewish nation in consequence of their unbelief in the true Messiah.

Not so with Zion, she will be built upon the great western hemisphere in North America, and become a righteous people long before the Jews will gather home. Zion will be built up by the gathering of the Saints from all the nations and kingdoms of the earth. Zion will be built up, her habitations will be reared, her Temple will be built and the glory of God will rest upon them long before these great events in connection with the house of Israel will be fulfilled. Hence there is a difference between Zion and Jerusalem in the latter days.

We will now read something more about this Zion. Isaiah, as I have already quoted in the second chapter, has told us about the house of the Lord, and the great peace that should come, the beating of swords into ploughshares, &c., and then he goes on to portray the blessings that are to come upon Zion. He says, “In that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely.” Thus we see that Zion is to become glorious. The branch of the Lord, the branch of his own planting, established by his own power, the building up of a people and city by his own instructions and administration by the inspiration of his servants, the establishing of Zion no more to be thrown down. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion and upon her assemblies a cloud and smoke by day, and shining, flaming fire by night; and upon all the glory shall be a defense and there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge and for a covert from storm and from rain. How often I have quoted this passage! I am not tired of quoting it yet. It is among the great events of the latter days; it is among those marvels and wonders that are just at hand. A Zion to be built up; a city of Zion having habitations, and upon these habitations a supernatural light by night, and a supernatural cloud by day. No such event has happened since this prophecy was uttered by the Prophet Isaiah, it remains to be fulfilled in the latter days. No wonder then that the Lord said to Joseph Smith in the year 1831, that is, before we were a great people, while we were only a few hundreds, well did the Lord inspire him to say that Zion should become great and glorious and the day should come that the nations of the earth should tremble because of her, and should fear because of her terrible ones; for the glory of God shall be there, and the power of the Lord shall be there when the day comes that the city of Zion is clothed upon with the glorious appendage that is herein predicted; when the branch of the Lord becomes beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely, when that day shall come that seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach,” when that day shall come that the Lord God shall show forth his power in Zion—upon her Tabernacle, upon her Temple, her meeting places, her residences, palaces, towers, walls and gates, when that day shall come it will astonish the nations even unto the ends of the earth. Thus you see the reason why the kings of the earth will go up to Zion. They would not go if there was not something very extraordinary happened. Do you suppose the kings would forsake their thrones and their earthly glory and go up to the mountain of the Lord to be taught in his ways and instructed in his paths, and that many nations would say, “Come let us go up to the house of the Lord,” if there was not something very extraordinary manifested in the midst of Zion? You might go and preach to them, as the sectarians preach, until you were greyheaded, and you could scarcely get near the throne of a king, much less would you be able to persuade him to leave his kingdom and throne and go up to Zion. But when the Lord begins to move, and show forth his power, when he begins to light up the habitations of Zion, when he comes to Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, then I think the nations will begin to wake up.

Let us read a little more about the glory of Zion in the 59th and 60th chapters of Isaiah. I told you a little while ago that Jesus would come to Zion and would show forth his glory there, while the Jews would be reserved for a great chastisement and would be afflicted by the nations gathering against them, fighting against them and taking half the city captive, and so on. Now let me read a prophecy in the latter part of the 59th chapter of Isaiah. “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words that I put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth even forever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” You notice here, then, that the Redeemer is to come to Zion, at the time when every habitation is lighted up with his light, and to all that turn from transgression in Jacob.

Now let me here remark that this remnant of the house of Israel or Jacob, which we term the American Indians, are eventually to become a righteous branch of the house of Israel; when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, they will be numbered among the people of the covenant made with ancient Israel, they will be a branch of the Lord, beautiful and glorious, excellent and comely, and the power of the Lord will be upon them. In that day Jesus will come to them, they being a remnant of the tribe of Joseph. Then will be fulfilled that which was predicted by the Patriarch Jacob upon the descendants of Joseph. Speaking of Joseph he says, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.)”

When Jesus comes to Zion as is here predicted, in the 59th chapter of Isaiah, he will come in the character of a great shepherd. Not in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; but appearing in the midst of Zion and administering to the remnants of Joseph in the character of a shepherd. From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. Now we all know that Jesus sprang from Judah; but here is a declaration that from Joseph is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. That is, he will come the second time as a shepherd. He will gather his flock, or as the Psalmist David has said, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, stir up thy strength and come and save us.” He will come as a shepherd, he will stir up his strength and show forth his power and the remnant of Joseph will be led by their shepherd, long before the Jews are redeemed. “Arise and shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

What condition do you suppose the wicked will be in in those days, even all the inhabitants of the earth except Zion? “For behold darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” What a difference between Zion and the rest of mankind! Darkness covering the whole four quarters of the globe. Why darkness? Because the salt of the earth is gathered out; the children of light are gathered together to Zion, and those who are left behind are in darkness, that is, a great many of them. No doubt there will be honest ones, and vast numbers who will come to Zion, notwithstanding the darkness that covers the earth.

We will read the next verse: “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” “Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.“ What! No people or nation left that will not serve Zion? Not one. What will become of this great republic with its forty millions of people, and which is spreading forth continually? If they will comply with the ordinances of Zion, repent of their sins and be prepared for this great and glorious day, God will save them; but if they will not they will be utterly wasted away. Thus have the prophets declared. “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” Now here is a little comfort to you miners: “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders.”

Wars will cease in those days. “The sun shall no more be thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” Zion will not need the sun when the Lord is there, and all the city is lighted up by the glory of his presence. When the whole heavens above are illuminated by the presence of his glory we shall not need those bright luminaries of heaven to give light, so far as the city of Zion is concerned. But there will be a great people round about, dwelling in other cities that will still have need of the light of the sun and the moon; but the great capital city where the Lord will establish one of his thrones—for his throne is not to be in Jerusalem alone, it will also be in Zion, as you will find in numerous places in this Bible. When therefore, he shall establish his throne in Zion and shall light up the habitations thereof with the glory of his presence, they will not need this light which comes from the bright luminaries that shine forth in yonder heavens, but they will be clothed upon with the glory of their God. When the people meet together in assemblies like this, in their Tabernacles, the Lord will meet with them, his glory will be upon them; a cloud will overshadow them by day and if they happen to have an evening meeting they will not need gas light or lights of an artificial nature, for the Lord will be there and his glory will be upon all their assemblies. So says Isaiah the Prophet, and I believe it. Amen.

Truth—Freedom—The Gospel versus Modern Christianity

Discourse by Elder John Taylor, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 3, 1872.

We meet together from time to time to speak, to hear, and to reflect upon things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and the interests and happiness of humanity; to strengthen, cheer and instruct, to teach and be taught on things that pertain to our happiness and well-being, in time and in eternity. As a people we differ in very many respects from the world with which we are associated. Our ideas, reflections and belief with regard to Deity are different to those of the world; our ordinances also vary from those which are in existence among the Christian world. We have our reasons for this difference; they, perhaps, have theirs. We place God, his service and his worship as among the first things that ought to attract our attention. Considering ourselves immortal as well as mortal beings, and having to do with time and eternity; with things future, as well as present, it has been our study for years to try to form correct opinions and ideas in relation to those things which pertain to our everlasting welfare. In doing this we have not been desirous, generally, to court the good feelings or approbation of men. We know that mankind vary very much in their ideas in relation to these matters, and if desirous we could not follow them because they do not agree; but we have been desirous, as far as lay in our power, to seek the approbation of the Almighty and of an approving conscience, for in religious matters it is with these we have to do. We consider that we are engaged in a work that will affect us and our posterity after us for innumerable generations; in a work in which both the living and the dead are interested. And acting in the fear of God, and with a reference to eternal realities, we try to square our conduct and regulate our actions, in such a manner, that we may stand approved of all good men, and of the holy angels; that we may be approved of the virtuous and good who have lived on the earth, and of the virtuous and good who may hereafter live upon it; for we consider, as we are eternal beings, that things pertaining to eternity are of a great deal more importance than the evanescent transitory things pertaining to time and sense, which speedily pass away. We find one thing literally true, as spoken of by the scriptures—that “It is appointed for men once to die,” and that the teeming millions who now inhabit this earth have only existed upon it for a very short time, and will only continue to exist for a short time to come; and as we have supplanted the millions who have gone before us, so also shall we be supplanted by millions who will follow after us; and as we believe in an eternity and in future rewards and future punishments, and in future exaltations and future degradations; as we believe that this life is simply a probationary state we feel desirous to act as wise, prudent, intelligent beings, squaring our lives and actions according to the high position that we occupy before God and before the holy angels. We are not satisfied, as many men are, with simple theories, because this, that or the other man or bodies of men have told us they are true, we are governed by no man’s ipse dixit. We have not any particular dogmas to sustain, or any special theory to establish. Living in the world of mankind, surrounded by the works of nature, walking, as it were, in the presence of the Great Eloheim, we wish to comprehend and embrace all truth and seek for and obtain everything that is calculated to exalt, ennoble and dignify the human family; and wherever we find truth, no matter where, or from what source it may come, it becomes part and parcel of our religious creed, if you please, or our political creed, or our moral creed, or our philosophy, as the case may be, or whatever you may please to term it.

We are open for the reception of all truth, of whatever nature it may be, and are desirous to obtain and possess it, to search after it as we would for hidden treasures; and to use all the knowledge God gives to us to possess ourselves of all the intelligence that he has given to others; and to ask at his hands to reveal unto us his will, in regard to things that are the best calculated to promote the happiness and well-being of human society. If there are any good principles, any moral philosophy that we have not yet attained to we are desirous to learn them. If there is anything in the scientific world that we do not yet comprehend we desire to become acquainted with it. If there is any branch of philosophy calculated to promote the well-being of humanity, that we have not yet grasped, we wish to possess ourselves of it. If there is anything pertaining to the rule and government of nations, or politics, if you please, that we are not acquainted with, we desire to possess it. If there are any religious ideas, any theological truths, any principles pertaining to God, that we have not learned, we ask mankind, and we pray God, our heavenly Father, to enlighten our minds that we may comprehend, realize, embrace and live up to them as part of our religious faith. Thus our ideas and thoughts would extend as far as the wide world spreads, embracing everything pertaining to light, life, or existence pertaining to this world or the world that is to come. They would dig into the bowels of the earth, or go to the depth of hell, if you please; they would soar after the intelligence of the Gods that dwell in the eternal worlds; they would grasp everything that is good and noble and excellent and happifying and calculated to promote the well-being of the human family.

There is no man nor set of men who have pointed out the pathway for our feet to travel in, in relation to these matters. There are no dogmas nor theories extant in the world that we profess to listen to, unless they can be verified by the principles of eternal truth. We carefully scan, investigate, criticize and examine everything that presents itself to our view, and so far as we are enabled to comprehend any truths in existence, we gladly hail them as part and portion of the system with which we are associated. We are quite willing that others should be governed by the dogmas, theories and notions of men just as much as they please: we do not have confidence in them. They may worship God as they please, it is none of our business, it is a matter between them and their God. We may think, in many instances, their acts are foolish; but if they have a mind to be foolish that is not our business. They perhaps entertain the same opinion in relation to us. But we do feel, in regard to moral and religious ideas, that we are engaged in a sacred cause, and that while men, with all their combined wisdom and intelligence, have been unable to introduce and establish systems that are good, happifying, elevating and ennobling; we think there is a being who lives in the heavens superintending the affairs of the human family, who is worshiped by the great mass of humanity in one form or another—a great power that is capable of instructing, guiding, directing and regulating the affairs of men, as by eternal laws he governs all nature and regulates the planetary system. While on the one hand we are willing that others should worship him in what manner they please, we have a right to the same privileges, rights and immunities, and possessing ourselves of this idea we take the liberty to do so.

There are two things I have always said I would do, and I calculate to carry them out, living or dying. One is to vote for whom I please and the other to worship God as I please. There is a principle of freedom planted in the human mind that has always existed there, and no man, nor any power has yet been able to obliterate it. Believing as we do we take the liberty to believe the Bible, which our fellow Christians, generally throughout the world, profess to believe in, whether they do so or not. We read in that sacred volume that, “Holy men of old spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” This, to many, seems perhaps singular phraseology, but it is nevertheless true; and if they did not, whence came this sacred volume? How do men at the present day learn anything pertaining to God? Who puts them in possession of any information relative to the holy angels, to a heaven, to the plans and purposes of God pertaining to the earth whereon we live, and its inhabitants? Who revealed anything pertaining to future rewards and punishments, and how did the theologians of the day become acquainted with these principles? Where did they get their knowledge from? They tell you from the Bible. That Bible would never have been in existence if holy men of old had not spoken as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. If men in former times had not had revelation from the Most High; if angels had not ministered to them; if they had not had revelations and the dark curtain of futurity had not been withdrawn from their minds and they had not been enabled to gaze upon the purposes of God as they should roll forth in future generations: if such “old fogies,” as some call them, had not lived, we should have had no Bible, no Christian religion, nothing to guide our feet, that is, so far as records are concerned. If the heavens had always been, as many would have us believe they are now—as brass over our heads, and God had been deaf to the entreaties of humanity, we should have had no Christian or Mosaic religion, or any religion giving any knowledge of God or his purposes.

We profess, forsooth, in this generation of enlightenment, with all its latitudinarianism, with all its diver sities of opinions, ideas, theories and dogmas; with a thousand different professedly religious parties to be wiser than that man who said there was “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God who is above all, through all and in you all.” People now-a-days think the religion they had in those days might do for a barbarous age, but we are so enlightened, so intelligent, so philosophical, that we are altogether ahead of those “old fogies” who lived some time ago and conversed with God and had angels minister to them. Now I have frequently said, and say today, “The Lord God deliver me from the enlightenment, the corruption and evil throughout the world at the present time,” and give me some of that religion that ancient men of God had who spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. I would like to associate with men whom God would talk with, and that angels would communicate intelligence to, and that the heavens could be opened to, that could have the purposes of God unfolded to them, that could comprehend the object of the creation of the world whereon we live; the object of the existence of man, and his future destiny, as an eternal intelligent being. I want to know whence I came, I want to know what I am doing here, what is the object of my existence. I want to know something about the world whereon I live, the object of this beautiful creation with which I am surrounded, and its destiny; and if there is a God who rules in the heavens and superintends the affairs of the universe I want to know something about him, whom to know I am told is “life everlasting.” If there is a religion that will teach me that, that is the religion I want, and anything short of that I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for. People may take their philosophy, and their Christianity, and their morality, and their intelligence, and chuckle over their supposed superiority for what I care if I can only get acquainted with God and know something of his law, of the principles of eternal truth, if I can learn to save myself and my posterity; be placed in a position that I can obtain promises from God as Abraham did, that should reach down through every subsequent period of time until the final winding up scene, and then stretch forward into the eternity that is to come. As an eternal intelligent being these are some of the thoughts, reflections and ideas that come through my mind, and I cannot be satisfied with anything less. Others may be glad to “Sit and sing themselves away,” as they ignorantly sing sometimes, “to everlasting bliss.” They may worship a God without body, parts and passions, or go to a heaven somewhere “beyond the bounds of time and space.” I would like to be associated with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, the prophets and those honorable men who had communication with God and that he was not ashamed of, and as one of the apostles says, “God was not ashamed to be called their God, for he had provided for them a city.” I want to search for a tangible reality, “a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” as the scriptures speak of a city that one of those ancient men of God, when under the inspiration of the Almighty, had a vision of, and contemplated its glory.

We are seeking, in the first place, to regenerate ourselves, and then, under the guidance and direction of the Almighty, to regulate the world in which we live. We know that this is not very popular; but that makes no difference to us. So far as we, ourselves, are concerned we know precisely where we stand; so far as the world is concerned, as to the reception of our ideas by them, that is their business, and God’s business. They have to do with him and we have to do with him. We are in his hands, and all the world of mankind are in his hands, and he will manage and control them and dictate and regulate them according to the dictates of his will, and not according to my theories or yours or any other person’s, and, “The judge of all the earth will do right.” This people know what they are doing, and they know precisely their position whether others do or not.

What has called you out from among the nations, you who are here before me? I speak now to Latter-day Saints, you who heard the sound of the Gospel in the various lands that you came from. When the Elders came and preached unto you it was something like the position of Paul of old—“Their words came to you with power and demonstration and with the Holy Ghost,” and their words and testimony and spirit responded to that spirit which was in your bosoms, and you hailed their testimony as a message of light, and you obeyed it: you went forth into the waters of baptism amid the scorn, contumely, reproach and contempt of the world, religious, philosophical and moral. Inspired by the fire of truth you braved the whole of it. By the same spirit and influence you have been gathered together here, as you are today in this city and in these valleys of the mountains, throughout the length and breadth of this Territory. Your ideas were based on the revelations of God, the message that you heard was that God had spoken, that the heavens had been opened, that angels had appeared as they had formerly, that the everlasting Gospel had been restored in all its richness, fulness, power and glory, that it was your privilege to know for yourselves the truth of the principles you believed in. You believed those principles, you went forth into the waters of baptism and obeyed them, you have all been baptized into one baptism, have all partaken of one spirit, and are here under the same influence, guidance and direction; and hence we are here assembled, as on this occasion today, not by our own wisdom and intelligence, not by the intelligence of the world, not by the intelligence of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, any of the Apostles, or anybody else, but by the intelligence and inspiration of the Lord of Hosts to them and to you, and by the Spirit of God attending the administration of his Elders, and you have known and comprehended and realized for yourselves the truths which you believed in.

Standing in this capacity there is a work which we have to perform—to save ourselves, our progenitors, our posterity, and to act as saviors upon Mount Zion, to build the temples of the Lord and to administer in them, and as eternal beings to watch after the eternal interests of humanity. This is the position that we occupy.

