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The Times of Our Savior Compared With the Present—Revelation—Duties of the Saints—Self to Be Overcome—Coming of Christ

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the 13th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 23, 1873.

[The 11th chapter of Hebrews was read as a text.] A more comprehensive chapter than this, in its description of the effects of faith when properly exer cised by the children of men, I think is not contained within the lids of the Bible. The entire history of God’s dealings with the children of men, so far as the Jewish record is concerned, is epitomized therein. The Apostle, in the plainest possible language, describes the leading events that had transpired up to his day among the fathers of his nation, setting forth with unmistakable clearness the power that they wielded through faith in God, in accomplishing the work that was assigned unto them; and he tells the Hebrews, in writing to them upon this subject, that it is impossible to please God without faith, for those who come unto him must believe that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I expect that the Apostle Paul had a generation to deal with that were not dissimilar to the generation in which we live—a generation who had in their midst the Scriptures, the predictions of the holy Prophets, ministers who professed to have received the authority which they exercised in ministering to the people from a high source, and who were, in their own opinion at least, called of God, an elect people, a chosen generation, who rejoiced in the power that had been made manifest to and in behalf of their fathers, and which, to a certain extent, they had received. The Apostle, in this chapter, pointed out the power which their fathers exercised through faith, and to the mighty works that had been wrought thereby, and he endeavored to stir up within them a desire to exercise the same faith.

At the time that Paul wrote this epistle to the Hebrews, the Jews did not believe in living revelation; they did not believe that God spoke to his people by any manifestations such as their fathers had received. We are told that they garnished the sepulchres of the dead Prophets, that they reverenced the places of their birth, honored their memories, and declared that if they had lived in the days of their fathers they would not have been guilty of putting the Prophets to death. But the Son of God and his Apostles were treated by them precisely as their fathers had treated the Prophets of old.

It is a good thing for us who live in this generation that we have this record in our midst. It is an encouraging thing to read the history of the past, and to learn about the treatment that men of God received in ancient days. It is encouraging for those who contend for the same faith to know that slander, persecution, ignominy and shame, and even death itself are not evidences of the falsity of a system, or of the falsity of the doctrines taught by any individual, because we have the history of the Apostles—some of the best men that have ever trod the earth, and of Jesus, the holiest and best man that ever trod the earth, or that ever will, and we find that he and they were persecuted, hated and despised, and their names were cast out as evil, and they were slain by a generation who professed to honor God and be very righteous, and who claimed to be the descendants of the Patriarchs of old, who were called the friends of God. If this story were told to us without our knowing anything of the circumstances, we should be reluctant to believe it. It would be a difficult thing to persuade us that human beings could have been so base and degraded, and so lost to every feeling of humanity as to persecute and crucify a pure being like Jesus, who had come from the Father for the express purpose of laying down his life as an expiation for their sins. But the record is before us. We have been familiar with it from our infancy, and in the minds of those who profess to have any faith in God, there is no room to doubt it. It is most fortunate for us that this record has been preserved, for by it we are enabled to understand what kind of a generation lived in the day in which the chapter I have read in your hearing was written. They were a people who spoke highly of religion, who built synagogues and places of worship, who honored the Sabbath day, who wore long phylacteries, on which were written select passages from Scripture, who had the word of God written on their very doorposts, who prayed at the corners of the streets, who fasted, and, apparently, sought in every way to glorify God. They believed in Abraham and Moses, and in the covenants which God made with them. They believed and practiced the law which Moses had revealed unto them, and so strict were they in observing many of its principles, that they were ready on one occasion to have a woman slain for the violation of the commandment respecting adultery; and at another time their wrath was kindled against the disciples because they plucked some ears of corn on the Sabbath day to appease their hunger. They considered that act a violation of the Sabbath, and their righteous souls were shocked thereat. They were shocked even at the idea of Jesus eating with unwashed hands, and at him, who professed to be a teacher, associating with publicans and sinners. They thought it was beneath the dignity of a man of God to condescend to associate with the low and degraded. This was the kind of people that existed when Paul wrote this chapter, yet with all their professions and with all their apparent sanctity they were utterly destitute of the knowledge and power of God. They drew near to God with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. They made a great parade of their religion, but they dwelt on the glories of the past, on the evidences of God’s favor which their nation and religion had formerly received. But did they themselves possess the spirit of prophecy, and the faith which Paul describes? If they had they would have recognized Jesus when he came amongst them, and they would have gladly received him and his teachings, and would have obeyed and practiced in their lives the principles of his Gospel. But as I have said, they were utterly destitute of the Spirit of God, they were darkened in their minds, and instead of receiving Jesus and his teachings, they hounded him until they got him into their power and then they slew him, and they treated his Apostles in the same manner.

It is truly said that history repeats itself. We are familiar with this in the history of our race. When the Prophets who preceded Jesus went into the midst of the people and preached unto them the word of God, they found them believing in the Prophets who had gone before. They were willing to receive the testimony of Moses, and of some who succeeded him. Samuel, after his death, was recognized as a great Prophet by the Jews, and so were some others who were dead; but while they lived they were treated much the same as Jesus and his Apostles were treated. The wicked could not recognize the character of the men of God who labored among them, and they rejected and persecuted them, and slew many of them. This is characteristic of the human family. One of the most unreliable things connected with mankind is popular opinion. So far as God’s dealings with the children of men are concerned, and the sending of Prophets and Apostles to them, those who have been guided by popular opinion have always erred. The opinions of the great majority concerning the truth have in almost every instance been unreliable. Moses, notwithstanding the mighty miracles he performed, was not appreciated by those among whom he lived, and narrowly escaped being stoned by the people whom he led across the Red Sea. When they got into the wilderness they murmured at him, and were ready to choose others to lead them back to Egypt. It was so with Samuel. Although the nation was comparatively a righteous nation, they rejected him. They were not content with the power and authority which he exercised over them, and they wanted a king. So with other Prophets. The more wicked the generation, the harder they were to convince of the truth of the predictions that were uttered among them by the servants of God; and so much was this the case, that it became almost an infallible rule, when a majority of the people decided against a man, he was sure to be a servant of God.

It may be asked, why has this been the case? I know that men say, If God be God, and is the being that he is described to be, why has he not manifested his power in the midst of his children to such an extent that they are compelled to receive the testimony of his servants? There is a class of people who cannot understand why it is that truth cannot be made so plain to the human understanding that men cannot reject it. Infidels advance this as an evidence that there is no such thing as divine power, no such being as God, and that there is no Supreme Providence presiding over the affairs of the children of men. They say that if God be the kind of being that he is described to be in the Scriptures, it would be inconsistent with his character to withhold from the children of men such manifestations of power as would convince them beyond all controversy that the men he sends to declare his will unto them are his divinely appointed servants.

It is very plausible, taking one view of the subject, for men to imagine that this ought to be the way in which God should act; but there is one saying, written in ancient days, that is as true today as when it was written, that is, “That as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways, and God’s thoughts higher than our thoughts.” In our degradation and ignorance we cannot comprehend the purposes and plans of our heavenly Father. No man can do this. If any man were capable of doing this, he would be unfit to dwell on earth, and he might perhaps be translated, as Enoch was anciently. No man can rise to the wisdom of Deity, and comprehend the purposes and designs of him who created the earth and placed us upon it, and who regulates the movements of the universe of which we form a part; and when we try to do it, it is like a child just beginning to talk, seeking to dictate and comprehend the movements, actions and thoughts of men who are in possession of the wisdom and experience of mature age. In fact the difference is greater. Our Father and God has made it plain to us that he has placed us here on this earth in order that we may be tested and proved in the exercise of the agency that he has given us; and if, when he sends forth his Prophets, he were to manifest his power, so that all the earth would be compelled to receive their words, there would be no room then for men to exercise their agency, for they would be compelled to adopt a certain course, and to receive certain teachings and doctrines regardless of their own wishes and will. But God has sent us here, and has given to every one of us our agency, as much so as he has his. I, in my sphere, have my agency, as much as God, my Eternal Father, or as Jesus, my elder brother, has in his. I can do right or I can do wrong; I can serve God or reject him; I can keep his commandments or violate them; I can receive his Spirit or reject it. This agency God has given unto man, and hence it is that when he sends his truth, and his servants to declare it unto the people, he does it in such a way that man is left to the free exercise of his agency in receiving or rejecting them; at the same time we are assured that whoever receives that truth will also receive the convincing power of the Spirit of God to bear testimony to him that it is divine; and this is the reason why, as the Apostle says in the chapter I read to you, the ancient Saints, though they were stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword; though they wandered about in sheepskins and in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted and tormented, were able to endure to the end. They had received a testimony from God through obedience to his Gospel in the exercise of their agency in the right direction, and this enabled them to endure all these things cheerfully, looking forward, as Paul says Moses did when he fled from Egypt, to the recompense of reward.

In this manner the servants of God have gone forth in every age and preached the Gospel. To bring the matter down to our own day—when Joseph Smith commenced to preach the Gospel, to tell the people that God had once more spoken from the heavens, a great many said, “Where are the signs, or evidences that God has done this? Can you not show some sign or work us some miracle that shall convince us that this is true? If you will work us a miracle, if you will walk on the water, raise the dead, or do some other miraculous work, then we will believe that he has spoken to you, and that the words you testify to are true.” They wanted signs, and yet they had the Bible in their midst. The position of those to whom Joseph taught the Gospel was very similar to that of the Jews in Paul’s day, only the former were more blessed than the Jews were unto whom Jesus came. They had the Prophets and Apostles, that is, they had their words. They had the record of the Gospel as taught by Jesus and his Apostles, with the account of the miracles wrought by them; they had a form of godliness, and they thought they were on the road of salvation. But they did not believe in miracles, they did not believe that God was a God of revelation, hence they would not receive the testimony of the Prophet Joseph, but they wanted miracles to convince them. In this they made a great mistake, as many others have done in other ages of the world in relation to this matter. It is written of Jesus that he did not do many mighty works in Galilee because of the unbelief of the people; and he said it was a wicked and adulterous generation that demanded a sign, and none should be given them. When the people demanded miraculous signs of Joseph Smith to convince them of the truth of his testimony, they would not, or did not exercise their agency, but wanted some overpowering evidence to convince them.

The Lord does not operate in that way among the children of men. He sends forth his servants with the truth, and he makes this promise—he made it through Joseph Smith— If they will believe in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, be baptized for the remission thereof by one having authority, they shall receive the Holy Ghost and a testimony from Him as to the character of the work in which they have engaged. A man who comes to God must believe that he is God, that he has power to do as he says. This is the way the ancients received their faith. The difficulty today is, that the people do not believe that God is a being of this character. You talk to those men who profess to be ministers of the Gospel, and ask them, “Do you have the gifts, powers and blessings of the Gospel as they were enjoyed by the Saints in ancient days?” and the reply will be, invariably, “That power is withdrawn, those gifts and blessings are no longer enjoyed among men. God does not reveal his will unto the children of men as he did in ancient days, and it is in vain for you to ask God for those blessings, for they will not be bestowed.” This is the teaching of the ministers in the religious world today. Is it any wonder that there is no faith among men? Is it any wonder that the blessings which Paul describes as being the fruits of faith are not realized today? Is it any wonder that men wander in darkness and error, and that the heavens are as brass over their heads? Is it any wonder that angels do not come to earth and visit men, and that the gifts and blessings of the Gospel are not enjoyed? It is no wonder to me; on the contrary, the wonder to me is that there is so much faith, or rather that there is any faith left among the children of men, and to tell the truth, my brethren and sisters, there is but very little. I can see a great change since I became old enough to comprehend anything about religion. I can see an absence of that faith which reli gious people once had. There has been a gradual lapsing into unbelief, and infidelity and skepticism are growing among the people, and today there is very little of that old fashioned vital religion that was enjoyed previous to the revelation of the Gospel.

Among the earliest of the predictions of the Elders of this Church that I can remember, were those foretelling, as effects which should follow the declaration of the Gospel in these days, those we now see. They declared that when this Gospel was proclaimed unto the people, if they rejected it, the faith which they then enjoyed and the light they then possessed would disappear, and they would be left in darkness. I have lived to see the fulfillment of this prediction. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Thessalonians, says, “For this cause God will send them strong delusions, that they may believe a lie who take not pleasure in righteousness,” &c. “For this cause”—because they rejected the truth and the testimony of God’s servants, strong delusion would be sent unto them, which would cause them to believe a lie. I have lived to see the fulfillment of that prediction. The first time I heard of modern revelation outside of this Church, I was on the Sandwich Islands. I had been from home then several years. I happened to call at the house of a friend and picked up a book. I read its preface; and I was astonished at it. I had never heard of anything of the kind outside of our Church before then. The author argued that it was right to expect that spirits would visit and make communications to men, and he went on to quote from the Bible in support of his argument. I have since seen many books of the same character, and it is now as common to believe in spiritual revelation as it was formerly uncommon. It is as rare a thing now to meet with persons who do not believe in this in some form as it was formerly to meet with those who did believe it. Up to the time of my early manhood I had never heard of anybody believing in this but Latter-day Saints. Now you will find ministers of religion—Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and men of all classes and degrees who believe in spiritual communications. But have they any organization, or any point upon which they can unite together? No, each man receives revelation to suit himself, until today there is no faith in the land and no belief in the manifestations of the power of God. The adversary has captivated the hearts of the children of men, he has fortified their minds against the truth, and is leading them to destruction.

Formerly, the great objection to the Latter-day Saints was that they believed in revelation. That was one of the great charges made against us in Jackson County, Mo. Another was, that we had a Prophet, whose words we hearkened to, and that we believed in the working of miracles. These were among the charges made against us by the mob as a reason why we should be expelled from our lands. But after a few years had elapsed, our cunning adversary began to give revelations and manifestations to the people, and he spread abroad his lying signs and wonders, and now they are far more numerous than those contained in the Bible. People everywhere can get revelation. Profane men and women—drunkards, gamblers and wicked people of every decree can get round a table and obtain revelation. What necessity is there for them to obey the Gospel? What attractions has truth for such persons? They can get all the revelation they need without having recourse to the Gospel or to its ordinances, or without being under the necessity of enduring the ignominy of being the servants of God, for it has always been considered ignominious by the world to be a servant of God since Satan had power in the earth. Can you not see how cunningly the adversary has worked, and how difficult it is under such circumstances to snatch people from the error of their ways? The truth has not been sweet or desirable to this generation, and they have rejected it. The truth has no attractions for those who do not love it for its own sake. Connected with the truth there is a love such as Jesus said his followers should have, which should induce them to cleave to it when they were persecuted, their names cast out as evil, and when they should be hated of all men for his sake. There is nothing attractive about all this to people who do not love the truth for its own sake, but they who do are willing to endure all things for the sake of the blessings that God has promised to bestow upon them.

Brethren and sisters, it is our duty as individuals and as a people to live so that we may have that faith that was once delivered to the Saints; that we may have the revelations of God in our hearts, that we may know for ourselves concerning the truth, and have each day a testimony thereof. You know that the idea is very prevalent that we are led by one man, or by a few men. It is thought that President Young leads this people according to his own ideas, and that he and his counselors and the Twelve, through some cunning craft of theirs, are able to influence them to do this or reject that, to pursue this course or avoid that. I suppose this idea will be prevalent as long as there are people who do not understand the character of this work. But it is our duty, one and all, to live so that we shall have the light of the Holy Spirit and a continual testimony within us of the truth of the work that God has established, and that we may have that faith that will enable us to endure all things. If women had their dead restored in ancient days, women ought to have faith enough in these days to realize the same blessings. But a spirit of unbelief, darkness and hardness of heart has gone forth, and it is shared to some extent by this people. The more we mingle with the world the more of this spirit we feel. It permeates the literature of the present day. You cannot take up a book that has not been written by a servant of God, that does not bear evidence of this spirit of unbelief. You cannot take up a newspaper, but something is said therein to weaken the faith of those who have any. Unbelief permeates the world at large. There are good reasons for this. The great mass of the people ridicule Jesus, the resurrection and life beyond the grave. They cannot understand why men should deny themselves and suffer as Jesus and his disciples did. The people of today cannot comprehend anything but living for today, enjoying themselves and having pleasure today, and letting tomorrow take care of itself. The idea of laying up treasures in heaven is ridiculed, even by some who call themselves Latter-day Saints. I have heard, and perhaps you have, some amongst us say, “I am satisfied with getting the best I can here, and with enjoying myself to the best advantage here, and let the fu ture take care of itself. I do not know anything about the life to come, but I know about this, and I want my enjoyment here, and I will risk the future.”

The whole tendency of the Gospel of Jesus is to the effect that we must deny ourselves, and be willing to endure and suffer even to death itself. It is right that we should dress comfortably and according to our means; it is right that we should take care of our bodies and have suitable food. God has given us the elements of food and raiment and to build good houses. He has given us horses and cattle, and the materials to make carriages, and it is right that we should use these things. I do not believe in any religion that denies to man the use of the blessings which God has given, but I deny that God designs that we should abuse or worship these things. If you or I have wealth, we should not worship it. If you have comforts, your heart should not be set upon them. If you have pleasant homes, orchards, gardens and fields you should not worship them, but hold them as the gifts of God, and be as ready to go forth and leave them as you would to leave a barren wilderness, or as these Indians are to take up their wick-i-ups and go from place to place. As Latter-day Saints we should be ready and willing to move in any direction and to do anything that our Father and God requires of us, holding the religion that he has given us dearer than life itself. Our brethren and sisters who lived anciently aimed for the same glory that we are aiming for, and they were willing to be sawn asunder, to be stoned, to dress in sheepskins and goatskins, to dwell in dens and caves of the earth, to have their names cast out as evil, and to do all things for the righteousness of God. We are aiming for the same glory they have received, and if we attain to it we must be willing to endure all the afflictions and to make all the sacrifices they endured and made.

There is this difference between us and the work in which we are engaged, and them and the work in their day—they looked forward to the time when the kingdom of God would be withdrawn from the earth on account of the growth of unbelief and apostasy, but in our day God has promised that this kingdom shall stand forever. On that account we can rejoice. We know that our enemies’ attacks upon us will fail. They may drive us, at least they have done it, but I do not think they will again if we are faithful. They have driven and persecuted us; they have slain some of our numbers, they have cast out our names as evil; they have called us everything vile, as they did Jesus. We are of all men the most despised, so far as our characters are concerned; and yet we are known better than any other people. The adversary has spread this mist of darkness over the minds of the people until they think us capable of everything evil. But notwithstanding all this, the course of this work is onward and upward, and it will prevail. Men may combine and form plots and schemes against it, and do everything in their power to overthrow it, but they will be signally defeated every time in the future, as they have been in the past. There has never been a move against this Church, from its organization until the present time, that did not benefit it. There never has been a hostile hand stretched forth that did not add to the speed and strength of its progress. There never has been a drop of the blood of its members shed by the ungodly that has not contributed to the increase of our numbers, and that has not added to the strength of the system with which we are connected. Let your minds go back and contemplate the history of this Church, trace the course of this people from the inception of God’s work to the present time, and what has there been done against it or them that has not added to its strength and to the certainty of its perpetuity? Think of all the schemes concocted, and of all the smart men that have been engaged in fighting this work; think of all the talented men in the Church who have apostatized and have preached against the Gospel, and have written books and newspaper articles, and everything else to destroy this work. Think of it, and then think how this people have gone forth increasing in strength, numbers and everything that is calculated to make them great and mighty. God has preserved us. He has given us the supremacy of the land and to Him the glory is to be ascribed for the supremacy we still maintain. It is not because our enemies would have it so. They have fought us step by step; they have devised mischief and evil in various ways against us, but God, through His providences, has overruled all for our good, and to Him, not to man, be the glory therefor. Man is utterly incapable of accomplishing these results. There were men in ancient days as brave, fearless, honest and mighty as any who have been connected with this work, but they sank beneath the blows of their destroyers, and went down to death. Satan and his emissaries overcame them. But God has now set to his hand for the last time to build up his kingdom and to send his Gospel to the people, and he has declared that when that time arrived his work should never again be overcome.

Any man who will look at the con dition of the people will say that if there ever was a time in the history of the world when God should speak to man it is now. The people everywhere are gone astray. Men and women are filled with extravagance and foolish notions, and they are corrupt in every sense of the word. The churches are corrupted, the people are divided, and the humble man who desires to serve God is laughed at, ridiculed and crowded to the wall, while the man who is bold in iniquity, and shrewd in taking advantage of his fellows, lords it over them. Honesty is far below par, and the virtuous are the butt and ridicule of the wicked. Mingle among men of the world and talk to them about virtue, and they will laugh at you, and if a man is known to be chaste and pure in his thoughts and actions he is ridiculed and sneered at. It is so with everything else that God values. Think of it. Where do you see meek and humble men prospered? You see bold, defiant men—those shrewd in iniquity, get all the advantages, and the man who can take advantage of his neighbor best flourishes most. Is this right? No. I should mourn for the race if I thought so, I should mourn if I thought that this condition of things would forever prevail. God promised in ancient days that in the latter days he would reveal the truth, send forth his servants and gather out his people. He has commenced the work. By the preaching of his word, he has gathered thousands of honest-hearted people who love the truth and who are willing to abide by it. He has given unto them the same spirit that he gave to his servants in ancient days. He has given them the same faith, but they do not always exercise it as they should do, they are overcome of evil; and there are some who call themselves Latter-day Saints who have almost got to believe that there is nothing particularly special in this work, God has not shown himself as they expected. Such persons will sooner or later leave the Church if they do not repent.

There is this about unbelief, brethren and sisters, it is one of the most dreadful feelings, I think, that can assail any human being. I have seen men in this condition, and I have thought while beholding them, that I got a better conception of hell than I ever did from any other exhibition. How, you may ask, shall we guard against this spirit of unbelief? I will tell you. There are some people who, when assailed by doubt, will commence a controversy with the devil, they will argue with him, and give room to him. You should never condescend to any such thing. Just tell him you have nothing to do with him, bid him to get behind you, you have set out to serve God and to keep his commandments, and you are going to do it regardless of him or any of his temptations or snares. Be firm and steadfast, and close your ears against evil influences and everything of that kind. I will tell you a rule by which you may know the Spirit of God from the spirit of evil. The Spirit of God always produces joy and satisfaction of mind. When you have that Spirit you are happy; when you have another spirit you are not happy. The spirit of doubt is the spirit of the evil one; it produces uneasiness and other feelings that interfere with happiness and peace.

It is your privilege, and it ought to be your rule, my brethren and sisters, to always have peace and joy in your hearts. When you wake in the morning and your spirits are disturbed, you may know there is some spirit or influence that is not right. You should never leave your bed chambers until you can get that calm, serene and happy influence that flows from the presence of the Spirit of God, and that is the fruit of that Spirit. So during the day you are apt to get disturbed, angry and irritated about something. You should stop, and not allow that influence to prevail or have place in your heart. “Why,” says one, “not be angry?” No, not be angry, unless righteously so at some great wrong that ought to be reproved. That is not the anger of which I speak. Some people will get angry with their wives, husband, children or friends, and will justify themselves and think they are perfectly right because they have some spirit which prompts them to say harsh things. I have known people give themselves great credit for their frankness and candor for speaking angrily and improperly. “Why,” said they, “it is better to ‘spit’ it out than to keep it in.” I think it is far better to keep it in than to let it out. If you do not speak it, nobody knows how you feel, and certainly the adversary does not get the advantage over you. You do not make a wound.

We of all people should be happy and joyful. When the clouds seem the darkest and most threatening, and as though the storm is ready to burst upon us with all its fury, we should be calm, serene and undisturbed, for if we have the faith we profess to have we know that God is in the storm; in the cloud or in the threatened danger, and that he will not let it come upon us only as far as is necessary for our good and for our salvation, and we should, even then, be calm and rejoice before God and praise him. Yes, if led like the three Hebrew children, to the fiery furnace to be cast therein, or as Dan iel was, into the lions’ den, even then we should preserve our equanimity and our trustfulness in God. I know that some will say, “This is folly and enthusiasm,” but notwithstanding this idea I know that there is a power in the religion of Jesus Christ to sustain men even under these circumstances and they can rejoice in them. Yes, if we had to take our flight into these canyons and mountains to hide from our enemies who were hunting us in the deserts and wilds of this great interior country, we should be as happy then if we loved our religion as we are today. I know that when the Saints crossed these plains in destitution, driven by their enemies from their pleasant places, burying their dead by the wayside, I know that God bestowed peace upon them, and that they rejoiced to as great an extent as they have at any time since.

