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The Temples in Course of Erection—Political Position of the Saints—Our Position Regarding Patriarchal Marriage—The Corruptions of So-Called Christendom—How the Saints Should Live—Sunday Schools, Relief and Mutual Improvement Associations

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle at Provo, November 30th, 1879.

We have heard a good many great and important truths uttered by those who have addressed us since the commencement of this conference. We have these conferences appointed for the purpose of adjusting and regulating any matters that may arise in the several Stakes, and for teaching and instructing the people on all matters pertaining to their welfare relative to this world as well as the world to come.

My brethren of the Twelve and myself have been traveling around considerably lately among the people. We have visited some of the most prominent Stakes and attended their conferences; among which are the Stakes of Sanpete and Cache Valley—two of the most prominent of the Territory—in which temples are being built. We thought we would like to visit them and see the condition of affairs; how they were progressing, what advancement they were making in these important labors, and then if they needed assistance of any kind we could render it intelligently after enquiring into their position. We found in both of these places that the people had been very faithful, diligent and liberal in the prosecution of this work, that is, in building temples to the name of the Lord, that they may go and administer therein and attend to the ordinances of God’s house for themselves, and receive those blessings which God has to confer upon His people, and administer not only for themselves, the living, but also for the dead. We found that a very large amount of means had been used in both of these valleys, including the districts around, appointed to assist them in the erection of these temples, and they are building up splendid edifices in both places. The one in Cache Valley is built of hard rock, a species of marble, that will make a very strong wall. There is, however, mixed up with it in different places, some very fine sandstone, which they have to bring from quite a distance. They have raised the walls of that Temple about fifty-five feet and are still persevering. We found also that they were pro secuting their work very assiduously in Sanpete. They have beautiful sandstone there of a light color, easy to hew, which will make a beautiful structure when completed, almost equal to ours in Salt Lake City, with this difference, it is simply dressed outside. Hence things are progressing rapidly, which evinces a good desire among the Saints to carry out the purposes which God has designed and which they have engaged along with us to perform.

In visiting these places we felt a desire to see the people that lived in the settlements around. We made an attempt to this end before, but could not accomplish it because of the pressure of circumstances that required our attention in the city; but this time, being at liberty, we visited all the principal settlements in Sanpete and Cache Valley, which are quite numerous. We thought it was proper, seeing they have as good meetinghouses as you have here. They have a much larger meetinghouse in Cache valley than you have here, and I think the one in Ephraim, Sanpete, is larger than this—yet they could neither accommodate all the people, nor get them together, and you could not here. We could take some of the houses in which we have attended meetings, and put most of the people who are seated in the body of this tabernacle into them. If the Saints wanted to attend conference they could not find room, and consequently we thought it better to visit them at their homes, see how they were situated, feel after their spirits and let them feel ours; converse with them, preach to them and see what they were doing.

We found that in these temple districts, whilst they had been very energetic and very generous in their feelings in contributing to the work, they needed some considerable assistance, and we felt it to be our duty to assist them out of the general fund of the Church, the same as we do in Salt Lake City; but of course not to the same extent.

They were working in union in a kind of united order; but not of course fixed up in that order. But as we are operating together in the interests of the Church and Kingdom of God, we deemed it quite proper that those places should receive the necessary assistance; and we thought also that that kind of feeling and spirit would also be satisfactory to our brethren of the priesthood and to the Saints generally throughout the Territory, for we are one, or ought to be one in our endeavors to build up the Church and Kingdom of God. Having enjoyed ourselves very much in preaching and in mingling among the Saints in the places where we have visited, we thought we would come to you and do likewise—not particularly to talk to you, because you doubtless have enough of preaching, and perhaps a little more than you can attend to; but in some places the people do not have the same opportunity that you do here in Provo, for we sometimes slide by many settlements on the road, and it appears in some instances as though they were neglected. We thought in coming among you we would bring our own carriages as we used to in former years, and go by the highway and visit the folks at their own homes, go into the highways and byways and try to meet with all the Saints, for we are all one, all having been baptized into the one baptism and ought to partake of the same spirit and be governed by those glorious principles which God has revealed for the teaching and exaltation of the human family. Be sides there are a great many circumstances, transpiring from time to time, which render it necessary that we should be conversant with one another’s feelings; that we should understand the mind and will of the Lord, and that, we should be prepared to operate with Him in the interests of the human family, in the establishment of Zion and in the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. I always take pleasure in preaching the Gospel—I have done a great deal of it—and my brethren of the Twelve feel the same. There is nothing I take greater pleasure in than in proclaiming the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and in mingling among and preaching to the Saints of God. Although I cannot now go abroad, yet I can, and so can my brethren of the Twelve, associate with you—for they feel as I do in relation to this matter; we can visit the Saints at home and talk to them on the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

There are a great many things associated also with this Kingdom that it is proper should be presented to us from time to time, that we may be enabled to act and to operate together and be one in our feelings religious, one in our feelings social, and one in our feelings political; for all these things are mixed up and intimately connected with the position we occupy as the Saints of the Most High God in the building up of His Zion here upon the earth. There are things spiritual, there are things denominated temporal, there are things also spoken of as being eternal in their nature, and all these subjects, in all their various ramifications, demand more or less of our attention. For instance, we are gathered together here as a peculiar people in these valleys of the mountains. We are gathered here because we embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and because of the revealing of that Gospel to Joseph Smith, and because after having embraced it, we partook of its spirit, and because there was associated therewith the principle of gathering. We are gathered here under peculiar circumstances. But our first object was simple obedience to the Gospel. There are circumstances growing out of this, over which we seem to have very little control, by being gathered together in the position we now occupy, and composing part of this nation, there are certain political duties that seem to force themselves upon us. We came here simply on religious principles to start with, because we had faith in God, because we had faith in the restoration of the everlasting Gospel; because we had faith in the gathering together of the people; because we had faith in the ordinances of the Gospel of the Son of God; because we had faith in the organization of the Church and Kingdom of God, and the various offices pertaining thereunto throughout all the ramifications of the Church. We came together therefore in a Church capacity: but being gathered together as a people, we brought our bodies with us, that is we brought our souls, if you please, for the spirit and the body, we are told, is the soul of man. We brought ourselves here and being here we naturally form an integral part of the United States, and have become part of what is termed the body politic of the government. But we could not help that, and I do not know that we want to help it.

We became then organized in a territorial capacity and part and par cel of the government of the United States; this follows as a natural consequence.

There are a great many Saints here gathered together. I do not know the number; it is estimated by some to be from 150,000 to 200, 000. How many there are I am not prepared to say. No matter, however, about that: but we have gathered ourselves here. Now, then, it is necessary we should be under some government. Being here in the United States, we, of course, became part of that government, and, as a necessary consequence, according to the customs and usages of this government, we were admitted as a Territory. Under these circumstances, the government send out certain officers; for instance, a governor is appointed and selected by the President of the United States, and then sanctioned by the Senate, and he receives his commission from the administration of the government of the United States, and he comes here as their representative. Then we have U.S. judges, a secretary, a marshal and civil officers, according to the usages that exist among people situated as we are in the Territories of the United States. There are so many representatives of the government who are properly appointed and authorized according to the form and usage that obtain generally in the country and in the administration of the affairs of this nation. We therefore come under this government and are subject to its laws and receive its officers. They come among us, which is very right they should do, according to the forms and usages that exist in the United States; and it is our duty to treat them properly, as it is their duty to treat us properly; the duty in this regard is reciprocal. We need the protection of law wherever we are, or under whatsoever circumstances we may be placed; and in placing ourselves in this position we are only doing just the same as others of our fellow citizens similarly situated are doing. This is a matter which has grown out of our religious ideas. Our religion prompted us to come together; and being together we have become a body of men, and being on territory belonging to the United States, it becomes necessary that we should be subject to its laws and usages, according to the provisions made and stipulations entered into under its jurisdiction and government. These things are all plain matters of fact, there is nothing extraneous or uncommon about them. Further, as American citizens we have certain rights, and others have certain rights. All men in the United States possess certain rights which are guaranteed to them by its Constitution. Again we have our legislative officers, provided for by act of Congress and passed by the general government of the United States. We have our probate courts, also our justices of the peace, our selectmen and the various organizations and laws pertaining to education, to public schools, and all things as they exist in other Territories. But notwithstanding all this there is one thing wherein we are very unpleasantly situated, which difficulty arises from the peculiar position we occupy in regard to our religion. There is nothing else that I know of. I have been in this Church a great many years, and lived in this nation a great many years, and have been a citizen for a great many years; but there is nothing that I know of excepting that one thing, that could in any wise be considered objectionable, and that is in relation to our views pertaining to plural marriage; there is nothing else in all our acts that any man in any part of world can or would attempt to find fault with. No man can justly say this people have been disloyal to the Government of the United States, if they say so they say something that is not true, and a great many of them when they do say it know they are telling falsehoods. We are not turbulent, we do not create any difficulty, we do not get up mobs, we do not interfere with anybody’s rights, socially, religiously, politically or any other way. We do not interfere with a man because his religious views are not as ours; but on the other hand, so far as we have the authority we protect all men. But there are some things we have occasion to find fault with because of men wishing to trespass upon our rights. We think this wrong, contrary to comity, good faith and correct principles, and consequently we speak about it, and that is right, we have the right to do that. If any man, either in a religious, political or social capacity, trespass upon the rights of common humanity, we have as much right to express our feelings and to defend our rights as any other set of men have under the same circumstances, and no just man would seek to deprive us of this liberty.

Now then, so far so good. While we would respect all honorable men, and would treat them justly and equitably, we do not, we cannot respect these miserable men who respect no man’s rights, who would turn and give you evil for good, traduce your character and circulate falsehoods about you and seek to injure you—we cannot look upon them as honorable men. They are not so treated among any people; especially those miserable sneaks who would go round our houses and take advantage of certain circumstances and become informers and implicate you in crime under guise of friendship. All such men in any country are despised, and would be looked upon as scoundrels not fit to associate with honorable people. There is no one more contemptible than a spy. He is looked upon as the scum of society and the filthiest dregs of a community anywhere. We do not want to associate with such, we cannot, our natural feelings revolt at it, and while we respect honorable men everywhere, we say to such characters, “O my soul, come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly, mine honor be not thou united!” These are our feelings about such individuals.

In regard to our religious matters wherein our social relations are concerned—for these are as much religious matters with us as anything instituted among men. Our marriage system is one of the greatest principles that God ever developed to the human family, whether men believe it or not. But there are many who are not acquainted with these things as we are; they do not understand God nor his revelations; and they really, if it came to the point, should have nothing to say against us in relation to these matters. But they do not understand it, neither do they wish to understand it; because there are a great many very corrupt men devoid of principle, and they care not what becomes of their future if they can only accomplish their present objects.

Now then, did we seek this principle? No, we did not. Did we ask God that we might have a plurality of wives? No, we did not. Was it a matter of our choice? No. The same God that revealed to Joseph Smith the first principles of the Gospel also revealed unto him the doctrine of plural marriage; it was presented to us as a doctrine to be believed in and be governed by. Could we help it? What had we to do with it? It is a command of God; and the question is, Shall I, after having embraced the Gospel of the Son of God, and entered into covenant with Him to observe His laws and be governed by the revelations of His will; shall I, because of something that is distasteful to me, set up my will and judgment against His, and say, “Why, I shall be despised, I shall be hated;” shall I, because of a feeling of that kind violate the laws of God? No, I cannot do it; neither can you who believe in the revelation. God gave it to His servant Joseph Smith and he declared it unto us. Now, how was it? The first thing that was done, when the word of God came to us to do it—for there was a time after this revelation was given when we were not permitted to teach this doctrine publicly; but as soon as we were instructed to do so, Prof. Orson Pratt was sent to Washington to publish a paper, at the seat of government, and there proclaim our sentiments on plural marriage to this nation and to the world. This mission he fulfilled—publishing a paper called the Seer, and lecturing in a hall hired for that purpose, several times a week. Was there anything underhanded about this, or low, or anything antagonistic to the interest of this nation or any other nation? It was merely proclaiming certain principles pertaining to eternal lives and covenants that should exist through eternity, in our sexual relations pertaining to our association in this world and the world to come. Did we interfere with the rights of others? No; and if we had any revelations, it was not for us to oppose them. But others do not know anything about these things, consequently they cannot comprehend our position. Have we done anything covertly? Not until we were forced to. Some few years ago, I remember being brought before a court to give evidence in a case. I was asked if I believed in keeping the laws of the United States. I answered, “Yes, I believe in keeping them all but one.” “What one is that?” “It is that one in relation to plurality of wives.” “Why don’t you believe in keeping that?” “Because I believe it is at variance with the genius and spirit of our institutions—it is a violation of the Constitution of the United States, and it is contrary to the law of God.á°µ Now this is plain. You could not tell your feelings much plainer. This was before the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of that law. “Well,” said a man to me, “Are you prepared to abide the consequences.” “Always,” said I, “everywhere.” That is straightforward, and in saying this, I only expressed the feelings of thousands of my brethren and sisters. Well, then, whose business is it? If I do a thing and am prepared to abide the penalty, whose business is it? Do I interfere with the friends or government of the United States? No. They have passed a law for political effect which is really intended as a trap for us. One would think that a great and magnanimous nation of fifty millions, could afford to allow a few thousand people to work out a social problem, without fear of contamination. They do not understand us, we wish them no harm. Many of them know this; but they cannot always control circumstances, and many of the members of Congress who were not willing to do anything of this sort, were crowded on by religious bigotry that prevailed among their people, just the same as others were in the days of Jesus. In his day he and his followers were maligned as we are. If he ever did any good, how was it represented? “Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” And if we do any good somebody else must have the praise instead of us; but if there is any harm done, as, for instance, the trouble among the Indians, “it is the Mormons that do it!” I suppose if there are any storms, shipwrecks, wars or bloodshed, in Timbuctoo, among the Zulus, Chinese, Japanese, or Europeans, the Mormons will be represented as having had a hand in them. What position does this place us in? Do we wish to be governed by the laws of the United States and sustain its institutions? Yes, we do. But while we are doing this, many infamous men are misrepresenting us. But there are many honorable men who have other feelings. I have seen many of them not only in this nation but other nations, who possess more liberal and generous feelings, men of position and of all conditions in life. And among the honorable men of earth I find there are a great many who look upon us as having been cruelly treated by those who ought to be our friends. Well, now what shall we do under those circumstances? Having passed a law on purpose to entrap us they would now complain because we do not run right into the trap and say “take us and put us in prison.” We are not such big fools yet, we have very different ideas to those. If they are ignoring principles that God has revealed to us we cannot help it. If they do not believe our statements we cannot have confidence in theirs; but one thing we do know, we are a thousand times more virtuous, a thousand times more pure, in our actions than they are in theirs. There is not a country in the world today where virtue and the rights, privileges, honor and chastity of the female portion of the community are more strongly protected than in this Territory. Now, that is a fact.

The question then arises what shall we do? We are under the painful necessity of protecting ourselves as best we may. How did they do in other times—how did they do in Rome? We are not so badly off as some people were in former ages. It is said that Christians had to dwell in caves, and that they were hunted and dragged from these places of concealment by government spies and put into the arena, where thousands and tens of thousands of people would go to see them devoured by wild beasts, and I have no doubt that many of our pious Christians would like to see a scene of that kind. What shall we do? God has given unto us a law. Shall we obey it? We are placed—not by acts of our own—in a position where we cannot help ourselves. We are between the hands of God and the hands of the Government of the United States. God has laid upon us a command for us to keep, He has commanded us to enter into these covenants with each other pertaining to time and eternity, and has revealed this law through the holy priesthood and the regularly constituted channels which He has appointed for conveying this information, and we, having been baptized into one baptism and partaken of the same spirit, know for ourselves that these things are true. I know they are true, if nobody else does. I know it myself. I cannot help knowing it, and all the edicts and laws of Congress and legislators and decisions of courts could not change my opinion. I know that it is from God, and therefore bear testimony of it. Now, can I help it? No. The question resolves itself into this: having received a command from God to do a certain thing and a command from the State not to do it, the question is what shall we do? Daniel had a political trap set for him, as we have had for us. An edict was passed forbidding him to pray to his God under penalty of death; he went and opened his window and prayed in the sight of the community, hence he violated that decree with death staring him in the face. He knew this law was irrevocable, but he was determined to obey the commandment of God and he did. They cast him into a den of lions, and he played with them as a child would play with kittens. There was something to try Daniel’s faith in this but God took care of him.

But there is another feature manifested in this. We notice that King Darius, the victim of a political plot, was very solicitous for the welfare of Daniel, for early in the morning he went to the lion’s cave and cried, “O Daniel, is the God in whom thou trusteth able to deliver thee?” When Daniel replied, “O King, live forever, the God in whom I trust has sent his angel and has delivered me from the jaws of the lions,” etc. I do not think from the reading of the President’s message, that if any of us were cast into the lion’s den or into prison, that Mr. Hayes would manifest the interest about us that Darius did about Daniel; but then we must remember this difference, that the first of these is a Christian; the latter was a heathen. But outside of these things, I feel to proclaim against the vices of the age, whether in this nation or others; for we as a nation are fast descending as low as the most degenerate and corrupt nations of Europe, and are practicing infamies which have been the overthrow and ruin of many mighty cities, nations and empires, and which are now the loathsome, unnatural, disgusting, damning sins of Christendom. The standing law of God is, be fruitful and multiply; but these reformers are “swift to shed blood,” even the blood of innocence; and with their prenatal murders and other crimes, are slaying their thousands and tens of thousands with impunity, to say nothing of that other loathsome, disgusting, filthy institution of modern Christendom “the social evil,” as well as other infamous practices. We must protest against feticide, infanticide, and other abominable practices of Christendom being forced upon us, either in the shape of legislative enactment, judicial decision or any other adjunct of so called civilization. We are American citizens and are not yet deprived of the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Men express surprise sometimes at the action of the grand jury who sat upon, as I am informed, about 200 cases of polygamy and only found bills against three. Why, human nature with all its infirmities is not sunk so low as at the bidding of an official satrap to find indictments to order, without evidence and testimony, and there are very few, in view of the above facts, who are sunk so low as to condemn men for marrying wives and supporting their children, while at the same time they know that their accusers and persecutors are violating every principle of chastity, and murdering their own offspring. Many men may be very corrupt, and indulge in the vices and crimes of the age; but all are not hypocrites. Despotic laws require a despot, and not even packed juries will always carry them out. Now, it becomes a question for us to decide whether we shall observe the laws of God or the commands of men. If I had to answer I would answer as I did before the court. When I made that answer this question had not then been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. Since then they have sanctioned that law, hence we are placed in a position a good deal like the Christians were in the days of Rome, and the Christians now assume the position of the then heathen.

What shall we do? Shall we trust in God or in the arm of flesh? Shall we give up our religion and our God and be governed by the practices that exist in the nation which are contrary to the laws of God? All who are in favor of abiding by the laws of God hold up their right hand (The congregation voted unanimously). We find the same feeling throughout the Territory.

We wish no disrespect to the government, for after all I do not suppose we could get any better treatment from any other Christian nation than we do from our own, but this is not saying much for them. It is a poor thing when so great and magnanimous a nation cannot afford to allow 200,000 people to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

But have we resisted anything else? No. Have I? No. Have you? I presume not. I expect these kind of things—the opposition and corruption of men and the world, under the instigation of the devil, who is the enemy of the Saints. What then? Do I expect to give up my religion to the devil? I think not. What shall we do then? Shall we abuse the people of the United States? No. Shall we abuse the President of the United States? No. Yet I am sorry that he is not a little more magnanimous; I am sorry he does not possess a little more of these feelings that actuated the founders of this government; I am not sorry for the Saints, for it is quite necessary that we should have to pass through a variety of things in order that, like ancient Saints, we may be made perfect through suffering. “For it became him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Shall we forsake the institutions of this country because of the acts of those men? No, we will cleave to them and sustain them. Shall we deprive other men of their political rights? No, we will not. Shall we deprive any man of his social rights? No, we will not. Shall we deprive any men of their religious rights? No, we will not. They may do as they please in Washington and other places; but we will do right towards all men. Our motto is, Freedom, Liberty and Rights of Conscience to all people; as Brother Parley P. Pratt has it in one of his poems:

“Indian, Muslim, Greek or Jew, Freedom’s banner waves for you.”

