Funeral Discourse

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, at the Funeral Services of Sister Elizabeth H. Cannon, on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882.

We are again called to pay our last respects to the dead. Upon this occasion it is one of the daughters of the Lord, a mother of Zion, who has filled the measure of her creation. Sister Cannon was a noble woman, a noble mother in Israel who has raised a noble posterity; and she has now gone to rest after spending her life in upholding the principles of truth and making them honorable in the earth.

There are some things connected with this funeral that may be considered unpleasant, I refer to the absence of the husband of the deceased at Washington, where he is laboring for the interest and welfare of the people of this Territory, he, under the circumstances, not feeling to leave his post, but to leave the remains of his companion in the hands of his friends and to the mercy of God. And also in the absence of her two oldest sons, one of whom is in England, the other in Germany, preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of those respective countries, neither of whom, therefore, the sons nor the husband, can be present to pay their last respects to their noble mother and companion.

On such occasions when mourning the loss of our departed friends, I cannot help but think that in every death there is a birth: the spirit leaves the body dead to us, and passes to the other side of the veil alive to that great and noble company that are also working for the accomplishment of the purposes of God, in the redemption and salvation of a fallen world. And the spirit of this our deceased Sister, has gone to mingle with her little ones who have gone before her, and with her father and mother and her other family relations, and with her many friends who, like her, have wrestled with life and the struggles and troubles thereof, have overcome and gone home. All is well with Sister Cannon. She is satisfied with her condition today. I feel with regard to her as I have always felt with regard to faithful Latter-day Saints, when they have finished their work and gone behind the veil that there are none of them that would return to their earthly bodies if they had the opportunity.

In making remarks at funerals, which I have often been called upon to do, I have taken the liberty of speaking plainly my feelings with regard to the dead. And I will say here, when I see a man or a woman, a true and faithful Latter-day Saint pass away, I do not feel in my heart to mourn. Why should we mourn for the woman whose remains lie before us? She has been true and faithful to the sacred and holy covenants that she entered into with God her heavenly Father; she has received those ordinances in the house of God that will prepare her to go into the presence of the best men and women that have lived upon the earth; she has left a noble posterity to bear her name and to bear record of and to emulate her example; she is freed from pain and suffering and the anxieties of life, and is now beyond the power of the enemy of all righteousness; she has opened her eyes in the spirit world, among her relatives and friends and her own little ones, whose death caused her grief and pain; she has gone to enjoy the society of those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and to inherit the blessings and glory of eternal life. No, I cannot feel to mourn for her. It is hard, of course, to part with our friends; but after all it is with regard to them, as one of old said. It is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting. It is natural for us to give expression to our feelings in tears in laying away the bodies of our beloved friends, and there is a degree to which we may go which is proper and right; but there are extremes which are often indulged in, which is neither proper nor right for Latter-day Saints to copy after. Here, however, as I have said, we have nothing to mourn about as far as Sister Cannon is concerned.

When I say that I have never felt to mourn for any faithful man or woman who has died in this Church, I must make one exception; I did feel to mourn, and so did all Israel, the death of our martyred Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith. But we did not mourn on account of them personally, for they had passed through all that any martyr ever did or could, but we felt to mourn their loss to the Church as our leaders, to whom we had learned to look for counsel and advice in every hour of trouble and trial, although there is something very dreadful in the thought of assassinating men, whether they be Prophets or Apostles, or whether they be emperors or presidents. With that exception I have not felt to mourn for any faithful person who has gathered up his feet and gone to sleep with the fathers. I have felt rather, that they have gained a victory which but few of the human family have gained in their day and generation. For you will find, my brethren and sisters, there are but a very few comparatively, either male or female, who have had independence of mind enough, as well as honesty of heart sufficient to receive the Gospel of Christ. It takes independence of mind, honesty of heart, faith in God, and firmness of character to live the life of a Latter-day Saint, in the face of a frowning world, and in the midst of trials and troubles and persecution.