Brethren and sisters, seek for the faith once delivered to the Saints. I know that faith will grow in you, and it should grow in you and you should instill it into your children, that it may be a fixed principle with them, that we whom God has called from the nations of the earth may be the nucleus of a faith that shall be disseminated until there shall be found amongst us the faith once given to the Saints, and until a race shall spring from us who, like the mighty of ancient days, shall, through faith stop the mouths of lions, put to flight the armies of the aliens, quench the violence of fire and raise their dead to life; until the darkness that enshrouded us and our fathers shall be known no more, and we be prepared for an eternal residence in his presence. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Consecration—Temporal Equality—Selfishness to Be Overcome—Resurrection—Return to Jackson County—Glory of Zion

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the 16th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 9, 1873.

On page 235 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants there is a revelation given to this Church on March 9, 1832, which contains these words:

For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion—For a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven; That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.

We will next read a passage which is contained in the latter part of the 3rd paragraph of a revelation given in March, 1831. It will be found on page 218 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

I will now read a portion of a revelation given on the 22nd of June, 1834. It will be found in paragraph 2, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 295. Speaking of the Church, it reads as follows—

But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.

I have read these passages of new revelation for the benefit of the Latter-day Saints who are here this afternoon, and it is well enough for us to examine ourselves, to see whether we are living in strict accordance with them, and if we are not, to see whether there are any persons throughout all the Territory of Utah who are complying with them. In one of these revelations, given in March, 1831, before the Lord had led this people to Jackson County and before we knew where the New Jerusalem was to be built, or where the great central gathering place for the Latter-day Saints was to be, the Lord informed us, “That it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” Now let me inquire of the Latter-day Saints, Are we all equal in the bonds of earthly things, or have we rich and poor in our midst? The answer that all would give to this question is, every person and every family has accumulated just as much wealth, as he or they could, for his or their own use only, and this order of things has existed amongst us since the Church was organized, nearly forty-three years. How much longer will this continue? How long will every family be for themselves, every man’s energy and ability be exerted only for himself and his family, every man grasping to enrich himself? He does not care about his neighbor, and if he thinks about him at all, the inquiry rises in his mind, “Have I got as much wealth as my neighbor, or as this or that person? If I have not I must strive to obtain as much; for if I have not as much as my neighbors I can hardly think to crowd myself into their society; for I have noticed that our wealthy citizens are creating distinctions of classes among us. If they get up a party in their own private dwellings, or a nice luxurious supper, for instance, it is generally only those who are wealthy in appearance who are invited, and unless I can accumulate as much wealth as they have, I shall be cast out and fall below into some other class.”

I am now talking of facts as they really exist. When do you see a rich man among the Latter-day Saints who, when he makes a great feast, invites the poor and the lame, the halt and blind, and those who are in destitute circumstances? Such events are few and far between. The Savior has strictly commanded us that when we make our feasts, instead of inviting those who have abundance and roll in the good things and luxuries of life, we should invite the poorest among us, the lame, blind and infirm, and those who perhaps have not enough food to eat. Do you Latter-day Saints do this? No, I fear not. There may be persons who are doing these things; if so, blessed are they if they observe this and all the other commandments of the Lord.

What kind of a revolution would it work among the Latter-day Saints if the revelation given in March, 1831, were carried out by them—“It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?” How much of a revolution would it accomplish in Salt Lake City if this order of things should be brought about? I think it would work a greater revolution among this people than has ever been witnessed amongst them since they had an existence as a Church.

Again, in another revelation, given in 1832, soon after the place of location for the city of Zion was made known, the Lord declared that the time had come to establish an order among his people requiring certain persons, whose names were mentioned, to consecrate a portion of their property. They were to put so many dollars into the treasury, and that was to be a common property among those individuals, for their own benefit, and for the benefit of the Church. Among the persons called to enter into this order was the great Prophet and seer of the last days.

This order was entered into partially by the individuals who were named, but even they were not all prepared for this partial order pertaining to the celestial kingdom of God. It was too sacred, too much in opposition to the traditions of the age, and which had existed for many generations. We all know that, since the days of the Apostles, the whole world, except the Nephites and Lamanites on this continent, have been divided in regard to their wealth and property. Among whatever nation you might travel on the eastern hemisphere, and on this hemisphere too, since it was discovered by Columbus and settled by Europeans, this individualism has existed among all classes of people, with a very few exceptions. Among these exceptions we may mention the Shaking Quakers. This sect is in great error in many respects, but its members did enter into a community of property. Their properties were consecrated and put into a storehouse, and were controlled by certain men who were chosen for that purpose. How wisely they used this property or how they lived on this common stock principle is not for me to say; but suffice it to say, that so far as consecration and a community of property were concerned they carried them out. But the great mass of the human family have sought for ages past, and are still seeking, to accumulate dollars and dimes, houses and lands for themselves, to bequeath to their heirs or to whomsoever they see proper. This individualism that has existed all over the world has been one of the principal means of introducing almost all the crimes that exist among men, for as the Apostle Paul has said—“The love of money is the root of all evil.”

The Apostles endeavored to introduce the common stock principle in their day among the Saints, but the people, even then, had been so long accustomed to accumulating wealth for themselves and their families instead of having it in common, that the Apostles found it impossible to establish this principle on a permanent foundation, and it did not continue. It might have been carried out a year or two and perhaps a little longer; but according to the writings of the Apostles to the early Christians, this principle seems to have been done away with, and individualism prevailed amongst them.

Let me inquire now, how this selfish principle produces the great variety of evils that exist in the world? I will refer to some that have sprung from it, and have made their appearance among the Latter-day Saints, and which will increase unless we reform in this respect. For instance, wealthy persons have the power to educate their children more thoroughly than the poor man can. They can send them to the very best schools and institutions of learning, and they can keep them there year after year until they have acquired what is termed a thorough education. Then, their fathers think, “Our sons have been trained in various branches of learning and business, they understand bookkeeping and other branches necessary in following mercantile pursuits; they know how to accumulate means and how to keep everything straight. We can therefore entrust them with the means we shall leave them, and knowing how to make good use of it, they will be able to keep themselves at the head of the heap,” or in other words, they will be above the poor who have not had the education they have had.

A rich man can educate his daughters, and have them taught music and everything calculated to make them refined, polite and genteel. This enables these daughters to fascinate the rich, and should a poor man come along, and knock at the rich man’s door and tell him he desires to keep company with his daughters, he is told that he has no business there. Says the rich man, “My daughters must marry wealthy men, they must be exalted and be with the upper class among the Latter-day Saints.”

The poorer classes, seeing that they have neither the means nor the business education and information to compete with the rich ones, grovel along in poverty and ignorance, and a distinction of classes arises. By and by these rich young men come along with their fine carriages and if a poor man happens to be crossing the street, they look down with scorn and contempt upon him, and cry, “Out of my way there,” when if it had been a wealthy man they would have turned their carriage out of the way until he had passed; but the “poor scrub,” as they term the poor man, must be blackguarded and ridiculed, and treated as a slave or as a person who has no right to be seen in the society of the wealthy.

What kind of feelings does this produce in the hearts of the humble poor who desire and are striving to serve the Lord? They feel in their hearts that they do not fellowship these rich persons, and this causes hard feelings between these classes. Is this right or is it wrong? It is wrong, materially wrong, and we have continued in this wrong over forty years. When shall it come to an end? When will we learn to keep the commandments of God and become one, not only in doctrine but in “the bonds of earthly things?” Such a time must come, and if we do not comply with it, we shall fall behind. I will prophesy to this people on this subject. The Lord commanded me to prophesy when I was about nineteen years old, but I seldom do it, for fear I should prophesy wrong. But I will prophesy concerning this Church and people, that all who will not come into that order of things, when God, by his servants, counsels them so to do, will cease growing in the knowledge of God, they will cease having the Spirit of the Lord to rest upon them, and they will gradually grow darker and darker in their minds, until they lose the Spirit and power of God, and their names will not be numbered with the names of the righteous. You may put that down and record it.

We find, a few years after these revelations that I have read were given, the Lord saw that we were so covetous and filled with the selfish principle instilled into our minds by our forefathers, that we would not give heed to the law which he gave concerning the consecrations that were to be made in Jackson County, Mo., and he determined in his own mind that that should not be a land of Zion unto the present generation of people, take them as a people; and he made this decree, after giving them revelation upon revelation, warning them by the mouth of his servant Joseph, who went in person and warned them, and sent up his revelations a thousand miles from Kirtland and warned them. After they had been sufficiently warned, for some two years and upwards, after their commencement of the settlement of Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord fulfilled that which he had spoken concerning them—that they should be driven out of the land of Zion. This was literally fulfilled. Why? Because of covetousness. You will recollect my reading, I think last Conference, a letter written by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I think it is in the 14th volume of the Star, in connection with the history of this Church published in that periodical. That letter was written to one of the brethren in Zion in relation to the consecrations of the properties of the people. The Lord said in that revelation that the principle which he had revealed in relation to the properties of his Church must be carried out to the very letter upon the land of Zion; and those individuals who would not give heed to it, but sought to obtain their inheritances in an individual way by purchasing it themselves from the Government, should have their names blotted out from the book of the names of the righteous, and if their children pursued the same course their names should be blotted out too, they and their children should not be known in the book of the law of the Lord as being entitled to an inheritance among the Saints in Zion.

We find, therefore, that the Lord drove out this people because we were unworthy to receive our inheritances by consecration. As a people, we did not strictly comply with that which the Lord required. Neither did they comply in Kirtland. Many of those persons were called by name to enter into an inferior order, afterwards called The Order of Enoch, in which only a portion of their property was consecrated, and even they did not comply, but some of them broke the most sacred and solemn covenants made before high Heaven in relation to that order. The Lord said concerning them that they should be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan in this world, as well as be punished in the world to come. He also told them that that soul that sinned and would not comply with the covenant and promise which they made before him in relation to their properties, should have his former sins returned to him, which had been before remitted in baptism.

This ought to be an example for us who are living at a later period in the history of the Church of the living God, and who ought, by this time, to have become thoroughly experienced in the law of God. It is true we are not now required to consecrate all that we have; this law has not been binding upon us since we were driven from the land of Zion. The reason why this law was revoked was because the Lord saw we would all go to destruction in consequence of our former tradition in relation to property if this law had continued to be enforced after we were driven out, hence he revoked it for the time being, as you will find recorded in one of the revelations given June 22nd, 1835, after we were driven from Jackson County. I will repeat the words—“Let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law, be executed and fulfilled after her redemption.” Here you perceive that, for the salvation of this people and of the nations of the earth among the Gentiles, God saw proper to revoke this commandment and to lay it over for a future period, or until after the redemption of Zion. Zion is not yet redeemed, and hence we are not under the law of full consecration. But is that any reason why we should not be under some other law differing from the one we were formerly required to practice? Do we live up to the law called the Order of Enoch, which is inferior to that law requiring full consecrations? No we do not. Let us go down another scale in the ladder of obedience, and inquire if we are carrying out a law inferior to the Order of Enoch, that is, the law of Tithing? Do the Latter-day Saints comply with that, and, to begin with, when they come from the nations of the earth, do they consecrate their surplus property to the Lord, placing it in the hands of the Bishop of his Church, and after that pay one-tenth of their annual income into the treasury of the Lord? Where is there a person carrying out this law which was revealed in the year 1838 and which has never been revoked? It is one of the most simple and inferior laws, far below the order of full consecrations and far below the Order of Enoch, but have we as a people complied with this? I think not. Can you find one out of a hundred persons in Salt Lake City who has carried out this law? Have you done it? The Bishops, whose duty it is to collect the tithing can answer this question better than I can, but I very much doubt whether the records of the Bishops would show that the people have complied with the latter clause of this law—namely to pay one-tenth of their annual income, to say nothing about their surplus property. Are we under condemnation or are we not? Judge ye for yourselves. What will become of this people unless we reform, and repent of our sins in these respects? That which I have already spoken will be fulfilled upon their heads—they will lose the spirit of the Gospel.

We are looking for the redemption of Zion. What would be our condition if the Lord were to say unto us this season, “Arise, my Saints, arise, go back to the land which I promised to give to you and to your children for an everlasting possession; go back and build up the New Jerusalem according to the law of the celestial kingdom,” as recorded in the revelation in which the Lord says unless she be built according to that law he cannot receive her unto himself. What kind of a Zion would we build if called this present season to go back to Jackson County? We would have to begin altogether a new order of things. Are we prepared for it? I think not. If the people had faithfully complied with these inferior laws they would be better prepared: but, when I see the backwardness of many of the people of this Territory calling themselves Latter-day Saints, about paying their tithing, refusing to do so or being careless about it, I say in my heart, “Oh Lord, when will thy people be prepared to go back and build up the waste places of Zion according to celestial law?”

The Lord has said in this book, (B. D. C.) that the time is to come when Zion shall be redeemed. I will read the passage. It commences on page 292, and is as follows—

Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren—your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established no more to be thrown down. Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances. Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence. But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.

In a revelation given June 22nd, 1834, the Lord tells us that before the people of Zion shall be redeemed the army of Israel must become very great. What he meant by this, was “great” compared with the few individuals to whom this revelation was given. It will be recollected that a certain number were required as the strength of the Lord’s house to go up to redeem Zion, as they supposed. They gathered together, some one or two hundred and went up for this purpose; and the Lord said that the strength of his house did not hearken to his voice, and did not come up according to his commandment and revelation, but had said in their hearts, “If this be the work of the Lord, the Lord will redeem Zion, and we will stay at home upon our inheritances.” They made excuses and would not go up. The little handful that did go up were called the Camp of Zion. Some few of them are still living. When we arrived in the neighborhood of the Land of Zion, the strength of the Lord’s house not having hearkened to his voice, the Lord gave a revelation and said first, “Let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations.” How do you suppose we are going to fulfill this, preparatory to the redemption of Zion? Are we now taking a course to sanctify ourselves before the Heavens? It is true that the army of Israel is very great even now when compared with that little handful that went up with the Camp of Zion, but though blessed with numbers, we are not blessed with that sanctification which the Lord has spoken of in that revelation. How much faith have we now, in our disobedience to the law of tithing, and to many other principles? Blessed are they who have faithfully paid their tithing all the time, and blessed are their children, they will receive their inheritance in the Land of Zion, when the Lord shall come. The Lord will bless them and their generations forever. But those who have not complied with this law are not sanctifying themselves before God, neither are they preparing themselves for the redemption of Zion. Their hearts are set upon the foolish things of this world, they are grasping after riches to aggrandize themselves.

This is plain preaching, and perhaps some of you will not like it. I cannot help it, these are the things that present themselves before my mind. There must be a reformation, there will be a reformation among this people, for God will not cast off this kingdom and this people, but he will plead with the strong ones of Zion, he will plead with this people, he will plead with those in high places, he will plead with the Priesthood of this Church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but that it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew somewhere in the regions round about in these mountains. Ask this people if they are willing to abide by the law of God, and how would they vote? The hands of everyone would be up almost without exception, but when it comes to the very point, when consecration in part might be required at their hands, that is the time to prove them and to see whether they would or would not be obedient. “Oh, I have such a fine house, and such a fine carriage and horses, such an abundance of merchandise and good things. It has taken me years and years to get these things, and it is hard to give one-half, three-fourths or nine-tenths of them to establish another order of things, and I rather think I had better keep on the background, and see how the order flourishes. Let others try it first, and if they get on very well and become wealthy, then perhaps I will venture to give a little of my property.” These are the feelings that exist in the hearts of some individuals among the Latter-day Saints, but they have got to be rooted out, or those who give way to them will lose the Spirit of the Lord.

I do not know how many will stand up and obey the law of the Lord unto the sacrifice of all their earthly goods, or how long it will be before people will be called upon to make this sacrifice. I do not know how long it will be before this people are brought to the trying point to see who is and who is not for the Lord; but I would advise the Latter-day Saints to prepare for this, for it may come sooner than some of you expect. If the Lord should undertake to bring about an order of things different from that which now exists, and establish it not exactly in the midst of this people, but in some place where they can commence anew, I hope the people will begin to pray to the Lord, reckon up with themselves and examine their own hearts, and see whether they are willing and prepared, if called upon, to place all that they have, or as much as they are required in that order of things, and carry it out.

When we go back to Jackson County, we are to go back with power. Do you suppose that God will reveal his power among an unsanctified people, who have no regard nor respect for his laws and institutions, but who are filled with covetousness? No. When God shows forth his power among the Latter-day Saints, it will be because there is a union of feeling in regard to doctrine, and in regard to everything that God has placed in their hands; and not only a union, but a sanctification on their part, that there shall not be a spot or wrinkle as it were, but everything shall be as fair as the sun that shines in the heavens.

In order to bring about this, who knows how many chastisements God may yet have to pour out upon the people calling themselves Latter-day Saints? I do not know. Sometimes I fear, when I read certain revelations contained in this book. In one of them the Lord says, “If this people will be obedient to all of my commandments, they shall begin to prevail against their enemies from this very hour, and shall not cease to prevail until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ.” That promise was given almost forty years ago. In the same paragraph it says—“Inasmuch as this people will not be obedient to my commandments and live by every word that I have spoken, I will visit them with sore afflictions, with pestilence, with plague, with sword and with the flame of devouring fire.” Is it not enough to make a person fear when God has spoken this concerning the Latter-day Saints? I do not know all things which await us. One thing I do know—that the righteous need not fear. The Book of Mormon is very express upon this subject. In the last chapter of the first book of Nephi, the Lord, through the Prophet, speaks concerning the building up of Zion in the latter days on the earth. He says his people should be, as it were, in great straits, at certain times, but said the Prophet, “The righteous need not fear, for I will preserve them, if it must needs be that I send down fire from heaven unto the destruction of their enemies.” This will be fulfilled if necessary. Let the righteous among this people abide in their righteousness, and let them cleave unto the Lord their God; and if there are those among them who will not keep his commandments, they will be cleansed out by the judgments of which I have spoken. But if the majority of this people will be faithful, the Lord will preserve them from their enemies, from sword, pestilence and plague, and from every weapon that is lifted against them. God will shield us by his power, if we are to be led forth out of bondage as our fathers were led, at the first. This indicates that there may be bondage ahead, and that the Latter-day Saints may see severe times, and that unless we keep the commandments of God, we may be brought into circumstances that will cause our hearts to tremble within us, that is, those who are not upright before God. But if this people should be brought into bondage, as the Israelites were in ancient days, Zion must be led forth out of bondage, as Israel was at the first. In order to do this God has prophesied that he will raise up a man like unto Moses, who shall lead his people therefrom.

Whether that man is now in existence, or whether it is someone yet to be born; or whether it is our present leader who has led us forth into these valleys of the mountains, whether God will grant unto us the great blessing to have his life spared to lead forth his people like a Moses, we perhaps may not all know. He has done a great and wonderful work in leading forth this people into this land and building up these cities in this desert country; and I feel in my heart to say, Would to God that his life may be prolonged like Moses, in days of old, who, when he was eighty years old, was sent forth to redeem the people of Israel from bondage. God is not under the necessity of choosing a young man, he can make a man eighty years of age full of vigor, strength and health, and he may spare our present leader to lead this people on our return to Jackson County. But whether it be he or some other person, God will surely fulfill this promise. This was given before our Prophet Joseph Smith was taken out of our midst. Many of us no doubt thought when that revelation was given that Joseph would be the man. I was in hopes it would be Joseph, for I had no idea that he was going to be slain, although I might have known from certain revelations that such would probably be the case, for the Lord had said unto him, before the rise of this Church, that he would grant unto him eternal life even though he should be slain, which certainly was an indication that he might be slain. But we still were in hopes that he would live and that he would be the man who, like Moses, would lead this people from bondage. I do not know but he will yet. God’s arm is not shortened that he cannot raise him up even from the tomb. We are living in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the dispensation of the resurrection, and there may be some who will wake from their tombs for certain purposes and to bring to pass certain transactions on the earth decreed by the Great Jehovah; and if the Lord sees proper to bring forth that man just before the winding up scene to lead forth the army of Israel, he will do so. And if he feels disposed to send him forth as a spiritual personage to lead the camp of Israel to the land of their inheritance, all right. But be this as it may, whether he is the man, whether President Young is the man, or whether the Lord shall hereafter raise up a man, for that purpose, we do know that when that day comes the Lord will not only send his angels before the army of Israel, but his presence will also be there.

Do you suppose that the Lord will suffer any unclean thing to be in that army? Not at all, for his angels and he himself are to go before us. God will not dwell in the midst of a people who will not sanctify themselves before him. That is the rea son why he withdrew his presence from ancient Israel. Moses sought diligently to sanctify that numerous people and to bring them into subjection to the law of God; he endeavored to teach them the higher Gospel ordinances and law, which would have exalted them into the celestial kingdom of God, but he could not do it; they were a hardhearted, stiffnecked people and they would not give heed to his words or to the words of the Lord; and in the absence of Moses they made to themselves a golden calf and worshipped it as the God who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. If we follow in the same track and make to ourselves golden gods, and heap up the treasures of the earth and worship and think more of them than of the laws of heaven, we may fall under the same example of unbelief and transgression, and under the same judgment that came upon ancient Israel. But Moses was not to blame, for he sought diligently to sanctify them, but when they transgressed time after time, God became so angry with them that he finally swore in his wrath that he would not go up in the midst of that people, lest he should break forth in his anger and fury and consume them in a moment. That was the way he felt towards them because of their sinfulness, and in order that they might not be consumed, but that a remnant might be spared, and that seed might be raised up to old father Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, he withdrew his presence from the midst of the camp of Israel. But he did not forsake them entirely. Said he, “Mine angel may go before you. You may have an angel and you may have Moses for a season, but I will not go with you.” He swore that that people, in the wilderness, should not enter into his rest, which rest is the fullness of his glory.

It is to be hoped that there will be nothing of this kind among the armies of Israel in the latter days. We have the promise of the Almighty, and I hope that it will never be revoked, that “I say not unto you as I said to your fathers, my angel shall go before you, but not my presence, but I say unto you that my angel shall go before you and also my presence.” In order for the presence of God to go with us we must retain the higher Priesthood, for without that and the ordinances thereunto pertaining, no man can behold the face of God and live; therefore if we would retain this higher Priesthood we must sanctify ourselves through obedience to the higher laws. If we do this, we can then claim the fulfillment of this promise which the Lord has made and which I have repeated, that his presence shall go with us.

I expect that when the Lord leads forth his people to build up the city of Zion, his presence will be visible. When we speak of the presence of the Lord we speak of an exhibition of power. His presence was with the children of Israel as a cloud by day, and as the shining of a flaming fire by night. Though Israel were not worthy to enter the tabernacle and behold the personage of the Lord and to talk with him, yet Moses, not having forfeited that right, could enter into the tabernacle of the Lord while his glory rested upon it, and he could talk to the Lord face to face. Why? Because he held the higher Priesthood and had been obedient to the higher law and had attended to the higher ordinances. He was not subjected to the law of carnal commandments, he had sanctified himself so that he could endure the presence of the Lord and not be consumed.

We shall go back to Jackson County. Not that all this people will leave these mountains, or all be gathered together in a camp, but when we go back there will be a very large organization consisting of thousands, and tens of thousands, and they will march forward, the glory of God overshadowing their camp by day in the form of a cloud, and a pillar of flaming fire by night, the Lord’s voice being uttered forth before his army. Such a period will come in the history of this people, and when it arrives the mountains and the hills will be ready to break forth with a loud voice before the Lord’s army, and the very trees of the field will wave to and fro by the power of God, and clap like hands. The everlasting hills will rejoice, and they will tremble before the presence of the Lord; and his people will go forth and build up Zion according to celestial law.