This is the kind of feeling we entertain in regard to this subject. We all have faults, and perhaps this government is one of the best governments we could have in the world; and we will sustain it. And then, we will contend for our rights legally, properly, orderly and constitutionally. And then, we will watch those miserable hounds that come sneaking into our midst, and tell them to leave; we do not want a lot of dogs among us. Honorable and decent men, men that will do right we will maintain all the time. But this nation is laying the axe at the root of the tree and they then will crumble to pieces by and by. If they can stand it we can. If they can afford to treat us in this way, they will soon treat others in the same way. And they will tear away one plank of liberty after another, until the whole, fabric will totter and fall; and many other nations will be cast down and empires destroyed; and this nation will have to suffer as others will. And it will be as Joseph Smith once said, “When all others forsake the Constitution, the Elders of this Church will rally around the standard and save its tattered shreds.” We will come to its rescue and proclaim liberty to all men.

What shall we do about many other things? Let them alone; “Let the potsherds of the earth contend with the potsherds of the earth.” The God who rules in the heavens is watching over their movements as well as ours, they are in his hands as we are—he will put a hook in their jaws and lead them in the way they dreamed not of. He will say to them as he did to the proud waves of the surging ocean—“hither shalt thou come, and no farther: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” But it is for us to cleave to God and observe his laws and keep his commandments; and then we need fear no evil that may come upon us, “for God will make the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder he will restrain.” And God will bless and protect Israel; he will lead us forth in the paths of life—not all of us, for as we have heard, we are not all of us doing just right. But he will accomplish his purposes and roll forth his work and build up his kingdom and establish Zion, and bring to pass all the things spoken of by the holy prophets since the world began.

Now then, having talked a little upon this principle, I will speak about some other things associated with our affairs here, in a Stake capacity, or as Saints, say, for I generally talk more to the whole people than I do to the people of a Stake. There are a few things that I wish to draw your attention to. You have got a Stake organization, you have a president and his counselors, who stand in the same position to you as the First Presidency to the Church. I think you heard something about that this morning. Pray for them. Have they weaknesses? Yes. Have you? Yes. Have I Yes. We are in possession of a rich and glorious treasure; but it is contained in earthen vessels. We all have our weaknesses and infirmities; but we will pray for those that are appointed to preside over us, that God may bless them. And when we bow with our family, with our wives and children around us we will ask God to bless them and inspire them with wisdom, that they may manage well all things committed to their care. We will not find fault with them, but ask God, if we think a false step has been made, to lead them in the right path. And we will make things right if we do this, whether they want them or not, for God will control them by His Spirit for our good.

And then, we have bishops among us. We will treat them courteously. Have they weaknesses? Yes, they are men just like we are. “What,” say you, “have you weaknesses?” Yes, lots of them. I wish I had not sometimes, and then again I don’t wish so. “Do you ask the people to pray for you? Yes, and pray also for my brethren of the Twelve that they may be guided by the inspirations of the Most High, and be led and that they may lead others in the paths of life; that we may magnify the calling God has given unto us and honor it and do good among men, and help to build up His Zion. This work devolves upon you in your sphere as much as upon President Smoot and his counselors and the several bishops. Everyone has his duties to perform; and if we all do them we will do pretty well. Listen then, to their counsels. You have a High Council, sustain them in like manner, that in all their judgments and counsels they may do right. And I would say both to the Bishops in their capacity, as common judges in Israel, and to the High Council as a High Council, deal justly in the sight of God; do not bring into deliberations any of your own private notions or feelings. Do not, in the name of God, seek to pervert judgment or justice. I would not give five straws for a man—he is not fit to be a high councilor—if he would not apply the same judgment to his own brother or son as he would to anybody else. We need to ask God to give us wisdom in the management and direction of these affairs, and then we ought to have another principle more thoroughly enforced than it is among us. We have people going to law one with another sometimes, and that before the ungodly, and the Elders of Israel sanction it. God will hold you to an account, I tell you, and He will bring you up standing when you don’t dream of it, and all they that like to go to law, in the name of God they shall have enough of it until they are sick and weary—for it will bring them down to poverty, ruin, misery and death, unless they turn around speedily and repent. Let us honor the institutions that God has given unto us, honor the Priesthood, honor our own courts of justice, and treat all men everywhere with proper respect, but we do not want to go to law with the ungodly.

There are other things I wish to speak about pertaining to the interests of this community. We should educate our children properly. I am very glad to find you have one very good institution in this place. You have got those at the head of it that know God, and who instill into the minds of their pupils correct principles and the fear of the Lord, and teach them the principles of life; that they, when they go forth to teach others, may teach them the same principles that these our brethren teach them—that correct principles may spread, grow and increase, and that while they are obtaining an education in regard to science and the various branches of secular education, they may always have before their minds the fear of God. Well, would you seek for knowledge? Yes, as I would for a hidden treasure. Would you like the people to be acquainted with the arts and sciences, etc.? Yes. We want to so educate our children, and if necessary make sacrifices ourselves for that purpose, in order that they may be men and women capable of coping intellectually with any persons that live upon the earth. We are seeking after these things, we are anxious to promote the welfare of all people in regard to these matters, especially those associated with us, that our children may grow up not only in the fear of God, but possess intelligence of every kind. Now, these are our feelings in relation to these matters, and by-and-by, if we do this and keep doing it, how will it be? It will not be long before we will be as far ahead of the world in regard to the arts, sciences, mechanism and every principle of intelligence that exists upon the face of the earth, as we are in religious matters today. Some of our little boys five and six, seven and eight years old know very well how to cope with men that profess generally to be wise men on religious subjects. Some few days ago I attended a Sabbath School exhibition in the 17th Ward of Salt Lake City, and witnessed there more intelligence displayed by the children, male and female, in regard to religious matters, than I have ever seen exhibited anywhere in the whole Gentile world wherever I have traveled. I was reminded of a saying of the Savior’s that “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.” Let us train up our children in the right way. That reminds me of another thing, that is our Sabbath Schools. You have them here, how extensively you are engaged in them I am not prepared to say, but it is a good institution worthy of our best efforts, and I would say let us encourage them, let our young and middle aged men that are talented engage in them, that our children may be brought up in the fear of God. The school that Brother Maeser and Brother Hardy are engaged in, in this place, I consider a model institution, and I say God bless them and let the blessing and Spirit of God be with them. Continue in your labors as you are doing, and your names will be known in Israel and be handed down to posterity as some of the great men of Zion. Let our brethren, too, be interested in these Sunday Schools, and let us get men that fear God—you young men and Elders of Israel who have the Spirit of the Lord—teach the children and instill the principles of life and salvation into their minds. And then there are other things that are very praiseworthy institutions, one of which is the Female Relief Societies. Our Sisters are engaged with us in trying to do a good work. Shall we despise them in their labors? No. Who are they? Part of ourselves. Do they hold the priesthood? Yes, in connection with their husbands and they are one with their husbands, but the husband is the head. And women are so constituted that they are much better prepared to feel after the welfare of families than men are. They can sympathize with the sisters, for they are one with them. I remember a certain lady said to me in talking about some things, “You never was a grandmother.” “No.” said I, “I never was. I never had that experience.” “Well, then, you cannot enter into the feelings of a grandmother.” No, and I never was a wife, and therefore I could not enter into the feelings of a wife. But a wife can enter into a wife’s feelings and into a mother’s feelings and they can sympathize with the sisters, and pour in the oil and wine and they can teach the sisters correct principles, teach them cleanliness, kindness and sisterly sympathetic feelings. They are doing this to a great extent, therefore I say God bless the sisters. They are one with us in seeking to promote the welfare of Israel. They tell me I was chairman when the first Ladies’ Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo; perhaps I was, I do not remember, however, but I am pleased to cooperate with the sisters. I desire to see them prosecute their labors and try to train up young women to be good mothers, good housekeepers good wives, and to cultivate the fear of God and to teach their own children to walk in the paths of life.

Then we have our Young Men and Young Womens’ Mutual Improvement Associations. These are very good institutions. How much better it is to see our youth engaged in the fear of God, meeting together and talking over the things of God, meditating upon them, teaching one another good, virtuous, holy principles, than to see them associated with corruptions and treading in the paths that leads down to death. How much better to teach purity, holiness, virtue, and intelligence, making them honorable men and women, than to see them take a different course. I have been asked sometimes if there was the priesthood associated with this. No; not particularly; but it is one of those helps spoken of in the Scriptures. A bishop will not object to being helped by the Relief Societies. Will he object to them visiting the poor? Will he object to any man or any woman seeking to promote peace, order, virtue, and righteousness? No. Who are they? Some are Elders, some are Seventies, some High Priests, and all belong to the several quorums of the priesthood. These associations are a very creditable thing, in advance, say of our Sunday school operations. It is leading on to knowledge, or what we term theology and science, and every principle of intelligence. We have a great many good, highminded, honorable young men and women, and I say God bless you in your labors.

You, bishops, I say to you, encourage all these things among you, sanction and protect them, and do all you can to foster them.

With regard to our political organization, I would say, we must be united. Who, I ask, should dictate us? If I was here in Provo, and had to do with such matters, the first thing I would do would be to confer with President Smoot to ascertain whom he would recommend for such and such offices.

“But,” say some, that would in terfere with my freedom. I think Watts says:

“I would be walking with the wise. That I may wiser grow.”

Well then,

I would not be walking with the fools, Lest I a fool should grow.

But I would seek from men of experience and judgment advice as to the best course to pursue. And as to your freedom have as much as you please, that is, freedom to do right, not wrong. It is very necessary that we be united; and anybody that seeks to divide the people is not the friend of God or man, neither is God his friend; and if he continue to interfere with the happiness and union of the people of God, He will not hold him guiltless; but He will remove him out of his place. There is a providence in many of these things. People wonder sometimes why we have sickness amongst us. The Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, in referring to divisions that existed among them, together with their unworthiness, when partaking of the Lord’s supper, says, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Do you believe a principle of that kind? I do. Let us fear God then, honor Him, and keep His commandments.

Another thing, we want the brethren to do, and that is to cultivate a right feeling towards the sisters, and towards their wives especially. God has given them to us; treat them well and kindly. If they have weaknesses—which doubtless they have—we should bear with them, they are the weaker vessel, and we ought to be strong, and a strong man ought not to be much afraid of a weak woman. We ought to have them in our affections, and instead of returning evil for evil, be kind to them; and if your wives chide you, render to them kindness in return and love them, and say, this is not exactly right; let us be friends. And they will turn round and reciprocate that kind of feeling. And then make their homes as comfortable as you can, and lighten their household duties as far as it may be in your power to do so; and do all you can to unite your efforts together as families. And wives, comfort your husbands; speak kind words, and make their homes a heaven. And neighbors, don’t bite and devour one another, don’t tear in pieces one another’s character, but be united in all things.

“Nay, speak no ill, a kindly world Can never leave a sting behind.”

Let us learn to speak kindly of each other, and if we cannot say something good of our brother or our sister, let us hold our tongue. And if our brother sin against us, tell him of his fault when you and he are alone; and then when you are made acquainted with your wrong, confess it and repent, and try to do better. And let us live together as brethren and sisters and as Saints of God. And do not forget to call upon the Lord in your family circles, dedicating yourselves and all you have to God every day of your lives; and seek to do right, and cultivate the spirit of union and love, and the peace and blessing of the Living God will be with us, and He will lead us in the paths of life; and we shall be sustained and upheld by all the holy angels and the ancient patriarchs and men of God, and the veil will become thinner between us and our God, and we will approach nearer to him, and our souls will magnify the Lord of hosts.

Brethren and sisters, God bless you, and lead you in the paths of life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.




The Spirit and Principles of the United Order

Discourse by Elder Lorenzo Snow, delivered at the Weber Stake Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Ogden City, October 19, 1879.

As a foundation for a few remarks this morning, I will read the 18th verse of the revelation commencing on page 337, Book of Doctrine and Covenants:

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”

Also a few verses, contained in the same book, on page 234, commencing at the 3rd verse, which show what is required of every man in his stewardship.

“3. I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;

“4. And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment.

“5. Wherefore, I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof, yea, the benefits thereof.

“6. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the church, neither unto the world;

“7. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse;

“8. And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.

“9. Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.

“10. And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the church of the living God;

“11. Yea, neither the bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord’s storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things.”

The short time that I occupy this morning, I wish to speak in a manner that will be for our edification and mutual improvement in those things that pertain to our salvation. For this purpose I desire the faith and prayers of all those who believe in looking to the Lord for instruction and intelligence.

We should realize the relationship that we sustain to the Lord our God, and the peculiar position we occupy. To properly discharge the obligations devolving upon us, we require super-natural aid. The character of the religion that we have espoused demands a certain course of conduct that no other religion that we know of requires of its adherents; and the nature of those demands upon us are such that no person can comply with them, unless by assistance from the Almighty. It is necessary that we comprehend, at least in part, the great and important blessings that we are to derive, eventually, by complying with the requirements of the religion or Gospel that we have received. The sacrifices that are required of us are of that nature that no man nor woman could make them, unless aided by a supernatural power; and the Lord, in proposing these conditions, never intended that his people should ever be required to comply with them unless by supernatural aid, and of that kind that is not professed by any other class of religious people. He has promised this aid. The demands upon us are of a peculiar nature, and, as I before said, no man or woman could comply with them, unless enlightened and sustained by the power of the Almighty.

The religion we have received is not a chimera. It is not something that has been devised by the cunning of man, but it is something that has been revealed by the Almighty. It is a fact. It is something that truly exists. It is something that is tangible. It is some thing that can be laid hold of by the minds of the Latter-day Saints. It is something that can be directly understood, and be fully comprehended, so that there can be no doubt in the mind of any Latter-day Saint in regard to the nature and character of the ultimate outcome of the course that he proposes to pursue in complying with the demands of the Gospel he has received. But those demands are of a nature that perhaps would be almost appalling to the minds of individuals that were darkened, that had no light or understanding in regard to the outcome that is expected to be experienced by the Latter-day Saints, inasmuch as they continue faithful in adhering to the principles which they have espoused.

These demands are not of a nature that have no parallel in the history of the people of God. They were required in every age and period when God called a people to serve him, and to receive his laws. They were required in the days of Israel, in the beginning of that people. They were required of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were required of Moses, and of the people that he led from Egyptian bondage. They were required by all the prophets that existed from the days of Adam to the present period of time. They were required by the apostles that received their commission by the laying on of the hands of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and by the adherents of the religion that the apostles proclaimed and taught to the people, in their day and no man or set of men or class of people from the day of Adam to the present time, could comply with these requirements, except the people of God, as they were endowed with power from on high, which could proceed only from the Lord our God. And it would be simply foolish indeed to expect the Latter-day Saints in these days to comply with the celestial law, with the law that proceeds from God, and with his designs to elevate the people into his presence, except they were sustained by a supernatural power. The Gospel promises this. It promises the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is divine in its character, and which is not enjoyed by any other people, and which we are told by the Savior, should lead into all truth, and inspire those who possessed it, and give them a knowledge of Jesus, a knowledge of the Father, and of things pertaining to the celestial world; that it should inspire those who possessed it with a knowledge of things to come, and things that were past; and inspire them to an extent that they should enjoy supernatural gifts—the gift of tongues and prophecy, to lay hands upon the sick, by which they should he healed. Those who received this Gospel were promised these supernatural powers and gifts, and a knowledge for themselves, that they might not depend upon any man or set of men, in regard to the truth of the religion that they had received; but that they should receive a knowledge from the Father that the religion came from him, that the Gospel came from him, and that his servants had the right and authority to administer those ordinances, so that no wind of doctrine should shake them or remove them from the path in which they were walking; so that they might be prepared for the glory that should be revealed, and be made participators therein, so that they might endure any trial or affliction that it should be the will of God to be brought upon them, to prepare them more fully for celestial glory; so that they should walk not in darkness, but in the light and power of God, and be raised above the things of the world, and be superior to the things around them; so that they might walk independently beneath the celestial world, and in the sight of God and heaven, as free men, pursuing that course that should be marked out to them by the Holy Ghost; that course by which they could elevate themselves to knowledge and power, and thus prepare themselves to receive the glory that God proposed to confer upon them, and to occupy the exalted position to which God designed to raise them.

In view of this, Jesus told the young man who came to him and wished to know what he should do to inherit eternal life, to “keep the commandments.” The young man replied that he had kept these commandments referred to from his youth upward. The Savior, looking upon him, saw there was still something lacking. The young man had kept the moral law, the law given to Moses, and for this Jesus loved him, but saw that there was one thing lacking. He was a rich man, and held influence in the world in consequence of his superior wealth. Jesus knew that before he could elevate him, or any other man, to the celestial world, it was necessary that he should be submissive in all things, and view obedience to the celestial law of the utmost importance. Jesus knew what was required of every man to gain a celestial crown—that nothing should be held dearer than obedience to the requirements of heaven. The Savior saw in this young man a cleaving to something that was not in accordance with the law of the celestial kingdom. He saw peradventure, a disposition in him to adhere in his feelings to that which was injurious to him, and would render a compliance to all the demands of the Gospel disagreeable or impossible, therefore he told him that he should go and sell all that he had, “and give to the poor, and follow him” This commandment made the young man feel sad and sorrowful. He looked upon riches as the great object in life, as bringing him the influence of the world, and all things that were desirable; as procuring him the blessings and enjoyments of life, and as the means of lifting him to high positions in society. He could not conceive the idea of a person’s securing the blessings, enjoyments and privileges of life, and such things as his nature craved, independent of his wealth. But the Gospel was of a nature that provided for everything that was necessary to fulfil the wants and requirements of man and to make him happy. Riches were not so calculated; and the Lord desired him to give up these ideas, and to dislodge them from his mind and feelings, so he might secure him as his servant in all things. He desired this man to be wholly devoted to his service, and to go into his work with full purpose of heart, and follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit, and prepare himself for celestial glory. But this young man was not willing; it was too great a sacrifice. And the Savior said upon this occasion, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The disciples “were astonished out of measure” at this, “saying among themselves, who then can be saved?” They thought that no man could possess riches and be saved in the kingdom of God. This was the idea they received from the remarks of the Savior. But Jesus answered, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Now, we want to look and see how this is possible. I have read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants the revelations that have been given in these days to the Latter-day Saints, setting forth the requirements of God in relation to temporal affairs. Here are remarks that are pretty straight, which I have read, on page 337—“If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, he shall lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.” Now this is straight language, and looks, perhaps, rather severe. When the Lord revealed his Gospel in these latter times to the world, he commenced teaching the people what was required of them in their temporal affairs, as he taught the young man and as he taught many others, and as the apostles were taught and others who received the Gospel under their administration. The greatest trouble that has ever been, probably that the Lord has had, with the people in any age, has been in reference to their temporal affairs, their financial matters. The Latter-day Saints at the present day, are very united in reference to their spiritual principles and doctrines. We see eye to eye in regard to principles that pertain to the doctrinal portion of the religion we have espoused; but when it comes to our temporal, our earthly possessions, and our conduct in relation to them, we seem to be a little confused in reference to what is right and wrong and more or less, we feel disposed to pursue our own course in regard to these matters and, as in the days of judges, “every man is doing what seems right in his own eyes.” We seem to forget that the Lord has distinctly pointed out our duties, and that there is a little book, Doctrine and Covenants, that God has given by direct revelation in regard to these matters, by which we should be governed; we forget these things as it is natural for us to forget the things of God. We sometimes think of the many good things that we do, and imagine, perhaps, that because of these good acts, we are excusable in not bothering ourselves in reference to some other things that we do not perform. In giving his revelations to us in regard to these matters the Lord took certain individuals and made them examples to the Saints, and he wished the Saints to look upon these individuals and follow their examples. The Lord did not propose at first to call upon all the people at once and tell them what to do in relation to these temporal matters, because they were very ignorant and more or less covetous. In March 1830, one month before the organization of this Church, the Lord commenced to instruct, or lay down principles which should govern the people of God in all their temporal affairs. The foundation was raised as a standard, or beacon shining in a dark place, that every Latter-day Saint might look at and judge for himself what would be required. The first revelation that I recollect of that was given in regard to the temporal obligations of the Saints, or what should be required of them, was given to Martin Harris. You will find it on page 111, Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Martin Harris was a man who possessed considerable wealth, or at least was tolerably well off. The Lord gave him a revelation touching temporal affairs, the same as Jesus gave the rich young man. The Lord said to Martin Harris, “Impart a portion of thy property, yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family.” This revelation applied simply to Martin Harris, and not to everybody, only as you consider it an example to Latter-day Saints. But on page 161, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, there is a general commandment in connection with the divine law which was given in this revelation. It applies to everybody, as, for instance, “Thou shalt not lie,” is a general commandment, and applicable to every Latter-day Saint. Here is the commandment, verse 55—“And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support, thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said.” In connection with this subject, we find on page 233 that the Lord called together six of his Elders, and gave them commandments and revelation, and appointed unto them a stewardship: “Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my church.” Now this was quite extensive. “All ye people of my church.” The Lord was going to speak, here, something that concerned all the Saints, wherever they might be, whether in New York, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana or any other part of the world. “Hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and ALL ye people of my church, who are afar off.” Now here is something which concerned all the Latter-day Saints, and which the Lord considered of vast importance to everybody worthy to be called by that name. He wanted all the inhabitants of Zion to pay particular attention to what he was going to say to these six of his Elders. It concerned everybody. The fact in the case was that he took these six Elders and made them an example to all the Saints. The revelation continues:

“Hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and unto my servant Martin Harris, and also unto my servant Oliver Cowdery, and also unto my servant John Whitmer, and also unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, and also unto my servant William W. Phelps, by way of commandment unto them.