We find men come along among us sometimes who think we are fools, and that they could improve matters considerably. They have had plenty of opportunity in the world to do that, why haven’t they accomplished it? There is room enough for all the philosophers, and all the theologians, and all the wise men and philanthropists to benefit mankind outside of us. Anywhere, everywhere, go where you will, and what do you find? Corruption, evil, iniquity, hypocrisy of every grade and form, and under all circumstances, moral, religious, political and social, and everything else you please to name. Societies convulsed, rending apart, vili fying and abusing one another; full of corruption and rottenness, evil and iniquity of every kind, socially, morally and religiously. Plenty of room for all philanthropists and for all men who desire to benefit the human family. Go and regulate them. Put the United States right, regulate England and France, put Germany straight. Regulate the affairs of the nations, and then come and talk to us. But until we see something better than the kind of civilization that we are having introduced here, we beg to be excused from it. We saw enough of that before we came here; and the examples that are exhibited in our midst are too revolting, too degrading and humiliating for decent men and women to have anything to do with. Is this indeed the vaunted civilization so much talked of? We do not want it. “My soul, enter not thou into their secrets; my honor, with them be not thou united!” We are after more honorable aims, more exalted feelings and principles and views than those that are imported into our midst here. I used to believe in that scripture, and I have a good deal of faith in it yet, that “an impure fountain cannot send forth pure streams;” that “a bad tree will not bring forth good fruit;” and that trees are “known by their fruits.” I am a believer of that kind of thing yet, and in speaking of these affairs I feel a good deal as one of the servants of God felt when he was engaged in building the walls of old Jerusalem. There was some man came up and wanted to interfere with his operations, but said he, “I am doing a great work, hinder me not.” We feel about the same. We are engaged in a great work, we are seeking after our own salvation and the salvation of our friends, the salvation of our forefathers, the salvation of our children and posterity who shall come after us, the salvation of the world wherein we live and its everlasting happiness and exaltation, “hinder us not.” Pursue your own course, worship as you please, do as you please, follow your own inclinations in any other way, only do not interfere with the rights of men nor violate the laws of the land. That is all we ask, and you have full liberty to carry out any views and feelings you please. I remember reading a few lines of some very zealous Protestant who wrote over some public building: “In this place may enter Greek, Jew or Atheist, anything but a Papist.” Now I say let the Papist come in too, the Muslim, the Greek, the Jew, the Pagan believer and unbeliever, and the whole world. If God sends his rain on the good and evil and makes his sun shine on the just and unjust, I certainly shall not object. Let them worship as they please, and have full freedom and equal rights and privileges with us, and all men. These are our feelings, and, as I said before, we are desirous, so far as we can, to be instructed in everything that is calculated to exalt and ennoble the human family. Others, of course, can do as they please about it. And in speaking of the Saints let me tell you that the religion you embraced five, ten, twenty, thirty or forty years ago is just the same now as it was then; it is like its author, “The same yesterday, today and forever.” We have not “changed our base,” as they talk about sometimes in their wars; we have no “new departures,” as others talk about. We are after the truth. We commenced searching for it, and we are constantly in search of it, and so fast as we find any true principle revealed by any man, by God or by holy angels, we embrace it and make it part of our religious creed.

Nobody need be concerned at all by the events that have been transpiring here, or that may transpire. There is nothing new in relation to these matters. It is only a little piece of the same material that we have experienced in years gone by, and that the Saints of God have always had to cope with. They talk sometimes about our morality here, and the action of this people and so forth. In conversation lately, with a judge from Montana, I forget his name, I told him I had been judge of the probate court in Utah County, one of the largest counties in Utah, perhaps the largest with the exception of Salt Lake, and that during two years, while acting in that capacity, I had one criminal case—petty larceny—come before me, and three civil cases, two of which were decided by arbitration. I asked him how he got along in Montana. Said he, “in the same time while I was judge there, probate judge, I had to act as probate on upwards of eighty cases, most of whom came to their death by violent means.” Why didn’t they blame the Governor or the Mayors of cities for killing these men? Could so many murders be committed and the Mayors and Governors not do it? It is astonishing! Now I would rather be the friend and associate of these men whom they call murderers here than of their most honorable men, and so would this people, and all who believe it say aye. (The crowded congregation gave one unanimous “aye.”) They cannot show such a record in any part of the world as we can exhibit in this Territory in relation to these matters; and they cannot find another Territory that has been so well managed in its financial matters. Our city here is out of debt; our cities throughout the Territory are out of debt; our counties are out of debt and our Territory is out of debt. Where can you point to the same thing anywhere else? Well, they have got such good, smart, intelligent men in other places that they manage to keep things right, and we are fools here! A good many people think that Mayor Wells is not half smart enough, and that if they were in his place they could manage the municipal finances a great deal better. I presume the same as they were manipulated in New York. (Laughter.) But we don’t want such Mayors, nor such Governors, nor such institutions in our midst. We want righteousness and truth and equity and honor and integrity, and men to be governed by correct principles, and to seek the well-being of the people they live among and rule over. And who are these men they are now prosecuting and persecuting? Why, here is Brigham Young, for instance, I have traveled with him thousands of miles, preaching the Gospel without purse or scrip. What has he done to anybody? Whom has he injured? Can anybody put their finger on it? Not and tell the truth. I know before God they lie. I have been with him in private and public under all circumstances and I know his feelings. I know they are liars when they make these statements, and this people believe it too.

Well, what shall we do then? Why, do right. It is all right, who cares? The wrath of man shall praise the Lord. He holds them and us in his hands, and he will control, guide, manage and direct all things according to the counsel of his will, and no power in this city nor in these United States I say, and I will prophesy it in the name of Israel’s God, shall harm you (Congregation said “Amen”). God will control, direct and manage all the affairs pertaining to his people, and Israel will rejoice and be triumphant, and the kingdom of God will be established, and the power of God will be manifested, and the work of God will progress, and the kingdom of God will roll forth, from conquering unto conquer, until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and he shall reign with universal empire.

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

Nephite America—The Day of God’s Power—The Shepherd of Israel

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, February 11, 1872.

It is quite unexpected to me to be called upon this afternoon to address this congregation; but inasmuch as I have been solicited so to do I cheerfully comply with the request. It has also been suggested that there would be several strangers present this afternoon who would desire to hear some of the evidences in relation to the Book of Mormon, and although it is a subject on which we have spoken during the week just passed, and have set forth many evidences in support of the divine authenticity of this book, still it may not be amiss to repeat some of these evidences and give some reasons to those who are present why this people receive this book as a part and portion of the revelations of the Most High. Our traditions, which we received from our fathers, have naturally inclined us to reject all revelations, or all pretended Scripture except that which happened to be compiled in the Old and New Testament. I had this tradition in common with the rest of mankind who profess to believe the Bible; but when I came to examine this tradition which I, as well as millions, had imbibed, I found it to be only tradition and without any substantial foundation. I cannot possibly imagine how to reconcile the supreme goodness, wisdom and mercy of the Almighty with the idea that a few of the inhabitants of our globe, dwelling in one small region called Palestine, should be the favored few to whom revelation should be vouchsafed. I cannot reconcile this idea with the view that we take of the character of the great Being whom we worship and serve. When I contemplate the vast number of millions that must have swarmed over this great western hemisphere in times of old, building large cities, towns and villages, and spreading themselves forth from shore to shore from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the frozen regions of the north to the uttermost extremity of South America—when I contemplate all these people as human beings, beings that have immortal souls and form part of the brotherhood of all nations, descending from the same parents, created by the same Creator, I cannot believe that all these nations have been left in darkness, deprived of the light of revela tion from Heaven, and having no knowledge concerning God; but I must believe that God, who is an impartial Being and presiding over all the inhabitants of the earth, would have respect to the people of ancient America as well as of ancient Asia. Consequently, in accordance with the views that we would naturally entertain concerning the attributes of the Great Jehovah, we believe that he has in these latter times, in the generation in which we are permitted to live, condescended to bring to the knowledge of the people another book, another divine revelation containing the history of his dealings with the generations that are past and gone on this western hemisphere. The book which I hold in my hand (the Book of Mormon) contains nearly as much information as the Old Testament. It is a book of five or six hundred closely printed pages. This book, the Latter-day Saints believe to be the Bible of the western hemisphere; a compilation of sacred books, books delivered by divine inspiration in ancient times to prophets, revelators and inspired men who dwelt upon this continent, both in North and South America. We believe that it was written, mostly by a branch of the house of Israel, a part and portion of the chosen seed, the descendants of Abraham who were led forth to this continent some six hundred years before Christ from the city of Jerusalem, brought by the special providence, miracles and goodness of the Almighty. A colony with whom there were several prophets; a colony of Israelites who believed in the law of Moses, and to whom the Lord manifested himself in a peculiar manner. They were brought forth from the land of Jerusalem in the first year of Zedekiah, King of Judah, six hundred years before the birth of our Lord and Savior. By revelation from the Lord they traveled southwest from the city of Jerusalem, and after reaching the Red Sea they continued along its eastern borders and afterwards bent their course eastward, arriving at the Indian Ocean. There they were commanded by the Almighty to build a vessel, the pattern of which was given to them by revelation, building it as Noah built the Ark—under the direction of the Almighty. On board this vessel they embarked, and were guided by the Almighty across the great Indian Ocean. Passing among the islands, how far south of Japan I do not know, they came round our globe, crossing not only the Indian Ocean, but what we term the great Pacific Ocean, landing on the western coast of what is now called South America. As near as we can judge from the description of the country contained in this record the first landing place was in Chile, not far from where the city of Valparaiso now stands.

After landing on the western coast of South America, they divided into two colonies, one colony called Lamanites, the other called Nephites. These names originated from two brothers, the name of one being Laman, the name of the other Nephi. The Lamanites became a very wicked and corrupt people. The Nephites believed in the law of Moses, in God, in the spirit of revelation and prophecy; they believed in visions, in the ministration of angels, and they sought to serve the Lord with all their hearts, and they were exceedingly persecuted by the Lamanites. The Nephites, by the command of the Almighty, made sacred records on gold plates, and on these plates they were commanded to engrave their history, their prophecies, the dealings of the Lord with them from generation to generation.

Being so severely persecuted by the Lamanites, the Nephites were commanded of the Lord to depart from their midst, that is to leave the first place of colonization in the country which the Spanish now call Chile. They came northward from their first landing place traveling, according to the record, as near as I can judge, some two thousand miles. The Lamanites remained in possession of the country on the South. The Nephites formed a colony not far from the head waters of the river Amazon, and they dwelt there some four centuries, increasing and spreading forth in the land. The Lamanites, in the South and in the middle portions of South America, also spread forth and multiplied, and became a very strong and powerful nation. Many wars existed between the two nations, in which hundreds of thousands were destroyed. Finally, in the course of generations, the Nephites fell into wickedness; they departed in a great measure from the law of Moses and from the precepts of truth which had been taught to them by the prophets in their midst. A certain portion of them who still believed were commanded of the Lord to leave their brethren in consequence of their wickedness; they did so, and those who still remained faithful, under the guidance of prophets and revelators, came still further northward, emigrating from the head waters of what we now term the river Amazon, upon the western coast, or not far from the western coast, until they came on the waters of the river which we call the Magdalena. On this river, not a great distance from the mouth thereof, in what is now termed the United States of Columbia, they built their great capital city. They also discovered another nation that already possessed that country called the people of Zarahemla. They also were a branch of Israel who came out from the city of Jerusalem five hundred and eighty-nine years before the coming of Christ, in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, at the time he was taken captive, and the Jews were carried into Babylon. One of the sons of Zedekiah, King of Judah, being commanded of the Lord, left the city of Jerusalem with a colony, who were brought forth and landed north of the Isthmus and journeyed southward, passed through the narrow neck of land which we term the Isthmus into the United States of Columbia, and formed their settlements there, and when discovered by the Nephites had dwelt there near four hundred years.

The Nephites and the people of Zarahemla united together and formed a great and powerful nation, occupying the lands south of the Isthmus for many hundreds of miles, and also from the Pacific on the west to the Atlantic on the east, spreading all through the country. The Lamanites about this time also occupied South America, the middle or southern portion of it, and were exceedingly numerous. I will here observe, that from the time the Nephites consolidated themselves with the people of Zarahemla, they had numerous wars with the great nation of the Lamanites, in which many hundreds of thousands perished on both sides.

About fifty-four years before Christ, five thousand four hundred men, with their wives and children, left the northern portion of South America, passed through the Isthmus, came into this north country, the north wing of the continent, and began to settle up North America, and from that time a great emigration of the Nephites and the people of Zarahemla took place year by year. I will here mention one thing which perhaps may be startling to indivi duals who are unacquainted with the antiquities of this country, that the Nephite nation about this time commenced the art of shipbuilding. They built many ships, launching them forth into the western ocean. The place of the building of these ships was near the Isthmus of Darien. Scores of thousands entered these ships year after year, and passed along on the western coast northward, and began to settle the western coast on the north wing of the continent. I will observe another thing—when they came into North America they found all this country covered with the ruins of cities, villages and towns, the inhabitants having been cut off and destroyed. The timber had also been cut off, insomuch that in many places there was no timber by which they could construct their dwellings, hence the Nephites and the people of Zarahemla had to build their houses of cement, others had to dwell in tents. Vast quantities of timber were shipped from the south to the people on the western coast, enabling them to build many towns, cities and villages. The latter also planted groves of timber, and in process of time they raised great quantities, which furnished them with sufficient for building and other purposes. Forty-five years before the coming of Christ there was a vast colony came out of South America, and it is said in the Book of Mormon that they went an exceeding great distance, until they came to large bodies of water and to many rivers and fountains, and when we come to read more fully the description of the country it answers to the great Mississippi Valley. There they formed a colony. We know that to be the region of country from the fact that these plates were taken from a hill in the interior of the State of New York, being the descendants of those same colonists that settled in the valley of the Mississippi. When we speak of the valley of the Mississippi, let me say a few words to inform the minds of my brethren and sisters from foreign countries who may not be so fully acquainted with the geography of our land. The valley of the Mississippi does not mean a small valley like these valleys here in the Rocky Mountains, but it means a vast area of territory some fifteen hundred thousand square miles in extent, enough to accommodate several hundred millions of inhabitants, almost a world of itself. There the Nephites became a great and powerful people. In process of time they spread forth on the right and on the left, and the whole face of the North American continent was covered by cities, towns and villages and population.

But we will hasten on. They having kept the law of Moses, I mean the Nephites, looked forward, according to the testimony of their law, for the coming of the Messiah, that is the great Prophet of Israel which Moses had told them the Lord would raise up unto them. They looked for that great Prophet to come and shed his blood, for their sacrifices and burnt offerings pointed to a great and last sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Son of God. The Nephite nation, therefore, had a testimony given to them concerning that future Messiah that was to come; a sign was given to them on this American continent that they might know the very day on which he was born. The night before Jesus was born this continent had no darkness. There was one day, and then a night and then a day without any darkness at all—it was as light as day during the period which is generally called night. This was prophesied or predicted by their Prophets as a sign that they might no longer be in sus pense about the coming of their great Prophet. After the birth of Christ there were signs given to the people concerning his crucifixion. The inhabitants of this land were not in ignorance about the great atonement that was wrought out on Mount Calvary. It was not in vain that they kept the law of Moses, and offered up their burnt offerings and the shedding of the blood of beasts and fowls, pointing forward to the atoning blood of Jesus, they knew when the great and last sacrifice was offered here on this land. However, it was a day of sorrow to them, for most of the people at that time had become very wicked. They had stoned and killed the Prophets and persecuted them exceedingly, and had become so corrupt and had deviated so far from the law of Moses and from the prophecies that God had given to them, and the righteous precepts that had been taught them by their Prophets, that the Lord in his anger destroyed many hundreds of thousands of the people at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. The Prophets told the people that when Jesus should be hung on the cross there should be a terrible convulsion and great earthquake on this continent, that many of their towns, cities and villages should be totally destroyed, some of their cities should be sunk and buried in the depths of the earth, that mountains should rise up and come over and fall on certain cities, that other cities should be sunk and waters come up in the place thereof, that other cities should be destroyed by tempest and whirlwind, that others should be burned by fire. Another great sign was given to them concerning the period during which Jesus was to remain in the tomb—that from the period of the crucifixion until the time of the resurrection thick darkness should spread over all the face of this continent, darkness like that of Egypt, that could be felt by the people. No sun, nor moon, nor stars were permitted to shine on that occasion, not a glimmer of light, three days and three nights of darkness.

All this took place at the crucifixion of Christ. The judgments came as predicted by the prophets. The rocks upon nearly all the face of this continent, prior to that event, were not found disrupted as at the present day. Those who have traveled through these mountainous regions and looked at the various strata of rocks find many of them turned up edgeways. This must have been caused by some terrible convulsion. You will see it on every hand in these mountains. It is not something peculiar to our vicinity, but the same thing occurs throughout all the vast region called the Rocky Mountains. From the frozen regions of the north until you penetrate through the Isthmus into the Andes, and then on to the end of this continent in the south, we find these disruptions, seams and cracks among the various strata of rock. Before the coming of Christ this was not so. Many mountains existed after the crucifixion where there were deep valleys before, and the whole face of the land was changed. No wonder then that our miners here in these rocky regions, and in various portions of Montana, California, and Nevada, occasionally, after digging several hundred feet, find remains of human arts. They find these things, and they have published descriptions of them in the papers in California and elsewhere, and in consequence of these discoveries they begin to calculate that the earth must be so many hundred thousand years old, and some of them conclude that it must be millions, in order to account for the phenomena which have been observed. But geologists should leave these things out of the question and should begin to inquire what has produced these terrible convulsions of nature, what has thrown up these vast ridges of mountains, what has sunk down valleys? What is it that has disrupted and apparently thrown the western continent into such terrible convulsion as to place the rocks on edge and rend them asunder? If they would inquire into these things it would be no marvel to them to find the remains of the ancient arts of men sunk far beneath the surface of the earth. I would say to them that, peradventure, they may yet find, when the Lord shall again convulse this continent, as he assuredly will do, throwing down the mountains and raising up the valleys, at the time of his second coming, for then, says the prophet Isaiah, the mountains shall flow down at his presence. Then, says the prophet David, the hills and the mountains shall melt like wax before the presence of the Lord. I say when this great and terrible convulsion shall come we may find cities rising, as it were, from the bowels of the earth, disgorged and brought to the surface. It need not surprise the inhabitants who then live to see cities brought up from the depths of the lakes and from the depths of great waters; to see mountains removed from their places and uncovering ancient cities that have been covered up for generations. All it needs then is a convulsion, a terrible catastrophe of nature to produce the effects that are sometimes ascribed to long ages of the slow working of the elements. But to go back to the history.

At the time of the crucifixion the Nephites dwelt in North America and also occupied a portion of South America; and after that event, the more righteous portion of those among them who were spared and also those among the Lamanites who had not altogether forsaken the truth, began to remember the prophecies, recorded upon their plates of gold, that after the crucifixion, and after all these terrible judgments had come upon them, their Messiah, of whom Moses had spoken, should render himself visible to the inhabitants of this continent. They tell us that they assembled themselves around a certain temple that the Lord had preserved in the northern part of South America, and were wondering about the great convulsions of nature that had taken place.