Will not this produce terror upon all the nations of the earth? Will not armies of this description, though they may not be as numerous as the armies of the world, cause a terror to fall upon the nations? The Lord says the banners of Zion shall be terrible. If only one or two millions of this people were to go down and build the waste places of Zion, would it strike the people of Asia and Europe with terror? Not particularly, unless there was some supernatural power made manifest. But when the Lord’s presence is there, when his voice is heard, and his angels go before the camp, it will be telegraphed to the uttermost parts of the earth and fear will seize upon all people, especially the wicked, and the knees of the ungodly will tremble in that day, and the high ones that are on high, and the great men of the earth.

We shall in due time walk forth into Jackson County and build up the waste places of Zion. We shall erect in that county a beautiful city after the order and pattern that the Lord shall reveal, part of which has already been revealed. God intends to have a city built up that will never be destroyed nor overcome, but that will exist while eternity shall endure; and he will point out the pattern and show the order of architecture; he will show unto his servants the nature of the streets and the pavement thereof, the kind of precious stones that shall enter into the buildings, the nature of the rock and precious stones that will adorn the gates and the walls of that city; for the gates will be open continually says the Prophet Isaiah, that men may bring in the force of the Gentiles.

The nature of the city of Zion is nowhere fully described. John the revelator has described in his 21st chapter, two cities coming down from God out of heaven. The first one is the New Jerusalem. That will come down on the land of Joseph. After John had seen that, one of the angels who had one of the vials of the seven last plagues came to him and said, “Come hither, John, and I will show you another city, that is that great city, the holy Jerusalem.” He took him to the summit of a high mountain and showed him that great city descending from God out of heaven, and John describes that city, the height of its walls, the number of its gates, the names that are to be upon the gates, and a great many particulars in relation to that city are clearly revealed. But the New Jerusalem is nowhere so fully described, only as the Psalmist David says, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” David also says, in speaking of this same city, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” From these declarations we can at least believe that Zion will be a very beautiful city—“the perfection of beauty,” whether it is constructed after the order of the old Jerusalem or not. Suffice it to say that God by revelation will inspire his servants and will dictate to them the order of the buildings of that city—the number and width of the streets, the kind of houses, the character of the Temple that is to be built therein, the kind of rock, timber and the various materials that will have to be brought from a distance to enter into the composition of that beautiful city.

When the Temple is built the sons of the two Priesthoods, that is, those who are ordained to the Priesthood of Melchizedek, that Priesthood which is after the order of the Son of God, with all its appendages; and those who have been ordained to the Priesthood of Aaron with all its appendages, the former called the sons of Moses, the latter the sons of Aaron, will enter into that Temple in this generation, or in the generation that was living in 1832, and all of them who are pure in heart will behold the face of the Lord and that too before he comes in his glory in the clouds of heaven, for he will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple an offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In doing this, he will purify not only the minds of the Priesthood in that Temple, but he will purify their bodies until they shall be quickened, renewed and strengthened, and they will be partially changed, not to immortality, but changed in part that they can be filled with the power of God, and they can stand in the presence of Jesus, and behold his face in the midst of that Temple.

This will prepare them for further ministrations among the nations of the earth, it will prepare them to go forth in the days of tribulation and vengeance upon the nations of the wicked, when God will smite them with pestilence, plague and earthquake, such as former generations never knew. Then the servants of God will need to be armed with the power of God, they will need to have that sealing blessing pronounced upon their foreheads that they can stand forth in the midst of these desolations and plagues and not be overcome by them. When John the Revelator describes this scene he says he saw four angels sent forth, ready to hold the four winds that should blow from the four quarters of heaven. Another angel ascended from the east and cried to the four angels, and said, “Smite not the earth now, but wait a little while.” “How long?” “Until the servants of our God are sealed in their foreheads.” What for? To prepare them to stand forth in the midst of these desolations and plagues, and not be overcome. When they are prepared, when they have received a renewal of their bodies in the Lord’s Temple, and have been filled with the Holy Ghost and purified as gold and silver in a furnace of fire, then they will be prepared to stand before the nations of the earth and preach glad tidings of salvation in the midst of judgments that are to come like a whirlwind upon the wicked.

I intended to lay before you some things pertaining to the order of full consecration that will be observed when we get back to Jackson County, but time will not permit to enter into that now.

May God bless you, Amen.




His Acquaintance With the Deceased—Incidents in the Latter’s Life Since He Joined the Church

Remarks by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the Funeral Services of Elder William Pitt, in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, Feb. 23, 1873.

My friends here kindly granted me the privilege of making some opening remarks on this occasion. I had an appointment in Ogden today, but when I heard of the death of brother Pitt, I felt as though I wanted to attend his funeral. If I had heard that one of my own family had dropped dead I should not have been more surprised than I was when I heard of the death of brother Pitt. I was conversing with him in the street, I think the day before he was hurt, and he was then, apparently, cheerful, comfortable, well and happy. When I heard that he was dead, I immediately went to his house, visited his family and saw his body. I will say that I seldom or ever give way to weeping, either for the living or the dead, but upon this occasion, when I saw his body lie cold in death, all the early scenes of my acquaintance with him in the Herefordshire mission rushed upon me like a whirlwind, and I confess that I manifested a good deal of weakness in giving way to weeping before the family. Solomon says there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to rejoice; and there are times when reason will excuse weeping. Anthony said, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” yet Anthony did, on that occasion, portray before the Senate and citizens of Rome the virtues of Caesar in his public life. We have come to bury brother Pitt, and I do not consider it wrong to speak of the virtues and good deeds of the dead any more than of those of the living.

My first acquaintance with brother Pitt was of such a character as to cause the formation of ties between us of no ordinary nature, as it is, I may say, with all the associations of the Elders of Israel. The world know nothing about these ties. The ties they form together are very different from those formed between the servants of God, who are associated together in the Holy Priesthood and by the power of the Holy Ghost and the inspiration of the Lord our God. These are ties that no men comprehend unless they occupy the same position that we occupy. I have found this in my whole career with this Church and kingdom. I love the brethren and the Saints of God, because we are associated together in a great, noble and Godlike cause; and these associations are to ourselves, and what more can a man do than lay down his life for his friend? How many are there in this room and in this Church and kingdom, who, in case of necessity, would be willing to lay down their lives to save their brethren? There are thousands of them.

I wish, and feel that it is my privilege, to refer to my first acquaintance with brother Pitt, whose body lies before us today. The history of the Herefordshire mission is before the world and before the Church, and I wish in a few words to refer to that mission, for it was there that I became acquainted with brother Pitt. Brother Taylor and I were the first two of the Quorum of the Twelve who arrived in England in 1840. Brother Taylor went to Liverpool, and I went to the Staffordshire potteries. I labored there with brother Alfred Cordon, who is now in the spirit world. We were preaching almost every night, and we baptized some nearly every meeting. It was a very good mission.

Some eighty miles from there, in Herefordshire, there were people who had never seen a Latter-day Saint, and never heard the Gospel. Some six hundred of them had broken off from the Wesleyan Methodists, and called themselves the “United Brethren.” They were under the presidency of Elder Thos. Kington. They were searching for light and truth. As a body they had called upon the Lord, and had advanced just as far as they could with what light they had. They prayed to the Lord that he would open the way before them, that they might advance in the things of his kingdom. While in this position I went one evening to fill an appointment in the Town Hall, at the town of Hanley. There was a very large congregation, and I had appointments out for two or three weeks in that town and adjacent villages. As I went to take my seat the Spirit of the Lord came upon me and said to me, “This is the last meeting you will hold with this people for many days.” I was surprised, because I did not know, of course what the Lord wanted me to do. I told the assembly when I rose, “This is the last meeting I shall hold with you for many days.” They asked me after meeting where I was going. I told them I did not know. I went before the Lord in my closet and asked him where he wished me to go, and all the answer I could get was to go to the South. I got into a stage and rode eighty miles south, as I was led by the Spirit of the Lord. The first man’s house I went into was John Benbow’s. He lives now down here at Cottonwood. I had some conversation with Brother Benbow, and I told him that the Lord had sent me to that place. But without wishing to dwell on this subject particularly I will say that I learned that there were six hundred people there, under Elder Kington, called United Brethren, and that they had been praying to the Lord for guidance in the way of life and salvation. Then I knew why the Lord had sent me to that place—he had sent them what they had been praying for. I commenced preaching the Gospel to them, and I also commenced baptizing, Elder Pitt being among the first who was baptized by me into this Church and kingdom. The first thirty days after I arrived there I had baptized forty-five preachers, which flung nearly fifty preaching places, licensed by law, into my hands; and out of the six hundred belonging to Elder Kington’s body all were baptized but one in seven months’ labor. I brought eighteen hundred into the Church in that mission, and I will say that the power of God rested upon me and upon the people. There was a spirit to convince and a people whose hearts were open and ready to receive the Gospel. And as Jesus said in reference to John, that all Judea and Jerusalem went out to John’s baptism, I felt as if all Herefordshire was coming to be baptized. The third meeting that I held at Brother Benbow’s, the rector of the place sent a constable to take me up. I was just about to begin when he entered. I said to him, “Take a chair until after meeting and I will attend to you.” He sat down and when I got through he came forward and I baptized him with others. He went back and told the rector, “If you want to take up that man you must go yourself, I have heard him preach the first Gospel sermon I ever heard in the world.” Almost every man that came to meeting was baptized.

I did not see Elder Kington for some little time after going there; and when I did see him he came to me as the leader of the people. I laid before him the Gospel. He said, “If it is true, I wish to embrace it; if not, I shall oppose it.” I said, “That is right.” But I made a covenant with him. I said to him, “If you will go before the Lord and ask him if this work is true, I promise you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you shall receive a testimony for yourself if you will promise to obey it.” He said he would, and he went away to attend to his appointments. The next time he came to Brother Benbow’s; a few days afterwards, I asked him if he had enquired of the Lord. He said he had. “What did the Lord tell you?” “He told me it was true; and he then said he was ready to obey the Gospel, and I baptized him. I name this because as soon as Brother Pitt heard this Gospel he obeyed it, and he was one of the leading men in the choir of the Church of England in Dimock. I now wish to relate a circumstance concerning him. The first meeting I held in Elder Kington’s house brother Pitt was present. I will say first, however, that Mary Pitt, brother Pitt’s sister, was something like the lame man who lay at the gate of the Temple called “Beautiful” at Jerusalem—she had not been able to walk a step for fourteen years; and was confined to her bed nearly half that time. She had no strength in her feet and ankles and could only move about a little with a crutch or holding on to a chair. She wished to be baptized. Brother Pitt and myself took her in our arms, and carried her into the water and I baptized her. When she came out of the water I confirmed her. She said she wanted to be healed and she believed she had faith enough to be healed. I had had experience enough in this Church to know that it required a good deal of faith to heal a person who had not walked a step for fourteen years. I told her that according to her faith it should be unto her. It so happened that on the day after she was baptized, Brother Richards and President Brigham Young came down to see me. We met at Brother Kington’s. Sister Mary Pitt was there also. I told President Young what Sister Pitt wished, and that she believed she had faith enough to be healed. We prayed for her and laid hands upon her. Brother Young was mouth, and commanded her to be made whole. She laid down her crutch and never used it after, and the next day she walked three miles. This created a great deal of anger and madness in the feelings of the rector of that town. We had baptized Brother Pitt, and this took one from his choir of singers, and he felt angry. We were holding a meeting at Elder Kington’s house one evening, when these things were taking place. The house had very heavy shutters on the windows of the first story. We had these shutters closed, and I rose to preach. The rector came at the head of about fifty men armed with rocks about the size of a man’s fist, or larger than that. They surrounded the house, and for about half an hour the house was battered with rocks like a hailstorm, the whole of the windows of the second story being stove in and the glass all broken. I told brother Pitt that I would go and see these men. He said, “No, I will go, you will be injured if you go.” He went out into the midst of this mob, of about fifty, I should judge—I do not know the number. He took their names, and the rector was the leader. They stoned brother Pitt back to the house, but as we had finished meeting they left. We had to clear the house of broken glass and rocks before we could retire to bed. I name this because it was one of Brother Pitt’s first labors with me, and I will say that from that time until the present he has been a true and faithful servant of God, and of this Church.

Associations of this kind have been formed by all the Elders of Israel who have gone abroad into the vineyard to preach the Gospel. We go forth and gather strangers to us in the flesh, but they embrace the same testimony and Gospel with ourselves. This was the case with brother Pitt. I do not mourn for him, I did not when I was at his house; but all these scenes and early associations rushed on my mind, and as I gazed upon him, and thought of the way he had been stricken down, taken away from us, when to all human appearance he was but an hour before, as it were, enjoying health and strength and attending to the duties of life, I realized that in the midst of life we are in death.

In his associations with this Church and kingdom brother Pitt was leader of the Nauvoo brass band for a long time; he has also been associated with the various bands here; and in his associations with the people he made a great many friends, to whom he was endeared because of his many virtues and good deeds and his disposition and desire to serve God. I am certainly glad to see so many friends gathered together to honor his remains. When I realize that a man like him has lived, heard the Gospel, embraced it and has fulfilled the measure of his day, what can we say about him? Can we mourn because he is gone? Bless your soul, he is with Joseph today, and with others of the Elders of Israel, and he rejoices with them. Whether his spirit is here witnessing his funeral services I cannot say, it is not revealed to me; but suffice it to say that he is happy, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.

I do not know whether brother Pitt has preached much in the world, but I do know that he has labored for the benefit of the Saints of God. But he will preach now. He has gone to the other side of the veil, and he will preach there to large assemblies of spirits. He has been faithful and he will receive a crown of life. His body will lie in the tomb a few years, and but a few. His death is a loss to his wife and children, and the parting is grievous. But how glorious is the thought that there is a victory over the grave! In Adam all died, but in Christ all are made alive. Christ was the firstfruits of the resurrection. This is a glorious thought to me when I see a Latter-day Saint lie down with the harness on, true and faithful until he has wound up his work.

Out of that 1,800 which we baptized in Herefordshire in seven months, I hardly know one that has turned against this Church. There has been less apostasy out of that branch of the Church and kingdom of God than out of the same number from any part of the world that I am acquainted with.

We are called every day or two to bury some of them. A good many of them are still living. Some of them are Bishops—bro. Clark, bro. Rowberry, and a good many of them scattered all through this Territory. Old father Kington is still living or was the last I heard of him, though near the grave. They are passing away, and when I went to see brother Pitt’s body, the thought came to me, Whose turn to go next? Maybe mine, maybe yours, we cannot tell anything about it. These things should be an admonition to us to be true and faithful while we dwell here. The thought that we can obey and be sanctified by the Gospel, and be prepared thereby to inherit eternal life, is one of the most glorious principles ever revealed to man. I thank God that I live in this day and age of the world. I thank God that I have been associated with such a class of men and women as those who are gathered today in the valleys of the mountains. They are the people whom the Lord has chosen. We have a hope that the world knows not of, and it cannot enter into their thoughts. Unless they are born of the Spirit of God, they cannot even see the kingdom of God, and they cannot get into it unless they are born of the water and of the Spirit, hence they cannot share in the joyous anticipations and hopes that we possess. Their eyes, ears and hearts are not opened to see and hear and feel the power of the Gospel of Christ.

Brother Pitt has gone before his family to prepare a place for them. I say to them, let your hearts rejoice before the Lord. You are left alone, he has gone before you, but he will prepare the way. He is not going to lie in the spirit world without having something to do. There those who have gone before us have something to do as well as we have here. They are laboring to prepare the inhabitants of the Spirit world for the coming of Christ, the same as we are trying to prepare the inhabitants of the earth for the same great event.

I do not wish to occupy a great deal of time, but I will say to my brethren and sisters this morning, It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. Death is the end of all men. The living should lay this to heart. My associations with brother Pitt have been of the most joyful and consoling character. We associated together a good while in that land, while I dwelt there; and we have been since, both in Nauvoo and this place. I was always glad to meet him. I met him often in the streets, and we scarcely ever met without referring to former times, and if I can only have as good a glory, and lie down as he has—die the death of the righteous—and have as good a reward, I shall think myself very well off. I consider that when a man has embraced the Gospel, continued faithful, received his endowments and the sealing blessings of God upon his head, as brother Pitt has, he has accomplished the object for which he was created.

In closing my remarks I will say that I am thankful for the associations I have had with brother Pitt, and with the rest of my brethren and the Saints. This is the Gospel of Christ; this is the Zion and kingdom of God. The hand of God is stretched out for the salvation of this people, and however dark the clouds may appear; however strong persecution, oppression and opposition may become to this work, the Lord has, from its commencement, until today watched over its interests, and has sustained and preserved it, and he will continue to do so until its consummation; until Zion arises and puts on her beautiful garments, and all the great events of the last days are accomplished. Then, in the morning of the first resurrection, brother Pitt will come forth, and he and his family will be reunited, and they and all the faithful will receive their exaltation. This is a glorious thought! We should prize our families, and the associations we have together, remembering that if we are faithful we shall inherit glory, immortality and eternal life, and this is the greatest of all the gifts of God to man.

I pray that God will bless you, that he will comfort the hearts of the family of brother Pitt, that he will feed and clothe them, and unite them together, and preserve them in the faith, that when they get through with this world, they may meet their companion and be prepared with him to receive exal tation and glory, which may God grant in the name of Jesus, our Redeemer, Amen.




Certainty of Death—By the Spirit of God the Saints Obtain the Fullness of the Blessings of the Gospel—God Will Take Care of His People

Remarks by Elder John Taylor, delivered at the Funeral Services of Elder Wm. Pitt, Delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, February 23, 1873.

I have been very much interested in the remarks made by Elder Woodruff in regard to his mission to Herefordshire, and more particularly in regard to brother Pitt, whom I have always regarded as a high-minded, honorable man, one who feared God and worked righteousness, and a man from whom, in all my acquaintance with him, I never heard one remark that was inimical to his character or reputation as a man, as a Saint or in any capacity. We have often been very much delighted with the music that he made for us, both in this town and in other places where we have sojourned. Now he has gone, and has taken the same course as every person that ever lived, with the exception of two or three individuals. There is something peculiar about these things that always creates with me a solemnity of feeling. Not, as brother Woodruff said, that I mourn the loss of a good man when he has gone. I do not, I have not the slightest feeling of this kind; but when I reflect upon the position of the world that we live in, and of humanity in general, look back through the dark lapse of ages that have transpired and contemplate the millions upon millions, and hundreds of thousands of millions who have inhabited this earth, and that they have all of them gone, we see that there is no staying of these things, no arresting the course of destiny, no stopping the hand of fate, or the power of the destroyer. An eternal decree has gone forth, and it is appointed for all men once to die. It is impossible for us to evade this, and with the exception of the very few to whom I have before referred, all men have paid the great debt of Nature. The human body may be propped up through the ingenuity, nursing and care of man for some time, but like a sweeping flood, although you may dam up the water from its natural course and arrest it in its progress and keep it back, back, back, for a while, yet by and by it will rush over its barriers, seek its natural channel, pursue its own course and find its own resting place. So it is with the human family. We come into the world, we exist for a short time, then we are taken away, no matter what our feelings, ideas or faith may be, they have nothing to do with this great universal law which pervades all nature.

We are here to exhibit our sympathy and affection for our brother whom we respect and esteem, that is all we can do. Who is there that can stay the hand of death? What talent, what ingenuity, what philosophy, religion, science or power of any kind? Who possesses that power, individually in this assembly or combined to say to the great monster death, Stand back, thou shalt not take thy victims? There is no such person, there is no such power, no such influence, such a principal does not exist, and it never will exist until the last enemy is destroyed, which the Scriptures tell us is death. But death shall be destroyed, and all then, even all the human family, shall burst the barriers of the tomb and come forth—those who have done good to the resurrection of the just. Then and not till then will that influence, that fell tyrant be destroyed. There is something about that interesting to us, while the world of mankind are thoughtless and careless, and desire not to retain God in their knowledge, and wish to put away from them everything pertaining to him and eternity. We, as Latter-day Saints, if our hearts, feelings, affec tions and desires are placed upon those things that pertain to the future, look back to our associations, as brother Woodruff looked back to his first associations with bro. Pitt when first the light of eternal truth beamed upon his mind. We look back to the feelings that influenced brother Woodruff when inspired by the Spirit of the living God to go to that place where those people had been calling upon the same God for light and truth, intelligence and revelation and a knowledge of his law and of his purposes, and while God was leading them forth, he was leading brother Woodruff by the same Spirit and power. We reflect upon these things with pleasure. It is satisfactory to know that the hand of God has been with us, that his power has been with this Priesthood, that the Spirit of the Lord God has been associated with them, and that the promises of God have been fulfilled to the Elders when he said he would send his Angels and Spirit before them. I have rejoiced thousands of times with brother Woodruff over these things, and I was talking with brother Pitt about them not long ago, and his countenance lighted up, his eye was bright and brilliant, and his soul seemed to rejoice at the recollection. It is pleasant to reflect upon these principles of the Gospel, and there is something in relation to the future that animates our feelings and desires.

We are gathered here, a peculiar people under the direction and Spirit of the living God; and our gathering has been effected by the revelations of the Lord. Some of us have been gathered in one way, some in another, operated upon and influenced in a variety of ways. And what is our idea in gathering? Is it simply to plant, sow, reap and to accumulate a little worldly goods around us and then lie down in the dust and occupy a small space of two feet by six? Is this the object of our gathering? Verily no. Something higher than this dwells in the bosoms of the Latter-day Saints; they are actuated by another spirit and influence. The Spirit of the living God has beamed upon their minds, drawn back the dark vista of the future and unfolded unto them principles of eternal lives, and they are looking forward to honor, immortality and eternal lives in the kingdom of God. These are the feelings and influences, and this the spirit by which we are actuated. We have obtained a knowledge of our Father who dwells in the heavens. We have partaken of the Spirit of the living God, which has flowed unto us through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our minds have been, as it were, torn from the groveling things of time and sense, and we feel as though we are eternal beings, associated with an eternal religion, with everlasting principles, sustained by an eternal God who governs, controls and manages all the affairs of the human family on the face of the earth, and will in the world to come. Feeling thus we rejoice in the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel of peace. This is the Spirit that the living God has imparted unto us; and though the world are thoughtless, careless and forgetful, and sometimes in their ignorance seek to oppose us, we care nothing about that. Why, our life is hid with Christ in God. Do you know it? Do the world know it? No, they cannot perceive it, they know nothing about it, it is out of their ken. They cannot comprehend the principles, feelings, spirit, light, intelligence, visions and manifesta tions of the Spirit of God that dwell in the hearts of men when they are under the influence of the Spirit of God. They neither know their peace nor the prospects which lie before them. They are like the brute beasts, which the Scriptures say are made to be taken and destroyed, just like the ox that you feed until he is fat—he does not know that the knife is going to pierce him by and by. But the Saints understand something about the future. They have begun to live forever. They have obtained the Spirit of life and truth and intelligence. They have a hope that blooms with immortality and eternal life. They know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle dissolves they have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Knowing this they feel that all is right. They feel just as Jesus said to his disciples—Don’t care anything about these fellows who can only kill the body, and when they have done that there is an end of their rope, the extent of their power, they can go no further, but like the other worms of the earth they have got to fall down, and crumble and be preyed upon by worms; but fear him who, after he has killed has power to cast into hell. “Yea,” said he, “I say unto you, fear him.” You Latter-day Saints, fear not any outside influences, fear no power or spirit that may be arrayed against you. Put your trust in the living God and all will be right in time and in eternity. God will take care of his people. He has commenced a work and he will roll that forth, and woe to the man that fights against Jehovah—he will move him out of the way. Like the grass or flowers of the field all such will pass away, but God’s kingdom and people will live and extend, grow and increase until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. Then that man whose remains now lie before us, and millions of others, shall be heard to say, “Glory and honor and power, and might and majesty and dominion be ascribed to him that sits on the throne and unto the Lamb forever.”

God bless you. It is all right with brother Pitt. Is it right with us? Let us live our religion, keep the commandments of God, walk according to the light of truth, follow, as brother Woodruff said he did, the leadings of the Spirit of God, and that will lead us into all truth, and by and by, to thrones, principalities, and powers in the eternal worlds. May God help us to be faithful, in the name of Jesus: Amen.