“I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;”

Now this was a matter of some importance, especially to these six elders, to be appointed stewards over those things from which should accrue great temporal advantages. Perhaps some people might be jealous, or were jealous at that time, and supposed that they had reasonable grounds to be jealous, that the Lord should bestow such great advantages upon these elders, which they might use to the great disadvantage of the people of God. But we will discover that these matters were strictly guarded of the Lord, as also would every man who was appointed a steward in the kingdom of God be held in check.

“And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment.”

Now, perhaps I do not believe as some do in regard to the United Order—that everybody is to come together and throw all their substance into a heap, and then come and take of it as they please, or that one man who does not understand temporal affairs at all should be placed as a steward over extensive concerns. I believe that there is an order in these things—a pleasing and an agreeable order—and that these things are arranged by the Lord in such a way that when people properly understand them they will be satisfied and admire them. It is because we do not get to understand the requirements of God that we are dissatisfied. God fixes these matters up and arranges them in such a way as will tend to the exaltation of every Latter-day Saint who is disposed to honor them. It is because of our ignorance that we are displeased with the requirements of the Lord.

Now, I believe in the independence of men and women. I believe that men and women have the image of God given them—are formed after the image of God, and possess Deity in their nature and character, and that their spiritual organization possesses the qualities and properties of God, and that there is the principle of God in every individual. It is designed that man should act as God, and not be constrained and controlled in everything, but have an independency, an agency, and the power to spread abroad and act according to the principle of godliness that is in him, act according to the power and intelligence and enlightenment of God, that he possesses, and not that he should be watched continually, and be controlled, and act as a slave in these matters. But that the law of God should proceed forth from him, and the constitution of the Most High God should be in him, and he should act in accordance with that. And, as the Lord has said—“I will write my name in the hearts of the people”—the law should proceed forth from their hearts.

And so far as the law of tithing is concerned, there is about it something that is not of the same nature and character as the law of the United Order. It was added because the people were not willing to comply with this noble and high celestial law, whereby they could act according to the light that is in them, and the power of the Almighty, by which they should be inspired. I read on:

“Wherefore, I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof.

“Wherefore, a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the church, neither unto the world.”

Now, was it designed that these six men should go and build fine houses, and spread abroad and obtain immense treasures of the earth, independent of the obligations devolving upon them to other people? There was great latitude given them, but they were held accountable unto the Lord. “I give you this latitude to exercise, but, remember, you are accountable; and an account of your stewardship will I require of you in the day of judgment.” Some of these Elders had seen God and talked with him face to face, and angels had laid their hands upon their heads. They knew that there was a God in heaven. This was made clear to them by the power of the Almighty, and by angels making their appearance unto them, and talking with them as one man talks with another. Now, when we consider what the Lord said to these men that were thus enlightened, and had this wonderful experience, we see that it required a man to be a little careful how he acted in regard to these temporal affairs that were given to him in charge.

“Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse;” Now here was wherein they were limited. But yet in this matter they were left to their own judgment and philanthropy, which should be enlightened. But their philanthropy would be the philanthropy of God, and their intelligence, the intelligence of heaven.

“And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.

“Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.

“And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the church of the living God;”

Now this law should continue as long as salvation continued. (See page 337 1st verse) It never has been repealed. The law of tithing could not repeal this law. The law of tithing is a lower law, and was given of God. But the law of tithing does not forbid us obeying a higher law, the law of celestial union in earthly things. And the fact that we do not feel satisfied in simply obeying the law of tithing shows that it is a lesser law. Do you feel justified simply in obeying the law of tithing? Why, then, do you contribute to our temples and to bringing the people from the old countries, and to this object, and that, in thousands of ways, after you have properly and justly complied with the law of tithing? The fact that you do these things shows that you are not satisfied in merely obeying the law of tithing. In these contributions you are acting just as God designed you should act—by the light of the Holy Ghost that is in you. Now, this law is very distinctly portrayed, and the Lord has made it so plain that he is determined that no man shall misunderstand him. When he speaks he speaks in such a manner that there can be no dispute. He is not satisfied with telling it over once, he tells it the second and the third understanding; so that there can be no misunderstanding in regard to the mind of the Lord with reference to this law of a man’s giving all, except that which is needed for his support, unto the Lord’s storehouse. An observance of this law is what he says is required of every man in his stewardship. So that if the Latter-day Saints are appointed unto stewardships, or are satisfied to act as stewards before the Lord, this law is in force, and this law they should observe. I believe many do walk in the spirit of this law to a certain extent; and have complied with it, no doubt in a manner in which they are justified before God, while some, perhaps, have paid no regard to it whatever. Some so far ignore these principles that they become very miserly and covetous, and gather around them and their families what they consider they need now, and then lay up for future generations, when there is distress around them, and thousands of Saints in Europe and other parts who are groaning in poverty, under the iron hand of tyranny, not knowing from day to day where they are going to obtain a meal of victuals. Yet here are men among us who call themselves Latter-day Saints, who do not impart of their substance according to the law of the Gospel. I say God is displeased with such covetousness, and he will never prosper the Latter-day Saints who are guilty of such miserly conduct.

But as regards the law of tithing, it is in force upon the poor as well as the rich, and it seems that it acts almost unequally in some respects. There is a widow, whose income is ten dollars; she pays one for tithing, and then has to appeal to the Bishop for support. Here is a rich man who has an income of one hundred thousand dollars, and pays ten thousand for his tithing. There remains ninety thousand, and he does not need it, but the poor widow requires much more than she had before complying with the law of tithing.

Now what would be the operation of the celestial law? The widow has not enough for her support, therefore nothing is required of her by the celestial law, or the law of the United Order. This rich man, with his ninety thousand dollars, continues to increase his riches, pays his tithing fully, and yet wholly disregards the law of stewardship, or the law of temporal union. I cannot believe that a Latter-day Saint is justified in ignoring the higher law. For, as we have read, “Behold none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God.” There is not a man within the sound of my voice who is exempt from this law, nor will he ever be until Jesus, the Son of God, comes in the clouds of heaven to set all things right: “Yea, neither the Bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord’s storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things.” This will apply to the Bishops who reported there yesterday, and to every Latter-day Saint. We are under this law. We should act in the spirit of this law according to the light of God that is within us.

Furthermore, on page 275, we read:

“It is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop; “And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of all the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.

“It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.”

Now, this might be considered rather strong language, but this is a revelation of God that we profess to believe.

“Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.

“Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

That is, those that were not willing to abide the law of stewardship and consecration should be debarred of these blessings. It is the same today, and it has been so since the days of Adam in relation to these matters.

Now, when the Lord established this Church, he was very anxious to bring the people to this order of things; and we find some thirteen revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that are given to explain these principles of the United Order—the law of consecration and stewardship. Men were to have their stewardship—to have possession of property—but they were to hold it as servants of God, not as their own individual property, particularly, but they were to be made stewards over that property, after they had consecrated to the Lord, and to receive according to their abilities, and manage according to the gifts of God that were within them in regard to temporal affairs. If a man was capable of managing merchandise to the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, it would be proper that he should be made a steward over that amount. If a man was not capable of managing extensive concerns, it would be improper to make him steward over a large business. But every man would receive a stewardship in proportion to his capacity to oversee it for the general good.

In order that there might be no misunderstanding, the Lord informs us further in regard to these matters on page 237, Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord took great pains to manifest his pleasure in regard to these principles. He called some seven, eight or nine elders, and made them stewards over property and various departments of business, and then told them how to act. They were to work in accordance with this law, which will be found on page 343, Book of Doctrine and Covenants:

“68. And all moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties which I have appointed unto you, in houses, or in lands, in cattle, or in all things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as you receive moneys, by hundreds, or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by fives.

“69. Or in other words, if any man among you obtain five dollars let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise;

“70. And let not any man among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it.

“71. And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.”

Now this was making things secure—pretty safe. It might not, perhaps, be as agreeable, unless persons could conceive the whole plan of this scheme or Order in temporal affairs for men to devote their surplus in this way, but with the other portion, which we read further on, they would be perfectly satisfied.

Now, we can easily conceive, that with a vast population of Saints acting under this celestial law, there would be an immense treasury filled after a time; and that there might not be any misunderstanding in regard to this property and its use, among those who had thus subscribed or bestowed their means, the Lord has made the matter plain by giving the following instructions:

“71. And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.

“72. And this shall be the voice and common consent of the order—that any man among you say unto the treasurer: I have need of this to help me in my stewardship—

“73. If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires, to help him in his stewardship—”

Now a whole people, enlightened by the principles of High Heaven in regard to these matters—filled with the Spirit of God, with the spirit of understanding, the spirit of philanthropy, every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, having an eye single to the glory of God, putting his means into the Lord’s treasury, and no man saying that anything is his, except as a steward before God—would be a pillar of financial strength, a sublime picture of holy union and fraternity, and equal to the most extreme emergencies. Then when any misfortune befalls a man, such as the burning of his property, or failure or trouble in his department of business, he could go to the treasurer and say, “I have need of a certain amount to assist me in my stewardship. Have I not managed the affairs of my stewardship in a wise manner? Can you not have confidence in me? Have I ever misused the means put into my hands? Has it not been wisely controlled? If so, give me means to help me in my stewardship, or to build up this industry that is needed for the general interests of the whole.” Well, it is to be given to him. There is confidence reposed in him because of his past conduct, and the course which he has pursued. He has due right in exercising his talents according to the light of the spirit that is within him. He understands fully the circumstances in which he is placed, and governs himself according to the obligations that rest upon him. He is found to be a wise, economical manager; and he is assisted in his stewardship to the extent of the means that he should have.

Now, were the Saints all acting in the spirit of these revelations, what a happy community we would be! We would all be safe, and no man would need remain awake at night thinking what he should do for his family to keep them from begging their bread, or going to the Bishop, which perhaps is only one degree better. And there would be a union that would be in accordance with the union of Enoch and his people, when they were taken to the world above—a union pleasing to the Almighty, and according to the principles of the celestial world.

But now how is it, with us, with the people of Ogden and in other places? We distrust one another. Every man feels that he has no security in his neighbor in time of mis fortune. We distrust our neighbors, because neighbors are not seeking the interest of one another. Every man is seeking how he can best help himself. This is too much so with the Latter-day Saints.

Now, this law, the United Order, was given in 1831-2. Men were commanded consecration of property. Bishop Partridge, seeing there was some misunderstanding, wrote to Joseph for an explanation in regard to the matter. Joseph in answer, says that in matters of consecration it should be left to the judgment of the consecrator how much he should give and how much retain for the support of his family, and not exclusively to the Bishop, for, if so, it would give the Bishop more power than a king possessed. There should be a mutual understanding between them, otherwise it should be left to a council of twelve High Priests. Now where is the Latter-day Saint, that cannot see a liberality, a generosity, in this matter, and be willing to submit to this tribunal. I would be willing to submit to the high council of this Stake of Zion, or the high council of any other Stake of Zion, and say, “Here is my property, say how much I ought to retain for my wives and children, and how much shall go into the common property of the Church?” But I think my bishop and myself could settle the business at once. Joseph says in that explanation, “it is not necessary that you should descend to particulars in regard to these matters.

I see I am occupying more time than I intended. There are many things that should be said in relation to these matters. The time is now that the Latter-day Saints should awake. These laws were given to govern the Saints. The Saints in misfortune would not obey them, and they were driven out.

We have been harassed from the beginning unto this day, and I fear will be, until we conform to this law, and are willing that God shall rule in regard to these temporal matters.

I will now say, let every man who stands in an official station, on whom God has bestowed his holy and divine priesthood, think of what the Savior said to the Twelve Apostles just before he went into the presence of his Father—“Feed my sheep.” And he continued to say this until his apostles felt sorrowful that he should continue to call upon them in this manner. But, said he—“Feed my sheep.” That is “Go forth with your whole heart, be devoted wholly to my cause. These people in the world are my brethren and sisters. My feelings are exercised towards them. Take care of my people. Feed my flock. Go forth and preach the Gospel. I will reward you for all your sacrifices. Do not think that you can make too great a sacrifice in accomplishing this work.” He called upon them in the fervor of his heart to do this work. And now I call upon all who hold this priesthood, the presiding officers of this stake, and the bishops, and the high council, to go forth and feed the flock. Take an interest in them. Did you ever lose a child, and the parting struck keenly into your souls? Transfer a little of this deep feeling to the interests of the Saints over whom you are called to preside, and in whose interests you have received the holy priesthood. Work for them, and do not confine your thoughts and feelings to your personal aggrandizement. Then God will give you revelation, inspiration upon inspiration, and teach you how to secure the interests of the Saints in matters pertaining to their temporal and spiritual welfare.

May God bless you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Cleave to Light—Coming of Christ—Abominations of the Wicked—Welfare of the Young

Discourse by Apostle Erastus Snow, delivered at the General Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Oct. 8th, 1879.

The prophet Isaiah, in speaking of the latter-day Zion, made this singular remark:

“Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.

“But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel:” etc.,

Again, it has been said concerning the disobedient who reject and set at nought the counsels of the Almighty, through his servants who are sent unto them:

“I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;”

The wicked comprehend not the things of God; they cannot know them, for they are spiritually discerned. “The things of God,” says the Apostle Paul, “knoweth no man only by the Spirit of God;” or, in other words, carnal man knows not the things of God, neither can he understand them. The unbelieving world cannot see as the Saints see; they walk in darkness, but the Saints are the children of light, even as many as keep sacred their covenants with God. The wicked love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. This was true of the first century of the Christian era, when the Savior uttered it; it is true today. As the light shone in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not, so might the same be said today. We are called to be the children of light. Blessed are they who continue in the light, for the day of the Lord will not overtake them as a thief in the night; but woe unto them that depart from, or reject that light that shines in the midst of the darkness, for the day cometh and that speedily, when they will be overtaken as by a whirlwind. The command of the Lord to the Saints is to watch, for we know not the day nor the hour when the Son of man shall come. The precise time of his coming has not been revealed; the prophets were ignorant of it; it could not be declared to the apostles of the Lamb, and, indeed, the Savior said that not the angels, nor even he himself, knew the day or the hour of this important event. And on taking his final leave of the Twelve, on the Mount of Olives, the question was put to him—“Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” They, it seems, were wont to regard the Savior as that Being that was to establish himself upon the throne of David, and bring to pass all that they had been so anxiously expecting; but he told them it was not for them to know the times and the seasons which the Father had put in his power. These things have been spoken that the Saints should watch and not fall asleep. The same idea is also set forth in the parable of the ten virgins, who were represented as having gone forth to meet the bridegroom, five of whom were wise and five foolish. The wise virgins took oil in their vessels, and were pre pared to meet the bridegroom and to go with him into the marriage feast; the foolish virgins took no oil, they were unprepared, and were consequently shut out. This parable is expressly applicable to the time of the second coming of the Savior, showing us that however reluctant we may feel to admit it, we are plainly given to understand that a great portion of those who are counted virgins, of the Lord’s people, who believe in his coming and who go forth to meet him, will slumber and sleep, and be locked out when he shall come. And it behooves all Saints to ask themselves the question which the disciples asked the Savior when he told them the startling truth that one of them should betray him—“Lord, is it I?” And all those who are very anxious upon this point will be likely to be on the watchtower, and not slumbering in that fatal hour.

And again, in the 24th of Matthew, he speaks of that wicked servant who shall begin to say, “My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” He expects this of his servants whom he has appointed over his house, to give his children meat in due season. It becomes the apostles, and presidents, and bishops, and all who are called as watchmen upon the walls of Zion to read the 24th and 25th of Matthew, giving due attention thereto, and to beware, least they be found among those unfaithful servants who have been appointed to minister in his house and give meat in due season, but who smite their fellowservants, and who eat and drink with the drunkard, and otherwise neglect their high and holy calling, for responsibility, position and station will not be any protection or safeguard in that day. But, on the contrary the greater the responsibility neglected, the greater their fall, chagrin and disappointment, and woe when they find their allotted portion among the hypocrites and unbelievers.

And the enemies of Zion who want to penetrate our sacred and holy places, and who say in their hearts, Let her temples be defiled; let adventurers, profligates and libertines mingle in their family circles, and break them asunder, and defile the daughters of Zion and break up the holy institution of sacred and holy matrimony, by which they are bound together in the new and everlasting covenant for time and eternity; yes, they say, let this covenant be broken, let all who believe and will not deny the laws and commands of God, be excluded from the jury-box, from the ballot box and from official station. And here comes another wail from a member of the Cabinet, in the form of a decision to the effect that all plural wives, who will not break their covenants with their God and their husband, shall be excluded from the right of homestead and pre-emption; and I doubt not but what everything will be done that Satan can put into their hearts to do to block the wheel, to hedge up the way, in order to test the faith of the righteous and their integrity to each other and the principles of truth. But it must be remembered that God permits it, that they may fill up the cup of their iniquity, that the righteous may be proven and tested, even to the core. For God will have a tried people, and those only who will abide in his covenant, even to the death if necessary, will be found worthy of that glory and exaltation in his kingdom which we seek after. It is a day of warning, not of many words; it is also a day of sacrifice. God has a controversy with the nations, but first with those unto whom the fullness of the Gospel has been sent. He will work in his own wondrous way his purposes to perform. It becomes us to be very humble, that we may be worthy to be his instruments in accomplishing his designs.

I rejoice in the testimony of the Spirit manifested by the previous speakers during this Conference. My earnest desire is that the Spirit may spread abroad among all people and take deep root in their hearts, not only throughout the Stakes of Zion, but throughout the earth. Dark clouds may gather around us from time to time; then is the time not to fear, but to watch and pray and patiently await the Lord of Hosts to dispel them and cause the sun to shine again upon us; remembering the vision of Nephi, in which he saw the rod of iron which led to the tree of life, along the turbulent stream of muddy water, and through mists and clouds which at intervals beset his pathway; and that those who clung to it were led safely through and reached the tree and partook of the fruit thereof, while those who ceased their hold to the rod of iron wandered off and were lost.

I have felt the greatest concern for the rising generation among us; they are far more numerous than our foreign immigrants. Secretary Evarts and the Cabinet need have far less fear concerning our foreign immigrants than of those that are constantly coming from the spirit world. The enemies of Zion fear this doctrine of the Saints, that “Children are an heritage of the Lord, * * * and happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” This doctrine permits the Latter-day Saints to fulfil the first great command given to Father Adam and Mother Eve, instead of adopting that abominable and soul-destroying doctrine of devils, infanticide and feticide, which is practiced to no little extent in the Christian world, which is in open violation to the laws of nature and the law of God to our first parents, to “multiply and replenish the earth.” And the practice of this same doctrine is fast depopulating some of our older States; besides, it tends to encourage prostitution; and, strange as it may appear, a future day will yet reveal that among the foremost and prominent votaries of this doctrine of devils are those who fight against Zion and her institution of marriage, under the hypocritical cant as such men as Schuyler Colfax, in his utterance from the balcony of the Townsend House in this city, and Attorney-General Devens, in his argument in the Reynolds case, in effect, that the plural marriage of the Mormons cannot be tolerated, because the burning of widows upon the funeral pile of their husbands was wrong. There is about as much relevancy and consistency in the argument as there would be to say that the practices of the multitudes of families of this Christian land, who are destroying their own offspring and taking villainous compounds to induce barrenness and unfruitfulness, must be tolerated and encouraged, because the practices of the Latter-day Saints are filling these mountains with a thrifty population. It is shown by the statistics that our children under the age of eight years are already nearly as numerous as the lay members of the Church. I feel that too much attention cannot be bestowed upon the rising generation. Our young people’s Improvement Associations, our Sabbath Schools and quorum meetings are all so many aids in the training and education of the young in all that is elevating and praiseworthy. And may God bless them in their earnest efforts to improve the spirits of their fellow men.