The spirit of Sister Cannon has left us; her body is here awaiting the purifying changes it must undergo in mother earth. But whether her spirit is present witnessing these funeral services, or whether she, on opening her eyes in the spirit world, would say, “I leave my body for my friends to bury, I must enter upon my mission,” that is something we are not able to speak definitely about. God not having revealed it unto us. But this we do know, she is all right, because she was thoroughly prepared for the change that awaited her; and she has gone to do all that she can for those of her kindred and friends that are to follow. And what more can you say? We are left, and we are doing for Sister Cannon what our friends, sooner or later, will be doing for us. It will not be very long before Brother Cannon and also the children and friends of the deceased who remain will join her in the spirit world, if it is not until the coming of Christ. This admonition comes home forcibly to the living, “Be ye also ready.” And it applies to us all. And it is for us as parents and Elders of Israel to labor in the cause of God, while we are permitted to tarry; living up to the light and knowledge that we have been blessed with. For there is a time appointed unto all men; and He takes away many according to the counsels of His own will. He takes whom He will take, and spares whom he will spare for a wise purpose in Himself. These things are according to the purposes and ordinances of God to man. Some labor this side of the veil, others on the other side of the veil. If we tarry here we expect to labor in the cause of salvation, and if we go hence we expect to continue our work until the coming of the Son of Man. The only difference is, while we are here we are subject to pain and sorrow, while they on the other side are free from affliction of every kind.

I pray God to comfort the heart of Brother Cannon, in this his sad bereavement, and to sustain him by the power of His Spirit; and I pray that his wives and children may be blessed and preserved in the truth, that at last he and they, together with this his companion, whose voice is now hushed in death, may come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, and stand in their family organization clothed with glory, immortality and eternal lives, to join with the redeemed and sanctified in exclaiming:

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Funeral Discourse

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, at the Funeral Services of Sister Elizabeth H. Cannon, on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882.

Being requested I arise to make a few remarks.

Occasions of this kind afford us opportunity, not so much for mourning the loss of our departed friends as to reflect upon our present condition and our future prospects and hopes. For, as has been remarked, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.”

Here we have occasion to reflect upon our own lives and the future that awaits us.

For there is one event which inevitably awaits every living soul, and it is only a question of a very little while when every one present, as well as elsewhere, will be placed in a position similar to that in which our beloved sister is placed, whose body now lies here in the cold embrace of death. We are born to die, it is the inevitable end of all flesh, it being a fixed, unalterable decree of the Almighty concerning the human family. We may therefore, as well now as at any other time, reflect upon what the result of our lives may be after we shall pass away from this stage of existence. If we do well, says the Lord, we are accepted unto Him; but if we do ill, sin lies at our door. It is a truth that should arrest the attention of every one, that we shall be required to render an account for the deeds we do in the body. And for my part I feel that we have no cause to shed a tear for the condition of Sister Cannon. For years she has been afflicted, and has been quite feeble at times. Now she has passed beyond suffering and debility; nothing but the lifeless, inanimate part of Sister Cannon remains, the life—the intelligent and the immortal part has gone to God from whence it came. Not but what she might be present if she desires to be here, and her desire be consistent with the will and pleasure of our heavenly Father; for those who live here in the flesh have a claim upon this earth, and upon the bodies they have occupied while they sojourned here. This earth is their home, and will forever so remain—that is, they will possess an inheritance here, inasmuch as they overcome and become the Saints of the Most High God. For it is written, that unto the Saints of the Most High, the earth and the fulness thereof shall be given, and they shall possess it forever and ever. But notwithstanding the immortal part of this our deceased sister has returned to God, from whence it came, she possesses the privilege, or may possess the privilege, as I have said, if she so desire, and if it be in accordance with the will and pleasure of the Almighty, to be present on the occasion to witness the ceremonies in which we are now engaged. We are told by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that, “there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it.” Hence, when messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow beings and fellow servants. The ancient Prophets who died were those who came to visit their fellow creatures upon the earth. They came to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; it was such beings—holy beings if you please—that waited upon the Savior and administered to Him on the Mount. The angel that visited John when an exile, and unfolded to his vision future events in the history of man upon the earth, was one who had been here, who had toiled and suffered in common with the people of God; for you remember that John, after his eyes had beheld the glories of the great future, was about to fall down and worship him, but was peremptorily forbidden to do so. “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which kept the sayings of this book: worship God.” Jesus has visited the people of this earth from time to time. He visited and shewed himself in his spiritual body, to the brother of Jared, touching certain stones with His finger, that the brother of Jared had fashioned out of the rock, making them to give light to him and his people in the barges in which they crossed the waters of the great deep to come to this land. He visited others at various times before and after He tabernacled in the flesh. It was He who created this earth, it therefore is His inheritance, and He had a perfect right to come and minister to the inhabitants of this earth. He came in the meridian of time and tabernacled in the flesh, some 33 years among men, introducing and teaching the fullness of the Gospel, and calling upon all men to follow in His footsteps; to do the same thing that He himself did, that they might be worthy to inherit with Him the same glory. After He suffered the death of the body, He appeared, not only to His disciples and others on the eastern continent, but to the inhabitants of this continent, and he ministered unto them as He did to the people in the land of Palestine. In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instruction to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh. And so it is with Sister Cannon. She can return and visit her friends, provided it be in accordance with the wisdom of the Almighty. There are laws to which they who are in the Paradise of God must be subject, as well as laws to which we are subject. It is our duty to make ourselves acquainted with those laws, that we may know how to live in harmony with His will while we dwell in the flesh, that we may be entitled to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality and eternal lives, and be permitted to sit down at the right hand of God, in the kingdom of heaven. And except we become acquainted with those laws, and live in harmony with them, we need not expect to enjoy these privileges: Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant, David Patten, Joseph Smith, sen., and all those noble men who took an active part in the establishment of this work, and who died true and faithful to their trust, have the right and privilege and possess the keys and power to minister to the people of God in the flesh who live now, as much so and on the same principle that the ancient servants of God had the right to return to the earth and minister to the Saints of God in their day.