While they were thus conversing, pointing out and explaining to each other what had taken place, both in the north and in the south as far as they had explored, while they were thus conversing in all humility about Jesus, who had been crucified in the land of their fathers, they heard a voice coming out of the heavens. At first they could not comprehend it; but it excited their attention—the attention of about twenty-five hundred men, women and children, and they all gazed steadfastly towards the heavens, and while they were thus engaged the voice spoke again the second time and the third time, saying unto them,” Behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and they saw Jesus descending out of the heavens clothed in a white robe, and he came and stood in the midst of that large assembly of people and he said unto them, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and the earth, the God of the whole earth.” After he had thus spoken to them he told them how he had come in the land of their fathers, and how he had been crucified by the Jewish nation. He then called the multitude to come and see the wounds in his hands, in his feet and in his side, and they saw these wounds, and heard the voice of their Redeemer, and they knew of a surety that he was the Son of God, of whom their prophets had so long prophesied. Jesus commanded them no longer to kill sacrifices and shed the blood of beasts and fowls, for he himself had been offered as a last final sacrifice according to the types that were given in the law of Moses, and that he had shed his blood for the remission of sins; and then he introduced among them the gospel in all its fulness and plainness. Oftentimes has my heart been filled with joy inexpressible when I have read the words of Jesus on that occasion, declaring to them his gospel, and unfolding to them that they must have faith in him as the only Redeemer, as the only being who could atone for the sins of mankind; that they must repent of their sins and become as little children, and be baptized by immersion for the remission of their sins; that if they would do this they should be baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and when they should receive the Holy Ghost it should impart unto them special gifts in order that they, through the exercise of these gifts, might be perfected and prepared to return into the presence of their Father and their God.

Jesus chose twelve disciples on the American continent. They are not called apostles in the Book of Mormon, but disciples. I have no doubt, however, in my own mind, that they held the office of the apostleship, for they exercised all the functions of apostles. They had power not only to baptize with water, but to lay on hands for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which latter was one of the functions granted, in ancient days, unto the office of an apostle. These twelve Nephites who were called by the personal ministry of Jesus, were commanded to go forth and preach the Gospel on all the face of the North and South American continent. They were to build up his Church; they were to teach the people that they should no more worship God by the ordinances of the law of Moses, but according to the words which that prophet had delivered to them, even Jesus who appeared in their midst.

After Jesus had administered unto them the first day he withdrew and ascended into heaven, saying unto the people, “Behold I will visit you again on the morrow.” The people who were present on that occasion spread the news of the Savior’s visit as far as they possibly could during the remainder of the day and through the night, and people gathered from all quarters as far as they possibly could, so as to be at the place where Jesus should appear to them. On the next day he came again, and the next day the disciples separated the vast multitudes that came together into twelve bodies, and they taught them, for they could not be assembled in one body and all be able to hear the sound of one man’s voice. For this reason they were separated into twelve bodies and the Twelve taught them. They taught them the words of Jesus about being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, and about the gift or reception of fire and the Holy Ghost. After they had taught the people the Twelve went forth, being commissioned of the Almighty, into the water and baptized great numbers. After this Jesus came again and ministered to them and blessed them, and taught them still further concerning his doctrines, and also prophesied many things that should take place during that generation, and for many generations to come. Many times after this Jesus showed himself to the Nephite nation. These twelve disciples went forth, according to the commandment of the Lord and ordained others, and these ministers thus ordained went forth on all the face of the continent, and so great were the witnesses, so powerful the manifestations of healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind and the power that was displayed among the American Israelites that the greater portion of both Nephites and Lamanites were converted, indeed—in process of time they were all converted—and they dwelt in righteousness nearly three centuries. We have but a very short history, however, in the Book of Mormon of the righteousness of the Nephites and Lamanites during those three centuries. We are merely informed that they had all their property in common, that there were no rich nor poor among them, during all that period of time, that they were a humble people and worshiped the Lord their God in the name of Jesus, and they were a people who sought diligently to comply with every commandment and revelation from heaven. After about three generations had passed away they began to apostatize, not to dwindle in unbelief, but to reject, willfully, the principles that had been revealed to them, which were very great indeed; for during that period of time, according to the little information that we have, the Lord gave them many precious revelations, which were recorded on their plates which were not permitted to come forth in this record, being too great for us or for any people to receive who dwell not in righteousness. But the people began to apostatize and turn away from such great light, and their condemnation, of course, was greater than that which would have come upon them if they had been in darkness and ignorance. Sinning against so great light they speedily ripened themselves for destruction. They began to separate again into Lamanites and Nephites, and they made two great, grand divisions.

About three hundred and seventy-five years after the birth of Christ, the Nephites occupying North America, the Lamanites South America, and wars having existed between them for nearly fifty years, the Lamanites began to overpower the Nephites, and they drove them northward from the narrow neck of land which we call the Isthmus of Darien, burning, destroying and desolating every city, town and village through which they passed. The Nephites continued to flee before their conquerors until they came into the interior of the State of New York. There, the king or commander of the Nephites wrote an epistle to the Lamanites and requested an armistice for four years, for the purpose of gathering in all the Nephite nation into that one place. The king of the Lamanites granted this armistice, and during these four years they had no battles, but were occupied very diligently in gathering the whole Nephite nation into that one region, and the Lamanites gathering the whole Lamanite nation into the same region of country. Many millions on both sides were here gathered together, and when the four years had expired, hostilities were renewed, many battles were fought and the Nephites were overpowered, men, women and children being hewn down. The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening. A few Nephites dissented over to the Lamanites and joined them, and a few escaped into the south country. Mormon, one of the prophets of the Nephites, who had the records in his possession, be ing commanded of the Lord, hid up the records in the hill Cumorah before the battles commenced. I mean all the records except an abridgment. The gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was taken are only an abridgment from vast numbers of other plates which were hidden up by Mormon in that hill. This abridgment, reserved and not hid up by Mormon, he gave to his son Moroni. He and Moroni both surveyed the destruction of their nation; they fell, wounded among the vast numbers on that hill, but their wounds were not fatal and they survived and for a short time kept themselves hid. Mormon, however, was afterwards discovered and destroyed by the Lamanites. Moroni continued from three hundred and eighty-four years, the date of the destruction of his nation, until four hundred and twenty years after Christ, that is the last date given in this record. Moroni tells us, as a prophet of God, that he was commanded of the Lord to hide up these records in the hill Cumorah, not in the same place where the other records had been hidden by his father Mormon, but in another place, for the Lord had promised the prophet Moroni that he would bring these records to light in the latter days, when he should bring forth a great and powerful nation upon this land. The Lord showed all these things to these ancient prophets, and they understood our history and wrote about it before ever Columbus discovered America. Moroni informs us that after the Lord should establish in the latter days a great and powerful nation of the Gentiles on the face of this land, and should deliver them by his power out of the hands of all other nations, then the Lord would bring forth this abridgment, these plates which Moroni was commanded to hide up; that the records should be revealed, that the individual who should discover them should, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, be able to translate the records from the language in which they were written into our language, that these records should be brought forth expressly to accomplish the great purposes of the Lord in the last days in regard to warning all the nations of the Gentiles first, and that they might have the Gospel preached unto them in its ancient purity, as it was preached on this great western hemisphere, in order that the fulness of the Gentiles might be brought in, then their times should be fulfilled. After the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled by the coming forth of these records, the prophet informs us that the records should be sent to all the scattered remnants of the house of Israel in the four quarters of the earth, and that then the Lord would set his hand in power to deliver his people Israel from all the nations and kingdoms under the whole heaven, and that he would bring them back to the land of their fathers.

But before Israel can be gathered, these records, according to the predictions contained in them, must be sounded abroad, not only to the great and powerful nation, the Republic of the United States, and the Canadas, but to all the nations of the Gentiles, that all may be left without excuse. Already the time has far gone by for this warning to the Gentiles. Forty-two years out of the generation has already passed, and the same generation to whom these records were revealed shall not pass away until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. When that period shall arrive, as I said in my lecture during the week, there will come a day of the Lord’s especial power, the day of power spoken of by the psalmist David where he addresses the Lord, saying: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Israel have never been willing to receive Jesus from the day that they were cut off as bitter branches that brought forth no good fruit, until the present period. Generation after generation has passed away, and they still remain in unbelief, and they still remain in their scattered condition among all the nations and countries of the earth. But when the day of the Lord’s power shall come, when he shall send forth his servants with the power of the priesthood and apostleship to the nations and to the scattered remnants of the house of Israel that dwell in the islands of the sea afar off, he will show forth his power in that day in such a conspicuous manner that all Israel, as it were, will be saved. As it is written by the Apostle Paul, “Blindness in part hath happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved.” All Israel in that day will hear the voice of the Lord and the voice of his servants; all Israel, in that day, will see the arm of the Lord made bare in signs and mighty wonders in effecting the restoration of his chosen people to their own land. Then will be fulfilled that which is spoken of in the 20th chapter of Ezekiel concerning their restoration: “For with a mighty hand, saith the Lord, and with fury poured out will I rule over you, and I will gather you out of the nations and from the countries wherein you were driven with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God.” That has never been fulfilled, but it will be fulfilled when scattered Israel return to their own land. A similar scenery is to be enacted to that which was enacted when Israel were brought forth out of the land of Egypt, while they were in the wilderness. Go back to that period and behold the Lord descending upon Mount Sinai, speaking with the voice of a trump in the ears of twenty-five hundred thousand people, the thunders rolling, the lightnings flashing and the voice of Jehovah heard by a whole nation. You marvel at this, it was great and wonderful; but another day is to come when those sceneries enacted in the wilderness of the land of Egypt will be almost entirely forgotten, swallowed up in the greater manifestations of his power, not alone on Mount Sinai, but among all the nations of the earth. Wherever Israel is scattered there will the servants of God be, and his power working wonders, signs and miracles for the gathering of that people and restoring them to their own land. And when they are gathered together in a vast body the Lord intends to take that multitude into the wilderness before he permits them to go into the land of their fathers, and when he gets them into that wilderness, he says, “I will plead with you face to face, like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt.” Yet we are told by the present generation there is to be no more revelation, no more miracles, no more manifestations of the power of the Almighty, no more the voice of God speaking from the heavens, no more of the manifestations of his glory, or the showing of himself personally to his people. How wonderfully this generation of Christendom will be mistaken in that day when Israel will go again to their own land, and when the Lord God shall stretch forth his hand to the nations of the Gentiles, saying, “Your times are fulfilled, my servants have been sent forth in your midst, they have declared the word of the Lord to you all the day long, but you would not hear or receive their testimony, now the summer is ended and your times are fulfilled. Now will I gather my people Israel from the four quarters of the earth.”

Here let me say again, according to the Book of Mormon, many of those great islands that are found in the Indian Ocean, also in the great Pacific Sea, have been planted with colonies of Israelites. Do they not resemble each other? Go to the Sandwich Islands, to the South Sea Islands, to Japan—go to the various islands of the Pacific Ocean, and you find a general resemblance in the characters and countenances of the people. Who are they? According to the Book of Mormon, Israelites were scattered forth from time to time, and colonies planted on these islands of the ocean. In that day the isles will sing with joy; in that day the isles of the sea will wait for the Lord’s law; in that day the isles of the sea will rejoice, for they will give up their inhabitants, and they will be wafted in ships to their promised land, and God will show forth his power and gather millions of people from these numerous isles of the ocean, and he will bring them back to the land of their fathers. These poor degraded Lamanites, or American Indians, that are now so far sunk beneath humanity, are to be lifted up by the power of the Almighty when the day shall come for Israel to be restored, for God will not forget them. They are descendants of the tribe of Joseph, and consequently they are numbered with the people of the covenant. God will remember the covenant which he made with our ancient fathers. These Lamanites, these American Indians, will come to the knowledge of the cove nant, and they will arise and will build upon the face of this land a magnificent city called Jerusalem after the pattern and in the same manner that the Jews will build old Jerusalem. That is what the Lamanites will do, and we will go and help them too, for it is predicted in the Book of Mormon that when this work should come forth, when the time fully arrives for the redemption of this small remnant of the house of Joseph, “As many of the Gentiles as will believe, they shall assist my people, who are a remnant of the house of Israel, that they may build up on the face of this land a city that shall be called the New Jerusalem, and then, behold, the powers of heaven shall come down and be in the midst of this people, and I also will be in your midst.”

That is what the Lord intends to fulfil on this land. Jesus is coming here as well as to many other places. When the New Jerusalem is built on this land, Jesus will visit that city. His glory will be upon its dwelling places. Isaiah the Prophet has declared that upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion there shall be a cloud and smoke by day, and a shining, flaming fire by night. This will not only be on the New Jerusalem, but on the Holy City that is built up on the land of Palestine; and when the people have repented and become sufficiently righteous, and made preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus, he will come, and they will behold the Shepherd that is promised to them.

Did you not know that the house of Joseph had a Shepherd promised them? He was promised by the old Patriarch Jacob, as you will find in the blessing which he pronounced on his twelve sons. He called them up one by one, beginning with the firstborn, and blessed each one in his turn, until he came to Joseph, upon whom he pronounced a special blessing. “Joseph,” said Jacob, “is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, shot at him, hated him, but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. From thence is the Shepherd or Stone of Israel.”

Notice now, Jesus was not born of the tribe of Joseph, he was a descendant of Judah according to the flesh, but still the promise of a Shepherd or stone of Israel is from the house of Joseph. The same Jesus that was born of the tribe of Judah is to come, in the latter days, in the capacity of a Shepherd for the restoration of the remnants of the tribe of Joseph. This agrees with what is contained in one of the Psalms of David: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock. Stir up thy strength and come and save us.” Yes he will come and save them, and he will come in the character of a Shepherd too. “I also will be in your midst.” The powers of heaven shall come down then, and be in the midst of this people. This agrees with what I have already quoted, only I did not quote it in full: “Blindness in part hath happened to Israel, until the times of the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, Behold the Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

Did Jesus, when he came of the tribe of Judah, turn ungodliness away from Jacob? He tried to do so, but they would not hear him, and instead of turning them away from their ungodliness they put him to death, and brought upon themselves and their children for many generations the curse of the Almighty. Not so when this prophecy of Paul is fulfilled, when in the latter days, after the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, the Redeemer comes in the character of a Shepherd, he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for so great will be his power and so wonderful his administration in that day, that Jacob will rejoice and Israel will be glad, and the Lord will bring forth deliverance, as he says in the Psalms of David, out of the midst of Zion. “Oh,” says David, “that the salvation of Israel was come out of Zion, when he bringeth back the captivity of his people! When he shall do this, Israel shall be glad and Jacob shall rejoice.” He will accomplish this work in his own way, in his own time, and according to his own purposes, fulfilling every jot and tittle of that which has been spoken by the mouths of his ancient Prophets.

I thought when I rose to my feet I would bring forth some of the evidences of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, but I have been led otherwise, and I find I have not time to do so this afternoon. I have given you a statement, however, of the arrival on this great continent of a colony of Israelites, and have given you a very brief outline of their history from six hundred years before Christ to four hundred and twenty years after him. I have told you that they worshiped according to the law of Moses until they were taught and received the Gospel. I have told you concerning three generations of righteousness, concerning the destruction of the Nephite nation in the interior of the State of New York. I have told you a few of the purposes that God designs to fulfil and accomplish by bringing forth this record. I have told you that it must go forth to the Gentiles, and fulfil their times and bring in their fulness. I have told you that the servants of God would then be sent forth to the islands of the sea, and bring Israel from the four quarters of the earth. I have told you that that would be a day of the Lord’s special power, in which he would plead with Israel as he pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt. All these great events must come to pass, according to the predictions of the prophets, in order to prepare the way for the glorious advent of the Son of God from the heavens.

If time would permit, we would be glad to enter into the evidences of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon; but, no doubt opportunities to dwell upon this subject will present themselves hereafter. In the meantime, may the blessing of the Almighty God rest upon all the Latter-day Saints throughout these mountain vales, and throughout the whole earth! And shall we confine our blessing to the Latter-day Saints? No. May the blessing of Almighty God rest upon the honest-hearted among all nations, kindreds, tongues and people upon the two great continents of our globe, and the four quarters of our earth, that they may come to the knowledge of the truth and be prepared for the great and wonderful events that are to take place in the last days, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man. Amen.

Progression—The Fatherhood of God—The Perfect Man—The Gifts of the Spirit—His Testimony

Discourse by Elder Lorenzo Snow, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, January 14, 1872.

I take pleasure, this afternoon, in making a few remarks to the Latter-day Saints, as well as to any strangers that may be in our midst. I never designed to be a preacher; it was only a sense of positive duty that induced me to occupy the position as a preacher of the Gospel for, I may say, nearly thirty-five years an understanding, given through the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the principles that we, the Latter-day Saints have espoused, has induced me to travel through the world bearing testimony of those things which I assuredly do know pertaining to the Gospel of life and salvation revealed in this our day. The relation that we sustain to the Lord our God, and the blessings and privileges to be acquired through the system of life which we have received, are worthy of our deepest consideration; and it is no less necessary that we understand the duties the performance of which is requisite on our part, for the attainment of those blessings and privileges, and to keep ourselves in the path on which we may secure the highest advantages which the system of religion we have received is, in its nature, capable of giving.

The relationship which we sustain to God our Father, as well as to the world at large, if properly understood and appreciated, is calculated to wake us up to the performance of the duties required of us as Latter-day Saints. We ought to understand that we have espoused a system of religion that is calculated in its nature to increase within us wisdom and knowledge; that we have entered upon a path that is progressive, that will increase our spiritual, intellectual and physical advantages, and everything pertaining to our own happiness and the well-being of the world at large. We believe that we are the offspring of our Father in heaven, and that we possess in our spiritual organizations the same capabilities, powers and faculties that our Father possesses, although in an infantile state, requiring to pass through a certain course or ordeal by which they will be developed and improved according to the heed we give to the principles we have received. We believe that God is no respecter of persons, but that he confers blessings upon all his children in proportion to the light they have, or in proportion as they proceed according to the light and knowledge they possess in the different circumstances of life that may surround them. We believe that the spirit which enlightens the human family proceeds from the presence of the Almighty, that it spreads throughout all space, that it is the light and life of all things, and that every honest heart possesses it in proportion to his virtue, integrity, and his desire to know the truth and do good to his fellow men.

We see the providences of God in all things; we see them in raising up different communities and establishments in the world for the general and universal benefit of mankind. We see the providences of God in raising up a Luther and a John Wesley; we see the providences of God in all the Christian organizations and communities; we trace the hand of the Almighty in framing the constitution of our land, and believe that the Lord raised up men purposely for the accomplishment of this object, raised them up and inspired them to frame the constitution of the United States. We trace the hand of God, his Spirit, his workings upon and among all classes of people, whether Christian or heathen, that his providences may be carried out, and that his designs, formed before the morning stars sang together or the foundations of the earth were laid, may be ultimately fulfilled. He slackens not his hand, he gives not up his designs nor his purposes; but his work is one eternal round. We trace the hand of the Almighty and we see his Spirit moving in all communities for their good, restraining and encouraging, establishing governments and nations, inspiring men to take a course that shall most advance his purposes until the set time shall come when he shall work more fully and effectually for the accomplishment of his designs, and when sorrow, wickedness, evil, crime, bitter disappointments, vexation, distress and poverty shall cease and be no more known, and the salvation and happiness of his children be secured, when the earth shall be rolled back into its pristine purity and the inhabitants thereof dwell upon it in perfect peace and happiness.