Character of the Deceased—Manifestations of the Power of God—The Saints Have No Interest Apart From the Kingdom of God—The Fear of Death

Remarks by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at the Funeral Services of Elder Wm. Pitt, in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, February 23, 1873.

I have been associated with brother Pitt a good many years. He taught music in my family as early, I think, as 1842, and I have been very intimately associated with him in the public works, in the Legion, and in the band that he has led, and I have never seen that man when he was not cheerful and full of life, indeed I have thought he had more music in him than any man I have ever known. If there was a musical instrument he could not play, I do not know what it is. He was al ways faithful and cheerful under the most trying circumstances, and no matter what blast blew of difficulty or persecution, brother Pitt was there on hand at a moment’s notice full of life and music, ready to cheer the hearts of the people. He was a beautiful painter, and followed that trade for his subsistence. He was always industrious, and ready to do a job of work whether he could get anything for it or not. It made no difference, it was for the kingdom, and it was all right. He was one of the best of men in my opinion, and as has been said, it is all well with him.

I suppose there are a great many here who would like to bear testimony and speak a good word for brother Pitt; but, brethren, he does not need it—his whole life has spoken for itself, and will speak eternally. That mission that brother Woodruff has mentioned was just as remarkable in my estimation, if not more so, than the account contained in the New Testament, of the way in which Cornelius received the Gospel. He was told where to go to make inquiry about what he should do; and if the circumstance brother Woodruff mentioned had been put in the same language and had the antiquity that the baptism of Cornelius has, we would consider it one of the most remarkable manifestations of God’s power ever given to the children of men. In the Herefordshire mission there was not only one man and his house ready to receive the Gospel, but six hundred received it and were baptized, and it was by the same power and influence—the power of God and the Holy Ghost resting upon them, a revelation being also given to the servant of God to carry the Gospel to them; and he was sent of God just as much as Peter was ever authorized to go and tell Cornelius, just exactly. And this is only one instance of the kind among many thousands that are occurring and have occurred almost daily ever since this work commenced in these last days; and it is as remarkable as any we read of in the Bible; but because we live in them and they are common things with us, we do not esteem them. The healing of sister Mary Pitt, after having been unable to walk for fourteen years, was a remarkable manifestation of the power of God. And such things have been transpiring many years right before the face and eyes of the children of men throughout the nations of the earth, but what heed do they give to them? They read over in the Bible about the great blessings that were poured out on the people in the days of the Apostles, and yet see things equally remarkable transpiring right under their eyes and in their midst continually, and take no notice of it. The work of God is growing and increasing, and the God of heaven will not go back upon it; his work will spread and increase until his purposes are all fulfilled.

It has been said of brother Pitt that he did not preach much, but his whole life has been a continual sermon to this generation since he received the Gospel, and before for aught I know. I think that he has performed two or three missions, and I do know that he bore a faithful testimony to the truth of this work, not only by his words but by his acts. He was on a mission all the time. He did not hold himself to himself at any time, but he was continually on the altar, ready to go and to come as he was directed by the servants of God. A man is as much on a mission at home, building up Zion, as he is when abroad preaching the Gospel, and he should esteem his labors under the direction and dictation of the servants of God just the same. Here is where a good many make mistakes. They think that unless they are called to go on a mission to preach the Gospel they are not on a mission at all, but their only business is to look after their own individual interests. Why, a Latter-day Saint has no individual interest separate and apart from the kingdom of God, anywhere, at any time and in any place, and all he does should be with an eye to advance the interests of that kingdom upon the earth.

We have the blessed privilege of being co-workers with the Almighty in building up his kingdom, bringing to pass his purposes and in sustaining and spreading abroad the institutions of high heaven and the principles of the everlasting Gospel in the earth if we will only let him work with us. But in order to do so we must be submissive and work in accordance with his plan. We have come here from the nations of the earth to be taught in his ways, not that we may make a path for ourselves, and that we maybe instructed in the things of eternal life, and learn to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, for this is eternal life.

This is Scripture, and we have often heard it drop upon our ears with little effect, and it is unnoticed by the world. But if to know the only true and wise God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent is eternal life, unless we have that knowledge we have not eternal life. What do the world know of the relationship between God and his children here on the earth. Nothing at all. The world is without the knowledge of God, hence they are without eternal life. He has revealed himself in these last days, and is begging and beseeching his children here on the earth to turn from their evil ways. He has said through his Prophets long ago, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Take upon you my yoke, for it is easy, and my burden, for it is light. Come and partake of the waters of life freely, without money and without price.” This is the invitation from God to his children, but they are a good deal like the inhabitants of Jerusalem when Jesus mourned over them and said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but ye would not. Now your house is left unto you desolate.” Let this generation look to it, or their house will be left desolate, and they will be without hope of reaching to that within the veil unless they receive the invitation which has been renewed in our day and generation to the children of men, to repent and be baptized, and to turn to God and live. It seems as if mankind have ears and hear not, eyes and see not, hearts and do not comprehend the things of God. It is true, as was observed by brother Taylor, the life of the Christian—the true Latter-day Saint, is hid in God, and the world cannot see it. This work is transpiring and these remarkable events are taking place right before their eyes in the building up of this kingdom, and nothing pertaining thereto is hidden, but it is like a city set on a hill for everybody to look at, still it seems as though they cannot see it.

There are a great many Latter-day Saints who do not see more than half of it. They cannot see the kingdom of God in this thing and in that thing and in the other thing that is presented before them. This is for the want of a little faithfulness, a little more of the Spirit of the Lord. There is some obstacle in the way which prevents a free flow of the Spirit to enlighten their minds and be to them as a well of water springing up to eternal life.

Meet brother Pitt when you might, you would find that feeling in his heart, welling up continually to eternal life. That was the kind of man he was. I know it, because I was well acquainted with him, and associated with him frequently, and I never saw him without it. I saw him almost every day for years, and I hope it will be as well with us as it is with him when we pass the ordeal of death. We all have to pass it. In and of itself it is nothing to him who is prepared. Brother Pitt might have done a great many things perhaps that some people thought curious, for he was a cheerful man, not one of those long-drawn-down, pious souls who never smiled. A person unacquainted with him might have supposed that he never had a serious thought, still his heart was full of love to God. If a man goes about with a handkerchief tied over his head, and his head bowed down with sorrow for the sins of the world, that is no evidence to me of love to God shed abroad in his heart, not a particle. I would sooner risk a man like brother Pitt, who was always cheerful and on hand, ready to go and come and to do his duty, whether in the paint shop, in the dance hall or anywhere else among the Saints of God. His delight was to be with them and cheer and encourage them in the faith; and he never swerved to the right or to the left. He was full of integrity. Did he ever have a doubt concerning the work? He never showed the least symptom of it to me, and I do not think it ever occurred to him; I do not believe a shadow of a doubt concerning its truth ever crossed his mind. He was ready, on hand, and full of fun, and that is the kind of a man I like to see. I should like for him to have lived a hundred years, because good men are scarce, and they are needed to build up the kingdom. Not that it would have been any better for him to live, he is all right, but for the sake of the kingdom, and for my sake and your sake, and for the sake of his family, and for the sake of all with whom he was associated in this stake of Zion it is a loss to lose such a man, but it is no loss to himself. He has laid a foun dation that will eternally endure. No person can rob him of his crown. He is safe, and can do nothing himself that will bar the same. It is not so with you and me. We may live to do things that will clip our glory. It would be better that we should be taken away than to live and do anything of that kind. Not that I think there would have been any danger of any such thing with him. But he has gone, and we will soon follow. As it has been expressed today, death is passed upon all men, and we only wait our turn to pay the debt of nature. Brother Pitt, has paid that debt, and that very selfsame body will come forth again, and when we grasp his hand we shall know that it is brother Pitt, for he will maintain his identity in the eternal worlds. Do you not think that is glorious? When the spirit and body are reunited in immortality they will never be separated again. We need not fear death, that is if we are numbered among those who will have the privilege of coming forth in the morning of the first resurrection, for upon all such the second death will have no power. It is the second death that people may be afraid of. Fear him who has power to destroy both soul and body in hell. This is the second death, but this will have no power upon those who have part in the first resurrection. All manner of sin will be forgiven to men except the sin against the Holy Ghost; that will never be forgiven neither in this world nor the world to come. If men will only be obedient to the Gospel, and avail themselves of the plan of salvation devised by our Father and God in heaven before the world was, they may obtain forgiveness of their sins by being obedient to the Gospel. The plan of salvation is ample to save to the uttermost. God, in his mercy, designed it to save his children, because he delights to give good gifts to his children far more than an earthly parent does. The Almighty has sent forth his servants to plead with the children of men, to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and to call upon them to repent lest the end come when no man can work. Some few will listen and be prepared, because some are honest enough to receive the Gospel, others are not.

I pray God the Eternal Father to bless us all, that we may cleave to that which is good, reject evil, fill the measure of our creation in our probation as our brother has done, that we way lay up a crown and an inheritance in everlasting habitations, for Christ’s sake. Amen.




The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the 13th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Feb. 9, 1873.

While preparing the Sacrament the thought was impressed upon my mind to make a few remarks on the subject, although I will not promise to confine myself to it. I desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a very important and sacred ordinance; however simple it may appear to our minds, it is one which will add to our acceptance before God, or to our condemnation.

It was instituted by the Savior in the place of the law of sacrifice which was given to Adam, and which continued with his children down to the days of Christ, but which was fulfilled in his death, he being the great sacrifice for sin, of which the sacrifices enjoined in the law given to Adam were a similitude.

The Lord designed in the beginning to place before man the knowledge of good and evil, and gave him a commandment to cleave to good and abstain from evil. But if he should fail, he would give to him the law of sacrifice and provide a Savior for him, that he might be brought back again into the presence and favor of God and partake of eternal life with him. This was the plan of redemption chosen and instituted by the Almighty before man was placed on the earth. And when man did fall by transgressing the law which was given him, the Lord gave to him the law of sacrifice, and made it clear to his understanding, that it was for the purpose of reminding him of that great event that should transpire in the meridian of time, whereby he and all his posterity might be brought forth by the power of redemption and the resurrection from the dead, and partake of eternal life with God in his kingdom. For this reason Adam and his posterity, from generation to generation, observed this law, and continually looked forward to a time when there should be provided for them a means of redemption from the fall and restoration from death to life, for death was the penalty of the law transgressed, which man was powerless to avert, the fiat of God being, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” and this penalty was to follow upon all flesh, all being as helpless and dependent as he was in this matter. Their only hope of redemption from the grave and the power of death was in the Savior whom God had promised, who should suffer death, but being without sin, having himself never transgressed any law, being without blemish, pure and holy, he should have power to break the bands of death and from the grave rise to immortal life, thereby opening the way for all who should follow him in the regeneration to come forth to life again, redeemed from the penalty of the law, and from the sin of transgression to eternal life. In anticipation, therefore, of this great sacrifice which was to be offered for Adam and his seed, they offered sacrifices, more or less acceptably, and in conformity to the pattern given, in proportion to the knowledge of God and of the Gospel which they had, and their faithfulness from generation to generation, to the days of Jesus.

They would take the firstlings of their flocks, the best fruits of their fields, and those things which were emblematic of purity, innocence, and perfection, symbolical of him who was without sin, and as “a lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” and offer sacrifices unto God in memory of him, and the matchless and wonderful deliverance to be wrought out for them by him.

Undoubtedly the knowledge of this law and of other rites and ceremonies was carried by the posterity of Adam into all lands, and continued with them, more or less pure, to the flood, and through Noah, who was a “preacher of righteousness,“ to those who succeeded him, spreading out into all nations and countries, Adam and Noah being the first of their dispensations to receive them from God. What wonder, then, that we should find relics of Christianity, so to speak, among the heathens and nations who know not Christ, and whose histories date back beyond the days of Moses, and even beyond the flood, independent of and apart from the records of the Bible. The ground taken by infidels, that “Christianity” sprang from the heathen, it being found that they have many rites similar to those recorded in the Bible, &c., is only a vain and foolish attempt to blind the eyes of men and dissuade them from their faith in the Redeemer of the world, and from their belief in the Scriptures of divine truth, for if the heathen have doctrines and ceremonies resembling to some extent those which are recorded in the Scriptures, it only proves, what is plain to the Saints, that these are the traditions of the fathers handed down from generation to generation, from Adam, through Noah, and that they will cleave to the children to the latest generation, though they may wander into darkness and perversion, until but a slight resemblance to their origin, which was divine, can be seen. Yet this is a stumbling block to some and there are those who endeavor to make progress on this foundation against the work of God, but it is absolute folly. How do we know that the Bible accounts of Adam and the succeeding generations are correct? How do we know anything pertaining to God and his dealings with men anciently? We know many things by tradition, naturally, by intuition. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it understanding.” There is an inherent principle in man that leads him to faith in a superior or a Supreme Being, who has designed and created all things. The Bible account, being the most rational and indeed only historical one of the creation and the dealings of God with men, we are constrained to accept it, in the main, as truth. Then we behold the wonderful works of God spread out before us, the starry heavens, the sun and moon, the earth on which we dwell, and its times and seasons, its fruits and grains, its herbs and varied productions, its fountains and rivers, mountains, valleys and plains, and the mighty deep, all teeming with life and animation; also the laws that govern these vast creations, and man, the crowning work of God on this earth, the masterpiece, if you please, whom inspiration teaches us is the offspring of that eternal being who is the Creator of all things, he being the most perfect in his organization, possessing greater attributes, powers of reason, and intelligence than all other beings, constituting him the “lord of creation,” and the nearest in resemblance to the Creator. We look at these things and we cannot but come to the conclusion that this is not the work of chance, but the result of matured omniscient designs and purposes, that man is the son of God, possessing the attributes and image of his Father, and in the beginning much of this intelligence, insomuch that he was the companion and associate of God and dwelt with him, and knew no sin. The Lord gave him the earth as a possession and an inheritance, and laws for his government, that he might fill the measure of his creation and have joy therein.

We look at these things in this manner, and they appear rational and true, and we are convinced that they are true, that the Scriptures, the Bible and Book of Mormon, are of divine origin.

But is this all we have to convince us of the truth of these things, and to confirm upon our minds the principles laid down as the Gospel of Christ, which is called “Mormonism?” These are the only means of knowing in regard to the truth of religion that the world claim to have, or that we had prior to becoming acquainted with the doctrines of this Church, and we were in a measure satisfied because it was the best light we possessed. There are thousands of the most intelligent and best educated men that live, and some of the greatest and brightest minds in many nations now engaged in the dissemination of what they believe to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ, claiming no other means of knowing the truth, than tradition and reason, and they appear to be satisfied with their convictions and faith. Millions of dollars are expended annually in promulgating their religion, they “compass land and sea to make proselytes,” with no other acknowledged evidence of the truth of the Bible, or of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, than that I have cited.

But we go farther than this, although to my mind this mode of reasoning is conclusive so far as it goes, and no doubt is left as to the existence of our Father and God, or that he created all things for a wise purpose, for his glory, and for the glory and happiness of His children, that the earth and the fullness thereof are God’s, although designed for man and his use; and finally to be given to him as an everlasting inheritance, when he shall, through obedience, prove worthy of it. But, as I said before, we go farther than this—there is “a more sure word of pro- phecy, whereunto we do well to take heed.” There is revelation, a means of direct communication from God to man, a power which can rend the veil between us and God, open the eyes of our understanding, and bring us into proximity to him, so that we may know him as he is, and learn from his own mouth and from the mouths of his holy messengers his laws and will concerning us, as anciently. This is the principle by which Adam knew God in the garden where he was placed in the beginning. God came to him day by day, and conversed with him as one man converses with another, giving him instructions and counsel, for man was pure. And when he was cast out, God did not forsake him, but appeared to him, sent his angels to communicate with him concerning the plan of salvation, and gave him the Holy Ghost to be a light in his path through the world, made dreary to him by being banished from the immediate presence of God.

Men have enjoyed privileges from that day to this, in proportion to their worthiness, through every Gospel dispensation, thereby obtaining a knowledge of God for themselves, not being left to the traditions of the fathers and to reason alone. From time to time the Lord raised up Prophets, to whom he has appeared, either himself or by his messengers, as to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and all the Prophets from the beginning, revealing his will and making known his requirements, so that they have had a positive knowledge given to them of God himself.

We claim that in this dispensation this key of knowledge has been restored to man, and we stand upon the same footing with the ancients, and are not left in uncertainty or doubt, the truth of the Gospel being confirmed upon our understandings by inspiration and revelation from God, “line upon line, and precept upon precept,” until we have obtained a knowledge of God, “whom to know is life eternal.”

The ordinances of the Gospel have been restored in their purity. We know why the law of sacrifice was given to Adam, and how it is that relics of the Gospel are found among the heathen.

When Jesus came and suffered, “the just for the unjust,” he that was without sin for him that had sinned, and was subject to the penalty of the law which the sinner had transgressed, the law of sacrifice was fulfilled, and in the stead thereof he gave another law, which we call the “Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” by which his life and mission, his death and resurrection, the great sacrifice he had offered for the redemption of man, should be kept in everlasting remembrance, for said he, “This do in remembrance of me, for as often as ye eat this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” Therefore this law is to us, what the law of sacrifice was to those who lived prior to the first coming of the Son of Man, until he shall come again. Therefore we must honor and keep it sacredly, for there is a penalty attached to its violation, as we shall see by reading the words of Paul: 1 Cor. xi, 27, 30.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

And it is even more plainly given in the Book of Mormon, which I will read. Nephi, 8th chapter, 9th verse, page 471.

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he turned his eyes again upon the disciples whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Behold verily, verily I say unto you, I give unto you another commandment, and then I must go unto my Father, that I may fulfill other commandments which he hath given me. And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer anyone knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood, ye shall forbid him.”

These are some of the injunctions and commandments that are given in relation to the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Now let us be careful what we do, that we may not incur the penalty affixed to the transgression of this law, remembering that the ordinances which God has given are sacred and binding, that his laws are in force, especially upon all that have covenanted with him in baptism, and upon all unto whom they come, whether they embrace them or not, as Jesus said, “This is the condemnation of the world that light has come into the world, but ye love darkness rather than light.” Therefore all men will be held accountable for the use they make of the light which they possess. For this reason we are commanded to preach the Gospel unto every creature, that those who obey and are baptized may be saved, and those who reject it may be condemned.

I bear my testimony to these things. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of the living God, and President Young is also a Prophet of God, and that by inspiration and revelation, and not of man. God bless you and help us to be faithful, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Latter-Day Judgments

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the 13th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 26, 1873.

If I feel the liberty of the Spirit to do so, I shall read a number of quotations, this afternoon, from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and from the Bible, and perhaps from the Book of Mormon in relation to some of the great events which are about to take place on the earth, more especially the judgments that are coming to pass speedily. The first that I will read will be the 9th and 10th paragraphs of a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, July 23rd, 1837—

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name, and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

I will make a few remarks upon these passages as I read them. It seems that this is a dispensation peculiar in its nature, differing from former dispensations. It is a dispensation of mercy and of judgment—of mercy to those who receive the message of mercy, but of judgment to those who reject that message. In other words it is a dispensation in which the Gospel has been revealed from heaven, the servants of God called to labor in the vineyard for the last time, and in which the Lord intends to pour out great and terrible judgments upon the nations of the wicked after they have been warned by the sound of the everlasting Gospel. We are told in the revelation I have just read, that vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth; that it is a day of wrath, burning, desolation, weeping, mourning and lamentation, and that as a whirlwind these things shall come upon the inhabitants of all the earth.

Where shall these great and severe judgments begin? Upon what people does the Lord intend to commence this great work of vengeance? Upon the people who profess to know his name and still blaspheme it in the midst of his house. They are the ones designated for some of the most terrible judgments of the latter days. This should be a warning to the Latter-day Saints; and not only those who are parents, but those who are children should diligently consider whether they are numbered among those who are mentioned in the 10th paragraph, which I have read. Upon my house, saith the Lord, shall it begin, first upon those among you who have professed my name and have not known me and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house.

There are some who have been baptized into this Church, baptized, perhaps, when they were eight years of age, entered into a covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments according to the best of their ability and understanding, some of whom, when they have been brought into temptation, have turned away from that covenant. Have they blasphemed the name of the Lord? I do know that as I walk along the streets of Salt Lake City, I often see boys from six or eight up to fifteen, sixteen, eighteen, and perhaps twenty years of age collected together, and so far as my ears are concerned, I can bear testimony that they have no regard nor respect for the word of the Lord nor for the covenants into which they have entered, for they blaspheme his name in the midst of his house or kingdom. Will the Lord hold them guiltless? Can they escape his wrath and indignation? Can their parents escape the judgments of the Almighty if they have neglected to teach them the wickedness of taking the name of the Lord in vain? If the parents have not done this the sins of their young and inexperienced offspring will rest more or less upon their heads. If the children are lost the parents who have not properly instructed them may be lost also, for the Lord has said in one of the revelations which this book contains that inasmuch as they who are parents do not teach their children the doctrine of repentance, and faith in Christ, and the doctrine of baptism, that they may be baptized when they are eight years old, and be confirmed by the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, the sins of the children shall be upon the heads of the parents. Again he says, “You shall teach your children to walk uprightly before the Lord, and teach them to pray to and have faith in God, and if you do not these things, the sins of your children shall rest upon your heads. And this shall be a law unto my people in Zion, and in all the stakes of Zion that shall be established.”

Do we teach our children to walk uprightly and keep the commandments of the Most High? Do we read to them the revelations of God, and show them how wicked it is to take his name in vain? Do we point out to them how that we should not curse ourselves, nor one another, nor anything that is about us? Do we not often hear children in the streets of our city heaping curses upon the heads of their fellows? “D—n your soul,” is often used by them; “d—n my eyes,” and d—n this thing, and d—n that thing, as though they had no fear of God before them. Is this wicked or is it not? Every person who reads the word of the Lord, knows that it is wicked; and these children growing up thus in our midst go from one degree of sin to another until they finally lose, altogether, the Spirit of the Lord. What will be the consequences? There is a day of reckoning and judgment coming, and it shall begin at the Lord’s house, and from there it shall go forth among all the nations of the earth. Let parents awake and see to it lest the same destruction that will overtake their children because of their apostasy come upon them also.

To show what the Lord has said further in relation to some of the judgments which are coming upon the earth, I will read the third paragraph of a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in March, 1829, before this Church was organized. It will be found on page 173 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is as follows—

“Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; But this generation shall have my word through you; And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you. Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them. I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my Church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word. And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit—And you must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained—And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them; For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.”

Here we see what the Lord promised unto his servant Joseph concerning the testimony that should go forth unto this generation. Those things which the Lord had entrusted Joseph Smith with were the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph being then engaged in that work. The Lord gave him a promise that there should be three witnesses raised up who should know from heaven of the truth of those plates. Joseph, at that time, had no knowledge who these witnesses should be, but a promise was made that they should be raised up. Before that year expired—the year 1829—there were three witnesses raised up, namely Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. They saw the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and they were commanded to bear record of them to all peoples, nations and tongues to whom the work should be sent. These three witnesses saw the Angel of the Most High God, and after the work had been published with their names contained therein, the Lord began to raise up his Church and to bring it out of the wilderness. It was in April, 1830, that, the Church was organized, a little over a year after this revelation was given, and those who believed in the Book of Mormon and in the things here spoken, were visited by the manifestations of the Spirit of the Lord—they were born of the water and of the Spirit—and their testimony went forth in connection with that of the three witnesses, and the Lord says that through the united testimonies of those who believed in this work he would condemn this generation, that he would send forth a desolating scourge, and it should be poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth until the earth should be empty and desolate inasmuch as its inhabitants would not repent of their sins. The Lord informed us on that occasion that it should be with the inhabitants of the whole earth as it was with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in ancient times, that is, as he spoke concerning their destruction and his word was verified, so should they be verified at this time in relation to the inhabitants of the earth in the latter days. Consequently we see from these revelations, that the judgments of the Almighty are to be universal—upon all the earth desolation and destruction, a day of vengeance and burning and sore calamity until the inhabitants are wasted away and the earth made empty and desolate.