These are correct principles. There is no question about that in my mind. It is according to the Scriptures; it is according to the revelation of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith; and it is a subject upon which we may dwell with pleasure and perhaps profit to ourselves providing we have the Spirit of God to direct us.

But the thing for us to do is to live according to the light and intelligence that God has revealed to us in this dispensation, that we may be in harmony with the heavenly powers and with heavenly beings, and especially with our Lord Jesus Christ, who stands at our head, who is our lawgiver, our exemplar, and the way of life and salvation to all the world, through whom we may enter into the celestial kingdom of God, and without whom we can never enter that state of glory worlds without end. He is the way, the light and life of the world; and whosoever will obey the commandments He has given, and do the works which he has done, and commanded us to do, shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have in them the light of life.

The circumstances under which Sister Cannon has been taken away from us, are in some degree melancholy. I regret that circumstances are such that Brother Cannon could not be here upon this occasion. But he is absent not upon his private business, but in the name and interest of the whole people of this Territory; and in the protection of our righteous citizens who are jeopardized by the craftiness of designing and corrupt men. If he were to leave his post, trickery would be resorted to by the worst enemies of the people to deprive us of our political and religious rights; therefore he is firm at his post of duty. Is there anything of a private character that would keep him away from home on an occasion like this? There is not; nothing but the highest sense of duty could do it, and that too in the interest of the people of God, in defending their rights, and in laboring for their interests, as he has done from his youth to the present moment. His whole time, his ability and the wisdom that God has given him, and all that he possesses has been upon the altar of sacrifice since his early boyhood in behalf of this people; and now, under this sad and sorrowful affliction he remains, and that too, in compliance with the desire of her whose remains are about to be laid away, true to his post of honor and duty. Who can describe his feelings? But let us forbear, it would not be profitable to us; but in this, as well as every circumstance of life, we will join with him in acknowledging the hand of God. It, however, grieves me to think that he cannot be here; as it does his children and family who now surround the earthly remains of her whose spirit has gone home—a respected, a beloved, a true and noble woman.