There is one thing I wish to call the attention of our presiding officers to, more especially, that of the Presidents of Stakes and their counselors and the Bishops as their aids and assistants, and that is to give more diligent heed to the temporal condition of the families of the Saints over whom they preside, seeing to it that they are suitably and profitably employed. It is an old adage that an idle brain is the devil’s workshop; and we all know that the lack of useful and proper employment is the source of numerous evils. It should be our study to introduce new branches of business, devise means of employment, that none may be idle. This is an important duty required of the leading men in Israel; and so earnest should they be in its performance that they make it a matter of faith and prayer, using their utmost endeavors to seek it out by thoughtful study, and by consulting each other, and by inviting the aid of inventive minds. It is important that our schoolteachers should not merely be automatons or parrots in the schoolroom by way of impressing a lesson upon the minds of the children, but strive, in an eminent degree, to direct their minds in a moral and religious sense, inculcating, by precept and example, due respect for virtue, and everything that is pure and noble; having also, as much as practicable a watchcare over them out of school as in school, laboring to enforce punctuality and an honest report, thereby helping their parents to look after them, so that they may not squander away their time foolishly, as many do in our towns and cities, lounging around stores and other places, acquiring habits that are calculated to lead away and defile the minds of the youth. The schoolteacher who is alive to the true spirit of his calling becomes a valuable auxiliary in improving the minds and conduct of our children, and his or her influence, when properly excited, might be of incalculable good.

There has been in times past, and still is, a great tendency among our youth to seek easy berths; and sometimes the acme of their ambition seems to be realized upon a high stool in a counting room, or behind a counter; they desire to shun the hardships through which their parents passed. That is a vain delusion, and it is simply foolishness on the part of parent or child who indulges in it. It is unwise for parents to entertain this spirit, to be anxious to shield their children from the trials of life through which they themselves have passed; no really sensible man or woman would do it. There is no sensible man or woman in the land that would exchange their experience for all the wealth of the world. If any would do it, they have failed to learn their lesson and profit from their experience. Adversity is good for all; prosperity few can fear.

The Presidents of Stakes, with their Counselors, and the Bishops as their assistants, should, when they know of any unoccupied land within their borders that ought to be improved and possessed by the Latter-day Saints get together and select young and middle-aged men who are not already provided with good, suitable homes or means of sustenance, organize them with good and efficient leaders, and send them out to occupy those new valleys, teaching them to do as their fathers have done—teach them to take out the mountain streams, build gristmills, sawmills and factories, raise breadstuff, sheep and cattle, and prepare to live, instead of craving easy berths, and be all the days of their lives dependent upon the will of an employer for a livelihood.

There are many places in our Territory east of us, on both sides of Green River, also in Sanpete, Piute and Kane counties, and in the adjoining States and Territories, that ought to be occupied; for the Latter-day Saints cannot be confined to Utah. Everything indicates the fulfillment of the declaration of the ancient prophet, who said:

“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

“For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left;” etc.

In the very nature of things this must be the case; for we are an aggressive people, not to trample on the rights of our fellow man, but to fulfil the purposes of the Almighty, and possess and make fruitful the waste places. And as the wicked are wasted away through disease, war and bloodshed, murder, infanticide, feticide and the judgments of an offended God, he requires his people to go forth as he shall prepare the way, and possess the land and hold it for God and his kingdom, whose it is, and who will come in due time to reign over it.

Fear not to take to yourselves wives and to multiply and replenish the earth, and occupy the unoccupied regions, and leave it not to your enemies while you are clustering around these mercantile houses and saloons and places of ease and idleness; but break out and face the realities of life. And let no father or mother in their old age indulge childish fancies, and encourage these whinings of their children; but be as courageous as the old hen, who, after scratching for her brood until they are able to scratch for themselves, sends them forth to get their own living.

We do not wish to be compelled to call men to this work of settling up the country; the Twelve and the General Conference have other things to occupy their time and attention, while this work more directly belongs to the Presidents of Stakes. The Twelve, however, are ready to counsel with these brethren and render them all the aid we can. But we don’t want the Presidents of Stakes to think that they can do nothing, leaving the Twelve to attend to all such things; that is part of their calling, as fathers in Israel. We wish the country bordering on that occupied by the Lamanites settled by men who know how to behave themselves, and who will befriend that people, and not shoot them down as we would the wild beasts, without cause or provocation, nor give them occasion to be our enemies, to lay in wait to rob and kill; but to cultivate their love and good will which is a common duty of all Saints to all people, but especially to the House of Israel; and set good examples and manifest in all their dealings honesty and integrity, thereby sowing good seed in their hearts, that shall in the due time of the Lord bring forth precious fruit.

We want many earnest, upright young men also to learn the languages of the natives of the American Continent, and also the Spanish language, which is extensively used in Central and South America as well as Mexico, and which is the national language of those countries and of the educated natives who exercise dominion over the ignorant Indians and the mixed races of the Continent. We expect to call many to labor among these people, as the Lord may dictate, and we want them to be prepared to respond when there is a whisper in their ears to that effect.

May God bless you, and help us all to be truly what we are called to be, Saints of the last days, to stand before the Son of Man when he shall appear, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.




The Church Founded Upon the Rock of Revelation—Faithful Saints Cannot Be Moved By Persecution

Discourse by Elder Lorenzo Snow, delivered at the General Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Oct. 6th, 1879.

I have been very much interested in the remarks of Brother Orson Pratt.

I wish during the short time that I occupy the stand to make a few observations in reference to the foundation upon which we have established our faith and belief in the principles of the everlasting Gospel which we have espoused, and to see what means the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints employ in establishing these principles in the hearts of the people in the various nations where they are proclaiming the fulness of the Gospel. It is well perhaps in view of the surrounding circumstances, and in consideration of the difficulties that arise in our midst—and which may possibly try our faith—to examine occasionally more closely into the foundation upon which we ground our hopes—our hopes in regard to our property and in regard to our ability to accomplish the commandments of God and withstand the temptations that will be presented to try our faith, and overcome the difficulties that may come in our way in the path of our progress. In preaching the Gospel in the days of the apostles there were certain things that followed their labors, that inspired individuals that received the doctrine from their hands that filled them with great confidence in regard to those principles as is shown on a certain occasion where one of the Apostles uses language like this: “Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” The people who had received the Gospel were reminded of the peculiar blessings and powers that attended it in its administration. When the disciples were ordained by the Savior and sent forth to proclaim the Gospel to the world, they were told that certain blessings and assurances should follow its administration. On another occasion it was said by the Savior, when people were anxious to know in regard to the divinity of his mission, he told them that if they would do the will of God they should know of the doctrine. And again, on a certain time when his disciples came together, he asked them what the people said in relation to him, the character that they gave him, and the feeling he had produced among them in regard to the divinity of his character. He was informed that the people had various ideas and views in relation to it. Some thought that he was one of the prophets that had risen, that he was Elias or Jeremiah, or John the Baptist that had been beheaded. In the midst of this confusion of ideas, however, there was one individual that had obtained correct information on the subject, and from a quarter that every person that receives the fulness of the Gospel is privileged to obtain a perfect knowledge of its divinity. Turning to the disciples he said, “But whom say ye that I am,” and Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now, he had obtained a revelation in regard to the character of the Son of God. He had not obtained it through the observance of the miracles that Jesus had performed. He had not obtained it from any other quarter or source save from God the Eternal Father. Jesus told him that “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That is, upon the rock of revelation, for the nature of the Gospel is such, that when it is proclaimed and honestly obeyed, individuals receive a testimony in regard to the divinity of the doctrine. This was confirmed on the day of Pentecost. Peter in preaching to the people said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. This gift of the Holy Ghost is a different principle from anything that we see manifested in the sectarian world. It is a principle of intelligence, and revelation. It is a principle that reveals things past, present and to come, and these gifts of the Holy Ghost were to be received through obedience to the requirements of the Gospel as proclaimed by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in these days. It was upon this rock that their faith should be grounded; from this quarter they should receive a knowledge of the doctrine they had espoused, and we are told by the Savior “that the gates of hell should not prevail against them.” Thus the Church was organized upon the principle of revelation. In it were placed “first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” Thus God placed in his kingdom and in his Church those things that were according to the mind and will of heaven, according to the laws of the celestial world. In another place we are told that God gave gifts unto, men. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Now for what purpose were they given? We are told that they were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” How long were these gifts to continue? We are told they were to continue “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” These were the principles taught by the apostles, and when they went forth among strangers they could say, “We have authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel; but you cannot know these things except you receive this knowledge from the eternal world. We profess to have this authority, but you are not acquainted with us, you do not know our character. We require you to repent of your sins and to be baptized for a remission of the same, and then you shall have a knowledge of the truth.” These are the declarations of our Elders in these days; it is by this means that the people are gathered here from the various nations of the earth. Here we have a people from England, Denmark, Sweden, France and from almost all the nations of the earth. Why are we gathered into these mountain valleys? Why have we left our homes in distant lands? Because we realize the truth of the gospel as proclaimed by the Elders. We have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, which has revealed to us this knowledge; and it is because of this knowledge that we are here today. Where in all the world can you find a class of ministers that dare take the position our elders do? Where is the man or the set of men that can be found that dare to present themselves before the world and say that they have been authorized of God to administer certain ordinances to the people through which they may receive revelation from God? Anyone announcing a doctrine of this kind would soon be found out if he were an impostor—he would place himself in a very dangerous position, and would soon be discovered if he held no such authority. Our elders, however, dare take this position. We have taken this position for nearly fifty years. God has sent his holy angels from heaven and restored the authority to man to administer the ordinances of the Gospel, and through these the gift of the Holy Ghost now confers upon man a knowledge in regard to the divinity of this work. Now, we talk about people succumbing because of their inferiority in numbers or because they are partly in the minority. That may be all very well providing it is simply man’s work. We can very well see that in such case 150,000 could not expect to prosper or succeed in opposition, or in holding principles that are in conflict to those of 45,000,000 of people. Noah could not expect to succeed against a whole generation while his doctrine was accepted only by seven individuals, providing it had been only man’s work. Neither could Moses when he proclaimed his message expect to have succeeded against the Egyptian government and its influence had he not been inspired and had authority from God. It is not that one man or set of men should proclaim principles as divine and demand their acceptance unless he have authority beyond that of man. If, therefore, the elders of Israel have been authorized, if they have received authority from the Almighty to proclaim these principles, then it will be very easy to understand who will succumb in the end. If it is the work of God we may expect very well what will be the result. There was a law in the days of king Nebuchadnezzar that all nations should bow to the golden image which he set up; it was made obligatory upon every individual that he should not offer prayer to the God of heaven. Well, what were the results? It is very easy to see; it is very easy to see what will be the results at all times when God has a work to accomplish in the midst of a people. When men of integrity, men of honesty, receive a knowledge of any principle, divine principle, when they receive a manifestation of the Almighty concerning the truth of any work or any doctrine, it is a very difficult matter to destroy or force that knowledge from them. You cannot do it by imprisonment, you cannot by any method of torture. So in regard to the people called Latter-day Saints. Inasmuch as they have received these doctrines in various nations where the Gospel has been proclaimed, and inasmuch as they have received a divine manifestation of the truth of these principles, we do not expect when they come here to these mountain valleys that they are to be frightened out of these things, because a man’s religion is more dear to him than life. Has anybody received a revelation to the contrary? Has anybody received a revelation that Joseph Smith was not endowed with power from on high, or that the Elders of Israel have not been authorized to preach this Gospel? No; but we can bring thousands of individuals that have received revelation that these things are true; thousands upon thousands. Well, then, the foundation upon which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built is the rock of revelation—upon the rock that Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of hell should not prevail against it. We have not received this knowledge through flesh and blood, we have not received this testimony from man, we have not received it through the reading of the Bible, New Testament or Book of Mormon, but we have received it through the operations of the Holy Ghost, that teaches of the things of God, things past, present and to come, and that takes of the things of God, making them clearly manifest unto us. You cannot take this knowledge from us by imprisonment or any kind of persecution. We will stand by it unto death.

And now all the Latter-day Saints have to do, all that is required of us to make us perfectly safe under all circumstances of trouble or persecution, is to do the will of God, to be honest, faithful and to keep ourselves devoted to the principles that we have received; do right one by another; trespass upon no man’s rights; live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God and his Holy Spirit will aid and assist us under all circumstances, and we will come out of the midst of it all abundantly blessed in our houses, in our families, in our flocks, in our fields—and in every way God will bless us. He will give us knowledge upon knowledge, intelligence upon intelligence, wisdom upon wisdom.

May God add his blessing upon this people. May we be faithful to ourselves, faithful to all the principles we have received, seeking one another’s interests with all our heart, and God will pour out his Spirit upon us, and we will come off victorious in the end, which I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.




Progress of the Work of God—Introduction of Evils By the World—Unconstitutional Inimical Measures—Plural Marriage Not Criminal—Intolerance Denounced

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered at the General Conference, Held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1879.

By the blessing of our Heavenly Father, we are permitted once more, under circumstances of peace, to assemble ourselves here in this large tabernacle, in the capacity of a semiannual Conference, in the 50th year of the history of this Church. A few months more, and this Church will have seen the history of fifty years. Great and wonderful has been the progress of the Church during this period of time; far beyond anything that we could have calculated upon, looking at the subject naturally, as natural men. But contemplating the subject spiritually, we might have expected to see what we now behold—a great people assembled from many nations, occupying the central portion of this great north wing of the western hemisphere. We, as a people have made during the first half century, or nearly so, of our existence, great and rapid progress, far beyond that of some of the former dispensations which have been introduced into our world. It is a matter of astonishment with me, that so many people have received the divine message which God has communicated to the human family in our day, when we consider that the generation, or people, who should live just prior to the coming of the Son of Man in his glory were described as a people such as did exist in the days of Noah. It will be remembered that the message of that good man did not receive much attention, in his day; but a very few, in fact, believed in his message. I have often times thought how discouraging it must have been to that good old prophet, to prophesy to that generation—to foretell concerning the great judgment that was to happen to them, to point out the only means of safety for those who desired to escape, laboring diligently for so many years, and then to find only seven individuals besides himself righteous enough to receive the message. How discouraging! If this message had been treated with the same indifference, we can readily imagine how discouraging it would have been to Joseph Smith, as a prophet and revelator, to labor for perhaps a hundred years and only make seven converts. As regards numbers, then, those who have obeyed the Gospel message in our day, have become very numerous, compared with those that received the message in the days of the flood. Not merely one family of persons, but hundreds of thousands have been gathered into this latter-day Church. The divinity of a message does not, however, depend upon the numbers who receive it. Numbers has nothing to do with the subject. The Lord our God has sent forth his servants in this great dispensation; he sent them first directly to our own nation; they, as a people, have re jected it. Individuals, however, in all the States, have seen proper to receive the divine warning, and have mostly gathered to these mountains, and are located among these ever-lasting hills. Who were they that first redeemed this desert? Were they a mixed people, those belonging to the Latter-day Saints and those unconnected with them? No; it was the united efforts of a poor and afflicted people, who had already been driven from their houses five times while they dwelt in the States. They came here almost barehanded, so far as property was concerned. They came to an undesirable country; they came to a location that was marked upon our maps as “the Great American Desert;” a country that had scarcely been penetrated by white men. We began anew in this country, and it was by the labor of our hands, being strengthened by the Almighty, that we opened up these rugged canyons, and penetrated into these mountains, and obtained timber to build our houses and to fence our fields; it was by the united labors of the Latter-day Saints, that we constructed water ditches and canals for the purpose of irrigating the land, instead of depending upon the rains of heaven, and thus commenced a new system of farming, at least as far as our experience was concerned. It was by the labor of the Latter-day Saints alone, and not by the labor and capital of Gentiles. These beautiful ornamental shade trees were placed out in front of our houses, to beautify and adorn the streets, by the labor of the hands of the Latter-day Saints, and not by the aid of Gentiles. It was the Saints who established these beautiful orchards that are seen, not only in this great city, which well might be termed a city of orchards, but in almost all other large towns and cities throughout this great desert. It was by the labor of our own hands that schoolhouses were erected in all the countries and settlements of our Territory; all this too, at an early stage of our settlements here, the education of our youth, being among the most prominent and important steps calculated to benefit the people. It was by the labors of our own hands that academies and buildings for high schools were established in various portions of the Territory, as well as our common schoolhouses. It was by the labor of our own hands that chapels and meetinghouses were located in all our settlements throughout this mountain region. It was by the labor of our own hands that the desert was made to blossom as the rose.

By and by, after we had fulfilled and about accomplished this work, having formed numerous settlements and built numerous dwelling houses, and planted out numerous ornamental trees and established extensive gardens, and began to raise grain, fruits and vegetables in great abundance; after we had done all these things, fairly opening up the Territory, that outside population began to pour in. Who was it, then, that opened up the country so that our Gentile friends might come into it, and of causing prosperity to prevail in our midst? It was the Latter-day Saints. Who was it that made feasible the grading of the Union Pacific Railroad through these rugged mountains—the most difficult work on the whole of its construction? It was the strong arms of the Latter-day Saints, our mountain boys; they continued the road some hundreds of miles; tunnels had to be cut through huge mountains, and rough and precipitous places were made smooth, and the way prepared that our Gentile neighbors might come among us, and all this that they might have the privilege of entering on record that they were the great ones that established these facilities, and that made the desert to blossom as the rose.

What, let me ask, have our Gentile neighbors that have come among us done? They have done some good things; they have introduced some very bad things. I speak now according to my own individual feelings upon this subject. Before they came we had no grog shops in the various towns, and villages, and cities in our Territory, to convert a temperate people into confirmed drunkards. We had no such institutions; but as soon as they came this product of what they call civilization was introduced into our midst, wherever they could obtain a foothold. So much for this kind of civilization that has been introduced into the midst of this people. What, else? Years and years passed by, before the Gentile population began in any degree to come into our Territory, during which safety attended our habitations. We could leave our doors open at night, in summer time, to be benefited by the mountain breezes; now we have to lock our doors, and bolt down the windows. Why? Because that thing called civilization has come into our midst, which renders it unsafe for our habitations to be thus left open. What else? Formerly we could wash our clothes, as we do weekly, and hang them out upon the lines, letting them remain there if necessary for one or two days and nights, without the least danger of their being taken away. Dare we do these things now? Can we expect safety now? No. Why? Because Gentile civilization has come into our midst, that which we forsook, when we left the lands from which we emigrated. It has come to us; and these are the disagreeable things which the Latter-day Saints have to encounter.

But it has been said, and even published that it was not the Latter-day Saints that introduced the blessings that are enjoyed today by the inhabitants of this Territory; that it was some other people. I am trying to portray these things precisely as they are.

What else? Our streets are filled, not only with drunkards, by introducing these liquor saloons in nearly all parts of our Territory, but we see fightings, blasphemy, threatening life, etc., in all the places in the Territory, wherever this outside “civilization” has appeared. There may be some few exceptions among the Gentile elements. We do not wish to pronounce all the outsiders who have taken up their abode among us being of this character, but we speak of these things in general terms. There are good men and women who were not among the early settlers of this country, that have come here since the way was opened, and since prosperity prevailed over this desert; we do not speak against them, but against that class that have introduced these evils into our midst. We might speak of other things, such as houses of ill fame—something that was not known in our country and something that the youth and the rising generation grew up to manhood without knowing anything about, only as they happened to read of them occasionally in some of the Eastern papers. Do they now exist? Yes. Who brought them here, and who sustains them after they have come? Undertake to put these things down by law, and every exertion is made to retain these sink-holes of corruption in the land. Writs of habeas corpus are issued in order to free those bad characters, and turn them loose upon the community. This is another feature of what they term “civilization.” We might go on and name Sabbath breaking, lying, misrepresenting, quarreling, stealing, and so forth but we have not time to dwell on all these subjects.