If there is any class of people in the world that have reason to be more liberal and generous towards their fellow creatures, it is the Latter-day Saints; and if our liberality and generosity are not shown more than they are, it is in consequence of the pressure of circumstances with which we are surrounded restraining us from the exercise thereof; yet we expect to be, hereafter, in circumstances when we will have the privilege and opportunity of doing as we desire in these respects. However, in regard to this matter, whether circumstances shall so change or not, we know that we have obeyed a system of progression. We might speak in reference to the increase of knowledge to any individual who may receive and obey the doctrines we teach; but that which is most interesting to us is the progression of the Latter-day Saints themselves in the system they have received. Our faith, views and the principles we have obeyed all coincide perfectly with those of former-day Saints, which we read about in this book (the Bible). Were ministers at the present day to stand up in their pulpits and announce doctrines in reference to the progression of Saints, as they were preached in former days, the doctrines would be considered, at least, very startling, and a committee of investigation would undoubtedly be required at once by their congregations to ascertain whether or not they had seceded from their previously avowed principles. For instance, let a Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist minister rise in his pulpit, and suggest to his congregation, as Paul did on a certain occasion: “Let this same mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus, who, having the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” it would be considered a startling announcement; so also would the doctrine of John the Revelator on a certain occasion, when he says: “We are now, the sons of God, it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he (that is Christ) shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; and every man that has this hope in him purifies himself even as God is pure.” That would be a startling announcement of doctrine. Did anyone present, acquainted with the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian or Episcopalian societies, ever hear suggestions or doctrines like these? I never did, and I was formerly well acquainted with these societies. “Let this same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who, finding himself in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God;” and “He that has this hope in him, purifies himself even as God is pure;” and again: “When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

We were born in the image of God our Father; he begot us like unto himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which he himself possessed, as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers and susceptibilities of its parent.

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, we are told, were placed in former days in the Church for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, “until we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto the perfect man.” What is meant by this, “The perfect man?” And again, “Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ?” A system of things was had in those days through which a Saint could come up and be a perfect man in the Lord Jesus—a system by which Saints could advance in the knowledge of the things of God, to an understanding of his purposes, of their own natures and characters, of their relationship to the Almighty, and of the ordeals it was necessary for them to pass through that they might be perfected, as the Son of God was perfect.

This system of things, taught by Christ and his apostles, was not then first introduced; it was known ages before, and was established before the foundations of the earth were laid. I will quote a passage from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which will be found on page 85, section 4, paragraph 6—

“He that receiveth me (saith the Lord) receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.”

This is a revelation that has been given to the Latter-day Saints, and so far as respects its provisions in reference to those who receive it, it is precisely in keeping with those passages I have quoted from the New Testament; they were the burden of the teachings of the apostles in former days; but were they presented now to the Christian world by their ministers and religious teachers, they would be considered startling. This system of things was well known to Adam after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden; it was well known to Noah, and he preached it to the Antediluvians for one hundred and twenty years; it was also known in the days of Moses. He preached it to the Israelites on the banks of the Red Sea. “I would not have you ignorant,” says the apostle, in reference to this point, “how that our fathers all passed through the sea, were all under the cloud, all ate the same spiritual meat, all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock which followed, and that rock was Christ.” It is evident from this that the Gospel of life was known and practiced there; but we are told that, in consequence of wickedness and unbelief, the Gospel was taken from the people in the days of Moses, because it did not profit them, and in the place thereof was introduced a system which was called the schoolmaster, to bring them to Christ. On account of their wickedness and hardness of heart they refused to avail themselves of the privileges within their reach, for when the Lord proposed to come down into their midst and talk with them face to face as he did with Moses, they requested Moses to officiate for them and speak with the Almighty; and being filled with unbelief and unwillingness to become acquainted with God, their Father, the Gospel and all its privileges were withdrawn. But this Gospel has been introduced at various times into the world. It was known by the Prophets. They understood plainly and distinctly that Jesus was the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world; and that in due season he would manifest himself to the children of men, that he would die for their sins, and be crucified in order to complete the plan of salvation. The Prophets had the Gospel and its advantages in their midst; and the Holy Spirit that is ever connected with it, was poured out upon them in its fulness.

There was a certain blessing connected only with obedience to the Gospel, that was the gift of the Holy Ghost. When people received the ordinances of the Gospel they were promised that they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Savior who undoubtedly knew best about the nature and character of this gift, said it should lead all who received it into all truth and show them things to come. It should be more than that spirit which proceeds from God, filling the immensity of space and enlightening every man that comes into the world, the gift of the Holy Ghost should lead into all truth, and show them things to come. Furthermore, in speaking of its effects, the apostle says: “The spirit is given to every man to profit withal. To one is given faith.” Not a common, ordinary faith, which some people pretend to at the present day; but a faith which enables its possessors to be sawn asunder, to be cast into dens of lions, fiery furnaces, and to undergo tortures of every description. This was the kind of faith that the Holy Ghost conferred upon those who possessed it, enabling its possessor to stand in the midst of every difficulty, defy every opposition and lay down his life, if necessary, for the cause that he had espoused. There was an almighty inspiring power in this faith, given by the Lord through the Holy Ghost, which no other principle could communicate. To one was given faith, to another knowledge, not that which is gained by reading books merely, but knowledge from the Almighty. A self-inspiring principle was upon them, which was tangible, giving them a knowledge of the cause they had espoused. They knew by revelation from God that the cause they had obeyed was true, it was revealed to them in a manner they could not dispute, and they knew for themselves. They were then established, as we heard this morning, upon the rock of revelation.

There is a great difference between the possession of the Holy Ghost and the mere possession of the Spirit of God. Everybody has the Spirit of God, that is, the honest hearted, those who are living according to the best light they have. All Christian Churches have it, those who seek truth and righteousness. The Baptists, if they are honest, have it; so have the Presbyterians and the Methodists; so also have all Christian and heathen nations. You go to China, and all honest hearted people there have the Spirit of God; in fact we are told that this is the light that lights every man that comes into the world; but to say that all have the Holy Ghost, the gift that was promised to those who obeyed the Gospel, it is not so. We can trace the providences of the Almighty in raising up certain individuals to establish religious organizations, and we see in these things the workings of the Spirit of God for the general interest of the human family. We look upon George Washington, the father of our country, as an inspired instrument of the Almighty; we can see the all-inspiring Spirit operating upon him. And upon his co-workers in resisting oppression, and in establishing the thirteen colonies as a confederacy; and then again the workings of the same Spirit upon those men who established the constitution of the Uni ted States. In a revelation contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says: “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men, whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” We see the hand of the Lord in these things. The Christian Churches will not acknowledge that which we acknowledge and most firmly believe in regard to the workings of Providence and the operations of the Spirit of the Lord upon the hearts of the human family. We can see not only what the Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Shakers, Presbyterians, and Campbellites see—the hand of the Lord working with them, but we can see the hand of the Almighty establishing a kingdom spoken of in ages long past by Daniel the Prophet—a kingdom which shall grow and spread until it fills the whole earth, when light and intelligence shall be so generally diffused that it shall no longer be necessary for any man to say to his fellows, “Know ye the Lord,” but all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest; and when the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured out upon all flesh to such a degree that their sons and their daughters shall prophesy, their old men shall dream dreams, their young men see visions, and when there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord.

There are some other considerations connected with this subject worthy of our attention. We have seen what has been promised, and what encouragement was given or suggestions made in regard to our progression, as contemplated by the Prophets, in their writings in the Old and New Testaments. We see what God has said to us in his revelations direct, and we might bring up passage after passage from the New Testament, Book of Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon in regard to the progression and happiness of his people. But there are some considerations connected with this to which I will call your attention. The revelations of the Lord, given in these latter days, say that all things shall be given to those who receive the priesthood; but in connection with this promise there are certain obligations which have to be fulfilled on our part. That same God and Father who tells us what great things await the faithful, says: “Whoso layeth down his life for my cause and for my name’s sake shall receive it again, even life eternal; therefore fear not your enemies, for I the Lord have decreed in my heart that I will prove you in all things whether you will abide in my covenant even unto death, for he that will not abide in my covenant is not worthy of me.”

Here we have, on one hand, those extraordinary and wonderful blessings; and, on the other, if we renounce the doctrine we have received, or if we are unwilling to stand up to the point, even of death, in fulfilling the will of our Father in the accomplishment of his work, we shall be counted unworthy of the blessings that are promised.

Now, you take a man, no matter from what country, if he be a man of integrity, when he receives a knowledge of the truth, he will stand to that knowledge; you cannot persecute it out of him by imprisoning him, or taking away his property or by destroying every source of his happiness. Do what you can to annoy and oppress him he will still stand firm in his adherence to the principles which he knows are true. If we, as Latter-day Saints, are not honest, we are certainly in a very bad condition. When the Gospel reached us in the different nations whence we came, the Spirit of the Lord gave us convictions of its truth, and, in the honesty of our hearts, we received it, and its blessings, otherwise we would have stayed at our several homes. It was promised us by the several Elders who proclaimed the Gospel unto us, that if we would do the will of God, if we would obey the Gospel, we should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; they said, as Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Ghost. Then, when they spoke of the operations of the Holy Ghost, they described them as Jesus, Paul, John and the Saints who received it, testified in regard to it, from the effects it had produced upon them. Therefore, when the Gospel was received under circumstances of this nature, those who were its recipients expected superior and extraordinary blessings, blessings that they could not reach in any other religious society. They were promised such blessings as the religious societies said did not, nor ever would exist, and could not be received in the future. They would acknowledge that such blessings had been formerly received through the Gospel, but they said could not be received now hence if those who obeyed the Gospel as taught by the Elders of this Church did not receive the blessings promised, why do I see them before me here today by thousands? Why, when traveling through the length and breadth of this country, do I see people that have gathered, comparatively, from almost every nation under the sun? If they received not the blessings promised, why are they here in this Territory, in these valleys of the mountains? They had better stayed at home. It is the most inconsistent thing imaginable to suppose that people, after being deceived, should leave their country, homes and friends and cross the wide ocean, and vast deserts into a land they knew nothing of. When Abraham received the word to leave his home and kindred he obeyed the mandates of the Almighty, and the fact that thousands are now here, settled through this long strip of country, over hills, valleys and mountains, proves that they have done the same; they have shown by their acts that they have received the all-inspiring power of the Holy Ghost which was promised them, which revealed to them that the Lord had fulfilled the prophecy of his servant Daniel—that without hands he had cut a stone from the mountains and that it had commenced to move and roll, and would continue on its course until it had fulfilled the destiny predicted by the prophet.

If the people here have not received the miraculous blessings promised in connection with their obedience to the Gospel, they are acting most inconsistently, for they are perpetuating upon their children and their children’s children and upon future generations a system that is entirely false, binding a yoke of tradition upon them which, in its consequence, is beyond the power of language to express. The people are guilty of the most gross offense before the Almighty, for they are not only injuring themselves, but they are destroying the happiness of unborn generations. But the fact that the work still continues, and increases, and that the last words of the dying Saints to their children and friends, are: “I know by the revelations of God that this work is true,” is strong presumptive proof of the absolute truth of this work.

If you Saints here do not know this work is the work of God, it is your duty to rise up and declare you have been deceived, acknowledge that the Spirit of God has not been given you, and that the declaration of the Elder who promised it is entirely false, and thus try and correct the error which you have been guilty of propagating. At once, leave the Mormon Church and you would assume a position that would be more consistent; then get a testimony from the Almighty that some other Church possesses the system of salvation; get a testimony from the Almighty that the Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants are false, and just the moment you get that testimony where are you? Where are the words of the Apostle Peter: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, and you shall receive the Holy Ghost?” Where are the words of the Lord Jesus? He says, “It (the Holy Ghost) shall lead you into all truth and show you things to come.” Where are the words of the Apostle Paul: “Let this same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who, finding himself in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God?” Where are the words of John: “We know that we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he (Jesus) shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; and every man that hath this mind in him purifies himself, even as God is pure?” Throw these doctrines aside, let them pass; and go to a Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Quaker or Shaker, then where is your Bible.

I testify before this assembly, as I have testified before the people throughout the different States of the Union, and throughout England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Switzerland, and France, that God Almighty, through my obedience to the Gospel of Jesus, has revealed to me, tangibly, that this is the work of God, that this is his Gospel, that this is his kingdom which Daniel prophesied should be set up in the last days. I prophesy that any man who will be humble before the Lord, any man who will, with childlike simplicity, be baptized for the remission of his sins, shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which shall lead him into all truth and show him things to come; he shall receive a knowledge from the Almighty that his kingdom has been established in these latter days; and that it shall never be thrown down or be left to another people.

In saying this, I say no more than every man could say and has said who had a dispensation of the Gospel. I would not be here today, I would not have traveled over the face of the earth as I have for the last thirty-five years unless God had revealed this unto me. I have already said nothing but absolute duty ever inspired me to travel and preach this Gospel; but I received a dispensation from the Almighty, and I could say and do say now, as the Apostle Paul said: “I received not this Gospel from man, but I received it by revelation from the Almighty.” I say that any man who will humble himself before God and will be immersed in water, after repentance, for the remission of his sins, shall receive, through the laying on of hands, the gift of the Holy Ghost. Can I give this to him? No, I, simply as a messenger of the Almighty, to whom has been delegated authority, administer immersion for the remission of sins; I simply immerse him in water, having authority so to do. I simply lay my hands upon him for the reception of the Holy Ghost, then God, from his presence, acknowledges my authority, acknowledges that I am his messenger, and confers the Holy Ghost upon the individual. Well, this is the Gospel; this is what makes a man a savior of life unto life, as Jesus told his disciples they were.

Now talk about this kingdom being destroyed! Talk about, reason upon, lay plans here and there by the combined wisdom of Governments to destroy the kingdom of God; why, you might as well try to pluck the stars from the firmament or the moon or the sun from its orbit! It can never be accomplished, for it is the work of the Almighty. I advise every man who has a disposition to put forth his hand against this work, to hold on and consider. Take the advice of Gamaliel the lawyer. Said he: “If this is the work of God, ye can do nothing against it; if it is not, it will come to naught.”

Well, now, they say that the Mormons are fanatical. Well, it is very good fanaticism. We have philosophy, science, truth, the power of God, and the testimony of good men on our side. I can pick out twelve men, with whom I have been acquainted for the last twenty-five, thirty or thirty-five years. I have known them under varied circumstances in which their hearts have been proved, their feelings tried, and their honesty and integrity tested. Have I confidence in such men? I have, just as much as I have when I read in the New Testament about Twelve Apostles. I know nothing about Peter, James, or the rest of the Apostles; but these men I know something about; I have seen their honor and integrity tried under various circumstances in life. Have I not a right to believe in their testimony? Most assuredly I have, and I will prophesy of them, no, excuse me, I am not in the habit of prophesying, I will predict, I will say here, that in generations to come, the doings of these men will be read, the account of their works in preaching the Gospel to the nations of the earth, what they have suffered for the cause of God; the imprisonment, contumely, drivings from Ohio, Missouri, Jackson County, and the northern counties in Missouri, and from Illinois, and how they have passed through all this and everything by way of suffering that can be imagined, and have still adhered to and borne their testimony to the truth; their works will be read and in generations to come people will have just as much confidence in these men as they now have in the Twelve Apostles whose doings are recorded in the New Testament. They are just as good men I have every reason to believe. As to the truth of what these Apostles said, that I read about here in the New Testament, I know nothing about that at all, only what I experience, through having observed the same system they preached. They received the blessings pertaining to it, so have I received the blessings which they promised should be conferred upon those who received that system. Therefore I and my brethren, who have received a like experience, are the only witnesses in regard to the truth of what those Apostles said; we are the only witnesses in regard to the truth of what Jesus said. Jesus said, He that will do the will of my Father shall know of the doctrine. We are witnesses that Jesus told the truth. The Apostles say that those who receive the Gospel by baptism for the remission of sins, shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We are witnesses that they told the truth. Can the Methodist or Presbyterian ministers witness to these facts? No, they know nothing about them. They received their certificates and endowments at college, they trust in the wisdom of man, to the knowledge of the sciences, we trust to the power of the Almighty. Perhaps it may be said to us: “For ye see your calling, brethren; how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.”

Well, I do not feel materially concerned about anything that respects the advancement and prosperity of the kingdom of God. It is a matter that I have not contrived, nor my brethren; it is the Lord’s affair. He has done this work. We never came to these valleys through our own designs and wishes; the Lord God Almighty brought us here, and when he wants us to leave these valleys, we are just as well prepared to leave as we were to come. We simply do what the Lord our God commands us. God loves his offspring, the human family. His design is not simply to furnish happiness to the few here, called Latter-day Saints. The plan and scheme that he is now carrying out is for universal salvation; not only for the salvation of the Latter-day Saints, but for the salvation of every man and woman on the face of the earth, for those also in the spirit world, and for those who may hereafter come upon the face of the earth. It is for the salvation of every son and daughter of Adam. They are the offspring of the Almighty, he loves them all and his plans are for the salvation of the whole, and he will bring all up into that position in which they will be as happy and as comfortable as they are willing to be. Our mission is to the world, and not simply to carry the Gospel to the people, but to establish plans and lay schemes for their temporal salvation. Our object is the temporal salvation of the people as much as it is for their spiritual salvation. By and by the nations will be broken up on account of their wickedness; the Latter-day Saints are not going to move upon them with their little army, they will destroy themselves with their wickedness and immorality. They will contend and quarrel one with another, state after state and nation after nation, until they are broken up, and thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands will undoubtedly come and seek protection at the hands of the servants of God, as much so as in the days of Joseph when he was called uphill to lay a plan for the salvation of the house of Israel.

We have received revelation and, accordingly, we are here in these mountain valleys, and we are going to stay here. We shall cultivate our farms, and lay foundation for a time when the nations shall be broken up. Multitudes will then flee to these valleys of the mountains for safety, and we shall extend protection to them. You may say, shall you require them to be baptized and to become Latter-day Saints? Not by any means. I meet with gentlemen from time to time, from different portions of the Union. I never offer them my religious views unless they seek them. I am not anxious to push my religious views upon any man. I will do them all the good I can. If a gentleman comes into my neighborhood, a stranger, I will say, “Will you have something to eat? Is there anything I can do for you?” I am not anxious to make a “Mormon” of him, not by any means; we extend the hand of charity just as far as people are willing to allow us; but when, as I said at the beginning, people are crowding upon us, persons who are determined to destroy us and have not the principles of humanity in their bosoms, we cannot exercise that charity in their behalf that we desire.