We will now read other revelations confirmatory of the same thing, so that we can judge a little concerning the nature of the judgments which will be poured out. In a revelation given in February, 1831, the Lord thus speaks of his servants, in the fifth paragraph, near the middle—

Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord; For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord? Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shalt utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?

And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you. O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not! How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not! Behold the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.

Here we perceive how long the Lord will bear with the people—all the day long, stretching forth his hand, pleading with them by the voice of lightnings, thunders, earthquakes, great hailstorms, famines, pestilences of every kind, and by the voice of mercy and judgment, yet they will not repent, but will harden their hearts when all these things go forth among them, from nation to nation, people to people, and from kingdom to kingdom, and they will refuse the message of salvation. It is true that the Lord has not yet spoken by the voice of thunders, calling upon the people from the ends of the earth, saying, “Repent and prepare for the great day of the Lord,” but such an event will come; and when it does come it will not be a mere ordinary, common thunderstorm, such as we experience occasionally, extending only over a small extent of country, but the Lord will cause the thunders to utter their voices from the ends of the earth until they sound in the ears of all that live, and these thunders shall use the very words here predicted—“Repent O ye inhabitants of the earth, and prepare the way of the Lord, prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.” These words will be distinctly heard by every soul that lives, whether in America, Asia, Africa, Europe, or upon the islands of the sea. And not only the thunders, but the lightnings will utter forth their voices in the ears of all that live, saying, “Repent, for the great day of the Lord is come.” Besides the voices of thunder and lightning, the Lord himself, before he comes in his glory, will speak by his own voice out of heaven in the ears of all that live commanding them to repent and to prepare for his coming. I do not know how the Lord will send forth his voice so as to make all the people on the four quarters of the globe hear it, for the loudest sound that we can produce only extends over a small area, a few miles at most; but the Lord has power to make his voice heard by all that live on the four quarters of the earth, and when he fulfills this prediction, all that live will literally hear the words that are here named; and the wicked will perish out of the earth as they did in the days of Noah, and so far as they are concerned the earth will be made empty and desolate.

I will now read a paragraph, testifying in different words to the same things in a revelation given in August 1833. Speaking of Zion that is to be built up in Jackson County, Mo., and of the Temple that is to be reared there unto his name, the Lord says—

And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there, for I will not come into unholy temples.

And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great and very terrible. And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there; And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower. Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice while all the wicked shall mourn. For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it? The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea it shall not be stayed until the Lord come; For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works. Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her. But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire. Nevertheless, let it be read this once in their ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of their offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her; And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.

Here we perceive what the Lord intends to do both for Zion and for the wicked. Zion shall spread herself if she will only keep the commandments of God, and she will become great, glorious and terrible; or as one of old said—The church will come forth out of the wilderness, leaning upon the arm of her beloved, and she will be as fair as the sun, as clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners. So will Zion be clothed upon with the glory of her God and armed with the panoply of Heaven, and the nations will fear and tremble because of her, for God will be in the midst of Zion, and he hath sworn by the power of his might that he will be her refuge, her high tower and her strength, and he will uphold and sustain her, if she keep his commandments in all things; but if not, here is another declaration to all— fathers and mothers, middle aged, old and young—who transgress the commandments of God, “If Zion does not observe to do all things whatsoever that I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, I will visit her with sore tribulations—with pestilence, plague, vengeance, sword, with the flame of devouring fire,” &c.

The Lord means what he says. He has told us in one of the first revelations published in this book, that though the heavens and the earth should pass away, not one of the prophecies and predictions contained in these revelations should go unfulfilled; therefore if Zion sins, if her people suffer pride to arise in their hearts, and follow after the foolish fashions of the Gentiles who come into their midst, and are lifted up one above another, the rich and wealthy looking down upon the poor with scorn and derision because they cannot clothe themselves in the same costly apparel as the rich, and begin to make distinctions of classes among themselves, behold the Lord will visit Zion according to all her works, and he will purge her and pour forth his judgments upon her, according to that which he has spoken.

I hope that we shall take a course to prevent these things coming upon us. It is better to be chastened and receive judgment in this world, even if it be sword, pestilence, famine and the flame of a devouring fire, if we can be brought to repentance thereby, than to remain unchastised and go down swiftly to the pit. If we, because of our sins, need chastising by the Almighty, let the chastisement come while we are in the flesh, that we may repent; and I would say still further, and pray in the name of the Lord, “Oh Lord, if chastisement must come, may it come from thine hands.” When the Lord through the Prophet gave David the choice of one of three terrible judgments—first to fall into the hands of his enemies, and for the people of Israel to be afflicted many years; second, a lengthy famine, and third, three days’ pestilence, he chose the three days’ pestilence, for he said it was better to fall into the hands of the Lord, who was full of tender mercy, and who might repent and withdraw the chastisement, than to fall into the hands of the wicked who have no mercy. I would say the same so far as my feelings are concerned, and if it be needful let the Lord chasten those who need it, and not suffer us to continue in our sin, and to grow and flourish like the green bay tree, as the wicked do until we are cut off finally from the earth and cast away in the eternal worlds. It is better for us to be saved there if we are punished here.

The scourge of the Lord, we are told in this revelation, shall go forth by day and by night, and the report thereof shall vex all people. Among all those revelations concerning the scourges that were to go forth, the one which I have read was given long before the cholera broke out. The first year that we have any knowledge of that terrible plague, if I mistake not, was 1837, some four years after this revelation was given that the Lord would send forth scourges. He did send forth a scourge that seemed to sweep over all the nations of the earth. Did it come among the Latter-day Saints? It did. Why? Because they did not keep his commandments, and as the Destroyer was abroad laying waste the nations, the Latter-day Saints had to receive their share, I mean those among us who did not keep the commandments of the Lord. When we were journeying between Ohio and the State of Missouri, Joseph told us if we did not keep the commandments of God and hearken to his counsel we should die off like rotten sheep in that camp. There was no sickness among us at that time, and probably some in the camp did not believe that the words of the Prophet would be fulfilled; but after we had traveled a few weeks, and did not do that which we were told, we learned to our sorrow that the hand of the Lord was upon us, and found the words of the Prophet verified to the very letter, and numbers were laid low by cholera.

The Lord has told us in this book that he would scourge this people, and would not suffer them to go on in wickedness as he does the world. He will make a difference in this respect between those who profess his name and the world. The world may prosper. They have not the religion of Heaven among them; they have no revelators and prophets among them; they have not the baptism of the Holy Ghost, nor the gifts and blessings of God among them, and consequently though they transgress the revealed word of God, he suffers them to go on, apparently without checking them, until they are fully ripened in iniquity, then he sends forth judgment and cuts them off, instead of chastening them from time to time. Not so with the Saints. God has decreed, from the early rise of the Church, that we should be afflicted by our enemies, and by various afflictions, and he would contend with this people and chasten them from time to time until Zion should be clean before him. He has done this, and more especially while we were in the States. We were inexperienced, and did not then under stand the necessity of strictly obeying every word spoken by the mouth of God, and we had to suffer because of this. We were first driven from Kirtland, in the State of Ohio; driven again from Jackson County, in the State of Missouri; again from Clay County into other counties in Missouri; again from Far West and Caldwell County; driven from the State of Illinois, though we were prospered there until the people waxed wealthy through their industry, then we were driven again. We have been literally fulfilling the prophecies contained in this good old book, the Bible. Zion has been tossed to and fro and not comforted. She has been driven from place to place and from State to State, until finally she was driven into the wilderness. What have all these afflictions been for? To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of the Prophets. Joseph Smith told us, or the Lord did through him, and it is printed here in this book, that when he first planted this people in Jackson County, in the State of Missouri, if we did not take such and such a course, our enemies would come upon us, our blood would be shed by them, and we should be scattered and driven from place to place, and this has been literally fulfilled upon our heads.

I do not know that it is necessary to say any more about the new revelations, let us turn now to some of the old ones. I might refer you to many prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon, as well as those contained in the Book of Covenants relative to the great judgments of the latter days, but I perceive that I shall not have time to do so, and also to refer to some that are in the Bible. I will turn now to the revelations of St. John, and will refer first to a few sayings contained in the 14th chapter, commencing at the 6th verse—

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.

It seems that the dispensation in which the Angel should fly was to be characterized as a dispensation of judgment. Immediately after the Angel brought the Gospel judgment was to be poured out on the nations of the earth. In the 8th verse we read, “And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ And a third angel followed, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.’”

To show that this preaching of the Gospel and the pouring out of these judgments upon spiritual Babylon the Great, was a work which should precede the coming of the Son of Man, I will read the 14th verse and to the end of the chapter

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

You see then from this what is to follow the coming of that Angel with the Gospel. The one representing the Son of man is to thrust in his sickle and reap the earth, then the Angels are sent forth to thrust in their sickles and also to reap. These Angels are to gather the clusters of the vine of the earth into one place that they may be punished and the judgment which will overtake them who are thus gathered together will be so severe as to cause the blood that is shed to reach to the horses’ bridles. That is called the winepress of the Lord. Would you like to know where that spot is, and why the people are gathered there? The Lord will suffer three unclean spirits, John tells us in another place, to go forth about that time, spirits of devils working miracles, and they shall gather together the kings and great men of the earth and their armies to a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon, the Lord calls it a great wine press. Where is this Armageddon? It is a little east of the old city of Jerusalem.

In order to show you that that is the wine press where the Lord will pour out these judgments, let me call your attention to the third chapter of the prophecies of Joel, where this same thing is alluded to, the valley of Jehoshaphat mentioned by Joel, and the valley of Armageddon spoken of by John, being very near together, in the same neighborhood. Joel says—

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

In the 9th verse he says—Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

The Lord will come with all his Saints in the clouds of heaven just about the time this army gets into the valley of Jehoshaphat.

Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe”—the same harvest mentioned in the 14th chapter of John.

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

If you want to know about the time when the sun and moon are to be darkened, and when the stars will no longer give any light, and when there will be total darkness over all the face of the earth, here is an event predicted so that you cannot mistake. When you see the nations of the earth, especially the heathen nations, and also those north of Jerusalem—the great nation of Russia and other nations on the continent of Asia, together with many in Europe, gather up against Jerusalem after the Jews have returned and rebuilt their city and Temple, and when their armies become exceeding great multitudes in the valley of decision, then you may look for the Lord to come down with his mighty ones, and for the constellations of heaven to be darkened.

The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

The children of Israel as well as Judah will put their trust in the Lord God of their fathers in that day, and they will look for deliverance from his hand. They will know that they cannot stand without the aid of the Lord against all those from the north quarters—Gog and Magog, all the hosts of Russia, and of the various nations round about that come up there and cover the land like a cloud. They will know that unless God helps them they cannot obtain a victory over this mighty host; but they will put their trust in the Lord, and he will “roar out of Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem,” and he will be the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel.

So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and the fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water, the valley of Shittim.

Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.

Let me make a few remarks here in relation to the difference between Zion and Jerusalem. Zion will be favored with the presence of the Lord before the Jews are permitted to behold him. The Lord will come to the Temple of Zion before he comes to the Temple at Jerusalem. Before he comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, he will manifest himself in the city and Temple of Zion; or in other words all the pure in heart who are permitted in those days to enter into the Lord’s Temple in Zion, which will be built on this continent, the Lord will reveal his face onto them, they will see him and he will dwell in the midst of Zion. His throne will be there. This land—the land given to the children of ancient Joseph, now called the American continent—will be the land of Zion, and the great central capital on this land will be the New Jerusalem; and the inhabitants of that city and their habitations and Temple will be overshadowed by the glory of God. But after he has come to and roared out of Zion, after he has “suddenly come to his Temple,” and visited his people there in the character of a Shepherd, and dwelt in their midst for a long space of time, he then goes with all his Saints to visit old Jerusalem, the last work before the day of rest shall come being to visit those nations that are gathered together in the great winepress to be trodden without the city on the east side of the city, and there the blood of horses, camels and men will be mingled together, and in those small valleys, so great will be the number slain that the blood will reach to the horses’ bridles, for a certain distance, according to the words of the Lord.

I do not know that I have time to enter into a full investigation of some other terrible judgments that are to come, but I will refer to a few of them mentioned in the revelations of St. John. Before doing so, however, let me say for your information that the Lord gave through the Prophet Joseph Smith what is termed a key to John’s revelation. The Prophet on one occasion asked the Lord what was meant by the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels, and the Lord answered him in this language, as near as I can recollect: “As the Lord made the earth and the heavens in six days, and on the seventh day finished his work and made man out of the dust of the earth, so in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth and redeem man, even all that is within his power, and shall seal all things unto the end of all things. And the sounding of the seven trumps is the preparing and finishing of his work in the morning of the seventh thousand years.”

This gives a clue to the time when the seven angels will sound. They will not sound their trumpets in the evening of the sixth thousand years, but when the six thousand years shall have passed away from the creation, and the morning of the seventh has commenced, then these great events will happen. Jesus does not come immediately at the commencement of the seventh thousand years, but as there was a work in the beginning which he performed on the seventh day, such as planting the garden and placing men therein, so there will be a certain work to be performed in the beginning of the seventh thousand years, namely, the resurrection and redemption of man, including the heathen nations and those people in prison who have died without the law and have been punished for their sins. When the Lord has caused these seven angels to sound their trumps, he will bring about all these purposes which he has ordained, and which must be accomplished in that morning. Before Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven they are to sound to prepare the way of the Lord before his coming. What will take place when they sound? I will tell you some few things.

When the first angel sounds there will come upon the inhabitants of the earth a great hailstorm mingled with fire and blood, and so severe will be this storm of fire and blood, that one-third of the trees will be destroyed, and all the green grass will be burned up. The second angel will sound his trump, and the Lord will pour out his judgments upon the water, and a third part of the sea will become blood, and in consequence of the corruption thereof one-third part of all the animals living in the sea will die.

When the third angel sounds his trump, John says he saw a star fall from heaven to earth, burning as it were like a lamp, and it fell upon the fountains and rivers of water, and they were turned into bitterness, and the name of the star was called “Wormwood,” and great were the numbers of the people who perished and died because of the bitterness of the waters.

The fourth angel will sound his trump and certain judgments will follow. By and by the fifth angel will sound his trump, and an angel will descend holding the key of what is termed the bottomless pit, and he will open the door of this pit, and there shall issue therefrom certain terrible creatures called locusts. And it will be given unto them to torment men five months—the time which is to intervene between the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, and during that time these awful creatures, such as neither we nor our forefathers, in all the generations before us, have ever seen on the earth, will torment the wicked. These creatures have wings, hair like women, teeth like lions, tails like scorpions, and with their stings they will torment the wicked for five months. But it will not be given unto them to destroy men, only to torment them. That will be a terrible judgment. They will have a king over them, whose name in the Greek tongue is “Apollyon,” in other words the devil. He has power over them and with them, and commands these awful beings, and they go forth and torment the inhabitants of the earth, but are not permitted to kill them. Men in those days will seek for death, but it will flee from them, although they will greatly desire it on account of the terrible torment they endure.

When the Lord permits the devil to go forth and torment people he has considerable power. You can see this in the case of Job. When the devil stirred up the Lord to torment Job, the devil was permitted to go and strike Job with pestilence, with sore boils, and to make him feel sorrow, pain and distress. Said the devil to the Lord, “He will curse you to your face,” and to prove whether he would or not Job was sorely smitten and afflicted; and so will men be afflicted by these awful creatures which will issue from the bottomless pit, and are under his command.

By and by the sixth angel sounds his trumpet, and what will take place? The powers around the great river Euphrates in Asia will be loosed, and they will come forth riding on horses, and the number of them is two hundred thousand thousand, that is two hundred millions—a great and tremendous army, greater than the inhabitants of the earth ever saw before. Who will be with them? This same class of beings with animals such as the earth never saw nor heard of, only as they heard of them in the revelations of St. John. Animals with brimstone and fire issuing from their mouths, having tails like serpents, and heads to their tails, and with these one-third part of the inhabitants of the earth are to be destroyed. How long will it be before they are destroyed? There will be at least a year pass away between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets. This great army is prepared for a day, and an hour, a month and a year. Now I have named some of the judgments, not all, that will transpire before the coming of the Son of Man. Let me refer in a few words to some of the last ones that will come before Jesus makes his appearance, called the seven last plagues. I shall only refer to a few of them.

One of the four beasts gives seven vials filled with the wrath of God to the seven Angels that came out of the Temple and Tabernacle in heaven, and these vials are to be poured out upon the earth. We find that the inhabitants are to be visited with greater judgments than what they have been heretofore, so much so that when the second Angel pours out his vial upon the great waters, instead of a third part of them becoming blood, they all become as the blood of a dead man; and there shall not any living thing be preserved in the great mass of waters on our globe, but everything living in the sea will perish, the whole ocean becoming as the blood of a dead man. Quite a difference between the blood of a dead man and the blood that comes from a living man—one is very nauseous when compared with the other. No wonder then that everything having life in the sea should perish.

A third Angel pours out his vial on the fountains and rivers, and they also become blood. You have already learned that when the third Angel sounded his trump, the third part of the waters become bitter with wormwood, and it was accompanied by certain judgments not universal, but when the last plagues are poured out the fountains and rivers of water, and the ocean become blood. Does this cause the people to repent? One would imagine that all the earth would repent when they see judgments of this kind; yet we are told that for all this the people will blaspheme God, because of their plagues, sores and pains, and the calamities they have to endure. They are given up to hardness of heart, the Spirit of God is withdrawn from them, and instead of repenting of their evil deeds, their murders, sorceries, whoredoms, idolatries, thefts and various crimes that are mentioned, they continue in their wickedness, and judgment after judgment is poured upon them until they are consumed.

When the rivers and fountains are turned into blood, a certain Angel cries out saying, “Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art and wast and shall be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of Saints and Prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for they are worthy.” This shows that there will be Prophets in those days and that these people will shed their blood. A great many people think there are to be no more Prophets; but the Prophets have their blood shed in those days, and God will give the wicked blood to drink.

There are many other things on my mind that I would be glad to lay before you concerning the terrible judgments of the last days, but I have already occupied too much of your time. We are living in this Territory, comparatively at peace, but unless the Latter-day Saints live according to the light which God has revealed to them, they cannot escape. If God sends judgments upon the nations, he will send them upon us. If he cuts off the horses of the nations, as he has said in the Book of Mormon that he will, upon the face of this land, unless we keep his commandments he will cut off ours. If he visits the inhabitants of the earth with pestilence and blood, he will visit us in a similar manner unless we keep his commandments. If the inhabitants of the earth who know not God are to perish because of their wickedness, how much more will he visit those who have greater light and knowledge if they will not keep his commandments? The Lord sent forth the destroyer in ancient times to lay waste the firstborn of the Egyptians, pointing out the means by which his people might escape, and those who failed to do as they were commanded had no promise of being preserved; so in these days when judgments come, they will begin among his Saints, and those who have not attended to the word of wisdom and the laws of life that he has pointed out and have no claim to mercy and favor, God is no respecter of persons. They who have great light and yet sin will endure tribulation and indignation from his hand unless they repent. Amen.




Rewards According to Works—Tithing

Discourse by President Orson Hyde, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 19, 1873.

It is some time since I had the pleasure of meeting with the Saints in the Fourteenth Ward of Salt Lake City. I only regret, this afternoon, a severe cold that I have taken since I arrived in the city, which, I fear may disqualify me, at least in part, from doing justice to any subject that may engage my attention.

I discern but a small portion of the people of this ward collected together on the present occasion. I do not express myself thus with the idea of finding fault with them for their nonattendance at meeting. I only wonder how so many of you were enabled to come together at this time and I almost wonder how I got here myself without being stuck in the mud. However, we are here to wait upon the Lord, that we may renew our strength, and certainly in these times of wonders we have as much occasion for food adapted to our immortal spirits, to strengthen and invigorate them, as we have for food to nourish and strengthen the body. We may be more sensible of the want of food for the body than we are of the want of food for the mind, but still a lack of the latter preys upon the interior man as much as a lack of the former disqualifies us for the discharge of those arduous duties which pertain to our mortal organization.

I hardly know, my brethren and sisters what to speak to you about this afternoon. I have no sermon prepared, and I do not know that I should have prepared one if I had had time, for a discourse delivered by any individual that is not the outburst of inspiration by a higher power cannot be productive of any lasting good, though good moral principles may be set forth, and that too in an engaging and interesting point of light.

In the course of my life I have traveled over a considerable portion of the world, and have had opportunities to mark the different customs, fashions and styles of people, and not only people, but the different styles of architecture which prevail among them—every variety which the mind is capable of imagining, from the princely mansion down to the meanest hovel. I have found that all classes have some kind of shelter or home. It is rarely that I have met with one who has said to me, “I have no home, no shelter, nowhere to go.” Even the insects and most of the wild animals have some kind of refuge, some place to flee to in the time of storm. Our Utes who roam over the mountains here have their wickiups, not very desirable to us, but they serve them a purpose—they shield, or at least partially shield, them from the inclemency of the storm. All classes of people then, we say, have some place of resort or refuge, and the presumption is that all have built according to their taste, coupled with their ability. This is about the idea that I have formed.

Whence came the idea of these forms and structures? Where did they originate? I believe that everything that is of service to and that is designed for a blessing to man, came in some way by the revelations of God. I do not say that they have all been revealed through a Prophet or through an Apostle. God has organized every human being on the earth, and has given to him a temperament and a disposition susceptible of impressions; and though he may not know their origin, still they play upon his imagination, and disclose to him many important matters connected with his earthly existence. A carpenter has many tools in his box. They are not all the same kind, yet in the execution of the several branches of his art he finds a use for them, they are not to be thrown away; and so it seems to me that in the great family of man there is not one to be thrown away, but all may be used by him who created them.

The art of printing was no doubt revealed from on high, the matter or facsimile being imparted to some instrument—some vessel chosen for that peculiar purpose, not necessarily an Apostle or Prophet—by which to open a door to flood the world with intelligence, to organize and establish the kingdom of God. But whoever it may be through whom such revelations are made, his own individual organization is played upon by the light of revelation, though he may not understand it and give God the glory, to whom, in reality, it belongs. It was not necessary that the power of steam to facilitate business and journeys by land and sea throughout the world, should be revealed to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Isaiah or Jeremiah; but there was an organization prepared to receive that communication; and so I might say in relation to all the arts and sciences that exist on the earth. If I might be allowed the expression, I would say that the celestial kingdom is a central college where all true sciences exist. We have them here, not in their pure and refined state, but merely the coarse and shadowy outlines. No doubt many of you have had your portraits penciled upon the canvas by the artist, and after he had drawn the outlines, without filling up or embellishing at all, you looked at it and said, “That is not myself, it does not look like me, it belongs to someone else.” But when it came to be filled up and embellished, perhaps you were ready to own it. We have the shadows of things that are, and not the real things themselves, in many respects. The question arises in my mind, whether or not there are mansions prepared, the other side the veil, adapted to every human being who ever did or ever will live upon the earth. Jesus said to his disciples on a certain occasion, “I am going to leave you. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” It seems that, at this time, there was no place prepared for them; that those that were already constructed were designed for others, and not for them, hence said he, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” It is very natural for every person who dwells on earth, when weary, or when his task is done or his journey ended to seek his home. I will venture to say that when you go from this assembly you will naturally seek your own abiding places. You may perhaps call in at a sick neighbor’s; but your ultimate purpose is to retire to your own homes, and you are not content until you arrive there. The question with me is whether all people will not naturally seek the place designed and prepared for them on the other side of the veil—whether there does not exist a sympathy between the moral qualifications of the human heart and the character of that mansion which its owner is destined to occupy—a kind of attractive power that will lead each one to his respective abode. Brethren and sisters, we are all forming characters which will entitle us to the different styles of mansions in our Father’s house. If I seek and do obtain a superior degree of intelligence—if I do labor to acquire purity of heart and uprightness of conduct in all things, no matter how high my standard, is there not a mansion, corresponding with the exertions which I make, that I am heir to and destined to inherit? I am inclined to the idea that this is so.