This, however, cannot now be helped and therefore it is all right. There is another view to take of this. What is life or death in com parison with the duty that we owe to God and each other? Should we shrink from duty, should we leave our post in time of danger because of the natural sympathies and affections which bind us to each other? No. It would be unjust, it would be condescending in us to even think of doing so. It is more noble to make the sacrifice of society, kindred and friends, than to leave our post of duty, and thus endanger the rights and liberties of the whole community. If Brother Cannon were here he could only mourn with us, and then again return to his post of duty. And what more could he do than he has done? Every attention has been paid, and every effort has been put forth to do all that could be done for Sister Cannon. But our prayers did not prevail; she was “appointed unto death.” God has taken her. She sleeps, but is not dead. She does not sleep the sleep of death, but of the righteous and the faithful; yes, one who has proved faithful to the latest breath, Sister Cannon is an example for her children and family, an example of patience, of faithful endurance, and of integrity that is unquestionable. This is a great deal to say of one of our fellow creatures, but none too much to be said of her. My sympathy is drawn out to those who remain. May God bless and comfort them; and may they abide in the truth and follow the example of their noble mother and companion in life, remaining faithful to the end of their days, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Funeral Discourse

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, at the Funeral Services of Sister Elizabeth H. Cannon, on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882.

In speaking a few words pertaining to the dead, I, as my brethren have expressed themselves, feel to reconcile my feelings to the purposes of the Almighty, whether respecting the dead or the living.

This morning, however, I have experienced sorrowful feelings not on account of Sister Cannon; she is all right. Her body lies here in the cold embrace of death, but her spirit is peaceful and happy. She has fought the good fight, she has finished her course, she has accomplished the object of her creation, and she has gone to where sighing, sorrow and trouble cannot reach her; therefore, I cannot mourn on her account. It is all right and all well with her. Yet there are sympathies, feelings and associations connected with humanity that it is difficult at times to dispense with. I have been acquainted with Sister Cannon from her youth, since she was quite a little girl, and have watched her through all her life, comparatively. I have seen her in life, and—I was going to say, in death; nearly so, for I was with her on several successive days before she died.

As has been said, we desired that her life might be prolonged, at least until her husband should return; but it seems that God has ordered it otherwise, for some wise purpose which to us is not always manifest.

This reminds me of a circumstance which occurred in my life, being situated at the time pretty much as Brother Cannon is now.

When I was in Paris, France, about thirty years ago, I had a dream that troubled me very much, in which I saw my first wife—as the deceased here is his first wife—lying sick at the point of death. And it so affected me that I awoke, being troubled in my feelings. I fell asleep again, and again the same scene presented itself to me when I again awoke and experienced the same feelings of sorrow, and after some time slept again, and it was repeated a third time. I knew then that my wife was very sick, lying at the point of death.

I got up and fervently prayed the Lord to spare her life until, at least, I should have another opportunity of meeting her in the flesh. He heard my prayer. I took a note of the circumstance at the time, and learned afterwards that such had been the case exactly as it had been shown to me. On the following morning I remember meeting a gentleman who was a Protestant minister, and he observed that my countenance looked sorrowful, and he enquired the cause. I told him that my wife was lying at the point of death, and he asked me if I had received a letter? I told him no; but related to him how it had been shown to me. But, I said, I got up and prayed the Lord to spare her life, and I feel consoled in knowing that she will be healed. When Sister Cannon was sick we prayed for her, exercising all the faith we possessed on her behalf; but God has seen fit to take her to Himself. Bro. Cannon, of course, would feel as I did, desirous to have another opportunity of seeing his wife in the flesh, and, if possible, to be at her side when she should pass hence, and had he been engaged in private instead of public business, he would most assuredly have been. But it was not to be. She has gone during his absence from home, and it is all right. So it would have been if my wife had gone under the same circumstances, I would have had the same feelings.

We are here for a short time only. Our spirits dwelt with our Father before we came to the earth. In coming here we took upon ourselves bodies according to the decree of the Almighty, and if our bodies are required, it would not be for me or for you to say when or how these things shall be. It is the Lord who directs in all these matters, both in regard to us individually and also in regard to the whole human family.