Well, we expect to do good; it is our duty, as the servants and ministers of God upon the earth, to do good to his offspring. This is our mission, and it is as much our duty to do good to those who do not receive the Gospel, as it is to do good to ourselves; and God will give us the opportunity, just according to our desires, despite the efforts of evil-minded men. Our business is to save, not to destroy, and as we improve and advance, and develop the attributes of deity within us God will remove from our path the impediments and obstacles to our progress that are found therein; and the bitter branches, as they increase or manifest themselves, will be removed one after another, until the people of God have all the opportunity they desire to do good to the world.

I have occupied time sufficient. God bless you. Amen.

Our Religion From God not Man—Enter not Into Temptation—No Covenants to Forsake

Discourse by Elder John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, December 17, 1871.

In rising to address you this afternoon I feel as I always do, on like occasions—the necessity of the influence and direction of the spirit of the Lord. We, as a people, believe emphatically in the sustaining hand of the Almighty, and in our speaking and in our hearing in the assemblies of the Saints we always feel that it is a matter of the greatest importance to us. We realize that God is near to us, that we are acting under his guidance and direction, that we are his children and require his aid, and that while we seek unto him for guidance and direction we shall always have his Holy Spirit to lead us in the paths of truth. In this respect as well as many others we differ from the people of the generation in which we live. We came out from among them years ago, because we believed in certain revelations that God had made to the human family; and believing in these principles we have assembled ourselves together as we are found, in these valleys of the mountains, in the Territory of Utah. We have come here, ostensibly and in reality, not to do our own will, but the will of our heavenly Father; not to follow our own pursuits, but to try and pursue that path which he should dictate in all things, temporal and spiritual, pertaining to this world and the world to come; and hence we, as a people, feel and realize our dependence upon the Almighty. We conceive, as the old apostle did in generations past, that “in him we live and move and from him we have our being;” and we conceive that we derive all the enjoyments of life from him. Our religion emanated from him, if it did not we have none, for it certainly is not founded upon any principles that were extant in the world when it was revealed. If he had not revealed his will and we had not believed in that revelation we should not have been here; but believing in that, we are assembled as we are today, here, and as we are through the valleys of these mountains. We did not obtain our religion from anybody else, we did not learn it in the colleges of the day nor from any system of theology, nor any religious academy, neither in any theological school. We are not trained, or brought up, or educated, or informed by any intelligence that they have; the religion that we have we received “not of man, neither by man, but by the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the position that we occupy today in regard to our religious feelings, and if this is a fiction, then our religion is a fiction altogether, for we have none. We claim no affinity, no relationship, no association with any sect, any party, any religionists that exist on the face of the wide earth; therefore they cannot say, as some profess to do, that we have borrowed certain parts of our religion from others. We have neither adopted the opinions of Socrates, Mahommed, Paine, Luther, or the Hindoos; nor are we indebted to Roman Catholicism, the Greek Church, Episcopalianism, or to Knox, Calvin, Whitfield, Wesley, Campbell, Miller, or any other sects; our religion in its entirety came from God, and we give to him, and not to any man or any set of men, the glory.

In relation to our political position it is precisely the same. There is an inherent principle of right planted in the human bosom, which God has placed there, and which man never could, cannot now, nor ever will uproot; principles of inherent right which all intelligent men, when they have sought for the truth, with unbiased mind, and desired sincerely to know, have invariably found. Governed by the principles of right, and uninfluenced by party power or wealth there have always been men inspired by an infallible divine afflatus, who have recognized an innate, inalienable principle of justice and equity, in every age and among all nations, and the records of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, Romans and more modern nations bear ample testimony to this fact. The principle of right is implanted in the human bosom and inherent in the human family, among all governments that have ever existed, and men of virtue, honor and truth have always arrived at the same conclusions that we have. The founders of our government, under the inspiration of the Almighty, and goaded by an oppressive power, discovered the same elements, the same principles, the same ideas that we have, and enunciated those eternal principles and made them known to the world—“that all men are born free and equal and have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The founders of the French Republic, about the same time, made a declaration almost verbatim. It is the violation of the natural rights of man that has deluged the earth with blood in all ages. These principles were enunciated also by Joseph Smith, he believed in them, so do we, in the right to think, in the right to speak, in the right to act, in the right to do all things that are right and good and proper, but not in the right to interfere with any other man’s rights, any other man’s religion, any other man’s principles. These are our views. God has planted them in our bosom, they will remain there eternally, for they are principles that dwell in the bosom of God. He is not circumscribed or sectarian in his views, “he causes his sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends his rain on the just and unjust.” We certainly are not indebted for these principles to those who come among us here, but God has implanted them in our bosoms, and they will grow there and take root and spread and prevail, and the worst wish we have to the human family is that the principles enunciated in our Constitution may reverberate over the wide earth, and spread from shore to shore until all mankind shall be free.

These are the things that we are struggling for, these are the things for which we stand condemned at the present day, by the would-be republicans and democracy of this corrupt generation with which we are associated. Nevertheless, we have clung to them and shall cling to them. Do any men come among us with religions that we consider false? All right, let them worship as they please. Let them rant and roar and pray and halloo to their God, who seems to be deaf and can’t hear them, and let them take what course they please but let us alone. We will let them alone. They may halloo until they crack their throats, it will make no difference to us. We care nothing about their opinions and dogmas, we have left their follies and nonsense and cant and hypocrisy years ago, we want nothing to do with it. If they want it they can take it, they can hug it to themselves as a sweet morsel, and take their own course, but let us alone. We are indebted to God for the blessings we enjoy, and this nation, whether they know it or not, are indebted to the same source for all those pure, patriotic, liberal, exalted notions that the wise, enlightened and honest statesmen, inducted into our government years ago, and which those who are not disfranchised among us, experience today. But God has nothing to do with the corruption, fraud, hypocrisy and cant that exist, whether among religionists or politicians. He is not the author of it, it proceeds from beneath, from the father of lies. No good man will seek to oppress the good, the pure, the virtuous, nor lend himself as a tool for that purpose. We are seeking for those things that tend to exalt, ennoble and purify the human family. We say to others, get out of our way; let us alone. Hug your creeds! Hug your tyranny! Hug your corruptions and lies to your bosoms, but let us alone. That is all we ask and mean to have it, for the right and the might, and virtue and truth will prevail; and iniquity, error, tyranny and oppression will by and by be laid low, and Zion will rise and triumph, while the wicked and corrupt are writhing and weltering in the results of their own acts.

They would sympathize with us! We don’t ask their sympathy; reserve it for yourselves. They would purify us! What by? By their whoredoms here right in our midst! By their drunkenness, by their gambling, by their hells of infamy which they have introduced, and which are sustained by legal authority here. That is the course they are taking. “My soul, enter not thou into their secret; my honor, with them be not thou united!” Talk about our ladies here associating with such wretches as they! No never! No never!! No never!!! They will not mingle with harlots, they have come of another stock, they are inspired by other feelings, motives and views; they can’t bow to it. Let them take their rottenness to their own dens and wallow in it, we want nothing to do with it! They can take their pity and everything else they have got and stuff themselves with it, and I hope that our sisters here, both young and aged, have enough respect for themselves to keep out of the company and society of such corrupt wretches. I don’t think it is necessary to say so, but these are my feelings and I tell them.

The Lord has given us a work to do, and by his help we shall do it. He has placed the Gospel of life and salvation in our hands, and we have carried it from the rivers to the end of the earth without begging all over the world for a little help and charity. We can go trusting in God. The elders of this church, whom I see around me, have wandered over this wide world, trusting in the Almighty for their support, and he has been with them, and they don’t need to cringe and bow, and lie, and misrepresent to get somebody to give them a little money to help them on with their religion.

We believe in the great truths which God has revealed for the salvation of the human family; we are engaged in building up and establish ing the Kingdom of God on the earth. The great Eloheim is our father, friend and benefactor; we lean upon his arm, and we know that he will guide and direct, influence and control the affairs of his people, therefore we rely upon him. We have engaged in nothing but what we have been directed by the Almighty in, except some of us who have got aside into transgression. We are married to our wives and don’t want any other associations. We respect and honor them, we cleave unto them, and we will do so in time and throughout all eternity (Congregation said “amen.”). Some of our miserable apostates may shake and tremble in their boots when somebody at the East tells them what is going to come. They may break their covenants with God and their wives, and forsake them. We are not afraid of these things, we have learned a lesson, not in their school. We can’t forsake those whom God has given to us, but we will cleave to them forever and forever, worlds without end. That is our view; that is mine. I have no covenants to violate, nobody to forsake. This people’s God is my God, their religion is my religion, where they go I hope to be found, where they live I wish to live, where they die I want to be buried. I want to be associated with them in time and in eternity. I don’t believe in the God of the religions of this world, nor in their heaven, nor in anything pertaining to it. I don’t want to go to a heaven “beyond the bounds of time and space.” I don’t want to worship a God “without body, parts or passions.” I have no reverence for him. I don’t want anything to do with him. They can worship him and go to their own heaven, and let us alone.

I will tell you what we have to do as Latter-day Saints—live our re ligion, keep the commandments of God and be virtuous. Do not mingle with these abominations that have been imported into your midst, keep away from them and let them alone, and let the wicked and corrupt wallow in their wickedness and corruption. Have nothing to do with it. Don’t go to their balls, assemblies or associations, keep apart from them and let them alone, they are not worthy of your association. We live in a purer atmosphere, we breathe a purer air, we worship another God, we have another religion, one that is very willing and liberal enough to extend to all the rights that all men want, but we will not associate with them in their corruption and infamy. They may wallow on “Whiskey” St. and have their whore houses if they like, and be sustained if they so choose by judicial authority, but God deliver us from them! We want nothing to do with them. I am ashamed of such things, and did think once there was some decency among men, but I am changing my opinion. Let us cleave to our religion and humble ourselves before God, pray to him, keep his commandments, and be virtuous and pure and holy! Remember your prayers; be true and faithful to each other and to your covenants, keep the commandments of the Almighty, and the blessings of Israel’s God will rest upon you, and no power this side of hell or the other side either shall harm you. It is our duty to serve God; it is God’s duty to take care of his Saints, and he will say to all powers that may be arrayed against you, as he did to the mighty swelling flood, “Hitherto shall thou go and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.”

We are in the hands of God, and our enemies are in the hands of God, we are all in the hands of the Almighty, and he will sustain the right, and Israel shall be victorious, therefore you need not trouble about what this man or the other man, or this combination or the other combination can do, they can do nothing but what God will let them; for the God we serve is not dead, he lives yet, and he hears the prayers of his servants, and he will stand by and save and deliver them, and Israel shall rejoice and truth shall prevail, and the kingdom of God will roll onward, and the purposes of God will be accomplished. The potsherds of the earth may strive with the potsherds of the earth; but in interfering with righteousness and virtue they may run against the fierce bosses of Jehovah’s buckler, and he will tell them by and by to: “Stand back, touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm!” He will deliver Israel and his Saints shall be joyful in him.

Brethren, God bless Israel! I thought I would like to say a few words to you. Be not timid, any of you, for God is on the side of right, and he will protect his people; and let their enemies look out! Don’t fight! You need not think anything about that. Fear God and keep your powder dry, but don’t shoot anybody. Be ready always. Watch everybody in all their operations. Be quick, lively and energetic, but you need not fear. We want no vigilant societies here, nor bloodtubs, nor “Pluguglies,” nor Ku-Klux, nor John Brown raids, nor Jayhawkers, as they frequently have down east and west and south. We don’t want any secret organizations of any kind, nor any infractions of law.

Let others be breakers of the law, and us the keepers of it, let others trample under foot human rights, and us maintain them. If we were in Russia we would take all the liberty they would give to us, and we will take all we can get here, and the remainder we will contend for, and we will keep contending for it until honor and honesty and truth can hold up their heads unabashed before the world, and until all that love honor, truth, integrity, pure and correct principles and equal rights shall be exalted and the wicked be put down.

These are the things we are contending for, and we will keep contending for them as long as we live, and we will instruct our children after us to contend for them. If others want to play the part of tyrants let them do so and they will find the tyrant’s end. It is for us to keep the commandments of God, and in doing that we need not break the laws of the land. Why, bless your souls, we can live anything that anybody else can! We profess to be governed by a higher law, let us move in a higher atmosphere; and let these miserable dogs take their course, pursue their own path and do as they please. We can submit to anything that they can. Don’t be troubled, you need not be hurt. We do not propose to leave here; they are not able to rob us of all. They may do a little stealing. They have laid out great plans, but they will accomplish very little. We can stand it if they can. I would rather be the man that was robbed than the robber; I would rather be stolen from than be the thief; I would rather be the oppressed than the oppressor; I would rather suffer wrong than do wrong. And if they can stand these things we can, and let us do it manfully and womanfully.

I am glad there is a little spirit among our sisters, and that they dare say their souls are their own. I don’t like to see people sneaking about with their heads down, and fretting about every little wind that blows. It will be all right with us, never fear. We will live so far above them that they can’t touch us; and their infamies will be so plain that they will be proclaimed on the housetops, and everybody will be ashamed of them as we are today. May God help us to do right and to be faithful in keeping his commandments, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

The Gathering—The Rise of the Church—The Book of Mormon—True Christianity

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, December 10, 1871.

There is a large assembly of people now seated in this Tabernacle, and it will require a good deal of attention and stillness on the part of so large a congregation in order to hear distinctly and to understand what may be advanced. I have been in the habit for a few months past of selecting a text from the Scriptures. I do not do so this afternoon, for the reason that no particular text has presented itself to my mind; nevertheless I shall endeavor by the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord to speak upon subjects as they may be presented to me at the very moment. What they will be I know not. It is my earnest desire, however, that I may be favored with the faith and prayers of all good people who may be present, that peradventure the Lord may be merciful to us and shed forth a great abundance of His Holy Spirit to assist us on this occasion.

It is a strange thing to the greater part of the civilized world to see, or rather to contemplate, so many scores of thousands of people gathering together in the interior portions of North America, in the Rocky Mountains or vicinity, all of one religious faith. It is a marvel, and produces a great deal of wonderment among the people, to understand what is the cause of this great assembling or gathering together, what it means, what the object is, what purpose is to be accomplished, what the designs of the people are and so forth. It is attracting the attention not only of our own nation but of many other nations—this fleeing out, this gathering together of a people from so many parts of the world and coming together in the interior of this new world, in a country which, to all human appearance, was one of the most difficult countries in the known world to be settled. They wonder how it is that an influence can be exercised over the minds of so many people, among so many nations, to get them to leave the homes of their fathers, their native countries, their associates and friends, and go forth for thousands of miles upon railroad conveyance, and cross the ocean, and then pursue their journey for thousands of miles still further into the heart of a desert. This is a curious thing when we reflect upon it. I will here observe, however, that it is not the influence of man that has brought this great event about; man is not the origin of this great gathering which you see in the Territory of Utah. If you do not believe what I say, let any other society, I don’t care how much talent they may have, how much human wisdom they may possess; let them attempt to accomplish a similar thing and see whether they can succeed. Take all the learning that is in the world, combine it together, send forth the most learned and talented orators among the nations, exercise all the human power and influence that God has given you, and attempt to accomplish a work similar to the one which is now before your eyes, and see if you can succeed. It can’t be done; it never has been done, to my knowledge, since the days of our Savior. We have no account in history of any religious society gathering out from so many nations into one region of country since the days of the Savior.

Do you wish to know the secret of this great gathering? Do you wish to know why it is that this influence has been exercised over the minds of the people? I will tell you: it is because God, who is in yonder heavens, has spoken in our day, this is the secret. It is because he has sent forth angels, messengers from heaven, who have appeared to men here on the earth, and have conversed with them. It is because God, by angels, and by his own voice, has sent forth messengers again unto the human family with an important message, a message more important, in one sense of the word, than any which has before been delivered to man—a message to prepare the way before the face and coming of his Son from the heavens.

Strangers may inquire, what has this great gathering to do with preparing the way before the coming of his Son? Could you not all remain scattered abroad among the nations and be prepared just as well? I answer, that if God had commanded us to remain among the nations in our scattered condition, that would have been right, and acceptable before him; but on the other hand, if God has spoken, as we declare that he has, and his voice has been heard, and messengers have been called and sent forth by divine command, and revelation has been given, not only for the people to obey the gospel but also to gather out and assemble themselves in one, then we could not be prepared for his coming without obeying the divine command. It all rests, therefore, on this point: has God spoken concerning this matter? Has he really instituted this thing? Has he given divine revelation in the 19th century? Has he sent forth his angels? If he has, then the work that is before you is the preparatory work for the coming of the Son of God. If he has not spoken, as we declare that he has, then a similar work will have to be performed in the future by some other people; for the very work which you now perceive—the gathering together of so many thousands, is clearly predicted by the ancient prophets; and if we are not the people fulfilling these predictions, then another people must rise hereafter under similar circumstances to fulfil them, before the Son of God will come from the heavens, to reign here as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Much has been said about the coming of our Lord to reign here on the earth for a thousand years. We have now in the United States and in Great Britain, and other parts of the world, those who call themselves Second Adventists, who say they are going forth in order to prepare the way before the coming of the Lord. But are they fulfilling the predictions of the ancient prophets contained in this Bible? By no means. The first predic tion to which I will refer you, upon this subject, that now occurs to my mind, is one that has been often repeated, for some forty-one years, by this people; but it is of so much importance and interests this generation to that degree, that I never feel tired of repeating it. It will be found in that prophecy that was delivered to John on the Island of Patmos. He saw in vision, as represented in the 14th chapter of his prophecy, the Son of Man sitting on a cloud with a sharp sickle in his hands, clothed in glory and in power, and he saw angels at the same time, and one of them cried unto him that had the sharp sickle in his hands, that he should go forth and reap down the earth; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. Here was a view of the coming of the Son of Man. But before this, there was a preparatory work to perform, the nature of which is explained in the same chapter. This preparatory work is what I wish to call your special attention to on this occasion.

It was no less than a messenger that was to fly through the midst of heaven—an holy angel, not something to be spiritualized, or that we can interpret according to our own views, not some great and renowned man that was to be raised up here on the earth, but an angel. “I saw another angel,” says John, before the coming of Christ, before he saw that personage sitting on the cloud. “I saw another angel flying through the midst of heaven.” Not a person raised up to go and preach here, and fly among the inhabitants of the earth, but flying through the midst of heaven. What particular message had this angel to convey, and to whom was he to convey it? John says, that this angel whom he saw flying through the midst of heaven had the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth. To show how extensively it was to be preached, mark the next sentence: “To be preached unto them that dwell on the earth, unto every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” Does not this include all? Does not the prediction take within its scope all mankind in the four quarters of the earth? It verily does. What was connected with this everlasting gospel that the angel should have to be thus extensively preached among the inhabitants of the earth? What other prediction was uttered on that occasion? The angel proclaimed that the hour of God’s judgment had come. He had the gospel to restore, however, before that judgment would fall on the nations. They must first hear it, they must first be warned, they must first receive the opportunity and privilege of receiving the message, after which, if they do not receive it, the angel said that the hour of God’s judgment has come. Consequently we learn from these predictions some three or four very important things. First: that when the gospel is again committed to the inhabitants of the earth it is to be by an angel. Second: that when it is thus committed, it must be preached to all people under the whole heavens, without any exception of tongues or languages or races. Third: we learn that the hour of God’s judgment was immediately to follow this preaching of the everlasting gospel.