We came here as a religious people. We had a civil government, and a religious government; we had civil authority and ecclesiastical authority, before the Gentiles came here in any great numbers. Both of these principles of government were in existence in this Territory in the early rise thereof. The religious, in this Territory, seemed to be very much united, with a very few exceptions. We all believed in the same doctrines. But says one, “Is not this in opposition to the principles of our government, for all the people to be united?” I do not know of anything in any of the principles ordained by the revolutionary fathers that requires division in a representative form of government. They make provisions, in case there should be division; but never founded the government with an express determination that there should be division, either in their religion or in their politics; it is not a necessary concomitant to the form of our government. Our government and the principles thereof could be sustained without any violation whatever, if the forty millions of people were all of one faith. If they were all democrats, or any other political faith, still the government would not be violated. But they made provisions, in case there should be divisions. Thank God, that in this Territory we have supported a Republican form of government, without being under the necessity of impressing upon the people that they should be divided. We do not impress any such thing upon their minds. It is no part of the Republican government to be divided. You can all vote the same way at the polls; you can all believe the same religion and yet be good citizens of the United States. What? Can they all be Presbyterians and at the same time be good American citizens Yes. Can they all be Methodists, and yet be good American citizens? Yes. Can they all belong to one political party, without any to oppose them, and yet be good American citizens? Yes. Why? Because there is nothing in the Constitution of our government that requires the population to believe different doctrines, according to their religious notions and ideas—nothing that requires them to be politically divided, in their feelings. But they are divided. The people of all nations are divided; and good wholesome laws, for the most part, have been established by Congress, and by the various States of our Union, making provisions for this divided state of society, giving, to every person the privilege of believing as he or she may see proper to do in regard to their religious ideas, and to carry out their sentiments by practicing their religion also, as well as believing; and that the majority should not, because they happen to be the majority, oppress the minority. Arguments have been made by statesmen, judges, and others professing great intelligence something like this: that the Latter-day Saints are a people of only about 150,000; while the United States are a people, numbering forty or forty-five millions. Therefore, say they, the great majority—the forty or forty-five millions of people—should, or they have a perfect right to oppress you, Latter-day Saints, because you are the minority in your religious views. Now, I do not believe this anti-republican idea, though it was published in this city last week, from a person in high authority—a Federal officer of our Territory. Supposing for instance, there were only ten religious men, living in the United States that believed a certain doctrine, according to Bible precepts, and all the rest believed something else, differing from that; have this great majority a right to oppress these ten men? They have no such right. The Constitution of our country has provided for that minority, to believe as they choose to, so long as they injure no one by their belief, and so long as they injure no person by practicing that belief. Supposing that the Presbyterians should insist, in their Church capacity, that sprinkling with water was to be the only mode of baptism, that should be observed by the members of their denomination; have they a right to do this? Yes. But supposing that forty millions of people, who were not Presbyterians, should denounce that system as criminal, on the ground that it was not in accordance with the doctrines of the Bible, and consequently it would be a criminal practice to blaspheme the name of Trinity by sprinkling a few drops of water and call that baptism; and supposing they should succeed in getting Congress to pass a law against sprinkling, because it was criminal according to their ideas; and supposing that the persons who introduced that mode of baptism should be brought up by that law to be judged by it, and should be found criminals, according to that law of Congress; and supposing that the Supreme Court of the United States were to confirm the action of the lower court, on this matter; ought such persons to be condemned as criminals? No. You would say that they have a right to sprinkle; I would say the same, however much I might differ from the Presbyterian practice, in my own mind; however much I might look upon that act as abominable in the sight of heaven; however much I might consider it to be criminal before God, yet I would say they had a constitutional right to sprinkle; so in regard to all other divisions so far as religious sentiments are concerned. Wherein those divisions of political or religious sentiments do not harm the neighbor, do not harm society, do not harm families, or the nation at large; a law, passed by men, has nothing to do with it, what courts might decide to the contrary notwithstanding.

These are my views as an individual. I do not pretend to set these things forth as your views or the views of the people generally, but my own individual views on this subject.

Now in regard to plurality of wives, why is that a crime? Only because Congress passed a law making it criminal. Does the Bible make it criminal? No. Does the Book of Mormon make it criminal? No. Does the Doctrine and Covenants make it criminal? No. Why is it criminal? Is there a law of our nature that makes it criminal? No. There are some things that are criminal in and of themselves, and we cannot think of them only as such, and as we by our own consciences know them to be criminal. And for instance, stealing property that belongs to our neighbors. That we look upon as being criminal. We would not wish our neighbor to steal our property. Again violence done to another person to rob him of his property, that is something which is criminal in itself. Taking life like the heathen, who offer up their human sacrifices, the heathen widow that is burned upon the pile, is criminal. Why? Because it is something that our nature at once denounces to be criminal, and it is also denounced as such by the laws of heaven, by the laws of God; but not so in regard to many other things. For instance, one day out of seven is set apart as a day of rest; and under the law of God, in ancient times, it was considered criminal to gather a bundle of sticks on that day, for the purpose of making a fire; and the person who was found doing so was condemned to death. Now if there had been no law concerning that matter, all Israel would have made no distinction between the sacredness of days. All would have been alike to them. Why? Because there was nothing in their own minds or consciences that would perceive such an act to be criminal. But when the revealed law of God came, making it criminal, it then became so. So in regard to many of these religious principles, observed among the heathen. They are criminal, and any person acquainted with the law of God is compelled to pronounce them as such. But then, shall we condemn anything that the conscience does not denounce to be criminal, that the law of God does not denounce as criminal; shall we get our Congress to make a law declaring it criminal, so that those that break that law shall become criminals? I cannot see it. I am so obtuse in my understanding and my mind is so blunted, that I really cannot see any sense in a law of that kind, whether passed by Congress or a congressional power of all nations combined; it makes no difference, so far as my mind is concerned.

I have read the speeches of members of Congress, in which they have made the contrast of Bible polygamy with some of the heathen worship which is denounced by the Bible. Why not contrast everything else pertaining to religion in the same way? Why not pass a law, prohibiting that religious people called Jews, from practicing the Mosaic law of circumcision, inflicting fine and imprisonment if they persist in following the Bible custom? Simply, because they are not hated as the “Mormons” are. “We must have a law expressly framed for these Mormons; we must pass a law that will catch them. But in order to make the people think we are not unjust we will make it general throughout all the Territories.”

I believe in the great principles laid down in the American Constitution; I believe in religious freedom, religious belief, religious practice. I believe in every principle guaranteed in that document. Well, supposing then that they should send me, as an individual, to prison because of my belief or religious practice; would that alter my belief? No. Would, say, five years in the penitentiary change my belief? No. If they were to inflict the full penalty of the law upon me in every respect, how much would they succeed in converting me that my belief and practice were a crime in the sight of God? Not one iota, forty-five millions of people to the contrary notwithstanding. Why? Because although I am in the minority, I am protected by the Constitution just as much as though I were in the majority; I am an American citizen and I have the rights of an American just as much as though I belonged to the majority. Well, then, what do you say, shall I renounce my religion, because of this law? No. Shall I advise the Latter-day Saints, (an independent people to do as they please so far as their religious views are concerned) to renounce any part of their doctrines because Congress has denounced it? No. I can do no such thing. If they wish to renounce them or forsake them, they are at liberty so to do, and be accountable to God, and be disfellowshipped from the Church, because of their disbelief. “O,” says one, “you would disfellowship your members and thus bear upon them?” Certainly we would. Have we not the right to do so? What denomination is there, in these United States, but has the right to disfellowship their members for any thing they please, if they go according to their own creed and documents? I do not know of any denomination that does not enjoy this right. I claim no more for myself, nor for my brethren, in regard to these matters, than they claim for themselves, nor any more than the Constitution guarantees to all.

We have the right, therefore, to say, that if a man denounces any part or portion of his religion that we will disfellowship him; or that if a woman shall do the same, that we deal with her in like manner. And we have the right to disfellowship members of our Church, for any transgression of the laws of God. And this has nothing to do with the great principles of right and wrong established by our American government. But I will leave this subject.

We have assembled here in our semi-annual conference, what for? To take into consideration any subject that may be for the advantage and well-being of the whole. That is one object. To give advice and counsel to the people of God, that may be under the sound of our voices. To get the united sanction and voice, with uplifted hands to the Most High God, in sending forth missionaries to the various nations of the earth. What for? To convert them to the everlasting gospel.

We have been told by a circular letter, which has been issued officially, and sent to various nations, that because the people believe in the doctrines of the Latter-Saints in Germany, in Scandinavia, in Great Britain, etc., that the United States are very anxious to get all these governments to band together against what? To prevent the religious people who believe in these doctrines from emigrating from their own lands, to the land of America. Will these governments respond? Will they aid the great government of the United States, to persecute religious people by trying to prevent them from emigrating from one country to another? I do not know but what they may; it is very doubtful, in my mind, whether they will go back to the old dark ages of persecution, and be united as Herod and Pilate were, in preventing religious people from emigrating to other nations. It would be difficult, under the color of consistency, to hinder it. How are they going to know whether emigrants are Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists or Latter-day Saints, when they embark at European ports to come to this great continent of America? Or how are they going to know what religion they belong to? Are they going to have their ambassadors, their consuls, and great men, appointed on purpose, paying them large salaries, and instructing them to be at every port, and also to make every man swear, when he embarks on board of a vessel, that he is not a Latter-day Saint?

Now, I do not believe they are going that far; and if they do not, how easy a matter it would be for emigrants, to say nothing about their religious sentiments, while sailing across the great ocean. Or could we not keep our peace so long? Would it be difficult for the Latter-day Saints to shut up the fire of truth in their hearts, so that no one would know them to be Latter-day Saints for ten long days? I expect that would be the difficult part of the undertaking. We feel to rejoice so in the Gospel, in the great plan of salvation, that we can hardly hold our peace for ten days; though if it were really necessary, I think some of us could manage to do so.

Well, supposing we landed safely, and held our peace, and should take the railroad cars for Chicago, say, whose business is it? And supposing we concluded then to take the cars for Omaha, whose business is it? And at Omaha, supposing we should get it into our heads to come further West, and should then purchase a ticket for Ogden, have we not the right to do so? Is our government going to employ runners and spies to find out every man’s religious views, who passes over the various railroads? I am inclined to think not; I do not believe they have reached that stage yet.

But now concerning the justice of these matters. Supposing that we do preach what the world calls “Mormonism” from the time we embark, until the time of our landing, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, because we believe in repenting of our sins, and because we believe in baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and because we believe in the plural order of marriage, as taught in the Bible, have they the right to shut down the gate against us? When I say a right, I mean a Constitutional right. Is not this country open to all nations? Is it not called by every people, “the asylum of the oppressed of all nations?” They have not yet passed a law forbidding the Chinaman from emigrating to this country. Have the Latter-day Saints sunk down so far beneath heathenism, that we must have the gate shut down upon us, and heathens by tens of thou sands come swarming to our land? I do not, I cannot believe that the good sense of the American people can tolerate such persecution. Amen.




Preaching of John the Baptist and Restoration of the Gospel Compared—Opposition to Revelation—Gifts of the Holy Spirit—Polygamy—Human Laws Founded Upon the Revealed Law of God—Celestial Marriage Prominent in the Law and the Prophets

Discourse by Elder F. D. Richards, delivered at the General Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1879.

In contemplating the condition of the work of the Lord as it is on the earth today, and as we have had to contemplate it from the light of history in its existence in former periods of time, we find a very striking analogy exists.

I scarcely need tell my congregation this afternoon that we as a people bear a significant relation to the people of the United States in a political point of view, and without undertaking to review the various periods of the earth’s history, and the relationship which the work of God at different times has sustained to its inhabitants, it may perhaps be enough to refer to one circumstance in the days of our Savior. When John the Baptist had gone forth among the people of Palestine, telling them that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and calling upon all who entertained faith in his mission to come and be baptized—it appears that he created quite a sensation among the people, insomuch that all they of Jerusalem and Judea and the regions round about went forth and were baptized by him in great multitudes, as recorded in Mark, i, 8. This had a political effect upon the rulers of that day, and when John was followed by Jesus and his wonderful works, they began to say—“If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.” It was very directly a matter of political significance and importance.

I recollect that some fifty years ago, in the days of my youth, and in the land of the Puritans, I used to hear and to see aged matrons as well as reverend ministers wringing their hands and lifting up their eyes with holy horror, because there was a great evil in the land called slavery. They could scarcely eat or drink in peace, or worship God with the spirit and understanding, by reason of a terrible sense of condemnation resting on their consciences—because their brethren in the Southern States believed in slavery. This came to be worked up by the preachers in the pulpits, by the politicians in their stump speeches, by the parents of households, and fulminated by the press, until in nearly every class of society there was a continual stir and sensation about slavery in the Southern States. This terrible evil had become one of such vast importance that it must some day bring a national scourge, and in their great anxiety and horror over this, and their determination to put it away, they stirred up the fire until the North were at enmity and hostility against the South, and the South were at enmity and hostility against the North. We well recollect what were the consequences of the recent terrible conflict that devastated and demoralized so much of our beloved country. While this fanaticism was raging in the North, and silent preparations for defense were going on in the South, none seemed to consider the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, or the taxation necessary to pay a few hundred millions of war debt, and still less the demoralizing influences thereby fastened upon the country.

About the same time, or very soon after, when the Elders began to preach the Gospel in that region, I recollect that there arose quite a sensation about this people that professed to have new revelation. It to seemed strike these same conscientious, religious people with consternation that anybody should dare to say that God would now reveal himself to the human family; that it was the most impious blasphemy to preach that the priesthood had been restored, or to assert that the Holy Ghost was given in the latter days, or that the gifts of the Spirit were made to abound among the children of men. No indeed; it was not to be tolerated any more than the doctrine of slavery. There were here and there a few, though but very few in proportion to the general population, that did receive this very alarming doctrine among those professing religious belief in the mission of our blessed Redeemer. It will be borne in mind that at the time I now speak of, the doctrine of plurality of wives had not been heard of as a doctrine of the Church in the last dispensation; but it was the gifts of the Spirit, it was the doctrine of present revelation, it was the terrible repulsive idea that there could be a man raised up in our day who should be a prophet that should bring again the word of the Lord and speak his mind and will to the people, that created a fresh outburst of pious indignation in the minds of those who were so devout, and who claimed to occupy the “cradle of liberty.”

It was but a short time after this—stepping along rather rapidly in the history of events—till the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed to the Saints, away in the West, on the banks of the Mississippi, though not publicly proclaimed until 1852, in Utah. But the sound of this sacred scriptural doctrine, when it came to be made known, seemed the very acme of all that was corrupt, abominable and ungodly, and they who professed to believe in the doctrine of polygamy were not deemed fit to live on the earth. Consequently, if I were to take a text to preach from. I would take “Where are we now?”

About the year 1854, or 1856, the terrible odium of these two principal doctrines, and polygamy especially, had attached such a political hold on the minds of the religious community, that they were prepared to place these as two planks in the party platform, which was to be adopted as a ground upon which a President was to be elected. The celebrated Senator Douglas, after we had come out from the midst of the people and come into the wilderness, a thousand miles from any settlement of civilization, announced to the country that if he were made a candidate for the presidency of the United States, his opinion was that “the loathsome ulcer must be cut out from the side of the body politic.” That was his political faith in regard to this one of the twins. President Buchanan was elected with a clear understanding that the abolition of polygamy was one of the jobs he was undertaking. He tried his hand at this first, but on finding that it took two years for his army to reach the field of their operations, and then in their decimated condition were dependent upon polygamists for subsistence, the prestige of the campaign dwindled down to what was commonly known as the “contractor’s war on the Treasury.”

When, in 1860, the Republican party came into power, it assumed the obligation which President Buchanan had failed to discharge in regard to the “twin relics;” and, to avoid repeating the mistake which he had made, turned its attention to the other twin. This soon furnished occasion for a recall of the remaining troops in Utah to the other field of conflict.

I feel more interest in narrating these facts, because our rising generation, as well as many Saints who have immigrated to our midst from abroad, are not familiar with the circumstances, which have brought us to our present position. A little patience and I will notice some of the circumstances attendant upon what has been done, and perhaps we may judge therefore what has to be done, if it ever gets done at all.

Formerly, the Representatives and Senators from New England went to Washington laden with petitions to Congress to abolish slavery, in the District of Columbia, even more strongly than priest and people have recently been asking Congress to abolish polygamy. Ex-President John Q. Adams presented lengthy petitions containing thousands of names on many yards of paper, and became known as the Member who manufactured public opinion by the yard. These applications were repeated year after year. Be it remembered that the District of Columbia is not a State, but is governed by direct legislation of Congress. And what was the result of the strenuous and powerful efforts of the most brilliant and profound statesmen of the North, contested, of course, by the best statesmen from the South? The result was that slavery was not abolished in answer to the petitions of the Northern people, but it continued a political question, and became a powerful factor in the politics of the country. If an anti-slavery State was admitted into the Union from the North, a pro-slavery State was admitted from the South. Compromises were made between parties for the admission of certain States, until some of the Southern States declared for secession, and on the question of their right to do so the war commenced, and not on the direct question of the abolition of slavery.

From the firing of the first gun the demon of war seemed to inspire the contending parties with the most bitter enmity and rancorous hate towards each other, while multitudes met their near kinsmen in mortal combat. Year after year the war raged, till the Southern armies were recruited by their slaves; the Treasury of the nation was rapidly depleting; fierce engagements and wasting disease had done their work and recruits were enlisted for three years, or till the end of the war, and President Lincoln, by proclamation, abolished the slavery of several millions of negroes, not as a political measure, but as a measure justified by the exigencies of war. I state these facts without any argument as to whether slavery should be justi fied, or condemned. Their great ancestor said they should be servants of servants among their brethren, making their servitude the fulfillment of prophecy, whether according to the will of God or not.

But where are we today? We find slavery disposed of, but what of polygamy? This question is assuming proportions which seem to overshadow us so completely that even John Chinaman gets no special consideration in Utah.

About the time of the “Bull Run Stampede,” in 1862, when officers, raw recruits, and congressmen fled from the battlefield and took shelter in the Capital, Congress passed a law making plurality of wives, bigamy, or polygamy if you please, a penal offense. Now it should be distinctly understood that this offense is not sinful because Congress has made it penal. There is no ungodliness in it, because God has revealed it, he has commanded it. Congress of the United States says that it must not be permitted. Well, then, “Where are we today?” What have we to expect? This law has been passed—although we had hoped that Congress and the nation had sufficient virtue, enlightenment, liberty, and the spirit of the constitution of the fathers left among them, that they could see that this was not a sin or an evil—yet we find they have closed their eyes against this, and have determined that it is sin, while corruptions of every kind are permitted to be carried on in the country, such as prostitution, feticide, infanticide, etc., that because we have embraced the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must be demolished or give up our religious faith. The highest court of the nation has declared polygamy unconstitutional, yet in its nature it is the only potent remedy by which to eradicate the so-called social evil, with all its concomitants, from the land. Yet they cannot see it, and they declare that all who engage in polygamy shall suffer from two to five years imprisonment and not exceeding a $500 fine.

Now I want to place it clearly before you, my hearers, that this is no longer the business of a party, it is today the voice of a nation. Mr. Secretary Evarts in his circular letter sent to ministers in foreign countries, says in the last clause that “this government has determined to prosecute polygamy to the extent of the law and to eradicate the institution from the country.” These are his words. That is authority so far as authority from the United States government goes. We find the same thing reiterated in the charge to the grand jury in this city, a short time ago, that the voice of forty to fifty millions of people must have its rule and that one hundred thousand must be sacrificed or as many of them as insist on the doctrine of polygamy. That is about where we are today. Now I ask my brethren and sisters—are you prepared for whatever comes on this question? Did you when you entered into the waters of baptism make up a reckoning what the Gospel of Jesus Christ was worth? Have we considered that it was worth fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and our own lives also? If we did not we figured up wrong, for he that is not willing to forsake all things and make them secondary to a whole-souled belief in and faithful obedience to the Gospel, is not worthy of it. I ask my brethren and sisters who have come from the antipodes of the earth to this place for the Gospel’s sake, if you came prepared and having made such a reckoning? Jesus says in one of his parables, “Which of you, intending to build a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost whether he have sufficient to finish it, lest, haply after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Now that is about the way with us. There is no use our laying the flattering unction to our souls that government is not going to do this. We have got an example of what they have done to the Southern States, and have no doubt they are just as ready and willing to do that much to abolish polygamy among us if God will let them. They have come to that point. They have pronounced against polygamy and are ready to invite, hire and bribe men’s wives to aid in the conviction of their husbands, I have no doubt of it; you need not have. They are here telling us plainly that this is their business, and we need only to look around us and see where we are today.

Now, as regards this matter, nobody need tremble at all. I do not think that any who have received the Holy Spirit, and learned of the revelations of Jesus Christ, and know of their influence, need fear, or that anybody’s heart who is faithful before God, need be any heavier than it is in the habit of being, or that their faces need be any longer than they are used to be. Not at all; we must look upon this as only a part of the “all things” we agree to endure for the Gospel’s sake and our salvation. Now, they may go to law, and fix up, as we see already, packed juries, just such as they want, so that no Latter-day Saint who is a believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether he believe in polygamy or not, can have any place among them, or any say as to who are innocent or who are guilty. We have evidence that they will do all this and having done this much, it would be very easy for them next winter to fix up such laws concerning juries and testimony as will enable them to carry out what they have undertaken. We give them credit for all this, and we have evidence they will do it, from the fact that the Constitution has been no limit to their former enactment. Indeed, it has virtually been cast overboard, and liberty taken to enact any such laws as might be desirable to carry favorite measures, and it will be just as consistent for them to do anything they please in regard to polygamy; and thus one thing after another, until they shall have attained the object which they have determined to accomplish.