I have heard some say, “I would like to know what my condition and situation will be the other side of the grave.” We are solving that problem in our present state of existence, we are determining the matter by our actions in everyday life. I recollect once, in my travels, standing on the deserts of Sahara, where I could view the wide expanse and motion of sand, filling the air as the drifting snows do the atmosphere here many times. I saw the sirocco fill the air with sand so that it was with difficulty we could open our eyes, without endangering our sight. I saw neither plant nor flower of any kind there, nor even a shrub on which a camel could browse. There are places, I suppose, in the desert, where springs of water burst forth, that are green, breaking the monotony that reigns over that wide expanse, but I did not see them. And yet I considered, “You will drink every drop of moisture and every drop of dew that distils from heaven, and in return you send forth no plant or flower, ungrateful soil!” Come northward a little, or northwest, and land on the southern borders of Europe, say Italy, and there is a beautiful country, delightful fruits of a very fine grade grow there almost spontaneously; the weather or climate is adapted to almost everyone, but particularly to those who are natives of the country. Come further north, into Germany, for instance, or to England. There it is much colder; more hardy fruits grow there. Well, continue on northward to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Lapland and indeed into the Arctic regions. What do we find there? Hardy races of men, adapted to the climate, and they seemingly prefer that as a resilience to any other portion of the earth. There is the Esquimaux dwelling in his habitation of ice—ice forming the walls of his dwelling. He is wrapped in the skins of animals, and he lives to a great extent on the blubber of whales. Would he like to exchange situations with the inhabitants of warmer countries? He has no disposition to emigrate, that seems to be the place he is attached to. All this, for aught I know, may reflect something of the climate of those regions that we may hereafter inhabit. I do not know but the very heavens reflect their existence upon earth. I do not know but that, in a shadowy form, the earth itself is a facsimile of the heavens.

Now, on another subject, what would you think, brethren and sisters, of that man who would refuse to pay his taxes to the government under which he lives. There are some who decline to pay their taxes in this country as if the original inhabitants were exercising a jurisdiction which the dignity of modern civilization affects to despise and repel! What do we think of any man who declines to pay his taxes? We think him not entitled to the protection of the laws. I believe there is one statute in Utah which says that every man shall have the privilege of voting at the polls after a residence of six months, provided he be a taxpayer within its boundaries. This is an important clause. I do not speak of this because I want to urge the collection of taxes, I care nothing about that in comparison, I use this as an illustration, in reference to some other matters which I wish to urge upon your attention. Go where we will, we find we have to pay our taxes to political organizations and governments. The Savior of the world, poor as he was, was not exempt from this obligation or liability, hence he said to Peter, “Pay taxes.” “Oh, we have no money.” “Well, go and cast your hook into the sea, and you will take a fish, and in that fish you will find money, take that and pay the taxes for thee and me.” Thus we see that he who made all things discharged this liability. We also should pay our taxes to the governments and powers of this world. If we never should pay our taxes with what kind of a grace could we appeal to the County Court for aid to construct a road here, a bridge there, or an improvement yonder? “You have not paid your taxes, how can you expect anything to revert to you when you have not aided to replenish the treasury or to keep the fountain full? You have no right to expect to share in the advantages enjoyed by loyal citizens.” Again, if I refuse to pay my taxes to the government is it not pretty conclusive evidence that I am an enemy to that government and its friends? It seems to me that the tide beats in that direction, and shows that I am disloyal. If I pay all my taxes and discharge all my obligations to the government under which I live, I should be called a loyal citizen.

Says one, “I do not know what is done with the taxes. I would like to know how they are applied, and what use is made of the money, and before I pay I think I will ascertain.” If you undertake this I think you will have a heavy and difficult job on your hands. I would not like to ferret it out. When I get my receipt for taxes paid I put it in my pocket, and say, “Good bye, sir,” till he calls again. That is all the care I have. If the collector makes a bad use of the money he collects, or appropriates it for other than legitimate purposes, somebody else will see to him, not I. I have got his receipt, I have done my duty, I have discharged the obligation devolving upon me.

We all look, brethren and sisters, for the kingdom of God to be established at some time, if it is not already done, and yet some of us complain very much about paying our tithing. The very word grates on the ears of some! Well, as taxes are to the governments of the political world, so is tithing to the kingdom of God. That is my understanding, and if I pay my tithing I come within the promises and protection of Heaven’s laws, and I am considered a loyal subject of and a friend to that government. I will notice here a little peculiarity with regard to tithing. There is not much said about it in the New Testament Scriptures; except mere allusions; it is the same with regard to polygamy; but you turn to the Old Testament and you will find that these two subjects run parallel one with the other, and where one exists the other follows as a matter of course. I might ask a question here as to what our Savior meant when he said, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” If the first order of things is to lap over on to us who are engaged in forming the last and closing scenes of God’s work on earth pertaining to this dispensation, the last may turn back; and if the former dispensation forms the field of our last labors or under its shadows we bring things to a close, by and by the reality, the substance may come. I do not know that we can charge the Savior with folly when be said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Do I want a mansion in yonder world that is glorious? Then I must comply with the law of Heaven and pay my tithes and bring my offerings and prove to the Heavens that I am a friend of his government; and that I am willing to sacrifice anything to please him and to secure the desired treasure. You no doubt recollect reading in the New Testament of a certain man who found a treasure which was hid in a field, and he went and sold all he had to purchase the entire field. It was but a little portion of ground that contained the treasure, but he was so bent on securing it that he purchased the entire field. What was that treasure? It was the kingdom of God. Some say the gifts of God are not purchased with money, and again some will contend that they are. I will speak a word or two upon this subject, by way of illustration. I suppose that in former days they had speculators among them, somewhat similar to those we have in these days. Once on a time the inspired Apostle laid his hands upon some who had been baptized for the remission of their sins, and they received the Holy Ghost. One Simon Magus saw the operation and he asked the Apostle to give him that gift, saying to him, “I will give you money for it.” Probably Simon said to himself, “I see money in it,” as much as some of you do in that mine; “just give me that gift, that upon whomsoever I lay my hands they may receive the Holy Ghost, and thus I will accumulate a fortune.” Said Peter, “Be it known unto you that the gifts of God are not purchased with money, thy money perish with thee,” &c. But then again, read in another part of the Scriptures about a certain steward who had charge of his master’s goods. He was accused unto his lord of wasting these goods, or of making an improper use of them, and he was called to an account, and informed by his master that he could no longer be steward. Said the steward, “What shall I do? I am bound to lose my place, and to dig I cannot, I am not used to it, and to beg I am ashamed; what shall I do to sustain myself?” This happy thought occurred to his mind—I will go round now to all my lord’s debtors, and I will say to this one, “How much owest thou to my lord?” “One hundred measures of wheat.” Said the steward, “I will forgive you fifty. I am yet in power, I am not yet displaced, take thy bill and sit down quickly and write fifty.” So he went and did to all his lord’s debtors. His lord saw what he was doing and called him to account, and he commended the unjust steward for his wisdom and shrewdness—he had acted wisely for himself. And now says the Savior, as if predicating a principle upon this transaction, “I say unto you, make unto yourself friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail you may be received into everlasting habitations.” While it is the suggestion of one spirit, which is the spirit of falsehood, although the truth may be spoken by that spirit, yet God will not own it, and yet the same principle spoken of by another spirit, which is of God, Heaven will own. What are all the riches of this world given unto us for, but to secure some mansion in yonder world that will be glorious, and grand and worthy the noble and sacrificing spirit that sought it?

Well, we pay our tithing. What does it consist of? One-tenth of all we possess at the start, and then ever after one-tenth of our annual income. If that be one thousand dollars per annum you pay one hundred of that in taxes to the kingdom of God. Say some, “If it be God’s kingdom we should think it could stand and roll on without this kind of backing or aid.” I will tell you that the Lord Almighty wishes to prove our fidelity to him. It is not for his sake that we pay tithing, it is for ours. Hence he says, “If I were hungry or thirsty, I would not call upon them for meat or drink, but I want to prove you and see whether you are loyal to me or whether you are rebellious. Hence bring your tithes and your offerings into my storehouse and prove me now, herewith, and see if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room to receive.” We are told by some of the unbelievers that we pay tithing and we are dupes to fanaticism, that we are priest-ridden, and bound down with galling chains of oppression. That same class of persons will boast that they pay no tithing. They are not priest-ridden, they are freeborn American citizens and are not subject to this priestly rule. Ahem! By and by perhaps these individuals go hence to the other side of the veil, and they inquire the way to their home or mansion, and yonder, perhaps, one represented by the deserts of Sahara is pointed out to them, and they are told—“There is your home. You have been eager to grasp every blessing that flowed from the beneficent hand of the Creator, but what have you given in return? No more than that sandy desert has given, and there is the place of your home. An American citizen, eh! Not priest-ridden, not oppressed so that you have to pay tithes or taxes to the kingdom of God?” “No, we do not know any such kingdom.” Well, brethren and sisters, I almost shrink at the task of following this subject up. It is a little sensational, but perhaps it might as well be told, if not in whole, at least in part.

We find that there are many worlds surrounding us, revolving in their sphere and orbit. Some learned men have pretended to say that some of the planets in our own solar system are nothing but a mass of liquid fire. I do not know how true this is, I cannot vouch for it. It is a long time since I was there, and I have forgotten much that may, at some future day, be brought to my recollection, when the veil shall be parted from all eyes, and we see as we are seen and know as we are known. Here is my friend and brother Pratt, he is more skilled in astronomy than I am, and if I am guilty of an error, he can correct me if he sees fit. But some learned men say that there are worlds which roll in eternal night, not one ray of light from the grand central luminary penetrating or dawning upon their orbit, but they move in an eternal eclipse—always dark. I do not know how this is, but I know that some will come up and want an inheritance, and it will be said to them, “Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” There are some now who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. I will venture to say that if some of the zealous opposers of what is sometimes called “Mormonism,” who were once united with us, could see an improper step made by your humble servants, they would seize upon it with the greatest avidity. If there was a dark spot in my moral character, that would be food for them. I, or my friend brother Pratt, or President Young, may have achieved worthy exploits and done great good, but they pass by this, they have no relish or appetite for it; but the moment there is a dark spot, either real or imaginary, they are ready to seize upon it with the greatest avidity, and roll it as a sweet morsel under their tongue, because they are children of darkness and love darkness rather than light. Now the sun, the great fountain of light of our system, is said to have dark spots on his disc. I believe it is so, but there is much light there, and he throws his rays to an immense distance. Now, because he has some dark spots on him, shall we dispense with and refuse to receive his light? No, with all the darkness he has we love the sun, and whether on sea or on land his rays are cheering and welcome, notwithstanding the dark spots that may exist on his face. So in relation to the servants of God. We may be men of like passions with others, but if an additional halo of light and glory burst upon us, and we as reflectors send that abroad for the benefit of others, the dark spots, real or imaginary, in our characters, should be overlooked, as those of the sun are overlooked.

Well, others besides those I have referred to, come up and want a mansion. They are asked—“Have you showed yourselves friends to the kingdom of God?” “No, we have sought to hedge up its progress in every way we could. We have told all the lies we could manufacture, and sent them abroad on the wires to create a storm of indignation against it—anything was justifiable to suppress ‘Mormonism.’ We have even twisted plain, straightforward common sense law into a ram’s horn, and made it so complex that neither we nor anyone else could understand it, for the sole purpose of ensnaring the feet of the defenders of this latter-day kingdom.” “Well, you want a mansion, and you love darkness rather than light because your deeds are evil?” “Yes.” “Well, yonder is your home, in that world that rolls in eternal eclipse.” “And these shall go away,” says the Bible,” into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Dwell in eternal night! Oh, ye sons of rebellion, ye daughters of departure, contemplate the character of your future home! Turn from your ways, seek unto the Lord God of Israel, and know ye that mortal man here on earth is not perfect. I do not know that the angels of God are perfect, I rather question it. You question the perfection of the angels of God? A little, for the Bible says that God charges his angels with folly. If the angels are charged with folly by him who sits on the throne, with much more propriety may mortals who are at a greater distance from the central government be charged with the same. I will tell you that this is a singular kind of a world, and the machinery of man is very singular and complex, and it requires the wisdom of God to know and understand everything in relation to it, or even a small portion of it.

I might go on and point out the different characters, but having given you two or three examples, you must draw your own inference in relation to the condition hereafter of every living being. “Why,” says one, “I expect to go into the celestial kingdom.” You do? That is the highest grade of glory that we have any knowledge of. Put you or me into a place that we are not qualified to fill, and is it a heaven or a hell to us? For instance, there are many heavy mercantile firms in this city. An upright man, full of charity and good works, applies at the counting house of one of these large establishments for a berth as chief clerk, to keep their financial affairs properly posted up. He knows nothing about figures or about wielding the pen, but he is a good man. Let the weight of responsibility gradually descend and fall upon him, and he says, “I am crushed, I cannot do anything with this position, Oh deliver me from this place!” How often do we hear men say, “I am going to be a ruler in the kingdom of God.” The presumption is that such men possess certain necessary qualifications. To be a ruler without the qualifications for one, is to receive an exalted position to become a mark of ridicule for all beholders. I will tell you that to put you or me in a place that we are not qualified to fill, it is a hell for us, instead of a place of honor and exaltation, and I feel that I have no time to lose in preparing and qualifying myself to learn first to be a subject. If I cannot submit to be a subject, how can I ever expect to be a ruler? If I have not regard enough for the kingdom of God to comply with its requirements and laws and to pay my tithing, but show myself disloyal all my life, how can I expect to be elevated as a ruler in that kingdom that has no end? I cannot expect it.

I will now repeat what I said before—the celestial kingdom is the seat of all science, and like a great tree whose shadow reaches our earth, true science emanates thence, where it exists in its most refined and pure state, down here to our earth. Now, unless we go to and establish schools to educate ourselves and our children in all the shadows that are reflected upon our earth, how can we manage the substance? As it is said, “He that is unfaithful in the unrighteous mammon, who shall commit to his trust the true riches?” And if we are unfaithful to the shadows, who will commit to us the golden beams of purity, intelligence and love, even the sciences as they exist in the celestial kingdom? It is for us to look at and reflect upon these things, and to devote ourselves to the acquisition of knowledge.

This city is becoming a fashionable city. I see that the Latter-day Saints are copying the fashions of the outside world. I love to see innocence, purity, cleanliness and all this, and I would rather have disclosed to me, in the visions of one night’s sleep, the true principles of godliness as they exist on the other side of the veil, than to have all the pride and fashion that decorate these poor mortal bodies, for one view of eternal things throws into the shade all earthly grandeur and glory. This is what I delight in. Brethren and sisters, let us pay our tithing, that we may earn an inheritance in the kingdom of God, and we shall find that our loyalty in this shape will actually purchase us an everlasting inheritance.

Says one, “What becomes of tithing? I would like to know whether these Priests, Apostles, Bishops and Presidents use it all up in extravagance?” I will tell you where it goes, though I am under no obligation to do so, any more than I am to tell what is done with the money I pay to the tax collector, or the internal revenue man. When you go to the marriage altar, or to be baptized for yourselves or for your dead relatives, or to get your sealings and anointings, or anything of this kind, do you have to pay five shillings or five dollars for officiating for your father or mother who is dead and gone, that they may share the benefits of the everlasting Gospel with you, or are those ordinances free to you? You do not have to pay for them, do you? Do you find beggars in the streets of Zion? I have traveled through many countries in the old world, and I could hardly pass a corner, without hearing the petition—“A penny if you please, a penny, a penny. My mother is at home sick, got a little baby and cannot get out, and they are afflicted. Oh, please sir, a penny, a sixpence to help them!” No such scenes in this country. I have seen nothing of the kind, and I question very much whether you have. In those old countries beggary is going on in five hundred different ways, but you do not see any of it here. What stops up all these channels of distress? Tithing—the taxes you pay to the kingdom of God. The little child’s mother is provided for, if her Bishop looks after her, and the presumption is that he does. These little children are cared for. Is there any real poverty in our land? There may be, but really the cases are few and far between. All are well fed, all comfortably clad, and wherein they are unable to do it themselves, the tithing department pays.

We may think that we are going to get all our sealings, anointings, our marriages and everything of that kind free, but we are mistaken about that; we have got to pay for them all. How do you pay? Tithing and offerings to the kingdom of God pay for it all. Then when you come up to have accounts adjusted, and the books are opened, and another book is opened and the dead are judged out of those things written in the books according to their works, they have paid the charges, and that which they claim is their own, it is given to them of God. Not so with the world, they only marry for time. I have married a great many couples in the ways of the world, but I never married any of them for time and for all eternity, my mind did not stretch so far then—I married them until death should separate them. Those who have paid no tithing and have not enlisted under the law and commandments of God, those who have had no faith in Jehovah and in the resurrection, are parted when they go down to the grave. Farewell to all alliance then! They have raised families of lovely children, they have passed through sorrow, tribulation and joy, tasted the sweet and the bitter together, but when they reach the grave farewell forever, an eternal separation takes place. Not so with the Latter-day Saints. We are administered to by the authority of that priesthood that is without beginning of days or end of life, whose ministration is just as efficient the other side of the veil as this side, for what it binds on earth is bound in heaven, and what it looses on earth is loosed in heaven. If we have not a priesthood possessing this power and authority we have none at all. We claim that we have, and it cannot be found anywhere else. If we go to the Presbyterian church, with all respect to its ministers and people, and ask, “Do your ministrations reach beyond the veil? Can you marry for time and for all eternity?” We are told, “No.” And every other sect in Christendom will say the same. They could just as easily argue me out of my existence as to convince me that the ministrations of my priesthood do not reach within the veil of eternity, and run parallel with the great God himself, because that priesthood comes from God, and Heaven cannot destroy his own power, unless he destroy himself, and that he will not do, he will not be guilty of suicide. This is the superiority of the Priesthood that is conferred upon the Latter-day Saints; and although we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and are despised and rejected, there is a purity and an eternal principle embraced therein which will last until the heavens are no more.

God bless you, Amen.




Different Degrees of Reward and of Punishment—Marriage for Eternity Necessary to a Fullness of Celestial Glory

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Evening, Jan. 19, 1873.

I do not know when I was more edified and instructed than I was this afternoon in listening to the discourse of Elder Hyde. According to my judgment it was certainly calculated in its nature to edify and instruct every person who listened to it with attention. It was delivered in eloquent language, was plain and simple, pointed and definite, and, if obeyed, was calculated to do good to all.

The Lord has appointed a variety of gifts in his kingdom, some having one and some another, and especially in the Quorum of the Twelve, of which Brother Hyde is the President, there is a great variety of gifts and talents, and it gives me great pleasure to listen to them, and it would be with great satisfaction that I would listen more than I do. But I am frequently called upon to address the people when I would prefer to listen to others.

What subject I may present before you tonight I do not know. Sometimes a subject will open to my mind while I am listening to the singers, and sometimes I rise without having the first thing before my mind to speak to the people, and I trust in God to give me what is needful at the very moment. This is the case with me this evening, and I do humbly pray to my Father in heaven, in the name of his beloved Son, that he will grant unto me the Spirit to discern what to say and what would be most adapted to the wants of those who are present. There is such a vast field of light and truth which God has revealed in different ages of the world, and more especially in our times, that the great difficulty with the servant of God, I have often thought, is to distinguish and discern what portion of the great variety would be most pleasing in the sight of the Lord to lay before the people.

There are a great many peculiarities in our religion, but the generality of the Latter-day Saints are well acquainted with them. Sometimes strangers attend our meetings who would be glad to have us dwell upon certain subjects, which they think would greatly interest them. We are willing to do so, but still we study to have the Spirit to edify all, whether they be in the Church, or whether they be strangers who are here on a visit.

Among the peculiarities which God has revealed directly to the Latter-day Saints may be mentioned the various degrees of happiness and glory which exist in the eternal world, also the various degrees of punishment upon the different classes of individuals. Formerly, before we became Latter-day Saints, we were instructed by our fathers and mothers, and by the ministers whom we heard, that there were but two places in the eternal worlds, one or the other of which was intended for all the human family; that all that happened to miss heaven would be sent to the other place, which they called hell. This subject was dwelt upon very lengthily and very interestingly by Brother Hyde this afternoon, and during his remarks he told about the different mansions that God had in reserve for all the human family, some of which are glorious, and others intended as places of punishment. These things were dwelt upon very fully by Brother Hyde, in some respects, but there were some items connected with them that were not fully investigated and laid before the people.

The way that we obtained a more perfect knowledge of the future condition of the children of men was by revelation; indeed all the knowledge that ever mankind did obtain in relation to this matter was by revelation. We read in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians something about the different glories connected with the resurrection of the dead. We are told in the reasoning of Paul that when people come forth from the dead, some will inherit one glory and some another; and these glories are typified by the various creations which the Lord had made. Paul says, “there is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, and that as one star differs from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead.”

We are also told in the Scriptures that there is a great variety of punishments as well as glories—these punishments differing in nature according to the works of the children of men. For instance we read of some persons who are to be punished for sins they have committed without any chance of forgiveness either in this world or in the world to come. This plainly indicates to us that certain classes of sins cannot be forgiven in that world, while other classes of sins may be forgiven on certain conditions. He that sins against the Holy Ghost, we are told, shall not receive forgiveness. Men can sin against God the Father, and if they repent in this world, they may be forgiven; if they sin against Jesus his Son, and repent and work the works of righteousness, these sins may be blotted out; but if they sin against the Holy Ghost after having received the same and been baptized by him, there is no forgiveness for that sin, neither in this world nor in the world to come.

Now if there is to be a variety of punishments as well as a variety of glories, there must be a variety of places of punishment. It would look inconsistent to us, even here in this life, to see a person guilty of but a small crime against the laws of our country thrust into the same dungeon with the murderer. It would be unjust, for instance, according to our notions, for a person who has committed but a trifling offense against the law to be thrust into the darkest and deepest dungeon along with him who has shed innocent blood. We have sufficient justice in our own bosoms to classify these individuals and to point out to each the apartment in which he is to dwell. Is the Lord less just than man? Is he not filled with the great principles of justice far beyond that which any man ever did receive? From him have emanated all our ideas of justice, consequently we cannot look upon him as a being who would consign the poor heathen who died without a knowledge of the law, and others who have led moral lives but who have not obeyed the Gospel of the Son of God, to the same punishment as the murderer and him who sheds innocent blood. We should regard it as unjust if all these classes were to be thrust into one place, there to welter under the same conditions of punishment throughout the endless ages of eternity without any hope of redemption. I could not look upon this as just, and I pre sume that no other reflecting being could, especially if he was acquainted with the Scriptures. Jesus, in speaking upon this subject, says—“He that knows his master’s will and does it not shall be beaten with many stripes;” while he who is ignorant of his master’s will and does things that are worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. I have not quoted the saying of Jesus, word for word, but I have given you the sentiment; the Lord, therefore, in judging man, judges not by the act in all cases, but according to the understanding and knowledge of the individual who performs that act. If two persons were each to commit a murder—shed innocent blood—and one had a full knowledge of the revealed law of God, and the other was in entire ignorance of it, there would be a distinction in judging these two characters. We would say at once that he who had sinned against knowledge should receive a heavier punishment than he who had not this knowledge.

Suppose that Saints, who have not only heard the law of God, but have embraced the Gospel of the Son of God, have been renewed in their minds by the power of the Holy Ghost and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, should be so far overcome as to shed innocent blood, would there be any forgiveness for them? Not at all. Would it be our duty, if such a person were judged, and condemned by the laws of our country to be hanged by the neck until dead, to visit him and pray that God would forgive his sins? No, we would be sinning against God in doing so. Why? Because God has revealed to us that persons who have this light and knowledge, and shed innocent blood, cannot be forgiven in this world nor in the world to come, and we should not ask him to do that which he has decreed that he will not do. Such a person commits the unpardonable sin—he sheds innocent blood after having the light of the Holy Ghost, knowing that in so doing he is not only sinning against God the Father and against his Son, but against the convictions of the Holy Ghost.

Supposing, again, that persons outside of this Church, that have heard the Gospel of the Son of God, but have refused to obey it, should murder, they sin against great light and knowledge, but not against the Holy Ghost. Here is the difference between the two classes of murderers; the Latter-day Saint would never be forgiven, but he would become a son of perdition.