Now mark what is predicted in the next verse. This was the first message; but John says: “I saw another angel follow him.” There were two angels then, the first one with a message of the gospel of peace, proclaiming peace to the inhabitants of the earth, and then judgment immediately to follow. The second angel had no message of peace, but this was his proclamation; “Behold, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” We learn that a certain power, under the name of Great Babylon, is to meet with a total downfall after the gospel had been preached, that was to be brought by an angel. A third angel followed, and declared that all who would not receive the message of truth should be cast down, and should be punished, and the smoke of their torment should rise up forever and forever. After having predicted the coming of these three angels he then proclaims the coming of the Son of God sitting on a cloud, of which I have spoken.

Now we have this important message to testify, and we testify it in all boldness, we testify it before the heavens, we testify it before the earth, we testify it in the name of the Lord God who has sent us, in the name of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us, that that angel has already come, that the 19th century is the favored century in which God has fulfilled this ancient prediction, uttered by the mouth of his ancient servant. God has indeed sent that angel, and when he came he revealed the everlasting gospel.

But I know what now rises in your hearts, I know what the strangers who are before me will say in their hearts, what they now think. Some of you now say in your hearts, we have the everlasting gospel contained here in this book, the New Testament, and we have had it for some eighteen centuries or more, and consequently what was the use of another angel having the same everlasting gospel to commit to the children of men when we already had it? Now was not that in your hearts? I will venture to say that there were some in this congregation who were thinking of something very similar to this. Let me say in answer to this query that God has revealed the everlasting gospel anew. But what reason or purpose had he in so doing, say some, have we not sufficient written on the subject in the Bible? Have we not the Gospel in great plainness, and why should he reveal it anew? I will tell you why. What is written in the New Testament in relation to the everlasting Gospel is not as it was when it was first revealed; and as a testimony that it is not very plain, let me refer you to some five or six hundred different religious views, all founded on this same book, which you say contains the everlasting Gospel. Why all these views, why all this distraction of faith? Why, for instance, does one sect believe in sprinkling, another in pouring, another in immersion, another rejecting baptism entirely, another baptizing those who profess to have obtained forgiveness of sins? Another class baptizing expressly for the remission of sins? Why is it that all these sentiments and religious notions prevail? Do not all these classes profess to found their faith on the New Testament, which they say contains the everlasting Gospel? O yes. It shows clearly and plainly that there is something lacking. There are just as many sincere people, no doubt, who believe that sprinkling infants is the correct mode of baptism, as there are who believe in baptizing adults by immersion. One class is just as sincere as the other; one professes to believe and have confidence in the New Testament as well as the other. Now there must be something that is not quite so clear in the New Testament, or there would not be so great a diversity of opinion and sentiment.

We again refer to the everlasting Gospel that the angel should bring! What might we expect when the angel comes? Could we not reasonably expect that when God sends an angel from heaven with the ever lasting Gospel he will make it so plain that there can be no misunderstanding in regard to any ordinance or any principle that is connected with it? That is what I should expect. The causes why these things are not so plain now in the New Testament, are these: the New Testament has been handed down, or its manuscripts, for a great many centuries, transcribed by the scribes of different generations. No doubt many of these were sincere and good men; but they have made, in the course of so many centuries, many great perversions in the text, in the original word I mean, in the Greek text, and also in the Hebrew so far as the Old Testament is concerned. I am not referring to the English manuscripts, but to the text written in what is termed the original Greek or Hebrew. These Greek and Hebrew manuscripts being transmitted from generation to generation, and transcribed and altered more or less, have fallen at length into the hands of the people of latter times in a state wherein they very much contradict each other. It is declared by the most learned archbishops and bishops, and men of great learning who have gathered together thousands of these ancient manuscripts and compared them one with another, that there are thirty thousand different readings of the original text. Not merely a different reading in one or two phrases, but of the original text, taking the Old and New Testament as a whole. When King James, in his day, set a great number of learned men apart to translate the Bible into the English language, they gathered together such manuscripts as they could get hold of. By examining them they of course did not know which was correct. They found them differing one with another in thousands of instances. Which were the most correct they, without inspiration, never could learn; but they did the very best they knew how. They are not to blame for those errors. They were men of integrity; they collected, according to the best of their understanding and knowledge, the manuscripts in existence and translated them according to the best information they had concerning the original languages. Hence originated this present English Bible, King James’ translation. I am astonished when I look at this Bible, to find it so correct; I am astonished, and it has been a mystery to me that it can be so correct with such an abundance of contradictions in the original manuscripts. As a general thing the meaning has not been altered much, but it has been altered sufficiently to produce all the confusion at present existing throughout Christendom. All these different denominations have arisen, founded on the same Bible and on the same text. What may we expect then when God sends an angel? Must we expect that he will give us a confused mass of something that we cannot understand? Or may we not rather expect that he will impart to us the plainness and simplicity of his word, and call that the gospel, and call upon the nations of the earth to receive it? I answer that so far as reason is concerned, and good sound judgment, that is, so far as I can judge concerning reason, reason would say that the God of truth would communicate a message in perfect plainness, that could not be misunderstood by those who desired to know the right way.

Well, such was the fact. I hold in my hand a record containing more writing than the New Testament; and this book, from the beginning to the end, was written by divine revelation, comprising history, prophecies and the Gospel. It was written by an ancient people, a portion of the house of Israel, who dwelt in ancient America. Prophets and inspired men wrote this record on plates of gold. They inform us that Jesus administered on this American continent in person, as well as on the little land of Palestine. They inform us that after his resurrection and ascension from the land of Jerusalem to his Father, he descended on this American continent, that he taught them here at different times, appearing to them often, delivering to them his everlasting Gospel in plainness and simplicity. He commanded them to write that Gospel upon the plates that they kept their records on at that time, and which had been already handed down among them for about six hundred years. This book also informs us concerning the preaching of the Gospel among the ancient Americans—the ancient inhabitants of this country; that twelve men were called, not apostles, or rather that they were not called apostles, but disciples. Twelve disciples were chosen in ancient America and preached the Gospel that the Son of God revealed to them in person. They proclaimed that Gospel in the four quarters of this Western hemisphere, in other words, on what we call South and North America; they built up the Church and Kingdom of God in this land, and millions of the people received the Gospel. They kept a record of this fact three hundred and eighty-four years after the coming of Christ. Mormon, who had charge of the records, after making an abridgment on other plates, in consequence of the apostasy of his portion of the nation, delivered the abridgment or the plates that contained it, into the hands of his son Moroni, a faithful prophet and servant of God, but the other plates he hid up in a hill in what we now call the State of New York. Moroni beheld the downfall of his nation, their destruction by the hands of another branch of the house of Israel, a powerful nation on this continent. The nation that kept these records was destroyed. Moroni, who was the last prophet entrusted with the plates, had to flee from place to place and hide up in dens and caves in order to preserve his own life. These records, four hundred and twenty years after the birth of Christ, were hidden up, at least that was the last date given on them. With them was deposited a sacred instrument that was possessed by the people on this continent, called the Urim and Thummim. Many predictions were uttered, not only by Moroni, but by many previous prophets, that these records in the last days, should be brought to light by the ministration of holy messengers; that God would bring them forth in order to prepare the way before the coming of his Son from the heavens. This, therefore, is the book that that angel whom John saw flying through the midst of heaven has revealed to the inhabitants of the earth. This is the sacred book that contains the everlasting Gospel revealed by the angel. This is the sacred book which God has commanded his servants to publish to the four quarters of the globe as a witness unto all nations before the Son of Man comes. This is the sacred book that contains the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he appeared on this American continent. This is the sacred book that will go forth, warning all people, nations and tongues before the Son of Man appears in his glory. If they receive it they will be blest, if they receive it not, then will be fulfilled that which was spoken by the mouth of John the Revelator concerning the hour of God’s judgment coming upon them.

Does this book do away with those differences that exist in regard to many points of the doctrine of Jesus? Does it make it plain so that there is no chance of building up two different denominations from the doctrines it contains? I answer yes, there cannot be established two different denominations founding their ideas on the doctrines of this book. Why? Because the doctrine is so plain in every point that it is impossible for any person with common sense not to understand it just as it is delivered and revealed. Hence you perceive that, that which we would naturally expect and reasonably hope for when the angel came is realized, namely, a doctrine so plain that all the learning and wisdom of man could not wrest and twist and turn it and make it appear two different things. For instance, let us take the simple ordinance of baptism, what does the Book of Mormon say in regard to that one ordinance? Jesus, when he came to the American continent, they not having seen the true order of baptism in the same light that the Jews had in Palestine, condescended to point out to them how they should be baptized. He says, first, you must believe in me and repent of your sins and become as a little child and go forth and be baptized for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the Holy Ghost; and then, to show how this ordinance was to be performed, he says that inasmuch as anyone shall come forth desiring the ordinance of baptism, having repented of his sins, having believed in me, even Jesus Christ, you shall go down into the water and you shall baptize him in my name; you shall immerse him in the water, and come forth out of the water, and then he shall receive the Holy Ghost. Showing the ordinance also through which and by which the Holy Ghost should be given, namely, the laying on of hands. Now I ask, is there any possibility, with words penned as plain as these words are recorded, to build up two different denominations in regard to the mode of baptism? No, they could not do it; there could not be one sprinkling, another pouring and another baptizing by immersion; neither could there be those who would require individuals to first experience religion and then be baptized; but “be baptized in my name for the remission of their sins, and then they shall receive the Holy Ghost.”

Perhaps the strangers will say, that is plain enough, we admit your argument that, if that be a revelation from God, there could not be two different denominations built up on that. I will say further that in regard to a great many other points of doctrine this book is just as plain and just as simple. Supposing you could grant all this, supposing you should say, strangers, we will admit that it is very plain in the Book of Mormon; but the great question with us is, is the Book of Mormon a divine revelation? That is the question that we want answered. The plainness we don’t dispute, we know that it is so plain that a wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein; all that we want to know in regard to the matter is, has God given that book, or is it an invention of man? What evidence have you to offer, inquires the stranger, to prove the divine authenticity of your book? You have the testimony of Joseph Smith. He says that an angel came and revealed to him the Book of Mormon, and that he was commanded by the Lord Almighty to go and get the plates, according to the vision that was shown to him at the time the angel came and conversed with him, that he obtained the plates, and he says he translated them by the Urim and Thummim. This all rests, perhaps you may think, upon his testimony alone. Well, supposing it did, has God ever condemned the world for not obeying one servant when he only had one witness? I answer yes, in some instances. He was going to condemn the great city of Nineveh on a certain occasion through the testimony of one man called Jonah. “In forty days this great city shall be destroyed,” says Jonah. Jonah finding that the Lord sent but one witness with such an important message felt almost discouraged, and when he was on his way to deliver it to a great people and city, he felt that he would almost rather die than go as a single and solitary witness with a message of so much importance, and he besought the people to throw him overboard. They did so, the Lord having produced a furious wind, frightened the people, and they, according to their old traditions, thought somebody was on board that ought not to be there. Jonah told them that he had rejected the commandment of the Lord, and if they would throw him overboard the winds would cease. They did so, and the wind did cease. A fish was prepared and it swallowed up Jonah, and the fish was commanded of the Lord to go and vomit up Jonah on the land, which he did. Very obedient, much more so than many people are now-a-days, or have been in former times. This fish was obedient to the command of the Lord and went and did what the Lord commanded, and Jonah was thrown up. The word of the Lord came to him to go and fulfil his mission. He went and preached to the great city of Nineveh, and told the people what the Lord intended to do, and the people repented in sackcloth and ashes, from the king on his throne down to the least of them; they all turned and repented of their sins, and the Lord had compassion and did not execute the judgment on them because of their repentance. Now, what would have been the consequence if they had rejected this one man’s testimony? The consequence would have been their overthrow. Jonah might have told them that God had sent him, and he might have preached to them that he had been swallowed up by a whale, and that God had given commandment to the fish to vomit him up on dry ground! What would they care about that? They would have said, “Jonah is crazy, insane, he must be insane,” and they might have rejected his testimony, and brought death and destruction on the whole city, consequently God may send but one witness.

But he sometimes condescends to give more. We have four witnesses who have written and whose writings have descended to our day, concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ—one of the most important events that has ever happened in our world. Four men who saw Jesus after his resurrection have testified in the New Testament to his resurrection. “Oh, but,” says one, “we have more than four men.” I think not, I can’t find but four who have written. No women have written, for we have not any women’s epistles or writings in the New Testament. “But,” says one, “do you mean to say that the twelve apostles have not handed down their testimony? I do say so. I have no doubt but what they did testify of his resurrection, but they have given us no account. Four of the eight writers of the New Testament saw Jesus after his resurrection, and all the Christian world at the present day believe that Jesus rose from the dead because those four men testified that he did so. But does not Paul say that he was seen by him, and afterwards on a certain occasion after his resurrection by five hundred of his brethren? Yes, we suppose that he said so, because the writer of the Acts of the Apostles says that Paul said so; but it all rests on the writer of those Acts, whose name is supposed to be Luke. Luke says that Paul saw Jesus; Luke says that he was seen by five hundred, or at least he says that Paul says that he was seen by five hundred. Well now, such a great and important fact as the resurrection of the Son of God rests upon the testimony of four witnesses, and they are dead. You cannot cross-question them, you can’t ask them if their testimony is true, you can’t go to them and enquire about the particulars in relation to it; but you have to take the testimony of four witnesses who are dead and have been for eighteen hundred years; yet you believe the great fact, I do, and so do the Latter-day Saints, on their testimony.

Again, we find that it is written in the New Testament, the words of Jesus on the same subject, that in the mouths of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. Indeed, is that so? Are two or three witnesses sufficient to condemn the whole world of mankind, and to leave them without excuse? Jesus says so: every word shall be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses. This is in accordance with what took place in the days of the flood. Noah, Shem, Ham and Japhet were the only witnesses that went forth to warn that generation of a terrible judgment that was to come on all flesh if they did not repent. They did not receive the testimony of those four men and consequently they were overthrown by the flood. God does therefore condemn the children of men by the number of witnesses that seems to him good to communicate, or through whom to communicate, a message to them.

Now then, let us come back again. Here was Joseph Smith, a boy, his very youth ought to testify in his favor, for when the Lord first revealed himself to that little boy, he was only between fourteen and fifteen years of age. Now, can we imagine or suppose that a great impostor could be made out of a youth of that age, and one that could reveal the doctrine of Christ as he has revealed it to this generation? Would he stand forth and bear testimony that he had seen with his own eyes a messenger of light and glory, and that he heard the words of his mouth as they dropped from his lips and had received a message from the Most High, at that early age? And then, after having declared it, to have the finger of scorn pointed at him, with exclamations, “There goes the visionary boy! No visions in our day, no angels come in our day, no more revelation to be given in our day! Why he is deluded, he is a fanatic;” and to have this scorn and derision and still continue to testify, in the face and eyes of all this, while hated and derided by his neighbors, that God had sent his angel from heaven. Can you imagine that a youth would do this? Select out some of our little boys here, fourteen years of age, can you imagine it to be possible for them to be impositions of this description? I think not. The very youth, then, of this first witness that I have named, testifies in his favor! Did God send forth servants to publish this Book of Mormon, containing the everlasting Gospel, to all the nations and kingdoms of the earth without giving more witnesses than this one I have named? No, he was more merciful to this generation than he was to the city of Nineveh; he sent more than one. He would not even permit this book to go forth as a divine revelation to this generation until he had raised up three other men—Martin Harris, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, besides Joseph Smith. “But,” says one, “perhaps they were deceived, while Joseph Smith was the impostor, they might have been sincere men!” Let us see whether they could be deceived men, and yet their testimony be given as it is here recorded. They have testified to all nations, kindred, tongues and people unto whom this work shall come, that, “we, through the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, and we testify with words of soberness that God sent forth an holy angel from heaven, and he showed unto us the plates from which this record was taken, and he commanded us to bear record of the same and to be obedient unto the commandment of God. We bear testimony of these things, and we do know if we are faithful in Christ we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men,” and so forth. I have repeated to you part of the testimony of these three men.

Now is there any chance for deception here? An angel to be sent forth from God, an angel to come down from heaven clothed in glory and brightness! An angel to take these plates and turn them over leaf after leaf and show the engravings thereon! An angel to proclaim to them that they must bear testimony of it to all people, nations and tongues; and at the same time to hear the voice of God out of the heavens proclaiming that it had been translated correctly! Any chance for deception here, so far as they are concerned? Were they deceived? If so, you may as well say that Peter was deceived, that Paul was deceived, that James was deceived, that all the writers of the New Testament were deceived, that all the writers of the Old Testament were deceived, when they testify that they saw angels, for one stands on as good and sound a foundation as the other; and if the very nature of the testimony as recorded by the ancient writers shows the impossibility of their being deceived, so does the nature of the testimony revealed in the last days show the impossibility of these individuals being deceived. Here then were four men before this church had any existence, four special witnesses, raised up to testify to the truth of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

Were these all the witnesses God gave before the rise of this church? No, no! There are eight other witnesses whose names are recorded, attached to their own testimony, a testimony which they give expressly to go forth in connection with this record, or in all the translations of this record to every people, tongue and nation under the whole heavens. What do they testify? They testify in words of soberness that they have seen the plates from which this record was translated, that they have handled these plates, that they saw the engravings on these plates, that they had the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship, and they bear this testimony in words of soberness, and give their names to go forth to the whole world of mankind. I ask if either of these twelve witnesses have denied their testimony from that day to this? Never, in no instance. Neither of these twelve men, whatever has been his circumstances, wherever he has been, has ever denied his testimony from that day to this. Forty-two years and upwards have passed away since those twelve witnesses, four of whom saw the angel, gave their testimony.

What other witnesses have you besides these? On the strength of this testimony other persons believed in the everlasting Gospel and went forth and were baptized, repenting of their sins, for the remission of them. And God commanded his servants whom he had called and ordained to be apostles in this church and kingdom, to lay their hands upon them, and said that they, the candidates, should receive the Holy Ghost through that ordinance. Did they receive the Holy Ghost? They testified that they did. They prophesied—they were filled with joy and light, and with a spirit that they never had experienced before. They testified that they had received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, in fulfillment of the promise. Did God reveal to them anything by this spirit that came upon them through obedience to the Gospel? Yes. What did he reveal? He revealed to them the divinity of this work, the truth of it, and they knew as well as these witnesses whose testimonies are recorded that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. They knew that no human being by human means could confer the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as they testified they had received it, consequently they became witnesses in their turn, and many of them were sent forth as messengers and missionaries to preach to their neighbors, and into the regions round about, to declare what God had commenced to perform and accomplish in the midst of the 19th century.