The true issue of this question is not exactly between us individually and the courts, or the government. The issue is between the two governments. If they who make us offenders are at a loss to know which is the higher law, they will have plenty of time to find out. It is a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, and of good and true government of this nation, that there should be any law made that should restrict our belief or practice of any religious doctrine, which does not infringe upon the rights of others. The Constitution expressly says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Neither is there anything in the Constitution that tells Presidents, Congressmen, Judges or juries, what shall be religion, or what shall not be religion.

In the days of Jesus, their Senate and House of Representatives, their supreme and lesser courts were comprehended in the Sanhedrin, or Chief Council, which was an institution of the Jewish government to determine all matters, secular or religious. In our day, although there is no law except the law of God that determines what we may accept as religion, and what we shall not, there is a principle which I call your attention to, that will enable us to understand our position in relation to each other and to our fellow men. I may perhaps illustrate this best by stating a circumstance which took place a few years ago, while I was in Europe. A gentleman from one of the European States had emigrated to this country and had become an American citizen. He returned to his native country to attend to some business. While there that government undertook to enforce from him some act of subordination, as though he were still a subject of that government. What was the result? The government of the United States, when appealed to, informed the authorities of that land that his rights as an American citizen must be respected. We see, then, that when a difficulty arose that abridged this man’s liberties, the responsibility was upon the parent government of asserting and maintaining the rights of this man’s citizenship. The authorities of Europe as well as America lauded the wisdom of Daniel Webster in this case, and the man was delivered.

Now, in our case, the government has determined that polygamy shall be abolished, but the government of heaven had previously determined that polygamy should be established, and that sin and wickedness shall be rooted up; that men and women shall have the right to obey that higher law in their marital relations.

This is our position, this is where we are today. We have accepted this doctrine, this principle of faith from the Lord Jesus Christ, and we, or some of us, have lived it more than thirty years in this Territory. And in the matter of our appeal, inasmuch as the government is determined to eradicate this item of our faith, and us with it, of course, and inasmuch as we can get no redress therefrom, our appeal must be to the government of heaven, to which we have vowed allegiance. Jehovah will hold a contention with this nation, and will show them which is the higher and eternal law, and which is the lesser and more recent law. While they are carrying on this high-handed proceeding, regardless of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, the God of heaven and earth will notify the earthly government that the rights and liberties of His citizens must be respected and maintained.

The whole procedure is inconsistent, and utterly at variance with the fundamental principles of law. The great legal apostle, Blackstone, has plainly stated, and every lawyer knows, that human laws and governments are professedly derived from, and founded upon the revealed law of God, which he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai, and every man of them who rejects the revelations of Jesus Christ, must know that he is condemning himself in the thing he professes to allow. The eternal law of celestial marriage and plurality of wives stands out with singular prominence in all the law and prophets, and is evidenced in the personal humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Plurality, as believed and practiced by the Latter-day Saints, is no crime in and of itself; it presumes no deception or fraud; it infringes upon no other rights, but vests additional rights in him who accepts the heavenly doctrine, whose Author has said, “It shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord.” It cannot therefore be malum in se, but is only malum prohibitum, by the Act of Congress.

With this view of the subject before us, what have we to do? What is our privilege and our duty in the premises? It is that we draw near to God, the Author of our faith, in humility and in obedience to all his requirements, remembering our covenants sacredly before Him, that our cause may reach His ears, and when He sees our trouble He will in His own good time step forth and deliver us. We have erred and sinned more or less, some of our children may have departed from the way of the Lord. If we have violated the Sabbath, taken the name of the Lord in vain, or violated any of our covenants, it is time for us to turn to the Lord and do so no more. If we do this, He in his own due time will say, “Hitherto shall thou come, but no further: and here let thy proud waves be stayed.” While, then, we see all the blandishments of civilization among us, while we see all the troubles that human governments can make, in our view we have only to trust in God as Daniel did. Notwithstanding the edict of the King, he worshipped the True and Living God. So must we. And peradventure all these things must happen to us. There are a great many among us who say, “Lord, Lord,” and do not pretend to do the things which God requires of us. We have to keep the commandments of God, we have to sense it, and to learn the lesson in all sobriety. Have we any time to waste with these outside characters? Have we any time to dally around grog shops and play in billiard saloons? No, my brethren and sisters, we have not. It is our duty to be alive to our work, day by day, knowing that the eyes of God are upon us. It is He that will do all things marvelously well for us; it is He that will fight our battles for us. Then the only way for us to gain deliverance is to remain devoted to his service, that we may help to build up His kingdom, and be found worthy of that assistance which He has promised to render us in the time of need.

There are two sides to this question. Peradventure it may be necessary that our enemies should carry out the works of their father, the devil, that they may show sooner or more fully to the heavens when the purpose and measure of their wickedness is full. As to the ultimate establishment of truth on the earth, there is no question. The prophets have all prophesied of it, the angels have looked forward to it with glorious anticipation, and we have the testimony of the Holy Ghost that this work shall be accomplished. The thing for us to do is to live true and faithful to our religion, irrespective of what may be going on around us.

That the Lord may inspire us by his Spirit to be faithful to our duty, to draw near to him, leave the wickedness of the world alone, and sanctify ourselves before him, is my earnest prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.




The Work of God Cannot Be Hindered—The United States to Be Afflicted By Judgment

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at the General Conference, Held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1879.

I have been interested in listening to the remarks of the brethren this afternoon, and I am thankful to find that good old-fashioned Mormonism, or Latter-day Saintism is not altogether dead yet—that there is a little of it living in the bosoms of the Saints, in our speakers, and in those who hear. The Methodists, you know, used to have a prayer to the effect that “His Spirit might pass from heart to heart as oil passes from vessel to vessel,” and I have thought that that kind of a spirit has been exhibited more or less here today, whether we have any Methodists among us or not.

We have come here, as has been stated, to worship Almighty God in accordance with his commands. Most of this congregation were good citizens before they came here. Some are from the various parts of Europe and from other parts of the earth, and a great many from different parts of the United States. They were good citizens and observed the laws of the land to which they belonged. They have observed every law of the United States, except one that was made on purpose to make them disobey God, and therefore, so far as political affairs are concerned, and the duties pertaining to citizens of the United States, they have been maintained in their integrity up to the present time. I remember being asked in a court here some three or four years ago—I do not remember the time precisely, but the court seemed to be very fond of interfering with religious matters, it was not always so; but I suppose civilization has extended—I was asked, “Do you believe in obeying the laws of the United States?” “Yes I do, in all except one”—in fact I had not broken that. “What law is that?” “The law in relation to polygamy.” “Well, why do you except that one?” “Because,” I replied “it is at variance with the genius and spirit of our institution; because it is at variance with the Constitution of the United States; and because it is in violation of the law of God to me.” The United States Supreme Court, however, since that time has made it a law of the land, that is, it has sanctioned it; it was not sanctioned at that time, that question was not then decided. We are here today, gathered together according to the word and law of God and the commandments of God to us. “Gather my saints together unto me,” says one of the old prophets, “those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” “I will take you,” says another, “one of a city and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion, and I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Now, the servants of God in these last days have been sent out as they were in former days to gather the people, and the Lord has given us this law—the law of polygamy—among other things, and I know it before God and can bear testimony of it, if nobody else knows it. I know that it came from God, and that God is its author. But there are hundreds and thousands of others who have a knowledge of the same thing; but I speak of it in this wise to testify before God, angels and men, before this nation and all other nations that it came from God. That is the reason that I speak of it, that I may bear my testimony to you and to the nations of the earth. Now, then, about the result of it; that is with God and with the people. It is for us to do the will of God; it is for the Lord to bring about the results in his own way. But one thing I can assure all men, in the name of Israel’s God, that neither this nation, nor any other nation, can do anything against the truth, but for the truth. Do their very best, help themselves as they may, they cannot help themselves in re gard to these matters, for the Lord will say unto them, as he did unto the waves of the mighty ocean, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Now, that is how the thing is. The prophet in another place says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” He will manage the other. He will put a hook in the jaws of men and of nations, and lead them just as he pleases. They are all in his hands, as we are in his hands.

Need we be surprised that people should feel inimical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? No. Need we be surprised that men, as the scriptures say, “should wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived?” No. We have preached it—I have preached it upwards of forty years in this nation and in other nations. Need we be surprised that they should trample under foot the Constitution of the United States? No; Joseph Smith told us that they would do it. Many around me here knew long ago that they would do this thing and further knew that the last people that should be found to rally around that sacred instrument and save it from the grasp of unrighteous men would be the Elders of Israel! When, therefore, we see these things progressing need we be astonished? I do not think we need be. Some of our people you know, who are a little shaky and get how? Why a little astride of the fence, and say “good Lord and good devil,” not knowing into whose hands they will fall; when they see some of these things transpiring they are filled with amazement; but men who understand themselves, and who are in possession of the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Spirit of the living God, are looking for such things and they are not at all surprised. Were we surprised when the last terrible war took place here in the United States? No; good Latter-day Saints were not, for they had been told about it. Joseph Smith had told them where it would start, that it should be a terrible time of bloodshed and that it should start in South Carolina. But I tell you today the end is not yet. You will see worse things than that, for God will lay his hand upon this nation, and they will feel it more terribly than ever they have done before; there will be more bloodshed, more ruin, more devastation than ever they have seen before. Write it down! You will see it come to pass; it is only just starting in. And would you feel to rejoice? No; I would feel sorry. I knew very well myself when this last war was commencing, and could have wept and did weep, over this nation; but there is yet to come a sound of war, trouble and distress, in which brother will be arrayed against brother, father against son, son against father, a scene of desolation and destruction that will permeate our land until it will be a vexation to hear the report thereof. Would you help to bring it about? No, I would not; I would stop it if I could. I would pour in the oil and the wine and balm and try to lead people in the right path that will be governed by it, but they won’t. Our Elders would do the same, and we are sending them forth doing all that we can, selecting the very best men we can put our hands upon—men of faith, men of honor, men of integrity—to go forth to preach the Gospel to this nation and to other nations. And how do they receive them? Not long ago they killed one and mobbed others. Well, we cannot help that. They are in the dark; they do not realize the position they occupy; they know not what spirit they are of. But it is our duty to have our bowels full of compassion extended to them, to send forth the message of life. But when our Elders go among these people they have to take their lives in their hands and trust in the living God. Nevertheless, we need not be afraid, we need not be troubled about any of these matters. “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Yea, I say unto you fear Him; and we feel today, while we would submit to every ordinance of man that is just, equitable and right, observe every law and interfere with no man’s rights, we are not ignorant of the fact that it is unjust for legislatures and courts to make and enforce laws to entrap and destroy us; that a magnanimous and just government would protect all its citizens; but we feel, at the same time, that the Lord is our God, the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, and he shall rule over us; and all that feel like saying that, say Amen. (The vast congregation responded “Amen.“)

It is an historic fact, written in letters as of living fire, that neither nations, peoples, emperors, kings, or presidents, nor the combined powers of the earth, are able to regulate the conscience or change the faith of man. Noah maintained his faith alone, as against that of a world. Abraham could not be swerved by the most unnatural and forbidding circumstances. Moses, at the behest of God, alone withstood the power of Egypt’s king and nation. Daniel unflinchingly bowed his knee to Israel’s God, in the face of a prohibitory regal decree, passed by the intrigues of the combined powers of the kingdom of Babylon, who were his enemies. Job, when tried, maintained his integrity, even as against God, and said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;” and he further said, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he will stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” The three Hebrew children could not be made to bow to the image set up by the King of Babylon; but rather than deny their faith chose the penalty of the fiery furnace, in which they walked accompanied by the Son of God. Jesus came to do the will of his Father, and though in doing it he sweat great drops of blood, and begged of his Father to let the cup pass if possible, yet “not my will,” he said, “but thine be done;” and when groaning in mortal agony he cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels, who would have obeyed him, yet in obedience to the mandate of his Father, he quietly said “It is finished,” and gave up the ghost.

And this nation may yet learn that under no fictitious pleas, as used by the Babylonish nation against Daniel and others, can they pervert or overthrow the faith and religion of the Latter-day Saints; and that no legislative enactment, nor judicial rulings, can pluck from the mind of man his undying faith, or legislate away the scrupulous exactions of an inexorable conscience. The rack, the gibbet, the faggot, and death in all its horrid forms has never accomplished this, nor never will. And in free America, the land of boasted toleration, it will be as impotent under the guise of liberty as it has been in other ages under the name of despotism. And Con gress to covet their shameless infraction of the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees religious liberty to all—in order to avoid the odium of religious persecution which naturally attaches itself to them, may pervert an institution of God by misnaming polygamy and calling it bigamy and not religion, and though the Supreme Court of the United States may confirm their acts, yet there are more than one hundred thousand persons who know better than they do, who will declare that polygamy is a part of their religion and a command and revelation from God.

These are our feelings and we will try to acknowledge the Lord in all things. And then, on the other hand, we do not wish to treat anybody disrespectfully. Have we any quarrel with this nation? No; they are seeking to quarrel with us; don’t let us give them the opportunity. They are like the boy strutting along the street with a chip on his shoulder, asking us to knock it off. But we won’t knock it off; but let them strut. It is true they try all they can to annoy and provoke us—that is, a few mean men do, although that is not generally the feeling of the nation, but is confined in great measure to religious fanatics and corrupt politicians, some of them holding positions under government, are trying to stir up strife. What for; Well, they want to get a certain “ticket” elected. A great amount of this “fuss and feathers” that we have today is simply a political ruse in the interest of party politics. What for? Why, the brethren have told you. Mormonism is very unpopular, and if they can only do something that will be in opposition to Mormonism it will satisfy the howling priests throughout the land, and a great many of their flocks. As was remarked by one of the brethren, when Jesus was crucified, Pilate and Herod could be made friends. When Mormonism is to be opposed, all men, or at least a great many men, can unite in opposing it. And they want to go before the people and tell them that they have rooted out slavery, and now they are after Mormonism, and won’t you religious fanatics join in? No, excuse me, I mean, you pure and holy religious people, who are so humble and possess so much of the spirit that dwelt in the lowly Jesus, won’t you help us to do this thing—won’t you vote for us because we are doing this thing? Why, bless your souls, they would not hesitate to sweep us off the face of the earth to get elected. That is their feeling. They care nothing about human rights, liberty, or life, if they can bring about the results desired. They would despoil, destroy and overthrow this people to accomplish their own end. Well, the other party, it is true, would not be very well suited about it, but they would not care to see it politically. However, it is for us to do the best we can. We have got to put our trust in the living God. We might ask—Will they derive any benefit from any course taken against the Latter-day Saints? No! a thousand times no!! I tell you that the hand of God will be upon them for it, and every people, be it this nation, or any other nation, that shall lift up their hands against Zion shall be wasted away; and those that want to try it let them try it, and it is them and their God for it. But it is for us to fear God, to keep his commandments; we can afford to do right whether other people can or not. Respect all men in their rights, in their position, and in their privileges, politically and socially, and protect them in the same; but be not partakers of their evil deeds, of their crimes, nor their iniquities, that you have heard spoken about here today. We do not want them to force upon us their drinking saloons, their drunkenness, their gambling, their debauchery and lasciviousness. We do not want these adjuncts of civilization. We do not want them to force upon us that institution of monogamy called the social evil. We will be after them; we will form ourselves into police and hunt them out and drag them from their dens of infamy and expose them to the world. We won’t have their meanness, with their feticides and infanticides, forced upon us. And you, sisters, don’t allow yourselves to become contaminated by rustling against their polluted skirts. Keep from them! Let them wallow in their infamy, and let us protect the right, and be for God and his Christ, for honor, for truth, for virtue, purity and chastity, and for the building up of the kingdom of God. Amen.




The Righteous Suffer Persecution—False Teachers Popular—Saints Should not Retaliate Upon Their Enemies—The Saints Will Have Power to Root Out Evil—Approaching Revolution in the Earth

Discourse by Elder Geo. Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6th, 1879.

I have been reminded, while listening to Brother Rudger Clawson’s remarks, of the sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 6th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, 22nd and 23rd verses—

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”

It is frequently remarked concerning the Latter-day Saints that there being so many stories told about them, there must be some truth in some of them; in other words, to use the familiar saying, “Where there is so much smoke there must be some fire.” But it is worthy of remark that, from the beginning, according to the history that has come down to us of the dealing of God with the children of men, every man and people who pro fessed to have a knowledge of God, and who really did have that knowledge, or a portion of it, and who were raised up by him, or called by him, had to suffer persecution. Stephen, the martyr, when he was being stoned at Jerusalem, said to the Jews: “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One”—scarcely a prophet that had ever lived among them who had not suffered persecution. Even Moses himself, the great lawgiver, the great deliverer of the Hebrew nation, who had led them out by the exhibition of mighty power, several times during his career came very near being stoned to death, or killed by the people. It is an evidence, an infallible evidence, of truth to have persecution accompany it. It is not that every one who is reviled and who is persecuted possesses the truth. This does not always follow. But there never was a prophet of whom we have any account, raised up in the midst of the children of men to proclaim unto them divine truths, who did not receive in his life and experience these very things of which Jesus has spoken. They were hated, they were separated from the company of their fellows, they were reproached, their names were cast out as evil, they were reviled, their lives were sought; and this was especially the case with the Son of God himself—a Being who spoke as never man spoke, whose life was an exemplification of purity, who was without sin, whose doctrines were holy and pure, who performed mighty miracles among the children of men, whose work and labors were accompanied with great power; and notwithstanding these evidences of divinity which accompanied him, the generation in which he lived, and by which he was surrounded, were not satisfied until they had slain him. It is also recorded that every one of the Twelve Apostles, excepting John, died a violent death. There are reasons for this which are made plain in the Scriptures. There are two powers; there is God and there is Belial; or in other words, there is the Spirit of God and there is the spirit of Satan. These two powers, or forces, have been in existence since man was expelled from the garden of Eden. Satan has opposed God. He has contended against goodness and purity. Each of these influences has been operating upon the hearts of the children of men. When the adversary has succeeded in overpowering the truth, in slaying the servants of God, in shedding the blood of innocence, and the extirpation of the power and authority which God had bestowed upon man has been accomplished, then there has been a lull, there has been a cessation of that violence which has attended the proclamation of the truth. The extirpation of those who had authority to proclaim it has left the field to the adversary. Then he had his own way. One of the greatest evidences of the bad condition of affairs now existing in Christendom is the popularity that attends what is called the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever a preacher is popular in the midst of a wicked generation, or a man is popular who professes to be a minister of truth, you may set it down as a certain fact that that man does not preach the truth as it exists in Christ. There is no disputing this, if this book (the Bible) be true; if there is any reliance to be placed in the word of God. As true as there is a God, and as true as there is a devil, the man that preaches the truth to a wicked generation will bring about the hatred of which I have read in your hearing. This is just as true as that God lives and that there is evil to combat, or that Satan has power over the hearts of the children of men. Satan knows very well that his time is short. He knows very well that if the truth is proclaimed and believed in and practiced by mankind his kingdom is overthrown, that his power will soon cease. Hence it is that he has aroused in every age and at all times the children of men to rage against the truth.

Whether the Latter-day Saints preach the truth or not it is for those who hear them and examine their doctrines to decide; but there is this noted fact connected with the preaching of this truth, as imparted in this system which we call the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that wherever it has been preached it has raised hatred, it has stirred up animosity, it has enkindled the fires of persecution, it has caused blood to flow, mobs have been raised, houses have been burned, fields have been destroyed, grain has been burned, cattle have been shot down, men and women have been expelled from their homes in the depths of winter, the blood of innocence has flowed, and all because men and women chose to believe a system of religion that differed from that which is popularly entertained. And there is this remarkable fact connected with the persecution of the people called Latter-day Saints—and it is the same characteristic that attended the preaching of the Gospel of the Son of God by himself and his Apostles the chief persecutors, and those who have stirred up strife in the hearts of the people have been popular preachers—have been themselves, in too many instances, the professed ministers of Jesus Christ. It was the High Priests, it was the Pharisees, it was the religious people in the days of the Savior who were his chief persecutors, and I am sorry to say the chief persecutions which we as a people have had to endure have had their origin with the same class. Why, I am informed that one or two if not more, of those men who formed the mob that shot Elder Joseph Standing, were circuit riders; preachers who professed to have great zeal for holy religion and pure morality. They were so filled with zeal that they could not let two young men travel in their country and preach from the Bible, without mobbing them!