Now let me bring up some instances from Scripture in regard to these different classes of individuals and the light and knowledge which they had. Some may be forgiven, as I have already stated, in the world to come. Let me refer you to a certain class that are named in the Scriptures that will be forgiven on certain conditions. You recollect that the Apostle Peter, having gathered around him a large congregation of Jews, the murderers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who had shed innocent blood, delivered to them a discourse, but it was a very different one to that which he preached to the mixed multitude who had gathered from the different nations on the Day of Pentecost. When he preached to the latter he said, “Repent, every one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is unto you and your children, and unto all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That was a true Gospel sermon, preached to individuals that were not guilty of murder. They were all required to repent, believe in Jesus Christ, to be baptized in water for the remission of sins, and they and all who were afar off, who would receive the Gospel, were promised the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. But come to the other sermon to which I have referred, the one preached to the wicked and corrupt Jews who crucified Jesus. Peter said, we wot not but what you have done it through your ignorance—in other words, you have not received the Holy Ghost, and because you have not had the Spirit of the Lord resting upon you, you have shed the blood of the Innocent One, you have murdered the Son of God, the Messiah; but you have done it through ignorance. Now the question is, was there any hope for them? Could they have their sins forgiven in this life? No, Peter, after first telling them that they had shed the blood of the Just One in their ignorance, then tells them how and when they may obtain forgiveness. I will repeat the words: “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted”—no baptism here—“repent ye, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heavens must receive until the times of the restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets since the world began.” He did not tell them to be baptized for the remission of their sins. Why? Because he understood too well the nature of their sin to tell them to be baptized for the remission thereof. He knew they had lost that privilege in this world, because they had shed the blood of the Holy and Just One. He said to them, If you will repent now, you murderers, you who have killed Jesus, the Just and Holy One, there is one hope that even your sins may be blotted out. Not in this life, not by baptism for the remission of sins, but when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord and he shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heavens will receive until then, and not even then unless they repent while here in this life. This must have been sorrowful news to those to whom it was communicated, if they believed it.

“Repent and be converted.” Notice now what this sentence means. The word “converted” has been construed to be “born of God,” or to become a new creature; but the true meaning of the word is to reform our lives, converted from doing that which is evil to do that which is good—turning from sin and transgression to that which is righteous before God. If those Jews would repent and turn or be converted from their sins to do that which was right, they had a hope of having their sins blotted out when Jesus should be sent from the presence of the Father in the times of restitution; but until then they must remain in torment, suffering for their sins.

Let me bring up another instance. There was a man in ancient times named David, and because he was a man after God’s own heart, the Lord chose him to be king over Israel. The Lord also greatly blessed this man, and poured out richly upon him the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and many of his psalms, which we now sing with so much pleasure in our meetings, contain prophecies relating to the most remote generations of the human family. This man was a Pro phet and Revelator, he was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke as he was moved upon by that Spirit. God loved him, and said that he was a man after his own heart. God also blessed him, while but a ruddy youth, fleeing from cave to cave, and from mountain to mountain to escape from the persecutions of Saul, who sought to take his life, with eight wives. This was before he was placed upon the throne. But after Saul had been cut off and David had been elevated to the throne of Israel, the Lord also gave him all the wives of Saul his master. So says Nathan the Prophet, and he was sent to reprove David. What had he done to need reproof? Why he had taken his neighbor’s wife, a person he had no claim upon, and he not only committed adultery by thus taking the wife of another, but by his order her lawful husband was placed in front of the battle that he might be destroyed, and he was destroyed, hence, though he himself did not thrust a dagger to his heart, he became a murderer in the sight of heaven by having this man placed where his blood would be shed. After all his goodness, and after all the light and knowledge which God had given to this man, he committed these two great crimes. Nathan the Prophet was sent to reprove him for them, and he did so by means of a parable. He told David, the king, that a certain poor man had but one ewe lamb, and his rich neighbor, close by, had a great flock, and there came along a stranger, and the rich man went to this poor man’s fold and took the only sheep he had and dressed it in order to make a sumptuous feast for the stranger. This kindled David’s wrath, for though he had transgressed, the principle of justice was not extinct in his bosom, and he said, “He who hath done this thing shall surely die.” Nathan said, “Thou art the man.” God hath given to thee a great number of wives, among the rest all the wives of thy master Saul. All this great flock of sheep, as it were, has been given unto you from the Lord, yet you have gone and taken the only one that a poor man had, and committed adultery with her, therefore said the Lord, I will punish you. With what kind of punishment was this man punished? Amongst them was that of suffering in the eternal worlds. How long? I cannot say exactly, but a good many centuries, a thousand years at least; this man, once righteous, now wicked, had to suffer the penalty of that crime. Did he repent? He did. Did he cry unto the Lord? He did. Was he sorely troubled? He was, and he was perhaps as repentant as anyone could be; but the decree had gone forth, and hence that man had to endure the penalty of his crime. Peter, when referring to this subject on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, quotes from the Psalms of David, and says, “Thou hast not left my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” It seems that after all, though David’s repentance could not wipe away his sin, yet he had a hope, and he looked forward to the time when he would be liberated from hell; when that time arrived he would come forth and receive some kind of a glory, how much I do not know, for it is not revealed; but suffice it to say, he sinned against great light and knowledge and because of his sin he fell from a very high position. That he had received many of the principles that are now understood by the Lat ter-day Saints, under the new and everlasting covenant, I doubt; for if he had he never could have been redeemed, he never could have said, “Thou wilt redeem my soul from hell,” etc.

Let us refer to some other instances. There were the Lamanites, a people who, according to the Book of Mormon, had dwindled in ignorance on this American continent before Christ came. They had dwelt here for centuries, and before the coming of our Savior they were sunk in the depths of ignorance. They had lost the knowledge of the principles of salvation, and they had become a very ignorant, wicked, idolatrous people. The Nephites, an enlightened nation which dwelt on this continent at the same time, sent missionaries to the Lamanites to convert them, if possible, from their sins. They went amongst them and had much success, bringing a great many thousands of them to a knowledge of the truth. This nation had been taught, in their ignorance and wickedness, that there was no harm in murdering the Nephites, and they had murdered them while in ignorance of the law of God; but when the Gospel was laid before them, could they obtain forgiveness for these murders? On certain conditions, and one of them was that they would lay down their weapons of war, and they did so, burying them deep in the earth as a testimony before God that they would no more shed innocent blood; and through their great sorrow and repentance the Lord had compassion upon them, and he forgave in this life the sins they had committed in ignorance. That showed that murderers, under certain conditions, could be forgiven here; but there are other classes of murderers for whose forgiveness in this life it would be very wrong to pray, even if they never had received the Holy Ghost—I mean those who have read and understood the revealed law. To pray for present forgiveness would be contrary to the mind and will of God, and hence it would be sinning against him. I believe I have said sufficient to show the principle upon which the Lord acts in punishing the sins of the children of men. Now let me say a few words in relation to their coming forth and redemption.

I will here ask, will many of these individuals who have sinned against God come forth and inherit that high degree of exaltation in the celestial world? This is a great question. Can they inherit the same glory that will be enjoyed by the Saints who have lived in different ages of the world and endured faithful to the end? Can they receive that full exaltation and shine forth in the kingdom of God? No. Why not? Because they are not prepared for it. I do not say but what they may in some future age, according to the purposes of God, be led along from one step to another, until, finally, some of them attain to celestial glory. We Latter-day Saints believe that when the Lord comes he will redeem the heathen nations, not into his presence, into celestial glory, but they will come forth from their graves; not with celestial bodies and prepared to wear a celestial crown, to shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. No; such a glory they cannot have, but they will have a glory adapted to the light and knowledge which they have had, and that glory is typified by the moon. “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, and as one star differeth from another star in glory, so also in the resurrection of the dead.” Now, there is quite a difference among these celestial bodies that shine in the firmament. The sun is far more glorious than the moon, so much so that astronomers tell us it would take several hundred thousand full moons to make a light equal to the light of the sun; in other words, if all our visible firmament from the horizon was just one glare of moons, all this would not be equal to the light of the sun, consequently you can form an idea of the difference between the glory of the sun and the glory of the moon.

Again, when we look upon those twinkling stars in the firmament of heaven, we see some shining with a much greater brilliancy than others, and they are divided into classes by astronomers, and ranked according to their magnitude, or according to the intensity of the light they shed forth upon our world, not according to the real nature of the stars, because they are too far off for us to judge of that, only we know that they are suns, the centers of systems, and that they shine by their own radiance; and if we were as near to them as we are to our sun, many of them would be far more resplendent in their glory, and would shed forth more light than our sun does. But the Apostle Paul in speaking on this subject had reference to the glory of the stars as they appear to us, and to the amount of light which they seem to send forth.

Now those persons who receive a glory like that of the stars, or as the light of the stars appears to us, will not come up to that glory enjoyed by the heathen, for their glory will be like that of the moon, and all the stars put together do not shed forth as much light upon our world as one moon, and hence the glory of that class of beings whose glory differs as the stars will be lower than that of the heathen, for they will receive the glory of the moon. But all who go into the glory typified by the sun will have to obey certain principles of law, and that law is a celestial law. What is that law? It is the law of the Gospel. All persons in these days who enter celestial glory must not only be acquainted with the Gospel as taught in ancient times, but they must be acquainted with it as it is taught and administered by men having authority to administer it now. If they do this, they will be entitled to the blessings of the Gospel, to the forgiveness of sins in this world, and being thus made the sons and daughters of God, they will be entitled to all the fullness of the glory of that plan of salvation, and Jesus says that they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of my Father.

As we have not time to enter fully into the investigation of all these different glories, I wish more particularly to inquire concerning the nature of this higher state of glory called celestial. Will there be any difference among those who are redeemed into that glory? There will, in some respects. They will all be equal in the enjoyment of some blessings, and so far their glory will be the same, but yet in some respects there will be a difference. Some who will inherit a portion of that glory will have no families, they will be deprived of that blessing to all ages of eternity, while others will receive an exaltation and kingdom, and will have wives, children, dominion, greatness and power far above those I first referred to.

Now why should there be this distinction in the celestial kingdom, and what is the cause of it? It is because certain persons who have obeyed the Gospel have become careless and indifferent in regard to securing that high exaltation which was within their reach. God has revealed to this people what is needful for an exaltation in his kingdom. He has revealed to us, as we heard from Elder Hyde this afternoon, that marriage is destined for eternity as well as time—that the marriage covenant between male and female must be entered into in this life, and the ordinance performed here by those whom God has appointed and ordained to hold the keys and authority to seal on earth that it may be sealed in heaven; for in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage; no such thing can be attended to there. Now persons among the Latter-day Saints who do not enter into this covenant of marriage but prefer to lead a single life cannot enjoy all that fullness of exaltation which will be possessed by those who have had this covenant sealed upon them. They might not have forfeited the blessing of celestial glory altogether, but they have forfeited the right to have wives by which only they could have a posterity in the eternal worlds. Who will be the subjects in the kingdom which they will rule who are exalted in the celestial kingdom of our God? Will they reign over their neighbors’ children? Oh no. Over whom then will they reign? Their own children, their own posterity will be the citizens of their kingdoms; in other words, the patriarchal order will prevail there to the endless ages of eternity, and the children of each patriarch will be his while eternal ages roll on. This is not according to present customs, for now when a young man reaches the age of twenty-one years he is free from his parents, and considers that he is no longer under the necessity of being controlled by his father. That is according to our customs, and the laws of our country. It is a very good law and adapted to the imperfections that now exist; but it will not be so in the eternal worlds. There will never be any such thing there as being from under their father’s rule, no matter whether twenty-one or twenty-one thousand years of age, it will make no difference, they will still be subject to the laws of their Patriarch or Father, and they must observe and obey them throughout all eternity. There is only one way by which children can be freed from that celestial law and order of things, and that is by rebellion. They are agents, and they can rebel against God and against the order of things he has instituted there, just as Satan and the fallen angels rebelled and turned away. The increase of those who are exalted in that kingdom will endure forever; and the bringing forth of children will not be attended with sorrow, pain and distress as it is here: these evils have come in consequence of the fall of man and the transgression by him of God’s holy laws. But when men are redeemed to immortality and eternal life there will be no pain, sorrow or affliction of body, and yet children will be brought forth, and to their increase there will be no end. Hence the promise of God to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that their seed should be as numerous as the stars of heaven, or as the sands upon the seashore. We all know that the sand on the seashore is innumerable to us. If we take a handful it numbers its tens of thousands of grains, and if Abraham’s seed are to become as numerous as the sands on the seashore they will fill a great many worlds like this of ours. There is to be no end to the increase of the old Patriarch, and, as his posterity increases, world on world will be created and brought into existence, and those children will be sent forth from the presence of the Patriarch to take upon themselves bodies, as we have done here in this world. I mean their spirits. Understand me now, resurrected parents are the parents not of bodies of flesh and bones, but of spirits the same as we were before we came and took these mortal bodies, that is, when we lived up in yonder world in the presence of our Father, and in the company of the thousands of millions of our brother and sister spirits. They will be of the same class and nature, and they will have to take their position in worlds that will be created for them the same as we came from heaven to this world, that we might gain knowledge and experience that we could not gain in any other way. Thus will the Lord continue his work and purposes, and there will be one eternal round in creation, and redemption, in the formation and redemption of worlds, and bringing them back into his presence.

We read that God is the Father of our spirits, the Father of the spirits of all flesh Moses calls him. The Apostle James tells the Saints in his day, that we have fathers in the flesh who have corrected us, how much more ought we to be obedient to the Father of our spirits and live?

What will become of the old bachelor who refuses to obey the ordinance of marriage? We have preached to the young men of this Territory, and laid before them the sacredness of the marriage covenant. We have told them and the young women that it is their duty to enter into this covenant as much as it is their duty to be baptized for the remission of their sins. The same God that commanded the latter gave the revelation concerning the marriage covenant, yet there are some who will give heed to one ordinance—baptism—but will be careless and indifferent about the other. By taking this course they do not altogether forfeit their right and title to enter that kingdom, but they do forfeit their right and title to be kings therein. What will be their condition there? They will be Angels.

There are many different classes of beings in the eternal worlds, and among them are angels. Who are these angels? Some of them have never yet come to take upon them bodies of flesh and bones, but they will come in their times, seasons and generations and receive their tabernacles, the same as we have done. Then there are others who were resurrected when Jesus was, when the graves of the Saints were opened and many came forth and showed themselves to those who were then living in the flesh. Besides these there are angels who have been to this world and have never yet received a resurrection, whose spirits have gone hence into celestial paradise, and there await the resurrection. We have now mentioned three classes of angels. There are others, among them some redeemed from former creations before this world was made, one of whom administered to our first parents after they were cast out of the garden as they were offering sacrifices and burnt offerings, according to the commandments which they received from God when they were driven from the garden. After they had done this many days an Angel came and ministered to them and inquired of them why they offered sacrifices and burnt offerings unto the Lord. The answer was, “I know not, save it be that the Lord commanded me.” Then this angel went on to explain to our first parents why these offer ings were made and why they were commanded to shed the blood of beasts, telling them that all these things were typical of the great and last sacrifice that should be offered up for all mankind, namely the Son of the living God. These angels that came to Adam were not men who had been redeemed from this earth—not men who had been translated from this earth—but they pertained to former worlds. They understood about the coming of Jesus, the nature of these sacrifices, &c.

Some of these angels have received their exaltation, and still are called angels. For instance Michael has received his exaltation. He is not without his kingdom and crown, wife or wives and posterity, because he lived faithful to the end. Who is he? Our first, great progenitor, Adam, is called Michael, the Prince. I am mentioning now things that the Latter-day Saints are acquainted with. Many of these things I have just been quoting are revelations given to us, as those who are readers will recollect. Some of these angels have received their exaltation. They are kings, they are priests, they have entered into their glory and sit upon thrones—they hold the scepter over their posterity. Those other classes I have mentioned have neglected the new and everlasting covenant of marriage: They cannot inherit this glory and these kingdoms—they cannot be crowned in the celestial world. What purpose will they serve? They will be sent on errands—be sent to other worlds as missionaries to minister, they will be sent on whatever business the Lord sees proper; in other words, they will be servants. To whom will they be servants? To those who have obeyed and remained faithful to the new and everlasting covenant, and have been exalted to thrones; to those who have cove nanted before God with wives so that they may raise up and multiply immortal intelligent beings through all the ages of eternity. Here is the distinction of classes, but all of the same glory, called celestial glory.

But how about these terrestrials, can they come up into the celestial? No, their intelligence and knowledge have not prepared and adapted them to dwell with those who reign in celestial glory, consequently they cannot even be angels in that glory. They have not obeyed the law that pertains to that glory, and hence they could not abide it. But will there be blessings administered to them by those who dwell in celestial glory? Yes, angels will be sent forth from the celestial world to minister to those who inherit the glory of the moon, bearing messages of joy and peace and of all that which is calculated to exalt, to redeem and ennoble those who have been resurrected into a terrestrial glory. They can receive the Spirit of the Lord there, and the ministration of angels there.

Now let us come to still inferior glories. I have mentioned those who inherit the glory of the stars. Who are they? They are not the heathen, for they come up higher—into the terrestrial glory. Who are they, then, who are permitted only to inherit a glory typified by the stars? They are the general world of mankind, those who have heard the Gospel of the Son of God but have not obeyed it. They are to be punished. How long? Until Jesus has reigned here on the earth a thousand years. How much longer? Until the “little season” has passed away after the end of the thousand years, and then when the final end shall come and the trump of God shall sound, and the great white throne shall appear and the heaven and the earth shall flee away; when that time shall come, the sound of the trump shall call forth those sleeping millions of all ages, generations and nations who have heard the sound of the Gospel and have not obeyed it, but until then their bodies must sleep. They are not worthy of “the first resurrection.” “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, for on such the second death has no power.” But those who will not give heed to the law of the Gospel have no claim on this first resurrection, and their bodies must sleep through all these long centuries that are to intervene between the time of their death and the end of the earth. Where will their spirits be all that time? Not in any glory; they cannot inherit a glory until their punishment is past. They are not permitted to enter into prison. A great many people, and perhaps some of the Latter-day Saints, have supposed that these characters will go into prison. I do not know of any revelation anywhere intimating that anyone of this class of persons will ever be put in prison. Where do they go? To another place altogether different from a prison. A prison is designed for those who never heard the Gospel here in the flesh, but yet have committed a few sins without the knowledge of the revealed law, and who have to be beaten with few stripes in prison. But these persons who hear the Gospel, as the nations of the present dispensation are doing, cannot go to prison, it is not their place. They fall below a prison, into outer darkness or hell, where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There they have to remain with the devil and his angels in torment and misery until the final end, then they come forth. Can they come where God and Christ dwell? No, worlds without end they cannot come there. Can they go into the presence of the heathen where the glory is that of the moon? No, they cannot even come there. When they are delivered from the power of Satan and endless death and brought forth, where do they go? If they do not go into the presence of God the Father, if they are not counted worthy to enter into the terrestrial world among the heathen, where will they go? God has provided mansions for them according to their works here in this world. Having suffered the vengeance of eternal fire for the space of a thousand years and upwards, and suffered the extreme penalty of the law of God, they can now be brought forth to inherit a place where they can be administered unto by terrestrial beings and by Angels holding the Priesthood, and where they can receive the Holy Ghost.

Those in the terrestrial world have the privilege of beholding Jesus sometimes—they can receive the presence of the Son, but not of the fullness of the Father; but those in the telestial world, still lower, receive only the Holy Ghost, administered to them by messengers ordained and sent forth to minister to them for glory and exaltation, providing they will obey the law that is given unto them, which law will be telestial law. That will finally exalt them. How far I know not, but where God and Christ are they cannot come, worlds without end.

Now I think I have set forth these glories and these different degrees of punishment, and the different classes of people that are to be judged according to the knowledge that they have here in this world. I have set these things forth as plainly as I am capable of doing in one short dis course; and will bring my remarks to close in a few moments.

We are what the Lord calls Latter-day Saints—we have received light and knowledge to that degree from the heavens that will, if obeyed, exalt us to these high privileges of which I have been speaking. On the other hand, if not obeyed, that very light and knowledge are sufficient to sink us below all things. Hence we stand on dangerous ground in some respects, and we have need to fear lest we sin against this light and have not the privilege of even the telestial world. He that rejects this covenant, (let me quote the word of the Lord given in these last days)—“He that rejecteth this covenant and altogether turns therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.” Do you hear it, Latter-day Saints? If you do, then strive with all your hearts to be faithful. Strive to abide in the covenant that you have received. There is no halfway business with us—we have got to remain faithful to this covenant, for if we turn away from it we cannot even claim the glory that the world will have when the last resurrection shall come, but our doom is fixed—we have to dwell with the devil and his angels to all eternity. Why? Because they once had light and knowledge, dwelt in the presence of God, and knew about the glories of his kingdom. But they rebelled, and kept not the law that was given to them—they sinned against light and knowledge and were thrust down in chains of darkness, there to remain until the judgment of the great day. If we do not wish to be placed in their society for all eternity we must abide in the covenant that we have made. If we do this, Latter-day Saints, glory and honor and immortality and eternal lives, and thrones and kingdoms and dominions and creations and worlds will be given to us, and our posterity will increase until, like the sand on the seashore, they cannot be numbered.

Amen.




Universality and Eternity of the Gospel

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Evening, Jan. 12, 1873.

The subjects that have been touched upon by Elder Taylor are the most delightful that the human mind can contemplate. It is true that men can find employment and considerable enjoyment in the acquisition of wealth, and in expending the same in the busy scenes of life, but after all, there is something unsubstantial and unreal about every thing of this character. Decay is written upon everything that is human, death is written upon everything that we put our hands to and upon ourselves. We know that we are here but for a short time; we know that everything we possess will, like ourselves, perish and pass away; that our existence here is an ephemeral one—shortlived, therefore when we can contemplate the future and the life that is to come, and can understand anything connected with it that we can rely upon, there is something in the contemplation that lifts us above everything of a sublunary or perishable character. We are brought nearer to God, we feel that there is a spark of immortality within us, that we are indeed immortal and partakers of the Divine nature, through our inheritance as the children of God. And this is the effect that the principles of the Gospel, when properly understood, have upon mankind. They had this effect upon them in ancient days; they have this effect upon them in these days. It is on this account that men are capable of making sacrifices; and that men in ancient days could face every danger and could submit to the most ignominious tortures and death. It is knowledge concerning the future, which God has given to the Latter-day Saints, that has sustained them in their persecutions and trials in the past, and which sustains them at the present time; and it is this which has sustained thousands of other people who have not been Latter-day Saints, and who have not had a fullness of the Gospel, but only understood the principles of the Gospel to a partial extent. What is there that is calculated to fill the heart of man with greater joy than the knowledge that God has revealed the plan of salvation—a plan which not only comprehends within its scope man’s individual salvation, but the salvation of his ancestors and his posterity, and gives unto him, to a certain extent, the power to be a savior of men, to be a progenitor in the earth, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were; to be the means in the hands of God of bringing to pass also the salvation of those who have passed away in ignorance. It has been a matter which has puzzled thousands of well-meaning, honest people who believed in God and in the Gospel as far as they knew it—to understand what disposition would be made of those who died in ignorance of the Gospel. For instance, the millions of heathen who have died without having heard the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many men, including ministers, have entertained the idea that they go to a place of punishment from which there is no escape, but that they welter there in torment throughout the endless ages of eternity. Others, more charitable, have scarcely any idea what will become of them, and they therefore do not venture an opinion respecting the subject. Others still, have an idea that this cannot be the fate of the heathen, or, if so, that God must be unjust. There is something revolting to the merciful mind in the idea that God, our Heavenly Father would condemn millions of people to endless pain because of their ignorance of some great principle or truth, which he might have communicated to them but did not. For instance, millions of people have lived in Polynesia and the islands of the Pacific for unnumbered generations—history does not tell us how many, their traditions scarcely number them—and they never heard, until quite recently, the name of Jesus Christ, never knew that he was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. They have died by millions in total ignorance of the plan of salvation as taught in the Scriptures. Millions died on this great continent before the landing of the whites on American soil—countless tribes of Indians wandered to and fro from the polar regions of the north to the equator, and from the equator to the polar regions of the south, and not one amongst them all knew anything about God, his Son Jesus Christ, or the plan of salvation. They lived and died, generation after generation, in ignorance of these important truths, and many of them were doubtless just and upright men, so far as their traditions enabled them to act and walk uprightly.