The present is only one stage of our existence. We existed before we came here; we exist here for a time, and when we depart from this mortal life we shall have a spiritual existence, an existence without the body, and then again with the body. And it is for those who manage and manipulate these matters to do as seemeth good in their sight, and it is for us to yield a willing and an obedient submission to the will of our heavenly Father, feeling always that whatever he does is perfect and right.

Every day such occurrences happen; the human family live, as did our fathers before us, for a short time, and then we, like them, pass away; and then again others are constantly coming to take the places of those who depart. And so it will continue until other dispensations shall be introduced, which will place things in another position.

There are one or two things which I wish to mention; they may seem small matters to some. I see in a telegram from Brother Cannon that he mentions certain things in regard to this funeral of his wife, one of which is, that he did not wish any show of mourning in connection with it. We know his feelings in this respect; they are the same as ours. It is customary for people to put on black apparel and to assume a melancholy appearance. That may be all very well, by way of paying respect to our dead friends; but the question is, whether this is the most appropriate way. Brother Cannon desired—I have talked with him also on the same subject—that the coffin in which the remains of his deceased wife should be laid, should be made of common mountain wood, and that everything about it be neat and plain, and that his family should not put on mourning apparel. His brother Angus has been desirous to carry out his instructions touching this matter, doing away entirely with those ostentatious appearances and all unnecessary parade of mourning so common nowadays on such occasions.

It is proper to sorrow; it is proper to show respect for the departed. It is proper that our sympathies should be drawn out; it is proper that we should assemble together to attend to appropriate funeral services, as we are now doing, that we may reflect upon our lives and upon the uncertainty thereof, and upon death and the results that may follow after; and that we consider the Gospel of the Son of God, and reflect upon our position, etc. But I have thought and indeed President Young thought, and so did Brother George A. Smith and others with whom I have conversed upon this subject, that we pay too much attention to these outward forms. We, above all other people upon the face of the earth, ought to be free from outward show, and from the appearance of sorrow, and mourning, having had planted within us the germs of immortality and eternal life; inasmuch as when we get through with the affairs of this world, we not only expect, but we know that we will inherit eternal lives in the celestial kingdom of God. And knowing this, it would not be for us to mourn as people without any hope.

When I see excessive sorrow on occasions of this kind among people professing to be Saints, I think they do not comprehend the position. It is proper to mourn; it is proper to sympathize, but I do not sympathize with Sister Cannon; I sympathize with her children; especially these little ones whom she has left; I sympathize with her friends who mourn her loss; I sympathize with Brother Cannon who is absent at Washington, under the peculiar circumstances in which he is placed; but while we do this it is not proper for people who, perhaps are struggling hard to obtain a subsistence to make a parade, to lay out a large amount of means to carry out the fashion that exists in the world. We want to feel that we are the sons and daughters of God; we want, when our friends leave us to show proper respect to them, which ought to be paid to all honorable men and women, and when we have done that we have performed our duty to them and our duty before God; it does not seem proper to place families or people in circumstances, through false ideas that would embarrass them and place them in an unpleasant position by trying to do that which they are really not able to do.

If we have secured the favor of God, if we are Saints of the Most High, if we have the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, if we are walking in the path of righteousness, if God is our God, and we are His children, if we are carrying out all those duties and responsibilities devolving upon us that His children should attend to, here upon the earth, we should feel satisfied if we are laid away without much ostentation and show; and in thus attending to the obsequies of those who pass away, we fulfil the duties which God has placed upon us. And He will take care of them afterwards.

If it were not for the atonement of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice he made, all the human family would have to lie in the grave throughout eternity without any hope. But God having provided, through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the medium whereby we can be restored to the bosom and presence of the Father, to participate with Him among the Gods in the eternal worlds—he having provided for that has also provided for the resurrection. He proclaimed Himself the resurrection and the life. Said he, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” By and by the tombs will be opened and the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and they shall come forth, they who have done good to the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil to the resurrection of the unjust.