By and by thousands received the work. Did they receive the Holy Ghost? Yes, every person who repented sincerely before God, who had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and came forth humbly, and was baptized by immersion by those whom the Lord had called and appointed by revelation, did receive the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of the hands of the servants of God. These would constitute thousands of more witnesses in addition to those that I have named.

But let other witnesses speak, besides all these who had received a revelation of the divinity of this work. What other witnesses did God give? He gave the same witnesses to the Church after it was built up that he gave to the ancient Church. What did he give to the ancient Church? He said to his apostles, as recorded in the last chapter of Mark, “Go ye forth and preach the Gospel in all the world to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe.” Notice, now, certain signs were to be given not only to the twelve men to whom he was speaking, but all the world that should believe their testimony, making millions and millions of witnesses. “These signs shall follow them that believe: in my name they shall cast out devils.” These believers, not you apostles to whom I am speaking alone, but all that believe the Gospel which you preach, “they shall cast out devils in my name; they shall speak with new tongues, if they shall drink any deadly thing or take up serpents it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick and they shall recover.” What glorious signs to follow the Christians, or all believers in Christ! What has become of all the Christians in all the centuries that are past and gone? Where are they? If there have been any they have had these signs following them. What, do you mean, Mr. Pratt, to unchristianize the world? O no, I am only quoting the words of Jesus. If there have been any Christians in the world for the last seventeen centuries, these signs have followed them. They have laid hands on the sick and the sick have recovered; they have cast out devils in the name of Jesus, for recollect the promise is to all believers, not to a few or a part of them.

Notice the two promises: First, salvation—he that believes (that is—all believers throughout the world), and is baptized shall be saved. Will you pretend to say that that promise of salvation was limited to the days of the apostles? “O no,” answer all the Christian sects with one united voice, “the promise of salvation is for all Christians in the first age, in all future ages throughout all the world.” Very well, come to the next verse, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” “Ah,” says the Christians, “that is not for us, that is limited to the days of the apostles; that was not intended for the Christians of the second, third, fourth or fifth century, or for the people in our day. No, all we have to do is to claim the first promise and reject the last.”

Well, we are not so foolish as all this, although taught by our forefathers, and the pretended Christians around us, that these signs would not follow the believer, yet we were just simple enough to believe that Jesus told the truth, and, consequently, when the servants of God went forth and taught the everlasting Gospel that an angel had brought from heaven, the Lord confirmed the word by signs following. To whom? To those who believed. He promised that they should have certain signs, and they got them, and this was a confirmation to them. Every man and every woman might know whether he or she was a believer or not in the Gospel; if they obtained the signs they were believers; if they obtained no gifts or no signs there was lack on their part, they were not Christians in the full sense of the word.

Don’t you think we would have been discouraged after forty years’ trial if God had not fulfilled the promise? I think we should. I do not think you would see this large congregation here in this desert mountainous country, I have no idea you would find such a people here in such a forbidding country as we now occupy, if God had not, in numerous instances among the nations in which you formerly dwelt, fulfilled his promise, and given you the promised blessing. This therefore, is another evidence, besides the evidence and testimony recorded in the Book of Mormon, an evidence which hundreds and thousands enjoy at the present day. Hundreds and thousands have seen with their eyes and have experienced the power of God as manifested in the various gifts.

This is what constitutes the true Christian Church. This is what distinguishes Christianity from all spurious doctrines, and separates the true from spurious Christianity. This is the great distinguishing point, it is the power of God made manifest through the preaching of the everlasting Gospel. It is this which has gathered this people out from among the nations. It is because their sick have been healed in their own country; it is because thousands of this people, now in this Territory, have been healed themselves. It is because God has shed forth his power by the ministrations of his servants and proved to them with testimonies they never can deny that the Lord God of Israel has spoken from the heavens. Blessed be the name of the Lord our God! Praise his name for evermore, that he has again sent the Gospel in its fulness to the earth. We should praise his name because he has not only restored the Gospel, but the power and authority to preach it, and administer its ordinances! Power and authority sent down from heaven and conferred upon weak mortal man to baptize for the remission of sins! Power and authority sent from the eternal heavens to build up his Church here on the earth; and we see divine power and authority accompanying those who he has thus called and to whom he has thus revealed himself. Consequently our Gospel does not come with the cunning craftiness of man’s wisdom. Though we may be poor, illiterate men, taken from our common avocations of life and sent forth by the Lord Almighty to proclaim his Gospel, we have one thing the world has not got. Though we may not be able to proclaim the Gospel in eloquence of language and in the power and wisdom of the world, we have a power that is superior to that—we have the power of the Almighty God. We have his angels to go before our face, his Spirit to dwell richly in our hearts, and his presence to go with us and be with us on our right hand and our left. It is he who performs the work; it is he who proclaims to the inhabitants of the earth by the mouths of his servants, saying, “Repent, and prepare the way for the great day of the coming of the Lord from the heavens.”

Will they hear? No, like the people in the days of the flood, they eat, they drink, they are engaged in merchandise and in the traffic of this world, and the voice of inspiration and the power of Almighty God that are being made manifest among the people will not reach their stubborn and hardened hearts, until the Lord, by and by, by his judgments, will pour out his indignation upon all nations. Amen.

The New Birth—Baptism for the Dead—Temples

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, December 3rd, 1871.

I will read a portion of the 3rd chapter of Peter’s first epistle, commencing at the 18th verse:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

In the first chapter of this epistle the same subject is continued. The apostle says:

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

When I was called upon to speak, these passages suggested themselves to my mind. Whether the Spirit will lead me to dwell upon them at length I do not know, but there are important principles embodied in these verses which I have read in your hearing, principles which, when rightly understood, change the belief of men in relation to the future, that is, the belief of those who receive the commonly accepted creeds of Christianity. For some reason or other, there is an idea prevalent in the Christian world that mankind, when they lay down their mortal lives, are consigned to a condition or place of happiness or pain, there to remain throughout the endless ages of eternity. There may be a few who do not entertain this belief, but it is the general belief of most of the sects which comprise Christendom. There is an idea prevalent that if men do not receive what may be termed a conversion, or change of heart, if they do not obtain a remission of sins through the blood of Jesus, and they die in this condition, their doom is irrevocably fixed, and that they are consigned to eternal, never-ending misery. I believe that I do not misstate the belief, in this respect, of some of the most prominent sects that comprise the Christian world, so-called. I have conversed with ministers of various denominations in relation to the future of the heathen—those who die without a knowledge of the name of Jesus, and of his character as the Redeemer and Savior of the world. I have asked them what they thought the condition of the heathen would be, and where any definite answer was made, the feelings of such persons would lean to the idea that they would be consigned to hell with others, either no definite idea was entertained, or, being more tender in their feelings, the answer would be, they did not know what their future condition would be.

There is an expression of the Savior’s to Nicodemus, which I think I will read; it is found in the 3rd chapter of John’s Gospel. There was a man of the Pharisees, John writes, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Now here is a definite doctrine laid down by the Savior, that unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, and unless he is born of the water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; he cannot even see the kingdom without the new birth, and he cannot enter that kingdom without being born of the water and of the Spirit. This doctrine is exceedingly positive, it leaves no room for doubt; there is no chance to evade the fact of this doctrine if there is to be any reliance placed upon the words of Jesus. Then, we are forced to the belief that no man can enter into the kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and of the Spirit.

Well, taking these passages into consideration, a large class of people have come to the conclusion that unless a man is born again, or, as they term it, experience a change of heart, he is consigned to endless misery; and there are those who believe that all the heathen who have died in ignorance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are thus punished, and, in fact, there are those who profess to have faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, who believe that in hell, that place of torment from which they declare there is no escape, there are infants by scores, and hundreds and thousands, and I may say by millions, enduring inconceivable and endless torment because they have died before receiving the ordinances which they consider necessary to salvation.

I do not thus understand the Scriptures, I do not thus understand the plan of salvation; I do not thus view the character and dealings of God our heavenly Father with his creatures. One of the most prominent attributes which we ascribe to our Father in heaven is mercy. The Scriptures de clare most emphatically that he is a God of mercy, and a God of love. Can we, even in our degraded condition; consider a being endowed in the least degree with the attributes of love and mercy, or even of justice, who would consign millions of his creatures to endless torment because they do not believe and obey a doctrine which they never heard? Why such an idea is unworthy of intelligent beings. Suppose that any of us who have families should pass a law or prescribe a rule for their government, and at the time it is passed or prescribed, a portion of our children are not within hearing, and while still in ignorance of it, they unconsciously violate it, and because of this the father punishes them. What would you say of such a father? Would you not say that he was unjust, harsh and cruel? Why, certainly this would be our verdict, if we pronounced any, we could not pronounce otherwise. We would be compelled to come to the conclusion that the father who would act in this manner would neither be kind, just or wise. And shall it be said of our heavenly Father, who is the fountain of love, mercy and justice, that he will act with less justice than man, and that he will punish, curse and consign to eternal misery, his children, because they have failed to obey the laws he has never made known to them? Certainly not; and it is on account of these doctrines, which have been propounded and circulated so widely in Christendom, that skeptics are numbered by hundreds of thousands and it may be said by millions. The feelings of the people recoil, humanity revolts at such monstrous doctrines, and the growth of skepticism and infidelity may be traced to the fact that such hideous principles are advocated by those professing to be servants of the living God and the ministers of Jesus Christ. But do the Scriptures, the words of eternal life, as recorded in the Bible, inculcate such ideas? Certainly not. There is in the plan of salvation, which God our heavenly Father has revealed, perfect love, mercy and justice, and every other attribute which pertains to the character of Deity are perfectly illustrated in the plan of salvation which he has revealed for man’s guidance.

The words of Jesus which I have read to you, contain an immutable truth: that except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. It is an immutable truth that, except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. These words proceeded from the mouth of Jesus, the Son of God, the author of our salvation, the founder of our religion.

He was perfectly acquainted with the laws necessary to be obeyed in order to effect an entrance into his Father’s kingdom; and being thus acquainted, he had the right as well as the knowledge necessary to advance and proclaim this doctrine to the children of men.

While we are upon the subject we may as well make a few remarks upon the nature of this new birth of which Jesus speaks. As I have told you, and as you well know, there is a large class in Christendom who believe that this new birth consists of what they term a change of heart; if the heart undergoes a change they say the creature is born again. Now, I do not so understand the Scriptures, I do not think that the change of heart thus referred to, is the new birth to which the Savior refers; on the contrary, it says here in great plainness, that they must be born of the water as well as of the Spirit. Not for the putting away the filth of the flesh, as I read to you in the passage from Peter, but for the answer of a good conscience towards God. Jesus, as you will recollect, on the occasion when John the Baptist, as he was called, was baptizing in Jordan, went and offered himself to John as a candidate for baptism. John, having received a testimony from the Father that Jesus was his beloved son in whom He was well pleased; knowing also that he, himself, was the forerunner of Jesus spoken of by the Prophets, declined to baptize him, saying, in effect, it is better for me to submit to thee than thee to submit to me. Jesus replied, Suffer it to be so now, to fulfil all righteousness. Then John took Jesus and baptized him.

Here we have an example on the part of our Savior of obedience to a certain ordinance. Some say that in this ordinance Jesus had water poured upon him, others say he was sprinkled, and a great many of the popular pictures represent him standing in the Jordan with his arms folded across his breast and John the Baptist pouring water on his head; but a careful perusal of the writings of those who have described this event will leave but one conclusion on the unprejudiced mind, and that is that Jesus went down into the water and was baptized by John, and came up out of the water; and that if pouring or sprinkling had been the method of administering the ordinance of baptism, there would have been no necessity for John and the people of Jerusalem and the regions round about, to have gone the distance that intervened between the river Jordan and Jerusalem to attend to it, and in fact there are other passages in the Scriptures which go to prove that immersion was the method of baptism, and that John so administered the ordinance. In one passage of Scripture it is said that John was baptizing at a place near Enon, because there was much water there, showing that an abundance of water was necessary for its correct administration. This was the ordinance that Jesus submitted to. He was the Son of God, the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world; He was spotless and sinless in the sight of his Father, yet, he considered it necessary to attend to this ordinance that he might fulfil all righteousness; and it is a remarkable fact that we have no account in the Scriptures of Jesus acting in his ministry until he had attended to this ordinance.

This, as I understand the Scriptures, and as the Latter-day Saints testify, was the new birth. He went down into one element, was buried in that element, and, emerging therefrom, was born again, in other words was born of the water. Can you imagine a new birth more perfectly represented than by this act which I have described, performed by John upon Jesus? After this birth of the water had taken place, the birth of the Spirit followed, for as soon as he came up out of the water, the Holy Ghost, in the likeness of a dove, descended upon him, and a voice was heard from heaven testifying that he was the beloved son in whom the Father was well pleased. Jesus was enveloped in that spiritual element, and was born of the Spirit as he had been born of the water. Thus, in his own case, he illustrated, by his obedience and humility to the will of his Father, the doctrine which he taught to Nicodemus, and which he declared was necessary to prepare not only him but all the children of men to enter into the kingdom of God. Paul, also, in one place, speaks of being buried with Christ in baptism in the likeness of his burial, in the likeness also of his resurrection; the burial in the liquid grave being symbolical of the death and burial of the Son of God, and the coming forth therefrom of his resurrection.

This doctrine is clearly laid down in the Scriptures. You will find it if you trace the preaching and the labors of the Apostles and the men who were immediately connected with the Lord in his ministrations to the people. You will find that in every instance where the records are complete, these ordinances were attended to—the people, if they believed in Jesus Christ and repented of their sins, were baptized, in order that they might be born of the water; and after attending to this ordinance, they were then baptized of the Spirit, or, in other words, had hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost. They were enveloped in and born of that Spirit, and became legal heirs of and entitled to an entrance into the kingdom of God. There is not an instance of any other kind found on record in the Scriptures. We often quote the teachings of Peter, himself, on the Day of Pentecost, to prove this, and in passing along I may as well briefly allude to it.

On the Day of Pentecost, after the Jews had been convinced of the fact that Jesus the Nazarene, who had been crucified as a malefactor, was indeed the very Messiah of whom the Prophets had spoken; when they were convinced of this and also of the fact that the men who stood and preached in their midst, and through whom they had seen the power of God manifested, were his Apostles, they cried: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” They felt that they were sinners; probably, for aught we know, they had consented in their feelings to the death of this holy being, and they gave vent to their anxiety in the expression I have already quoted. Now it is to be presumed that on that occasion Peter declared the Gospel in its fulness and purity, as it existed in the mind of God, and as it had been revealed to him by Jesus. We cannot presume that he taught something he was not warranted in teaching, something that was not the Gospel, for the occasion was one of the most important, probably, that the Church witnessed in that generation. It was, as far as we know, the first proclamation of the Gospel after the death of Jesus, and it was certainly the first time the power of God was manifested to such a wonderful extent. Peter, then, standing up, inspired not only with the greatness of the occasion, but with the sublimity of the manifestations that had been poured out by God, by the fact that he, for the first time, was declaring the Gospel in the ears of the assembled Jews at Jerusalem who had crucified Jesus, also by the spirit and power of his great office, we cannot doubt that he declared the Gospel in simplicity and plainness, and he said, in reply to their very important question, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost.

Now here were the two births of which I have spoken. They already believed that Jesus was the Christ, and they were told to repent, and be baptized for the remission of their sins; not, I repeat again, for the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but for the remission of their sins, that they might be born of the water, that they might become suitable candidates to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter continued: “And ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And they went and were baptized, and we are told that three thousand were added to the Church on that occasion. This is only an example of what the Apostles afterwards taught. I do not intend, this afternoon, to quote the numerous instances that occur in the Scriptures where this doctrine was taught, where it was obeyed by those unto whom it was taught, and the blessings that followed obedience; but I call attention to the fact that this doctrine was set forth by the Apostles even as Jesus taught it and even as Jesus obeyed it, and that they administered the ordinances as the Lord had taught them.

It may be said, How is it possible for the millions that exist on the face of the earth to obey this doctrine? This question is very frequently asked us, because the Latter-day Saints dwell very considerably upon this part of the Gospel, and upon the necessity of these ordinances being obeyed. The question, very naturally, immediately rises in the minds of men, if it be necessary that all men and women should be born of the water and of the Spirit, then what is to become of the millions who have died and have not had the opportunity? I recollect, on one occasion, when quite a youth, speaking upon this principle of baptism, and dwelling, at some length, upon the necessity of people yielding obedience to it. After I had got through, a gentleman walked up to me, and said he had been very much interested in my remarks, but one difficulty had suggested itself to his mind, and he would like to have me explain. Said he, you doubtless recollect when Jesus was crucified there were two thieves with him, one of whom upbraided and railed at him. This called forth a rebuke from the other thief, who, turning to Jesus, said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus replied in this wise: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Now, said the gentleman, “if your doctrine be correct, that a man must be born of the water and of the Spirit before he can enter the kingdom of God, I would like to know how that thief entered that kingdom.” Well, looking at this from his standpoint, it was a very plausible question, and it looked as though his position was incontrovertible. But did Jesus enter into the kingdom of God when he was crucified? Did he, when he was crucified, enter upon the glory he afterwards attained unto, and did the thief accompany him? I know that many Christian ministers, so-called, believe this, I know they teach it. In reading the newspapers I frequently see accounts of the execution of vile criminals, whose entire lives have been spent in the commission of revolting crimes. Christian ministers, so-called, attend these criminals while incarcerated in jail, and to the gallows; they pray with them and endeavor to awaken them to a sense of their lost condition, and frequently they are successful, for many influences are brought to bear on the minds of malefactors at such times and their hearts are softened at the near prospect of death. Then, when these ministers accompany them to the scaffold they will pray with them there, and they assure them that through the merits and death of Jesus they will be ushered into the kingdom of heaven as soon as they are executed. This is the invariable assurance given to criminals who will listen to them, by ministers of this description. They believe that the thief on the cross was ushered into the immediate presence of God, there to dwell eternally in peace and felicity. This was the view entertained by this gentleman I have mentioned.