Certain religious denominations entertain the belief that these people have all been consigned to endless torment; and not only those who have inhabited this land, but those who have inhabited Polynesia and Australia, the groups of Islands in the Indian Archipelago and throughout Asia and Africa. Who can contemplate such a plan of salvation, or rather condemnation, and admire the author of it, and worship him as a just, pure and holy being? Is there any wonder when such theories are propounded and advocated by the professed ministers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, that men have revolted at such a belief and would not exercise faith in Jesus Christ? The wonder to me is that so many have received teachings from men who, professing to be ministers of Christ, have entertained such views as these. To think that God would consign to endless torment millions of his creatures who died in ignorance, of which they might have been relieved if he had revealed his will and sent his ministers unto them!

This is not the faith of the Latter-day Saints. The Gospel that we have heard brings to us peace and joy. There is no feature in it from the contemplation of which we recoil. There is no feature connected with it that we cannot sit down and contemplate with pleasure and joy, and the more we contemplate and investigate it, the higher our admiration rises for the author of it—the great and good Creator who has revealed it. So far as I understand this plan of salvation, which is the one taught by Christ and his Apostles in ancient days, and which is left on record in the Scriptures, there is nothing connected with it but what excites my admiration and calls forth my unbounded gratitude to God for having revealed it, and for having given me the privilege of understanding it, so far as I have learned it. Instead of a Gospel filled with woe, sorrow and condemnation, it is a Gospel of peace, joy and happiness to those who received it.

We as a people, brethren and sisters, and we should always bear this in mind, do not believe that God our Heavenly Father will condemn any human being unless he has been made acquainted with the law which he has revealed; in other words, to use the expression of one of the Apostles, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” Unless a law is proclaimed unto men, that they may understand it, there can be no transgression of that law, and consequently no condemnation following its transgression; and if condemnation follow, there must be a knowledge of law. There must be a comprehension of a law and willful violation of it, before condemnation can come. There is no room for the exercise of pity to a person who, knowing a law, violates it. We do not have any feelings of pity to men who violate our laws when they understand them. We may regret their course, but when we know that they understood the law, and had power to live above it, and that through yielding to their weaknesses and to their propensities they have violated the law, we feel to say, “Let justice take its course, the punishment is a just one, and they must abide by it.” So it is in the Gospel—you will not be condemned for that which you do not understand, neither will any other people that ever lived—that now live—or ever will live in the future. They will be condemned according to their knowledge: every man will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Then what shall be done with the millions who have died in ignorance? If I thought that the plan of God’s salvation was confined to this earth, and this limited space of time, I should have different ideas of God to what I have. But God is eternal, and his salvation is an eternal plan of salvation. This earth, or the elements of which it is composed, is eternal. We who live on the earth are eternal in one sense—our spirits are eternal; and the elements of which our bodies or tabernacles are created are also eternal. They can be changed, dissolved and reconstructed, recreated and reorganized, but they are eternal, and so are we, and we shall live eternally. God’s providences and God’s salvation are not confined to this space of time, which we call life; but they extend throughout eternity and when individuals die in ignorance of the Gospel they will have the opportunity of hearing that Gospel elsewhere. As has been said, “If the dead rise not at all, then why are ye baptized for the dead?” This was the remark of Paul. Peter also tells us that Jesus went to preach to 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. They had been in prison for nearly 2,500 years, according to our chronology; but Jesus, having the power to preach the Gospel, went and preached to them while his body lay in the tomb. I know that this doctrine is strange to many persons. I recollect on one occasion preaching on the Sandwich Islands to a large congregation, endeavoring to prove that baptism for the remission of sins was necessary, and that, according to the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, unless a man was born of the water and of the Spirit he could in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven. After I had got through, a gentleman came forward from the congregation and commenced interrogating me on the statement which I had made; and in his remarks he dwelt particularly on the case of the thief on the cross. Said he, “You have told us that no man can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born of the water and of the Spirit.” I told him that I had quoted the words of the Savior. He wished to know how I disposed of the repentant thief on the cross, who died at the same time that the Savior did. Said he, “You recollect that Jesus said, ‘This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise;’ but your doctrine conveys the idea that the thief did not and could not go to Paradise unless he was born of the water.” I remarked to him that I supposed our views with regard to Paradise differed. He said that he believed that Paradise was heaven—the presence of God, and that the thief went there immediately after death. I said to him, “The Scriptures tell us that he did not.” The assertion startled him, and said he, “Do you mean to say that Jesus did not go to heaven?” I replied, “Jesus certainly did not go into the presence of his Father when he died, and to prove to you that what I say is correct, I have only to refer you to the 20th chapter of John, which contains the account of Mary and Jesus, after his resurrection. Mary went to the sepulchre on the morning of the Sabbath, and she found that the stone had been rolled away and that the Savior’s body was gone. She was startled at the occurrence, and turning round she saw somebody standing beside her whom she supposed to be the gardener, and she inquired of him what had become of the body of her Lord. Instead of the gardener, it was Jesus, and he called her by name, and as soon as she heard her name she knew it was Jesus, and stepped forward to embrace him. But Jesus said, ‘Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.’” Now, said I, “here is the testimony of Jesus himself that, on the Sabbath after his crucifixion, during which time his body had lain in the tomb, he had not yet ascended to his Father.” Said I, “Peter tells us that during this time, he had been to preach to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the days of Noah; and he also says—For this cause was the Gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged by that Gospel, just the same as they who are living.” From this we can learn how proper was the remark of Jesus to the thief. He did not say, “Thou shalt be with me in my kingdom this day.” The thief said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” But Jesus, who was then undergoing the pangs of death, and had not time to explain the plan of salvation to him, said, “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” And he no doubt was with him, and heard him explain the Gospel in its fullness, plainness and simplicity, and he had an opportunity of receiving or rejecting it.

These are the views entertained by the Latter-day Saints on this important subject. We believe that every being that ever has lived—that does live now or ever will live—will sooner or later be brought to a knowledge of the eternal plan of salvation, and that none will be con demned to endless torment, only those who sin against the Holy Ghost, for Jesus says every sin shall be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost; that shall not be forgiven in this world or the world to come. Every human being will be brought to a knowledge of the Redeemer’s grace; every human being will have truth and error placed before him or her, and will have the opportunity of embracing truth and rejecting error. God has placed us here, we are his children, and he loves us all. We cannot begin to understand the love that God our Father has for his children. He loves all that dwell on the face of the earth—the dark sons of Cain that dwell in Africa and in America, in Asia and throughout the islands of the sea, as well as those who live in Europe and America who are of the white race. All are the objects of his care. His providence is over all and his salvation is extended to all. But upon whom will condemnation rest? This is condemnation, says Jesus, that light has come into the world, and men are made to understand it and reject it. But will all be saved? Yes, every human being will be saved except those who commit the unpardonable sin. But will they all receive the same salvation? No; every man will be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body. Will those who live lives of ease and pleasure, consulting their own inclinations and gratifying them, be saved with those who endure all things for the truth’s sake? We read in the scriptures of men and women who aspired to serve God with all their mights, and to do everything that was required of them. They were they who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, who dwelt in dens and caves of the earth. They were willing to take upon them the obloquy and shame; to be sawn asunder, to have their heads cut off, to be crucified, to be thrown into the dens of wild beasts, and to suffer anything and everything, every kind of death, for the sake of the Gospel that they had embraced, and they endured these things unflinchingly. Will they receive only the same glory as those who pass along without any affliction and suffering, and who have pleasure all their days? No, the Apostle Paul, in the chapter that has been quoted from—the 15th chapter of the 1st of Corinthians, makes it plain that there is a difference in the degrees of glory that men will receive after death. He says that there is one glory of the sun, another of the moon and another of the stars. This shows that different degrees of glory will be awarded men and women in the resurrection according to their faithfulness here. Some will receive the glory of the sun, which is called the celestial glory; others will receive a glory typified by the moon, called the terrestrial glory; and others a glory typified by the stars, which is called the telestial glory.

The Latter-day Saints, as a people, are seeking to obtain celestial glory. They want to go where the Father and Son are, and to dwell eternally in their presence. They want to receive blessings similar to those which Jesus has received. On this account they have been as willing as the former-day Saints to suffer all things for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.

Many men wonder why we left the States as and when we did, and came into this wilderness, and why we endured persecutions. This is a matter of constant wonder to those who investigate our history and who do not understand the reasons which have prompted us to cling to our religion. They say, “If you will abandon this principle or that, we will fellowship you. If you reject the Book of Mormon, that is not much, you have the Bible. If you would reject Joseph Smith as a Prophet, we would receive you. Your doctrine is not so unpalatable. If you did not have so much confidence in Brigham Young, and did not take him as your counselor in all things, there would not be anything particularly objectionable in your doctrines. You believe in the Bible, the Old and New Testaments; but there are some principles of your religion which you might as well abandon.” Some men who call themselves good friends of the Latter-day Saints reason like this. They do not seem to understand that every principle connected with the Gospel is vital to salvation, and that if we reject the Book of Mormon we reject the Bible; if we reject Joseph Smith, we reject Jesus Christ who inspired and sent him; if we reject Brigham Young as an Apostle, we might as well reject Peter, James and John and the other Apostles who lived in ancient days; and that, in fact, to reject any of these would be to reject the whole, and that to be Latter-day Saints we have to believe every principle connected with our religion, or we have to be complete apostates to the whole of it. We cannot say we will receive this and reject that principle. We cannot say, We will receive faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, baptism and the laying on of hands and reject everything else. We will not gather with the people, we will not pay tithing, we will not believe in Brigham Young as an Apostle or Prophet. We cannot be Latter-day Saints and feel thus, we must either receive, or be apostate to, the whole of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are fighting for great truths, not with carnal weapons—swords, guns, or weapons of war; but we are engaged in a great and mighty spiritual contest, we are seeking to establish or rather to reestablish the principles of truth and righteousness on the earth. We are endeavoring to erect a standard of purity higher than that which now prevails and is recognized by men, and to elevate the people to that standard. That is the aim and labor of the Saints. We are misunderstood—so were Jesus and his Apostles, and the Prophets of God in ancient days. We stand in goodly company. We are arrayed, in this respect, with the noblest of earth’s sons. Our names are cast out as evil, and everything we do is misrepresented and misunderstood, but this does not change our disposition or the character of the work we are engaged in. We are resolved, notwithstanding this, to stand firm to the principles which God has revealed unto us. This is the duty of every Latter-day Saint, come life or come death, or whatever may be the consequences. If God has entrusted us with the revelations of his will, if he has taught us holy and pure doctrines, as we testify that he has, we would be recreant to God and to the duties and obligations he has placed upon us if we did not stand up and face the world in arms, if necessary, to maintain his great truths in the earth.

It is so with everything connected with our religion. There is nothing impure about it—it is God’s. There may be impurity in men, and they may fail in carrying out the doctrines which God has entrusted to them, but this does not alter the doctrines. They are true and good from beginning to end, from the first to the last that has been committed to us, and their practice among the people will exalt them. “What?” says one, “will plural marriage, that we have been taught to look upon as so de grading, elevate people?” Yes, even that principle, much abused as it is, when it is understood by the people, will be viewed in a very different light from what it is now. And so with every other principle of the Gospel. There is nothing that we teach or practice but what is contained in the Bible, and for which we do not have the example of Prophets and Apostles, and that was not embodied in the plan of salvation revealed to the ancients. We are willing to be tested by the word of God. Not by man’s traditions and misconceptions; but we are willing to go to and be tested by that book upon which Christendom relies—the translation of the Scriptures made by King James the First, of England. If we have embraced error, we are willing to renounce it whenever it is proved to us.

There are about a hundred and twenty-five thousand people in these valleys in Utah Territory. We are but a small handful of people, and we are surrounded by the foremost civilization of the age, which is believed in and upheld by forty millions of people, who have in their possession all the agencies of the pulpit and the press—the most advanced agencies of civilization; and our barbarism, as it is called, is brought face to face with their advanced civilization. We do not shrink from the contest, but are willing to abide the issue and to submit to the results. We are not afraid of this Gospel. It is reported of President Young that he once said, It was a very poor religion that would not stand one railroad. I do not know whether he ever did make the remark, but whether he did or not, it is true. It is a poor religion that will not stand one, two, three, or half a dozen railroads, or that will not stand in the midst of the hottest persecution, and triumph when in contact with everything that can be brought against it. I would not give a fig for my religion if it would not do this, so long as its believers are not extirpated, as were the believers in the Gospel in ancient days. If they will only let us live and enjoy our natural and heaven-bestowed rights, I have no fears as to the result. It is true that the wicked could turn in and kill us off in detail, as they killed our ancient predecessors—the Apostles and followers of Christ. In that day they killed every man that professed to have revelation from God. They searched and hunted until not a man could be found among the sons of men who could say unto the people, “Thus saith the Lord,” until not a man could be found who could say that an angel had appeared to him; until not a man could be found among all the children of earth who could say, “God has revealed this to me.” If God would permit it, we might be hunted, slain and driven until all were finally extirpated from the face of the earth, and in this way, probably, our religion would not stand and endure the contest or contact with what is called a superior civilization. But so long as we are allowed to live, and to enjoy the exercise of our opinion in this great nation, whose boast it is that it is the land of untrammeled liberty, I do not fear the contest or its result, and in saying this I believe I speak the sentiments of every man and woman who belongs to the Church in this Territory. We know that we have received the truth, that it will be triumphant in the end, and that it will live through and survive all kinds of persecution that may be brought to bear against it.

But there is something that I dread more than active persecution. We have endured persecutions which have driven us from our homes. Mobs have burned our houses, destroyed our corn and wheat fields, and torn down our fences; our men have been slain, and in some instances our women ravished. We have been driven as wild beasts are driven from the habitations of men, and compelled to flee to the wilderness. We have endured this, and we know that we can endure it, and live in the midst of it, for we have been tested. But we have not yet endured prosperity, we have not yet been tested in this crucible, which is one of the severest to which a people can be subjected. We have not been tested with abundance of property and wealth lavished upon us; and here, my brethren and sisters, is the point against which we have to guard more than all others, for there is more danger today to the Zion of God in the wealth that is pouring into and increasing in the hands of the Latter-day Saints, than in all the armies that have ever been mustered against us, or all the mobs that have been formed for our overthrow, from the organization of the Church until today. There is danger not in mines alone, not in the increase of strangers in our midst, not in the seducing influences which attend the presence of some of them, but in the fact that we ourselves are growing wealthy, and that it is natural for us to become attached to wealth, and for the mind of man to be allured by it, and by the influence which it brings. There is danger in this, and I look for the same results to follow this condition of affairs that formerly followed mobocracy. The mobs came upon us, and they cleansed from among us the hypocrites and cowards, and those who could not endure. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which brought persecutions, and called upon men to forsake houses and lands and everything that was dear to them, and to push out into the wilderness, had no attraction for the classes I have named, in the early history of the Church; and I expect that there will be attractions stronger than the Gospel to hypocrites and those weak in the faith in the present phase of our history, and that influences now operating will produce the same results as we have witnessed, that is, to cleanse the people of God. We have, therefore, at the present time, that at our doors, which menaces us with greater danger than mobs. I do not dread the results, but doubtless many, unless they are very careful, will have their hearts hardened and their eyes blinded by, and they will fall a prey to and be overcome by these evils, which the adversary is seeking to pour upon us.

It has been truly said by many, “Introduce fashions into Salt Lake, increase wealth among the people and induce them to follow fashion and be surrounded by influences that will win them from their primitive habits, then you have solved the Mormon problem.” There is great truth in this statement. I recognize it and warn you of it. I know that if we would allow ourselves to be thus influenced, there is really more danger in this than in anything else. I stand here tonight in the presence of God and before you, my brethren and sisters, and I declare that I fully believe that we shall stand this trial, as we have others. I have no fear as to the result, so far as the entire people is concerned. But as a people we had better be warned. We had better watch well our ways, look well to our hearts, keep our minds well on the principles that God has revealed, and love our religion more than anything else on the face of the earth. We must preserve our love for the principles of our faith intact and in violate, free from every impurity. What could be offered to us that we have not got in our religion? Is it wealth? I expect to have boundless wealth and boundless dominion, if faithful to God; and I expect that every faithful man and woman in the Church will have everything that his or her heart can desire in this Gospel which God has revealed. The Prophet Isaiah, speaking of Jesus, says, To the increase of his kingdom there shall be no end. That promise is also made to us—to the increase of our kingdom there shall be no end. What did the Lord say to Abraham when he had blessed him? He told him to look upon the stars of heaven and promised that as they were countless and innumerable so should his seed be. That promise, made to Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, is couched in the words of Isaiah to Jesus. There was to be no end to the kingdom of Abraham, he was to have thrones, principalities and dominions; to be crowned not with a barren, empty crown, not a crown without a kingdom, but a real one, emblematical of endless and boundless rule, power, dominion and glory. The Lord has promised the same glory to every being who attains to the glory of the sun, who gains a fullness of glory in his celestial kingdom. They all will be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Recollect the words—joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and as he has dominion and rule so will they. He that has been faithful over a few things shall be made ruler over many, says Jesus; and in another place he says that all who have forsaken fathers, mothers, houses or lands for my sake shall receive a hundred fold in this life, and in the life to come life everlasting. We are promised, then, a hundred fold for all we forsake in this life, and life everlasting hereafter. What was the song which John says was sung by the saved in heaven? “Thou hast made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign on the earth.” This is the promise made to the faithful by God, the King of kings. It is natural for man to seek to exercise rule wherever he can; and it is perfectly right when bounded and controlled by principle.

In the Gospel there is open to us room for the exercise of this feeling without any evil results following it. We can, if we choose, in this life lay a foundation for eternal riches, dominion and rule, and the possession of all blessings which God has promised to the faithful. We therefore look for a heaven of this kind. The Latter-day Saint does not look for an empty heaven, where he has got to sing continually to the thrumming of the harp. The Saints look for a tangible heaven, the same as we have here, only glorified immensely. We expect to be like God, our heavenly Father—to take part in creation, in the creation and peopling of new worlds, and in doing things similar to what God has done. This is a subject of such magnitude that I can only briefly allude to it in passing.

Do you understand, can you understand, brethren and sisters, why the ancients were willing to suffer and endure all things? They knew that God had in store for them everything that their hearts could desire; and that the joys of which they had a slight foretaste here they would receive a fullness of hereafter. If they had wives they knew they would be theirs for eternity. If they had families they knew they would be theirs for eternity. They knew that Jesus meant what he said to Peter when he said, Thou art Peter, to thee I give the keys of the kingdom, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. What ordinances were there that Peter had to perform on earth that should be bound in heaven? The Latter-day Saints understand it. God has restored the same authority to the earth, and has bestowed it upon the man who occupies the same position in the Church in this day that Peter held in his. Peter was the senior Apostle—the President of the Twelve, and he, therefore, had the right to hold the keys, and to seal a wife to her husband, and the ordinance would be bound in heaven as he bound it on the earth. The Latter-day Saints claim to have received the same authority. We believe when we marry that we marry for eternity, and that our wives and children will dwell with us in eternity. This is our faith. It was over his posterity that Abraham was to reign. What benefit would it be to him to have posterity as numerous as the sands on the seashore, or as the stars of heaven, if he did not rule over them? But embody the idea of rule and dominion, and of his being a prince over his posterity, the progenitor of a great and mighty race, over whom he should eventually reign and rule, and then we see the precious nature of the promise which the Lord made to him. The Lord gave him Canaan as an everlasting possession, yet Stephen, the martyr, when he preached his last discourse to the Jews, told them that Abraham had not had so much as a foot of it, but the time would come to which I have referred, when he and his seed would sing, “Thou hast made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign on the earth.” This reigning on the earth was embodied in their ideas of heaven. This is the kind of heaven to which the ancients looked, and it is the kind of heaven to which the Latter-day Saints look, and this is in consequence of the great and glorious principles which God has revealed to them. Because of this they have been willing in the past to endure what they have endured.

There is much more connected with these points than any human being can say with regard to them. They are immense in their magnitude, and cannot be grasped at once. But the more the truth which God has revealed is investigated the more beautiful it appears. I often remark, There is something beautiful to me in the idea of a people being gathered together as the Latter-day Saints have, and dwelling in love and harmony. By this, says John, you may know that you have passed from death unto life, because ye love one another. We, with all our faults, do love one another. The Latter-day Saints dwell together in unity, no matter where they come from. They come here by hundreds and thousands from foreign lands, but here they are in the midst of their friends. They may not speak the same language, and may have different habits and ways of living, but when they reach here they are at home. This is one of the results of the Gospel. It is strange, but how beautiful and Godlike, and how much it ought to fill our hearts with gratitude that we live at a time and are associated with a people who are thus blessed.

The world would give everything they possess, and there have been those who would have given their lives, to partake of the blessings that we enjoy and that are so common in our midst. I have just made a hasty trip through the length of the Territory. Before starting, I telegraphed to different points that I wanted horses at such a time. I promised no remuneration whatever, but they supposed that my business was of importance, and at the time needed the horses were at hand and men ready to accompany them. When I thanked them, they would say, “There is no need, brother Cannon, we have as much interest in this work as you have.” Wherever we went there were friends, and tables spread to give us all we wanted. Can it be done in any other country? I believe that we have made a journey that could not be made in any other country, unless in Russia, where a despot rules. He could order the people as he pleased; but this has been done by simply inquiring by telegraph, “Can you do so and so?” The response came, “Yes, anything you want.” What caused this? Was it despotism? No, it was love. Their interest in this work is as great as mine or any man’s, and it was a pleasure to them to do it. The result was that we went to St. George and returned in a little over nine days, and stayed there four, traveling seven hundred miles. It has filled me with peculiar feelings, and I have rejoiced to think that I have been associated with such a people as the Latter-day Saints. I said to them, “You know, I would do the same.” “Yes, we know that.” The majority of this people feel that they cannot do too much for this work. It is the work of God, and we feel that we cannot do too much for the salvation of our fellow men. We have shown this time and time again. To illustrate it: the Latter-day Saints have sent year after year five hundred teams clear to the Missouri River, with four yoke of cattle to the team, and over five hundred men to drive these teams, and a great number of men to guard and watch them. These teams were loaded with provisions to feed the returning emigrants for upwards of a thousand miles. This was done willingly. Men spent their entire summer, and in this country that means the entire year, for when a man and his team lose the summer, they lose the benefits of the entire year’s labor. Where can you see anything like this, except in Utah? What was it done for? To build up some man or despotism, or to gratify some impostor? No, it was because the people loved their fellow creatures—their brethren and sisters. This was missionary labor on a large scale. It was not like putting a few cents into a missionary box, and then publishing each man’s name, and the amount he contributed, in a magazine, to show the world how much he had done for the salvation of the poor heathen. There was nothing of this kind here; there were no trumpets blown on the corners, Pharisee-like, to show the amount of donations made, but quietly and unobtrusively the people of this Territory sent their young men and teams, two thousand yoke of cattle, sometimes more—twenty-five hundred—with horses and provisions and everything necessary to equip large companies and bring, a thousand miles over land to this city, men and women they had never seen, and whose names they had never heard. This is done all the time, the people paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the emigration of their poor brethren and sisters in foreign lands. A great deal is published in foreign lands about missionary efforts. I recollect when a child how anxious my parents were that I should save a little to send the Gospel to the heathen. That was before they joined this Church. I thought it a very great thing to do as they desired. But the Latter-day Saints are doing this all the time. They send missionaries over the earth. Men leave their families and comfortable homes to preach the Gospel in foreign lands without purse and scrip. What for? For the salvation of their fellow creatures. It is the result of the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we have to do more of it, and to feel greater interest in our fellow creatures than we do, until the time shall come when we shall love our neighbors as we do ourselves. That time must come for us as a people.

May God bless you, my brethren and sisters and friends, and pour out his Holy Spirit upon you, enlighten your minds and strengthen you in doing right, regardless of consequences, that you may be able to endure to the end, which I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.