There is one thing that gives me great satisfaction, that Sister Elizabeth, as she had been true in life to the principles which God had revealed pertaining to celestial marriage, was also true to them in death. Being the first wife, while in the heyday of life and youth having her husband to herself, in obedience to the law of God she sacrificed her own feelings at the shrine of duty, and in compliance with the laws of celestial marriage was willing that others should also share the affections of her husband. And during her last sickness, well understanding the animus that existed in the world and in Congress, in regard to this principle, when the grim messenger was staring her in the face and the clammy drops of the sweat of death were oozing from her brow, well knowing that her husband would stand true to his principles as she had to hers, she indited a telegram, telling him that if it was the will of God that she should be raised up, He could do it as well during His absence as if he were at home at her bedside; and in the conflict between affection and duty, while the springs of life were fast ebbing out, feeling the importance of his position, she indited the following immortal words, “REMAIN AT YOUR POST.” She has written during her last earthly moments, words of evidence to all the world, that she at any rate was a believer in those eternal principles that God has revealed for the salvation of His people, and for their purification and exaltation. I feel proud of that. And I believe there are thousands of our sisters would do the same. If we have a religion that will stand by us after life, if we have a religion that will exalt us among the Gods in the eternal worlds, the world may howl, and the corrupt may expend their energies, but God will take care of his Saints; and it will be all well with us in time and eternity.

I pray God to bless these children who mourn the loss of their mother, that they may be preserved in the truth and led in the paths of life. I pray God to bless the wives of Brother Cannon who are also here, together with all of his family and all that pertains to him. I pray God to lead them all in the paths of life; and that we may all be true to our God, and at last obtain a seat in the celestial kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

The Position of the Latter-Day Saints—Morality and Sobriety Required—Transgressors to Be Dealt With, Etc.

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Jan. 1, 1882.

Brother Lyman on rising wished you a happy New Year; I will continue the compliment by adding a hundred thousand happy New Years and as many more as you wish.

A remark of this kind would sound rather peculiar in the ears of many individuals who do not look at things in the light which we do. But there are principles associated with the Gospel of the Son of God, which reach beyond this life into that which is to come; and we are simply here acting and operating in a state of probation. And if we act well our part here, the principles of the Gospel will place us in a position whereby we shall be enabled to act well our part in another world, and in another state of existence.

We occupy a peculiar position before the Lord. God is our Heavenly Father; and we are told that he is the God of the spirits of all flesh. We are told moreover that when men leave this earth, the spirit returns to God who gave it. And if we are faithfully performing our part, and attending to the duties and responsibilities which devolve upon us, as Saints of the Most High, then we shall be in a position whereby we shall have a right and a claim upon an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens for us. But we are here subject to the trials and vicissitudes pertaining to humanity, to prepare us for this inheritance referred to. And if we are faithful and diligent, as has been referred to by Brother Lyman, in regard to the various duties and responsibilities of life, we shall have a legitimate claim to the blessings that the good and the faithful expect to enjoy. But if we do not conduct ourselves aright, if we do not fulfil the requirements which the Lord makes of us, if we do not obey the commandments of Jehovah, we shall have no claim upon those promises that are made to the righteous, to those who fulfil His laws and keep His commandments. This is the way that I look at these things. Hence we are called to occupy a peculiar position in the world.