If you will turn and read the account of the resurrection of Jesus, you will find an explanation of this that probably many have not thought of. You recollect that after the death of Jesus, and after he had been placed in the sepulchre, there was great anxiety on the part of the Apostles and those who had been familiar with Jesus, as to his body. They looked for his resurrection, they expected him to come forth, but they were filled with doubt and anxiety, for they had the idea that he would return king of Israel, that the set time had come for the establishment of God’s kingdom on the earth never more to be thrown down. Among others who were very anxious about this, was Mary, one of the women who had attended upon Jesus. She went to the sepulchre and found that the body of her Lord and Master had been taken away, and she could not find it. She turned around, full of grief and anxiety about him whom she loved, and saw a personage standing beside her, whom she supposed to be the gardener, and she inquired of him what they had done with the body of her Lord. It was Jesus to whom she addressed herself, but she did not recognize him at first, and failed to do so until he uttered her name. When he said, “Mary,” then she recognized his voice and person, and, as was very natural under the circumstances, in the excess of her joy, she rushed forward to clasp him; but he stepped back, and forbade her in those remarkable words: “Touch me not, Mary, for I have not yet ascended to my father; but go to my disciples, and tell them that I ascend to my Father and to their Father, to my God and to their God.” This was the third day after his crucifixion, and during this time he had not ascended to his Father, and he did not want to be touched, he did not want mortal hands put upon him. When I quoted this to this gentleman, said he, “Where was he then, during this period? If he did not ascend to his Father, and if the paradise to which the thief went with him, was not heaven, then where was he?” I then quoted to him the words I first read this afternoon, “If Christ also has once suffered for sin, etc.”

Here Peter gives the explanation, and it is as plain and unmistakable as language can make it. Jesus died on the cross, he was crucified and put to death in the flesh, as the Apostles say, and after being put to death he went and preached to the spirits which were in prison, spirits which were disobedient in the days of Noah, having rejected Noah’s testimony, and they had been incarcerated in prison for some twenty-five hundred years. He was engaged in this labor while his body lay in the tomb, and hence, when Mary saw him after his resurrection, and attempted to embrace him, he said, “Touch me not, Mary, for I have not yet ascended to my Father, etc.”

Now by this I do not mean to infer that after his crucifixion, when his spirit had left his body, he got outside the presence of his Father, for the presence, power and eyes of God are everywhere; but he did not ascend to his immediate personal presence until after his body was resurrected from the tomb. And in further confirmation of the view which I am endeavoring to set forth to you, the Apostle Peter, continuing this subject, as I read to you from the 4th chapter of his first epistle, says, “For for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit.” “Ah,” says one, “dead in sin!” Who told you so? What right has any man to put such an interpretation on the Scriptures? The declaration here is as plain as language can make it, “Gospel was preached also to them that are dead,” &c., confirming what the Apostle had said in the previous chapter, that Jesus was engaged in preaching the Gospel to the spirits in prison while, as I have said, his body slumbered in the tomb.

Now do you see and comprehend anything of the long-suffering and mercy of God unto the millions who have been born and died on our earth in ignorance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do you comprehend the great plan of salvation, or a portion of that great plan which God our heavenly Father has devised for the redemption of all his children? Shall we say that God’s work is confined to this short probation of ours, that his labor for the salvation of his children and the plan that he has devised are confined to this brief space that we call time, or shall we say that God’s plan of salvation extends over all his creatures and throughout all his creations, and that if men don’t have opportunities here of understanding it, they will have that opportunity hereafter? This is set forth in these chapters with great plainness, and so as to leave no doubt upon the minds of those who are disposed to accept the Scriptures as they read. Of course, where men have traditions and preconceived views and ideas concerning these matters they are likely to cling to them and reject the truth. They would rather believe that nine-tenths of the human family would be consigned to endless torment than accept the idea that God is a God of mercy, and that the plan of salvation which he has devised is all-sufficient and extends to all grades, conditions and circumstances, in which his creatures are found.

This doctrine was revealed to the Latter-day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We were as ignorant of it and of the meaning of these passages as anybody else previous to the establishment of this Church. Among other doctrines that were taught to the Prophet Joseph, was this which I have endeavored to set forth briefly before you. I have not dwelt upon it at length, but it was taught in great plainness to the Prophet, and he taught it to the people. The Prophet Malachi, you recollect, predicts that before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, the Lord will send Elijah, the Prophet, and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest the Lord come and smite the earth with a curse. You can read this in Malachi; and when the Latter-day Saints heard this Gospel, and became acquainted with the fact that it was necessary for men and women to be baptized for the remission of their sins, their hearts immediately yearned for their ancestors. I have heard hundreds of persons who have joined this Church say, “Oh, that my father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, children, grandfather or grandmother had heard this doctrine as the Elders teach it! How gladly they would have embraced it! How their hearts would have warmed towards this Gospel! They lived in anticipation of some such doctrine as this; they were not satisfied with the creeds of men, or with Christianity as taught. They wanted the gifts, graces and blessings of the Gospel. Oh, that they could have lived and heard the teachings that we now hear, that God has revealed from the heavens, the ancient and pure Gospel, with the Holy Ghost and the gifts thereof! Oh, how their hearts would have been gladdened to have heard these glad tidings! Thus were the hearts of the children turned towards the fathers, and I doubt not the hearts of the fathers were turned towards the children.

There was an anxiety among the people in this church for many years, in relation to what would become of their ancestors and the world at large who were not acquainted with the Gospel, until the Lord condescended to give a revelation in which this doctrine was explained. By turning to the first epistle to the Corinthians, you will find there that the Apostle Paul, in reasoning upon the resurrection, advanced an idea which is not generally understood. In the 15th chapter and 29th verse of that epistle the Apostle uses this language: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”

Now, among other arguments which he brought forth to convince the Corinthians that there was such a thing as a resurrection he appeals to the fact that there was such a doctrine as baptism for the dead in the Church and practiced by the former-day Saints, and to enforce the doctrine he uses the words I have read, one of the most powerful arguments that he could adduce in favor of the resurrection. How useless it would be for men and women to be baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all; but the dead do rise, and the Saints are baptized for them. I might paraphrase his words and reason upon them in this way. The dead are baptized, for we are baptized for them, and they do rise or else all our labor would be in vain in going forth and being baptized for them. Now, here is a doctrine that has been hidden. True, it is only a slight allusion, but it is sufficient to show that there was in the ancient Church such a doctrine believed in and practiced by the Saints of God.

“Oh,” but says one, “how can the dead be born of the water and the Spirit; suppose that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, and among the rest to the thief who was on the cross when he got to paradise, as you explain the Gospel, how could he, in the spirit world, be born of the water and of the Spirit?” A very serious question, but here is the explanation: those who are alive in the flesh can go forth and be baptized for them. “What! Be baptized for the dead? And will that stand?” I would ask those who object to this, how is it that the death of Jesus, the Son of God, affects our salvation? He acts for us vicariously; by his vicarious atonement he redeems us from the effects of the transgression of our first parents. As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. Death came into the world by Adam. Adam did not die to redeem the world, but Jesus came forward, vicariously, as the Savior of the world, and died to redeem us from Adam’s sin. Through his death Adam’s sin is atoned for. In like manner, Malachi says, in speaking of the Prophet Elijah coming before the great and terrible day of the Lord: “The hearts of the fathers shall be turned to the children.” What for? Because the children can act vicariously for them; “and the hearts of the children shall be turned to the fathers,” because the children will feel after their fathers; they will search for their genealogies, and learn of their ancestors, and they will go forth and perform ordinances in the flesh for their dead, which the dead cannot perform for themselves, and act vicariously for them, and so fulfil the saying of the Prophet Obadiah, where he says, “There shall be saviors in the last days on Mount Zion.” They shall stand as ministers of salvation. There shall be saviors in the last days, acting in a lesser capacity, it is true, but still somewhat in the capacity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for their dead. Not atoning for the original sin, not shedding their blood, but, going forth and being baptized for them and receiving the ordinances of salvation in their behalf.

I know that this doctrine is new, and to many startling; it comes in contact with all their prejudices. But I would ask the Christian world how mankind are to be saved? Can you substitute anything better than this? How are the millions of heathens who have died in ignorance of the name of Jesus to be saved? How are our ancestors to be saved, who, living and dying in the long night of darkness which prevailed through Christendom, never had the privilege of hearing the Gospel in its fulness? “Oh,” says one, “saved by the goodness of God.” Yes, but how shall we elude the words of Jesus where he says, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God;” and “Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God?” It is very easy for men in their traditions to say; “Well, our way suits us, because we have been accustomed to it.” But if we accept these traditions as binding, how shall we set aside the words of him who spoke as never man spake, of him who was without guile and whose words were truth and holiness? How shall we set them aside? We cannot, and rather than attempt to do so I would accept them as true and divine, and practice them, even though it required the sacrifice of my traditions and prejudices. To my mind there is something godlike in the Gospel of salvation. I can see beauty, and the power of God in it. I understand from this that there is a plan of salvation capable of saving all men; that though there is a space between death and the resurrection, during that space the spirits of those who died without the Gospel can be preached to, and can receive the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, though they died in ignorance of it.

A great many have wondered how it is that the Latter-day Saints are so anxious to have temples built. We built a temple in Kirtland, and after we had built it we were compelled to leave it and flee to Missouri. We laid the foundations of two in Missouri, one in Jackson County, the other in Caldwell County. That in Caldwell was not laid until after we were driven from there. A revelation was given through Joseph Smith, I think on the 11th of July, 1838, that on the succeeding 26th of April, the foundation stone of the temple should be laid in Far West; and the Twelve Apostles should take their departure from that cornerstone, and cross the ocean to preach the Gospel in Europe. Now, said the mob, “There being a date fixed to this revelation, if Joseph Smith never was a false prophet before, we will make him one now,” and they turned and drove the Latter-day Saints from Missouri, and made it worth a man’s life to go back there, if he was a Mormon. They drove everyone out of Missouri, under a ban of extermination, in the winter previous to the time set for the fulfillment of this revelation. That was in the winter of 1838-9; and there were but very few left, and they were in peril of their lives all the time. Joseph, Hyrum and several of the leading Elders were in prison, and it seemed as though the words of Joseph would fall to the ground that time, at any rate. President Young was then President of the Twelve Apostles; he with others had to flee to Quincy, and he proposed to his fellow Apostles that they should go up to Missouri, to fulfil that reve lation. Father Joseph Smith, father of the Prophet, thought that the Lord would take the will for the deed, and it would not be necessary. He felt as though there would be great danger in the undertaking, and that the brethrens’ lives would be in peril. A good many of the other Elders felt the same, but the Spirit rested upon President Young and his brother Apostles, and they determined to go, and they did go, and, according to the revelation, they laid the cornerstone in the town of Far West. They laid it in the midst of their enemies; they sang their songs, ordained two of the Twelve, and if I recollect right, two of the Seventies, and then shook hands with the Saints there, bade them adieu, and took their departure for Europe, thus fulfilling the word of God given nearly a year previously through the Prophet Joseph, and which the enemies of the Kingdom of God said should never be fulfilled.

That foundation stone was laid, and the Saints, as I said, fled into Illinois, and there laid the foundation of a temple at Nauvoo, Illinois, the finest building then in the western country, and the admiration of everybody. The Saints erected it in the midst of poverty, destitution, sickness, death, and, I may say, with the sword or rifle in one hand and the trowel in the other, their enemies surrounding them on every hand. They had slain Joseph and Hyrum, and attempted to destroy others of the servants of God, and they were continually burning and destroying the houses and property of the Saints, and were determined to expel them from the State. But in the midst of these tribulations the Saints continued their labors until that temple was roofed in, and until within its walls they could attend to the ordinances for the living and the dead.

Again they were driven, and again they took up their line of march, and they came out to this desert country, and again we laid the foundation of another temple, a few hundred yards from this building; and this winter we have laid the foundation of another at St. George, in the southern part of this Territory. The masons and laborers are down there endeavoring to push it forward to completion as fast as possible.

Why is it that we are so anxious to build temples? It is that we may attend to ordinances necessary for the salvation of the living and the dead, that we may be baptized for our ancestors who died without having the privilege of hearing and obeying the Gospel. We not only believe that we should be baptized for them, but we also believe that where our fathers and mothers have died, having been married only according to the practice of the world, they should be married for time and eternity; and, in the temples erected by the Saints to the name of the Most High, we shall act for them in this respect also. We believe, not only, that we should be married for time and eternity, but that they should be also. We believe in the eternal nature of the marriage relation, that man and woman are destined, as husband and wife, to dwell together eternally. We believe that we are organized as we are, with all these affections, with all this love for each other, for a definite purpose, something far more lasting than to be extinguished when death shall overtake us. We believe that when a man and woman are united as husband and wife, and they love each other, their hearts and feelings are one, that that love is as enduring as eternity itself, and that when death overtakes them it will neither extinguish nor cool that love, but that it will brighten and kindle it to a purer flame, and that it will endure through eternity; and that if we have offspring they will be with us and our mutual associations will be one of the chief joys of the heaven to which we are hastening. If I have loving wives and children, who could contribute to our happiness so much as we could to each others’, they to mine, I to theirs? Shall we be separated and I be no more to them and they no more to me than strangers? How unnatural the thought! God has restored the everlasting priesthood, by which ties can be formed, consecrated and consummated, which shall be as enduring as we ourselves are enduring, that is, as our spiritual nature; and husbands and wives will be united together, and they and their children will dwell and associate together eternally, and this, as I have said, will constitute one of the chief joys of heaven; and we look forward to it with delightful anticipations.

Brother Woodruff, in his remarks this morning, spoke of the blessing that the Lord promised Abraham, that as the sands on the seashore, or the stars that bespangle the firmament are innumerable, so should his seed be. How is this to be effected? Why, by the eternal union of the sexes, by the eternal union of Abraham with those who were his family in his life. Strange as this doctrine may seem, it is nevertheless amply sustained by these divine Scriptures in which Christendom all profess to believe.

Now we rear Temples in order that we may be baptized in the fonts which will be in those Temples, for our dead, in order that we may go forward and act vicariously for them in the ordinance of baptism and in the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost, and then in other ordinances, which shall prepare them to dwell with us and us with them eternally in the presence of God.

If you read the 20th chapter of Revelation, you will see that the Lord revealed to John that there shall be a thousand years’ rest, a millennium, or millennial era, when the earth shall rest from wickedness, and when knowledge shall cover it as waters cover the deep, and when one man shall not have to say to another, “Know ye the Lord?” but when, according to the words of the Prophet, “all shall know him, from the least even unto the greatest;” when God’s will shall be written in the hearts of the children of men, and they will understand his law. The Prophets have spoken of such a day, and in the chapter to which I have alluded, the 20th of Revelation, the Lord speaks of it in plainness to his servant John the Revelator, setting forth that there shall be a thousand years’ rest on the earth, during which Christ shall reign in the midst of his Saints, and when there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord; when the lamb will lie down with the lion, the cow with the bear, and when the whole animal creation will dwell together in peace, when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, spears into pruninghooks, and when the nations shall learn war no more, men shall plant and eat the fruit thereof, build and inhabit, and when none shall deprive them of the fruits of their labors.

I quote these passages as they occur to my mind. You are all familiar with them. They will be fulfilled, and there will be a thousand years’ rest, during which period Satan will be bound, and when the seed of the righteous will increase and cover the land. In that glorious period everything on the face of the earth will be beautiful; disease and crime, and all the evils that attend our present state of existence will be banished; and during that period, as God has revealed, the occupation of his people will be to lay a foundation for the redemption of the dead, the unnumbered millions who lived and died on the earth without hearing and obeying the plan of salvation.

We believe, further, that every man who dies belonging to this Church, and having the right to officiate in the Priesthood, will be engaged, while awaiting the resurrection of his body, in a work similar to that in which Jesus was engaged, namely, preaching the Gospel to those who are ignorant of it. He will proclaim the plan of salvation to those in the spirit world who have died in ignorance of the name of Jesus and of the character of his redemption. For, let me tell you, there is no name under heaven whereby men can be saved, except the name of Jesus Christ, and if the dead ever are saved, it must be through the name of Jesus and through the redemption he has worked out. This is the gospel and the plan of salvation as we believe it.

Men say that the Latter-day Saints are exclusive and uncharitable; but they know nothing of the doctrines that we believe in. Our hearts swell with exceeding desire for the salvation of our fellow creatures: we want all saved. We would, if we had arms sufficiently long, enclose them all, and shed around them the halo of love. We desire and yearn for their salvation; we pray for it, and we expect to spend our days, both here and hereafter, in accomplishing it. It is the chief labor that occupies our attention, and we expect to rear temples in which we can attend to the ordinances necessary to work it out. There are men already who spend the chief portion of their time in attending to these ordinances, forgetful of their worldly interests, devoting themselves almost exclusively to these labors, and we expect to save all that will accept the plan of salvation. I say we, I mean God and the authority that he has established and restored to the earth.

Can you wonder that we believe in plural marriage when we have these views? Now, for instance, there is a man who has had a wife, and children by that wife. She has died, and he has married again, and had a family by the second wife. In some instances she has died, and he has married a third time. Now we believe that that man, if he be a good man, will be entitled to these wives in the resurrection. There may be men of this class here today, men who have lost their first wives, by whom they have had children, and who have made their little home a heaven, lavishing upon them all the wealth of their affection; and that woman having passed away, they have taken another wife, and she has been equally true. She has done the best she could. Now in the resurrection which wife shall he put away? Shall he say to the first wife, “I have a second wife, I do not want you to live with me.” Or shall he say to the second wife, “Here is the wife of my youth; the one who engaged my heart’s first affections, and I love her and you must go.” “Oh,” says one, “there will be no wives there, and no necessity of a man saying such things either to first or second wife.” You see the dilemma in which the belief of Christendom forces them. They are compelled by their traditions to reject the idea of the marital relation, and of husband and wife dwelling together for eternity. What is their view? Why, as I have heard it, and I have gleaned it from the best of them, the idea they have of the heaven to which mankind are hasten ing is that of being clothed in white raiment and with harp in hand, singing praises to God and the Lamb eternally. This is very good employment no doubt, but to think of our being so employed forever and ever does not satisfy the enquiring mind. I could not be happy, as I am now constituted, you could not, without active employment—a field for the exercise of every faculty of mind and body that God has given you. I do not wonder at men dreading death when they have such ideas of heaven and future happiness. My idea of heaven pictures to me a condition of society as much superior to this as heaven is to earth. I picture to myself a state of society that shall be free from every sin, where the adversary can have no entrance, where there will be no gloom, sorrow, pain or death, and where I shall associate with those whom I have loved; whose lives have been spent with me in endeavoring to do good; with the wife or wives and children I have had here, living with them eternally in the presence of God. And as it was said of Jesus: “To the increase of his seed there shall be no end,” so do I hope, after I leave here, the blessing sealed upon Father Abraham, of whose seed I am, that as there should be no end to his increase, there shall be none to mine.

It is this I labor for and look forward to. Heaven looks bright to me; death is robbed of its terror—it has no sting, and, like one of old, I can say, “O grave, where is thy victory: Oh, death, where is thy sting!” There is no sting in death, there is no victory in the grave, for we all expect, who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be resurrected in glory, with every faculty of body and mind enhanced, purified, enlarged, until we shall be like our Father and God. This is the heaven which we are looking for, and to which I pray we may all attain, in the name of Jesus, Amen.