As Latter-day Saints this ought to cause us to rejoice. We should not be angry, we should not indulge in the spirit of revenge. Such a spirit is foreign to the Gospel. It is our duty to endure all things patiently, uncomplainingly, and with long-suffering, putting our trust in God, relying upon his arm, awaiting the deliverance which he will bring to pass in his own time and in his own season. If I am persecuted and I turn upon my persecutors in the spirit which they manifest, do I exhibit a spirit that will bring down the blessing of God upon me? Certainly not; I would be no better than my persecutors. If a man strike me on the one cheek and I turn and strike him again, retaliate, give him blow for blow, do I by so doing manifest that I have received any better spirit than the man who struck me? I think not. It is very natural, I know, when we are reviled to turn round and revile again; when we are struck to turn round and strike again; when we are abused to turn round and abuse again. This is the natural prompting of the human heart; this is the natural feeling of every man of spirit—not to submit to indignity, but to resent it instantly. Our codes are all formed upon this. The training that we have had from our childhood upward, in the society of the world, has been that a man who submits to an outrage quietly is unworthy of the name of man; that the man who submits to be called a liar, or to rebukes, or to abuse quietly, is unworthy of the name of man. Now, that is certainly not the teaching of the Savior; all his teachings are to the contrary. His people are to be a meek people. His people are to be peacemakers. His people are to leave the results with him; to submit to these things quietly, uncomplainingly, that is, so far as outward manifestations are concerned; to pray unto him, to leave it with him. He has given unto his people a law upon this subject. If our enemies come upon us, or our families, once, we are to bear it patiently and revile not, neither seek revenge, and we shall be rewarded. If our enemies come upon us the second and third times, we are to bear it patiently, as on the former occasion, and great rewards are promised. If they come the fourth time, then the law in ancient days, and as the Lord has revealed it to us, is that they are in our hands to do to them as we may please; but if we then will spare them, we shall be rewarded for our righteousness. I speak of these things because I know how painful it is to submit to outrages such as have been heaped upon us. There are many such committed that are almost unbearable, men feel as if they could not submit to them; but as I understand it, it is far better for us to submit to these things patiently, and without retaliating, and leave the Lord to deal with them, than to indulge in the other spirit and the other feeling.

There is a great anxiety in the minds of many of the Latter-day Saints respecting the future. “How long must we submit to such wrongs as we many times have to endure?” is a question that arises very frequently in the minds of the people. We have been in these mountains nearly thirty-three years—thirty-two years last July. We had more freedom in some respects the first few years we were here than we have today, notwithstanding our growth, notwithstanding the numbers of the people have increased to so great an extent, notwithstanding the labors that have been performed; and there is a natural anxiety in the minds of a great many people as to how long these things will go on as they are, and some are almost discouraged. There was a time when throughout these valleys, from one end to the other, drunkenness was comparatively unknown. Drinking saloons were not permitted, gambling saloons were not licensed, nor did they exist; other places which I need not name had no foothold, nor existence, in our midst, and from one end of the Territory to the other there was a condi tion of affairs which everybody who loved good order and peace admired. I frequently meet with gentlemen who knew us a few years ago, who speak of the unfavorable change which has taken place in our affairs. The Latter-day Saints realize very fully how great this change has been. Our sons and daughters are now exposed to temptations of which they knew nothing in former years. We had the power, which we exercised, to control these affairs, but as I explained here not a great while ago, we have now found out that the charter of this city, which we supposed gave unto the municipal authorities all the power necessary to control, regulate, and, if necessary, prohibit the institutions and practices to which I have alluded, is limited in its power to stop the sale of liquor. So the judiciary have ruled. Monster petitions have been gotten up by the women of this city and presented to the City Council, asking for the prohibition of liquor saloons; but in vain. The City Council are powerless in the matter, because of judicial ruling. Naturally the inquiry arises, how long shall these things continue? Shall all the hopes respecting the future of this country, respecting the future of Israel, be blotted out? Are we to be disappointed, and a condition of affairs be established here which will perpetuate all the evils existing elsewhere, from which we have fled? If I thought this would be the case I should be discouraged. If I thought for one moment that we should not have power in the future as we have had in the past to maintain righteousness and a righteous rule and good order in this country, I should feel exceedingly discouraged. But I do not look for a perpetuation of these evils. I expect the day will come when this people, if they will be true to themselves and the principles which we have espoused, will have power to control affairs throughout these mountains. Shall we do this by violence? Not at all. By overstepping the bounds of the Constitution, or of the legal rights of individuals? Not at all. I do not look for any such thing; but I look for the time to come when this people throughout these mountains shall have the power they ought to have—the power to elect their own officers, enact their own laws and to enforce them; when the majority of the people shall have the right to say what shall be the rule in this land, a right that has been denied us up to the present time. Why is this right denied us? Partly because of the fears of people who live in our midst—their imaginary fears, or their pretended fears. There is a class of people in these valleys, particularly in this city and the country round about, who are using every influence in their power to prevent the Latter-day Saints from having the power that citizens of the United States have elsewhere. They say that if we get this power and this authority it will be impossible for them to live here, that they will have to leave the land; that there will be such a reign of terror, or such a condition of affairs that no one will be able to endure it, except the Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, themselves; and by the publication of such stories as these, by magnifying all the trifling things they see done, by calling attention to plural marriage, and by giving a false representation of the power that is wielded by the leaders of the people, and by the circulation of the most infamous falsehoods, they create an impression abroad that is unfavorable to us and to our rights.

In the providence of God I recog nize all these things as likely to accomplish much good for us. I myself feel it is important that we as a people should be trained; that we should learn those lessons that are necessary to enable us to temperately and properly exercise power when we gain it; and I have hoped that, by submitting to these things, by enduring them—as we have had to do for many years—a lesson would be taught to us that neither we nor our posterity should ever forget; and that when the time should come for us to exercise our full rights as American citizens, we might be able to administer the laws and govern in such a way that all should be protected, that every man of every creed, of every nation, and of every people, should enjoy his rights in our midst as perfectly as if he were in full faith with the majority of the people. Not the right to do wrong, not the right to practice iniquity, not the right to trample upon his neighbor, to intrude upon his rights, but the right to do that which may seem good in his own eyes, so long as he should not thereby interfere with the rights of others; the right to worship God as he pleases, to call upon him in any form that may be acceptable to him or his conscience, to believe in God, or not to believe him if he choose, so long as the belief, practice and rights of his neighbor shall not be interrupted. Until we can reach this condition and entertain these views and carry them out, it would not surprise me if we should be kept in subjection.

I wish to say for the encouragement of the Latter-day Saints, because I have sometimes thought there was a feeling of discouragement creeping over some of the people, that some were letting down bars and yielding to the influences around them and almost giving up in despair, feeling that all that had been spoken concerning our future is very doubtful or not likely to be fulfilled—I therefore wish to say for the encouragement of the people today that the time will come, as sure as God lives, that all that has been said concerning us will be fulfilled. There is a great destiny in store for this people called Latter-day Saints. They cannot be repressed. Mr. Evarts may issue his circular, he may send to the nations of the earth, and the ports of the United States may be closed against our emigration. The law of 1862, against plural marriage may be enforced with rigor, and everything be done that can be by those who are determined to check the growth and development of this people, and yet there is a power connected with them that cannot be unless the people themselves be extirpated. Anything short of this will fail, will fail entirely, in accomplishing the stoppage of this work. A people such as this, with all their faults—and our faults are numerous—but possessing such qualities as are being developed among us, must rise to the surface and become a governing people. Where in the race of life, as you witness it among private individuals, do the qualities that characterize the Latter-day Saints fail to win success? We have temperance, frugality, union, true love, honesty, industry and chastity. “No,” says one, “not chastity.” Yes chastity! For among no other people upon this continent is chastity respected as it is among the Latter-day Saints. Where will you find these qualities fail in being successful? They are always successful in private life. If you want a man to succeed, if you want your son to succeed, you say to him, “my son, be truthful, be honest, be indu strious, be frugal, be chaste, avoid drunkenness, avoid wicked society, avoid taking the name of God in vain, govern your speech, be temperate in all things, and you will succeed.” What father who loves his children does not impress upon them the importance of these qualities? And these are the qualities that dominate among the Latter-day Saints.

I had occasion to go to a gentleman here, within a week, to transact some business. He has been doing business here for some years. Without my leading him on at all he said to me, “I never dealt with so honest a people as the Mormons. They pay their bills, they meet their engagements; you can rely upon them. Any money that I have lost I have not lost it through the Mormons.” I felt thankful that this man could say this about us, and yet we are not near so honest as we should be, but there is this to be said in our favor, we are struggling in this direction, struggling to be honest, struggling to be truthful. We have raised a standard which is much higher than we have attained unto. It is an elevated standard, but there is this to be said for the people, if their standard is high they are struggling to attain to it. If not done to so great an extent as we ought to do, still it can be said we are struggling to be truthful, honest and temperate, and we deplore intemperance, profanity, litigation and strife, enmity and hard feelings. I say there is a hope for a people who have a standard of this kind, and especially so when they have men in their midst—as I thank God we have—who are not afraid to tell the people when they do wrong, to tell them their faults to their faces and say unpleasant things to them. There is one thing about the leading men of this Church; they do not depend upon the people for their support. It is not necessary for them to tickle their ears by fine speeches and pleasant things. They can say rough things, unpleasant truths, because they are independent; they can live without the aid of the people by the industry of their own hands, and they are not afraid of some of their deacons or some of the congregation taking exceptions to their manner of speech and cutting off their salary. Why if such unpleasant truths were told, as have been told to the Latter-day Saints, by ministers of different denominations, who do you think would give them a call? Would they receive a call to some other places and be paid a higher salary? No, their style would be too unpleasant to be popular. Well I have hope for this people while this is the case, and I pray that we shall always have men here who are not afraid to tell you and me our faults and warn us of them and reprove us, for “better the reproof of a friend than the kiss of an enemy.”

It is not going to be a great while—and many of you will see it too—before there will be a great revolution in the earth. Just as sure as the Lord lives the day will come when there will be consternation not only in foreign nations but in our own nation. The people of this Republic are actually treading upon a volcano and they do not know how soon the fires may burst forth, how soon the governmental fabric of this nation, the most glorious the sun has ever shone upon, the best that man without the priesthood has had upon the earth, shall tumble. And why? Through the corruption of the people. The best government becomes the worst government when the people become corrupt, when bribery in high places rules, when political parties condescend to purchase votes. The power of a government is weakened when Senators, Representatives, and Presidents get their places by the use of money. Woe to a nation when this becomes the case. It is doomed and sooner or later it must fall. What is the remark respecting the election of United States Senators in many of the States? It is that a man cannot get that position except he be wealthy. What does that mean? Every one can draw his own conclusion. But that is not the worst feature either. There is disunion and animosity and the fires of sectional hatred burn fiercely. They may smolder at times. They may not always appear on the surface. But let the breeze blow and quicken them into life and how fierce the flame burns.

It may be asked what has all this to do with the Gospel? The Lord has restored the everlasting Gospel for the express purpose of raising up a pure people upon this land. This American continent is the choicest land upon the face of the whole earth. God kept it hidden until the 15th century that it might not to be overrun by the people of Europe or of the rest of the world. He kept it hidden in darkness and covered with clouds until the set time had come when he could accomplish his purpose and prepare the way for the American Republic, under which his kingdom could be established. Could it have been established in Asia, in Europe, or in Africa? No, it required the Declaration of Independence framed by men inspired of God; the Constitution of the United States framed and adopted by men whom he had raised up; it required a people who had fought for their liberty, religious and civil, and who by his divine blessing had succeeded in gaining it and in establishing a free form of government. It required such a republican government as we have, to permit this people called Latter-day Saints to be organized, to grow and increase and become a mighty power. Is there anything incompatible with true republicanism in the growth of such a people organized as the Latter-day Saints are? Let me say that the men and women who live in accordance with the Gospel are the best people in the world. They make the best members of society and live above all earthly law, that is constitutional law. Now I take issue, you know, with some laws. Some laws are constitutional, and some laws are unconstitutional, but a man who believes in and practices the Gospel of Jesus Christ will live so far above every constitutional law that he will never violate it. He may be guilty of mistakes, he may fall into error, but there will be nothing culpable in his conduct.

As the people of God, we must be meek and lowly of heart. We must confess our sins one to another, help the poor, clothe the naked and administer sustenance to those who require it. We must cease our backbiting, our strife, our fault finding, our evil speaking, bearing false witness and all other practices of this kind, and live as Latter-day Saints should who are worthy of the name, then we will be the best citizens of the country, the best citizens that can be found, citizens of whom people will be proud—that is all good and honest people—and whom God will bless. These are duties that devolve upon every one of us. We should not be Saints in name alone, but in deed and in truth, striving to make our lives an exemplification of the principles we profess, and then if men revile us and cast out our names as evil we can leave our case in the hands of God. We can call upon him and ask his blessing, and then what difference does it make what the wicked think or say about us? None in the least. We do not live for the opinion of the wicked; but if we live as we should do, if we live for God and pursue a straightforward course, and then if our enemies malign us, God will be our friend; he will deliver us and it will be all right with us in the end. “But,” says one, “how do you know God is your friend?” Pray to him in faith and you will find out. Man may deride and say there is no God, and say that it is all humbug. But I know for myself that God lives. I know that when I pray to him he hears and answers my prayers. If I pray to him in secret and he rewards and gives me the desires of my heart, supposing all the rest of the world should say that God does not live, does that alter my position, or detract from any of the blessings I enjoy? Not in the least. It does not interfere with them. It is my right to believe there is a God, and if another man chooses to believe there is not, then that is his business. Shall I quarrel with a man because I think my religion is better than his? Not at all. If my religion is better than his, why I will show it in my life and not descend to ridicule and violence. When people take up pistols and use violence they give to the world the best proof that their religion is not of God. But that is the way we have been treated. For believing in the true Gospel we must be mobbed, we must have our houses burned, we must be driven from our homes, our children and aged people must die by the way side, our track being marked with the graves of them that fall, all because we have a religion that happens to differ from the religion of others. It is curious that men will do such things in the name of religion! Now if you have true religion—as I know we ought to have—show the world that your religion is what it is proclaimed to be—the Gospel of Jesus Christ; show the world that it is a pure, a better and a loftier religion than any other, and not with our lips alone, but proclaim it to all, by our words, and by our deeds, and then the time will come when it will receive its proper recognition. Belial, or Satan, is not going to rule always. His end draweth near, and the time is nigh when misrule and wickedness shall be banished from the face of the earth.

I pray that the blessing of God may rest upon us. I pray God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, to inspire our hearts with pure desires, that we may serve him to the best of our ability and knowledge, which may God grant in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Futility of the Machinations of the Wicked—The Work of God Cannot Be Stayed

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, August 24th, 1879.

I have listened with great pleasure to the remarks that have been made by the brethren who have addressed us, and I thought that I would arise and add a few remarks myself to those already given. It gives me pleasure always to meet with the Latter-day Saints, to talk with them and hear them talk of those great and eternal principles, which our Father in heaven has revealed for the salvation, the blessing and exaltation of the human family. Men comprehend very little of these things. And further they know very little about us and our faith, our practice and our doings.

I was pleased to hear Brother John H. Smith make the remarks he did concerning himself, as regards his purity, his virtue, singleness of heart, and his desire to do good. I wish all the Latter-day Saints could say and do the same. I wish they were all actuated by the same principle of honor, of truth, of integrity, and of virtue; and I would say that if there are those who are not they are hypocrites, they are not the representatives of the principles of truth, of these great and glorious principles which God has revealed to us, but they are a disgrace to their profession.

God expects us, at least, to be moral. He expected the Jews under the Mosaic dispensation to be moral. They were also to have faith in God, as we propose to have faith in him when living under the law. They were told to commit no murder, they were told not to covet a man’s house, or his wife, or his land, or his ox, or his ass, or any thing that belonged to him. I wish the Latter-day Saints would incorporate this always in their creed. It is hopeless to suppose the Christians will. But I do hope to see the Latter-day Saints governed by those high and noble principles which they propose to have faith in. But as regards the world they know very little about these things. They talk sometimes about the impurity of the “Mormons.” What! Men wallowing in filth, corruption, rottenness and infamy! Men and women who are the murderers of their own infants by the thousands before or after birth. Who violate incessantly their marital covenants, who do not know the difference between right and wrong! Men who would seek to despoil other men of their goods, their property and possessions and women of their virtue, and then come and preach mo rality to us! Now, we can talk to one another, I can talk plainly to the Saints, because we profess more, but it does not do for such characters to come and preach morality to us; they had better go home and attend to their own affairs.

But we are expected to do right and to take a proper, consistent, upright, virtuous and honorable course, and then we need not fear any evil. Talk about persecution, why, yes. Will they persecute you? Yes. Will they hate you? Yes. Will they rob you? Yes, and thank God for having the privilege. And what will we do? Try and prevent them, God being our helper. Will they traduce you? Yes, that is, if their words are of any account, but they are not much; these low degraded infamous characters do not believe one another, and we do not believe them. Consequently, we have very little odds to ask of this class of people, nor in fact of the world, or anything that is in the world. We fear God and know no other fear, for God is our friend, and our protector, and he is the only friend that we know anything about in this world. He will take care of us. We will commit our cause to him, and ask no odds of this world, in any shape they can fix it. They may fulminate their decrees, and Mr. Evarts if he please may call upon a number of European nations to assist the United States to regulate the morals of a small people numbering about two hundred thousand here, among upwards of forty millions—he may call upon these European nations to assist the United States to regulate the morals of this people up in these mountains, if it pleases him. But what a magnificent spectacle coming from such a source as it does! Why, there is more corruption in Washington in one day than there is in Salt Lake City in twelve months, Gentiles thrown in! But we certainly all of us need our morals more or less correcting.

In relation to these matters, however, we care very little about them. We have a work to perform that God has commanded us to attend to, and we shall do it, hear it all ye ends of the earth! We will do it in the name of God, nor can this nation, nor any other nation stop it! Hear it! Publish it to the ends of the earth! Write it down and see if it does not come to pass. I prophesy it in the name of Israel’s God, let all Israel say Amen. (The whole congregation as with one voice responded “Amen“). We know what we are doing, whether other people do or not. This kingdom that has been spoken of will roll on. The word of the Lord has spoken it thousands of years ago. It will continue to roll on, and woe unto that man or that people who set their hands to fight against Zion for God will be after them. That people or nation will be wasted away. He will maintain the rights of this people, if they will fear him and keep his commandments. Amen.




Restitution of All Things—Pre-Existence of Man—First Principles of the Gospel

Discourse by Elder John Morgan, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, on Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 17th, 1879.

I will read within your hearing this afternoon the 19th, 20th and 21st verses of the 3rd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles—

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

In endeavoring to address those who are present this afternoon, I desire that I may have an interest in the faith and prayers of my hearers, that such things may be said, such principles brought forth, as will be for our mutual good and benefit, and acceptable to our Father and God. I have often thought in connection with our services here in the Tabernacle, that it should be a testimony, not only to the Latter-day Saints, but to strangers who may visit us, in regard to the work in which we are engaged, the manner in which our preaching is done. Elders come into the congregation with no anticipation whatever of being called upon to address the people. During the week they have possibly been engaged in their various avocations as farmers, as artisans, as mechanics of various grades and kinds, as merchants, and in the dif ferent walks of life, and they possibly come to the meeting and into the congregation with their minds filled with the business of the previous week, when they are called upon to stand before a congregation of one, two, three, five, or ten thousand people, and preach to them the words of eternal life. A congregation of that size elsewhere in the Christian world, to edify, to instruct them, would require considerable preparation upon the part of the minister. But it is not so with us as a people. Elders are called to the stand without a moment’s warning, or time to prepare what they may have to say, or what they may be expected to say; and it looked strange to me when I first entered a congregation of the Saints and saw this manner of procedure. It doubtless looks strange to many today who visit us. But we rely on the promises of our Savior, though made many hundreds of years ago. We consider these promises still good and in force, and that in the hour we are called upon to proclaim the words of eternal life he will give unto us words to speak; we shall speak by the inspiration of that spirit which leads, guides and directs us unto all truth.