We have had a great many precious things revealed unto us, many of which have been hid from the minds of men from the foundation of the world. We are placed in a position to operate with God our Heavenly Father in the interests of humanity. He has selected, called and chosen us for this purpose. He has revealed Himself from the heavens. He has introduced the holy Priesthood, and conferred upon men power and authority to operate in his name, to act under his guidance, to be his mouthpieces to declare his will and to make known his designs to the human family. For this purpose men thus endowed and clothed have been sent forth to the nations of the earth, and are now being sent forth to spread that light, truth and intelligence which God has seen fit to reveal to the human family for their good, for their blessing, and for their exaltation in time and throughout the eternities that are to come. For this purpose he has imparted the Holy Ghost, and the light of revelation, confirming the testimony of his servants in their ministrations among the children of men. For this purpose he has gathered us together as we are here today, and as the Saints are gathered in other parts of this Territory, and in other Territories, that whilst we are pursuing the natural avocations of life, we might at the same time be taught and instructed of God, that we might learn the laws of life; that we might comprehend the object of our being and existence, and that we might in time learn to comprehend God the Eternal Father, and his purposes and designs in relation to mankind; that we might be purified from the corruptions and infamies that exist in the world, and that our spirits might be purged from everything that tends to deteriorate, injure or destroy man; and that we might be enabled to comprehend those principles which are calculated to elevate, to exalt and ennoble mankind, and to prepare them for the enjoyment of a place among the Gods in the eternal worlds. For this purpose he has organized the Church of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God, and revealed his law and his purposes to his Saints. For this purpose he has taught us of things pertaining to the future, having drawn aside the veil of the invisible world, and made known his purposes to his people, and taught us how to become saviors upon Mount Zion, that we may fulfil our destiny upon the earth, and accomplish the purposes of God, and carry out his design and will in sending us here upon the earth; that those principles which exist in the heavens and operate among the Gods may be communicated to man, and that we may be enabled to present them in all purity and in all their beauty, glory and grandeur, and that we may learn to save ourselves and then to save others. For this purpose we are building our Temples and, as they are being built, operate in them, that we may be one with God, and one with the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and Apostles and men of God. And that while God our Heavenly Father and the holy angels and men of God who have lived in the different ages, who have been clothed upon with the Holy Priesthood, and admitted to communion with God, and have fulfilled their destiny upon the earth—are operating in the heavens with God our Heavenly Father for the accomplishment of his purposes pertaining to things upon the earth as well as to things in the heavens; it is for us to perform our parts and fulfil our duties and magnify our callings and Priesthood, and be one with them in the objects which they have in view pertaining to the welfare and exaltation of the Saints, the blessing of humanity and the salvation of the living and the dead, according to the foreknowledge and the eternal purposes of God relating thereunto. And we are here for that purpose.

We are here to establish the Church of God, that there may be a people who shall enjoy the right to serve him upon the earth in manner acceptable to him. We are here to establish the kingdom of God, that his government and rule and that an intelligent and comprehensive liberty and freedom may prevail among men and the peoples of the earth as they exist in heaven, and that we may be under the tuition and direction of our Heavenly Father, that his will may be done on earth as it is done in the heavens, and then be enabled to communicate these principles to our brethren and to the world.

These are some of the thoughts that pass through our minds when we read the word of God, and are in communion with him, when the Spirit of light, life, intelligence, and revelation rests upon us, and when the heavens and purposes of God are unfolded to our view. These, I say, are some of the thoughts that naturally flow through our minds. And talking about making new covenants on this the first of the year, why No! No! We do not wish to serve God by fits and starts, but to make his service and the obedience to his laws as the business of our lives. We love, reverence and serve God, because he loves us, and blesses and benefits us and acts as a kind and beneficent father to us. We have already entered into covenant with Our Heavenly Father; but the question is, are we fulfilling these covenants? Have we the Holy Priesthood, and do we magnify that before God and the holy angels, or do we suffer ourselves to be corrupted and demoralized, and make light of the things of God, and thus tamper with these great principles which are calculated to exalt all who are obedient thereto? These are some of the questions that we should apply to ourselves. We hear of things sometimes which make us blush for humanity. We hear of crime, corruption and debauchery spreading itself abroad throughout the world; and we hear too, sometimes, I am sorry to have to say of some calling themselves Latter-day Saints, being tainted with evils of that kind.

The great majority of the people of this city have been moved, because of drunkenness and kindred evils increasing among us, to petition the Mayor and members of the City Council to adopt such measures as will prevent this state of things. It is a shame for men professing to be Saints to be under the necessity of imploring the aid of the civil law to keep them sober; and while it is proper to guard our youth from the insidious wiles of the adversary, yet all men ought to do right from principle; and while we endorse such an act as most commendable on the part of the people, yet, in one sense, what have these dens of infamy to do with the Saints of God; or what have the Saints of God to do with the haunts of shame and disgrace? Why, if there were ten thousand of such things around, and men were living up to the spirit and power of God within them, they would say, My soul, enter thou not into their secret, mine honor, with them be not thou united, my morals, be not ye contaminated with such infamous corruptions. That would be the case if men did right and had the Spirit and power of God in them, and if they loved God and righteousness. But men who practice these infamies do not love God, nor have they a respect for his law; they do not love righteousness; they are not Latter-day Saints; they cannot be Latter-day Saints, neither can they have part or lot in the blessings and exaltations of the kingdom of God, either on the earth or in the heavens.