In the passages that I have just read, especially in the 21st verse, reference is made to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who had come forth in the day and age in which these words were spoken, in a lowly manner, from the city of Nazareth, proclaiming certain principles, certain ideas, and certain doctrines. As it happened, these principles, ideas and doctrines were not popular in the section of country in which he was preaching at that particular time. He taught certain doctrines to the people, which the mass of mankind by whom he was surrounded did not receive, did not accept, and did not believe. On the contrary, they used every means in their power to thwart the carrying out of the designs of the Savior, the bringing forth of the principles and the promulgation of the ideas and doctrines that Jesus and those by whom he was immediately surrounded proclaimed. As the result of this opposition, which lasted a considerable length of time, this man, Jesus of Nazareth, was taken by the populace, and by the Scribes and Pharisees and ministers and high priests of that day, and crucified; and said they, “Let his blood be upon our heads and the heads of our children;” considering it better that one man should perish than that the whole nation should be led away. They considered that if they allowed this man to go on, the whole world would follow after him; therefore, this heresy, this delusion, this gigantic wrong, that had sprung up, must be done away with, and the only way to do it was to kill Jesus, whom they looked upon as an impostor. As a result they crucified him, doubtless anticipating that that act would stop the work that he had started; that from the day of his crucifixion, his followers, would dwindle and fall away, and that the delusion he had been preaching would no longer be heard on the face of the earth. Well, to a certain extent they were correct in this. Peter, doubtless, as prophet, seer, and revelator, saw this feature in the future. In telling them that they had crucified the Christ, the Savior of the world, he reminded them that the heavens must receive this man. He could no longer dwell with them in the flesh. He had come forth and was born upon the earth; was baptized; the Holy Ghost came upon him in the bodily form of a dove; he was crucified, buried and resurrected, and had ascended into heaven. Naturally his friends and followers would ask the question, How long is he to remain there, throughout all the ages of eternity? Oh, no, for at the time of his ascension, when his disciples stood looking at him ascending on high, there stood two angels by their side, who said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” They had the promise given unto them from the lips of holy angels, that in like manner as he had ascended in a body of flesh and bone, in like manner should he return to the earth. Peter then informs us how long he is going to remain from the earth, informs us what length of time he is to abide in the heavens, “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things.”

It must be, then, that something would have to be taken from the earth to enable the bringing about of a restitution. As, for instance, it would be impossible for a man to restore back to me something I had never been in possession of. It would be impossible to return back to the earth something that the earth had never possessed. It would be impossible to restore back to the human family that which they had never possessed. Then, to make a restitution, it must be that there would be restored back to the earth certain things, certain principles, certain doctrines, certain ideas, that had once been extant on the face of the earth. Others of the apostles and prophets, seers and revelators of the Lord Jesus Christ in their day and age looked forward to this time. Isaiah tells us that the time should come when the earth should mourn and fade away and languish. Why? “Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant.”

Certain principles were advanced when Jesus was upon the earth. They were advanced by him and by his followers, the disciples, and those who believed in his mission. Prominent among these principles that were advanced was the principle that he advanced in regard to himself. He spoke of his having come from the Father; and Peter, in speaking of this matter in one of his epistles, says: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” Going further back into history, as we have it here in holy writ, we find that God had spoken to some of the prophets in times of old in regard to the same principle. Said he to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Again, we find in the writings of Job, speaking of the organization of the world, that “the sons of God shouted for joy when the foundation of the earth was laid.” Again, one of the writers in holy writ, in speaking on this subject, said: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” I take it as a logical consequence, that it would be impossible to return to a place where we had never been; that it would be impossible to return to God, if we had not been in his presence.

I find in the passages that I have quoted an allusion to the pre-existence we have had, similar to that which Jesus taught of himself when he was upon the earth. As he and his disciples passed along the road they found a man who had been blind from his birth. The disciples referred to Jesus and asked, “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” If the result of the blindness was the sin of the man, certainly that sin must have been committed before the birth in the flesh. It is scarcely possible that a man would have to be punished in this way in the expectation of his committing a sin. That idea is reserved for men in the nineteenth century. We as a people know that men, in hundreds and thousands of cases are judged and condemned before they are proven guilty. That idea, however, is not promulgated by divine authority. I find, then, in these passages, a proof of the pre-existence of these spirits of ours which inhabit our tabernacles, those that I see before me this afternoon, as well as my own. I find in all parts of the world that we have any knowledge of, or wherever I have had the privilege of coming in contact with the children of men, that there is what we call death comes to them; and I find that they almost universally agree—although Sadduceeism does to a certain extent exist in the Christian world today—that when we bring this body of flesh and bone, this outward covering of the spirit, there is a spirit that has inhabited that body that goes somewhere, if you please; that when it leaves this earth it exists as a spirit, or has an existence outside of this body of flesh and bone. And I also find, as a general thing, that the human family recognize that that spirit has intelligence, and I moreover find that the great mass of the Christian world believe that that spirit has not only intelligence, but that it can suffer pain, and can enjoy pleasure. As, for instance, we hear people speak in regard to those of their household who have passed away from their midst. They have buried the body of flesh and bone, and it may molder away in the grave, yet they feel to say, “The spirit has gone behind the veil, and when we go there we expect to meet.” We also find that the so-called followers of the Lord Jesus Christ today, in talking on this subject, assert that the spirit has gone to a place of punishment, where it is punished, or that it has gone to a place of enjoyment, where it can enjoy. In other words that this spirit within us is something that is tangible, something that can reason, something that can sense and feel pain or enjoy pleasure. In other words, when we come to examine this matter, when we come to ascertain the truth in relation to it, we find that the spirit that inhabits this body, the spirits that inhabit the bodies of the human family, is the intelligent part of them—it is the part that receives light and knowledge; it is the part that was created before the foundations of the earth were laid, and which has come upon the earth to tabernacle in the flesh, and when we have done with this body of flesh and bone, the spirit, as far as light and knowledge is concerned, retains its identity and its knowledge. One very erroneous idea that has crept into the minds of the human family, and one that we find traditioned in the minds of our children, is this: A kind of vague, indistinct impression that when we lay down this body of flesh and bone we lay down the frailties and imperfections of this life. Not if the words of this book (the Bible) are true, for we find that those spirits, after having gone behind the veil, according to the Apostle Peter, had to be preached to: “For for this cause,” says he, “was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” They needed to be preached to, to enable them to live according to the Spirit of God, and as we find in the preceding chapter, Peter says, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” And I often think that, in connection with this matter, if many of our men in Israel would stop and reflect for a few moments in regard to this point it would be a benefit to them; that if they would but understand and comprehend that the habits and the weaknesses in which they indulge, the frailties to which they become accustomed, and that are not right, that they go with them into the spirit world, there to be repented of, or turned from, they would hesitate before becoming addicted to many of the things they do, seeing that the habits they have contracted will remain eternally with them, unless they are repented of. But repentance here or repentance there must come before progress or exaltation will ever reach them, worlds without end. All the thoughts and the acts we indulge in here, the ideas that we obtain, the principles that we become partakers of, are eternal in their nature, and they will stay and abide with us throughout the eternities to come, for good or for evil. There are certain laws, certain rules, a certain system of order, which controls, leads and guides all this great plan. These principles were taught by the Savior when he was upon the earth. They were not popular, however, because they did not chime in with the ideas of that day and age of the world. Said these wise men of the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Why, these doctrines clash with our particular, or peculiar ideas, and if we admit them for one moment, the fabric we have built up here will tumble to the ground; we cannot stand it.” It is true they could not contend with Jesus and his apostles in argument; and I have always said that any man, any set of men, any government, I care not who they are, or what they are, who resort to brutal force to convince their opponents that they are wrong—I say that those who do so are almost certain to be in error. They have run out of argument, and any government that will force men in regard to belief, political or religious, I consider that that government, or the people who engage in such a thing, are out of argument on their side, they have no longer any argument to sustain themselves, and resort to force to carry their point. In that day and age of the world, those men who opposed Jesus and his apostles ran out of argument, and as a result they say, “We will take the life of this man.”

We find other principles that were taught by our Savior when he was upon the earth. One of these was faith, a very important principle in the plan of salvation. Another was the principle of repentance, and I have often thought, in coming in contact with the human family, that one of the reasons today of the discord and confusion that reign in the midst of the children of men is because they have not truly repented. It is trite, there is a form of repentance indulged in by many millions of the human family—a kind of repentance that moans and groans and cries and laments over the sins that they have committed, but they go and do the same thing tomorrow. That is the kind of repentance that Paul meant when he said: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” There is a kind of sorrow that needs not to be repented of, and which consists in turning away from all that is evil, from all that is wrong or incorrect in the sight of God and of holy angels and of all good men.

Jesus taught also the principle of baptism, and I have no doubt in my own mind that he foresaw the fact that the time would come when the principle of baptism as he taught it would be perverted and changed. Paul undoubtedly foresaw that time, for says he, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” We find many fables in the world today in regard to the principle of baptism. The baptism that Peter taught was widely different to the baptism taught by the Christian world today. Said he, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you.” What for? “For the remission of sins.” Today baptism is not practiced with that object in view, by any means, by those who profess to have the Gospel of Christ. They baptize for a form, for the answering of a good conscience. I find that the baptism that Peter taught, that John taught, had for its object the remission of sin, and another very important principle was to follow this baptism, for said Peter emphatically, “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And for fear that there would be those who would pervert and change and turn away from this principle, he told the thousands of Judea that were listening to him, that “the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The promise was unto those that were afar off. It makes no difference in regard to nationality, kindred, or race, and today, if God calls any man to obey him and keep his commandments by going into the waters of baptism, this promise is just as good as it was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out so mightily upon the apostles. We find an instance in connection with this ordinance in the Acts of the Apostles. The Apostles, when at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, and that Philip had been attending to the ordinance of baptism, after the people had repented—but by repentance they did not receive the Holy Ghost. You know repentance in the Christian world today brings the gift of the Holy Ghost. Peter and John went down to Samaria and prayed that they might receive the Holy Ghost. But did praying bring it? No. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” This was an ordinance instituted by our Lord and Master, taught and preached by him and his apostles, for the reception of the Holy Ghost. But that ordinance today, in the midst of the Christian world, is obsolete; it is no longer considered necessary. I suppose that in this day of enlightenment of the nineteenth century, with their wisdom in regard to mechanism, in regard to discovery, in regard to invention, they have found out some shortcut method whereby they can work out their salvation without the help of the Lord, and consequently have taken upon themselves to do away with this principle of the Gospel.

We find that one of the blessings that should be given to those who received this great and glorious gift should be the gift of wisdom. If, however, we are to judge the so-called wise men of the present day, we can only conclude that they are certainly not in possession of it; they certainly cannot be in possession of it, or they would not take the course that many of them do. It should give unto them wisdom, but you do not find wisdom in their midst, and no faith in this ordinance of the Gospel. What is the reason today that this nation, for instance, does not go into the waters of baptism? Because they have no faith that God will keep his promise and remit their sins by that ordinance. What is the reason that the sects of the day omit the ordinance of the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost? Because they do not believe that the God of Israel will keep his promise; they have got no faith in him. What is the reason that, in the midst of want and misery that is brought about by sickness, they do not administer to the sick by the laying on of hands as commanded? Because they have no faith to believe that God will keep his promise. Consequently, I am led to believe that in all this there is a lack of wisdom on the part of the people; they have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost, which leads, guides and directs them into all truth. That it does not do this to the wise men of this nation and to all the nations of the earth, is an evident fact from the many blunders they make in their political work, in their financial schemes, for today one scheme is raised up whereby the national debt is to be paid; tomorrow another man comes forth with his ideas; next day some thing else turns up, and so they are tossed to and fro by every wind of financial doctrine; consequently I am led to believe that they have not received this gift.

I also find that this gift will show unto us things that are to come. Well, it is true we do find people talking about things that are to come. We had a man recently who published a little book in regard to great calamities that are coming. By what authority did he speak? By what privilege did he enunciate these ideas, and where did he obtain them? Did he get credit for them? Yes; the world gives him credit. But did God speak through that man? I should judge not, if we are to take as evidence all the belief and the doctrines of the man. Again, when we go abroad in the midst of this nation and the nations of the earth we ask, “Have you wise men in your midst who can foresee and foretell events that are to come? “No,” say they, “we have nothing of that kind; we do not believe today in any man having that gift,” and I well remember the startled look a gentleman gave me when, in conversation on this principle, I told him that the gift of the Holy Ghost revealed unto man things that were to come. He at first seemed very pleasantly struck with the idea. He was a member of a church and lived in a Christian community in which there were thousands of good Christian people. While talking I asked him, what would be the result if he professed such a thing. “Why,” said he, “I certainly think they would kill me. They would not let me live here a week if I were to profess anything of the kind.” “What?” said I, “in the midst of this Christian community, with Bibles all around, with Bible associations, with ministers of the Gospel calling upon people to be saved, and with the fact that the Savior preached this doctrine, and yet when you follow his instructions they would take your life?” “Yes,” said he, “I verily believe they would.” Well, I can also believe they would, too, from what little experience I have had in the Christian world, consequently I am led to believe that they lack the possession of this principle, that they have not received this gift. And I sometimes liken it in this way in my meditations in regard to it; said John, “That was true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” I understand every person on the face of the earth has this lamp in his possession, but I ask you as reasonable beings, what benefit is this lamp to them unless it is lit up? Would a lamp, in a dark room be of any benefit to a man if he had no means of lighting it, or any means whereby to touch the light to cause it to shine? None whatsoever, he would be just as well without the lamp. It must be lit up, and the difficulty with the world today is they may be in possession of that lamp but it has not been lit up, whereas it was lit up within the prophets of the living God in days gone by, and as Peter could tell these people, comforting them in regard to these matters, “Whom the heavens must receive until the time of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” It was by the lighting up of that lamp within Peter that taught him in regard to this great event that was to come at the restitution of all things. Well, when the day of restitution came, what was the result? When the morning sun of the day of restitution arose and began to make its influence felt on the earth what was the result? History but repeats itself. As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man, in the days of the restitution of all things. And when it came to pass that God raised up his prophet on the face of the earth and sent his angel from the courts of heaven to restore these things to the children of men, these great and glorious principles that had been lost, the same opposition, the same character of opposition came forth. The principle of faith, to a great extent, had been lost from the face of the earth, and when it was restored back it had to be a restoration of the same faith precisely that was had in times of old, the faith that would cause men to obey the principles of the everlasting Gospel despite all the opposition of the powers of darkness, of earth and hell combined, that might be arrayed against them. There was restored back to the earth the correct principle of repentance, of turning away from wrongdoing. There was restored back to the earth the correct principle of baptism for the remission of sins. There was restored back to the earth the ordinance of the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. There was restored back to the earth the authority to act in these different offices, and as John the Baptist held the keys of the office of baptism for the remission of sins he was sent back to the earth in this day and age of the world as a messenger of God to restore this principle to the earth. “But,” says the Christian world, “We don’t believe it.” I wonder what difference that makes? I wonder if it makes any difference? I wonder if that will have any influence upon the fact? If John did really come, though every man and every woman, every soul that exists upon face of the whole earth, should refuse to believe save the one to whom it was sent, yet it is binding upon them so far as the proclamation reaches them. Believe it or not, it still remains a fact, a principle of truth; and when man, vain man, stands up and tells what he believes; what difference does that make? None whatever, with all due respect to their belief whatever that may be; we as a people today know for ourselves that the authority to baptize for the remission of sins has been restored to the earth by the return of the proper personage, and the Latter-day Saints are well versed in regard to these matters. “How do you know these things; how do you obtain this knowledge.” I have had men ask me in coming in contact with strangers to our belief. In replying to that question let us turn back to the sayings of the Savior. Said he, “If any man,” (he did not bind it to a dozen, a hundred, a thousand or ten million) “will do his (the father’s) will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” The Latter-day Saints have gone into the waters of baptism, have received the laying on of hands, and they know for themselves that these principles that I have been speaking to you about this afternoon are true, and I have often looked on the matter in this way: would it not be a very unheard of and peculiar proceeding for say fifty, or 100, or 500 wise men from the east to come here and try and convince us there was no Lake out there, never had been, that it was all a mistake and a myth, that we were deceived in regard to it, and when they had pushed their argument, to such a length as almost to be offen sive, unpleasant and disagreeable, without convincing us; it would be an unheard of proceeding if they were to say, “Well, we will put you in prison and fine you if you do not acknowledge that there is no lake.” But just as unheard of is the proceeding made against us today, and for years gone by, in regard to these principles we advocate; we know as a people, as well as we know that Salt Lake exists, that God has spoken from the heavens in these the last days. Talk about convincing men to the contrary in regard to these matters! I am sometimes led to marvel at the folly of men in regard to these things, and it looks like presumption on their part to talk and act as they do. I am willing to talk kindly, courteously, and agreeably with any man in regard to these principles, and when he tells me there is such a place as Omaha, and says, “I have passed through it, I know there is such a place, or that there are certain stations on the railroad here,” I am willing to believe him; I do not contradict him and when I tell him that I know for myself of the truth of my religion, I expect he will treat me courteously in regard to that matter. But our expectations in that respect are not always realized. We are often answered very peculiarly; we are often met with very peculiar arguments. I take it for granted, however, that it is no argument to disprove a principle to libel the character of believers in that principle. The after character of Judas did not prove that his evidence of Christ was incorrect. The denial of Peter did not prove that Jesus was not the Christ. The character of a man has nothing to do with the principle that may be advanced. I do not care where truth comes from; I do not care who preaches it; I do not care if the devil himself enunciated a principle of truth, it is truth all the same, and you cannot change or alter it. I do not care how wise the man is, how long the prayer he may make, or how reverend he may look, if he tells a lie, it is a lie, and you cannot change or alter it. Thus it is we as a people look upon the principles of truth, those principles that led to light and knowledge, and it is time that people laid down the foolish idea of striving against such things. Let us sit down for a moment and examine in detail principle after principle, and I will say to you that if any man on the face of the earth will show me that I am in error on any principle, I will leave it that very hour, and no longer claim it as a principle. Will every man do as much to me? Many will, and many will not. I remember the case of a minister who came to visit me. I wished to be fair with him, and I desired that he should be equally so with me. I said, “Now we are alone in the room, there are no witnesses here; but I will make a contract with you. Here is the Bible; we will hunt for truth, and wherever I find truth you are to acknowledge it, and wherever you find truth I shall do the same.” “No,” said he, “I won’t.” “Why not?” said I. “Oh,” said he, “you might spring some trap. We have a certain discipline to go by; we have got a creed of faith and you may try to catch me in some trap.” “But,” said I, “if you are wrong in your creed or faith, don’t you want to be put right?” “Oh,” said he, “it is the faith of my fathers, it is the faith they died by, it is the faith of my grandfather, my great grandfather; for generations back they have lived and died by it, and I cannot afford to make a change.” “’Well,” said I, “there is no use you and I talking if that is the case, that ends the conversation.” Now, I consider such reasoning as the height of foolishness. Let us, as honest men and honest women, lay down all prejudice and malice, and examine the principles of truth and righteousness as they are placed before us, and as the light and intelligence of the Holy Spirit will show them unto us, for they will lead and guide us back to the presence of our Father and God. The truth will hurt no man. The principles of truth the Latter-day Saints preach to the nations of the earth, the principles that the Elders have carried to the nations, are the principles whereby the human family can be saved if they will but hearken to them. These principles are not for a few, the plan God has revealed is for all. These principles are revealed that God’s kingdom may be established on the earth in righteousness, and they shall lead, guide, and control untold millions of the human family that have dwelt and shall yet dwell upon the earth. We as Latter-day Saints should have broad and philanthropic views in regard to these things. What if our names are cast out as evil? What if they do strike us, or contend in regard to these matters? Read the history of the past, and what has been the result? Take individuals, take the men who have contended against the kingdom of God in the last half century, and what has been the result? Take the plans, and the untold thousands of plots and projects that have been brought forth for the overthrow of the Church of Christ, and where are they today? ”Gone glimmering among the things that were A school boy’s tale of other days The wonder of but an hour.“ Gone no longer to be remembered; forgotten from the face of the earth and their projectors with them. How long will men continue in their foolishness, striving against the bucklers of Jehovah? Why, just so long as the Lord lets them, no longer. We as the people of God, recognize the hand of God in relation to these things, and we want to prepare and fit our minds for an exalted view in relation to the workings of the kingdom of God. We want to put away the “penny wise and pound foolish” ideas that many of us have in regard to these things as not becoming us as Latter-day Saints. I am not finding fault; but we want to look upon these principles with great and noble minds; “we want to shape our lives in connection with these things, and as was said in times of old, let us “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” We want to set our faces to the building up of the kingdom of God. To the spreading and promulgation of the principles thereof not only throughout the valleys of the mountains, but throughout the nations of the earth. And will the opposition we have to meet stop it? Not by any means. It will but add fuel to the fire, until the blaze will grow higher and higher until all the nations of the earth shall see it, and Zion shall be set upon a hill, which may God grant in the name of Jesus. Amen.