Let the wicked then pursue their course, and let the righteous pursue their’s. If any of our people are found mixed up with these iniquities, let them be dealt with as the law of God directs, and let them be purged from our midst. Let righteousness, truth and integrity be maintained, and let God be honored and let the Gospel be sustained and the law of God upheld, and He will stand by the righteous. These are my views and feelings in relation to these matters. And I would not give five cents for a man who had to have a law placed upon him; or someone to stand guard over him, to prevent him from going into those dens of infamy and those sinks of corruption that “civilization” has introduced into our midst. I would not give five cents for the religion of such a man, it is not worth having, the sooner he gets rid of it and comes out in his true colors, the better. And then let the transgressor be dealt with according to the law of God. Purge yourselves from them and their iniquities, and follow in the paths of righteousness. These are my feelings in relation to these matters.

We learn that in former times that there was no fellowship between God and Belial, no fellowship between light and darkness, no fellowship between truth and error, no fellowship between the Saints of God and the workers of iniquity. That doctrine is just as true today as it was when taught in former days. I speak of this because it is something which I, for one, will not bear; for one, I will not fellowship the workers of iniquity, I do not care who they are, or where they come from. And it is for us all to do right and keep the commandments of God. We talk sometimes about a man being an honest man; the reason why some are honest is because they cannot steal. But let a man be placed in a room or elsewhere with an amount of gold or other valuables within his reach, with the understanding that there was no fear of being detected, that if he appropriated any to his own use no one would know it as there was no check upon him; and if he of his own free will let it alone, I would say he was an honest man.

And in regard to drunkenness, which has been of late a prevailing topic of conversation—what a nice creature is a drunken Elder, a drunken Saint, a reeling, staggering, drunken Saint! What do you think of it? We write over our stores sometimes, “Holiness to the Lord.” We are called the Saints, or as the Germans express it, the heilige, der letzten tage or the holy of the last days. What! a drunken Elder, a drunken High Priest, or a drunken Saint? We will not have such a person associated with us; we will not be contaminated nor disgraced with the name nor with the infamy of such conduct. And as regards the sellers of intoxicating drinks, they would many of them, sell themselves. And any man who cannot let these things alone, any man that has not got manhood and respect enough to keep out of these pest-houses that disgrace our city, is not fit to associate with decent people, and respectable people ought to guard against him as they would against smallpox or any other pestiferous evil. And as the honesty of a man can only be tested by his having temptation within his reach, so no man can be considered as acting properly who cannot let liquor alone, when that is within his reach. Virtue does not consist simply in being prevented from committing evils, but in having temptations presented before us and then governing our passions and appetites. Good and evil are placed before us, no matter by whom, it is for us to resist evil and cleave to the right; we are told that it is to him that overcometh that I will grant to sit down on my throne, as I have overcome and sat down on my Father’s throne. Neither do we want excuses for any of these things, for God will condemn us if we bear them, and His wrath will be enkindled against us, and we shall find it a hard matter to pack such infamies upon our shoulders. I will not do it, I will throw them off of mine, I will have no fellowship with those who indulge in them; and I call upon all the Saints to do the same, and upon the proper authorities to take measures to root out from our midst everything that would defile and contaminate the morals of the Latter-day Saints.

About the world and their course—let them take their course. The wicked will, we expect, continue to do as they have done for years, grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. And to the evils that are among us, which have been introduced here, and which are being fostered and encouraged by wicked and corrupt men, I would say to our people, let them alone. If, however, our young men or any of the older ones should be found violating the laws of the land, let them be punished as the laws direct, it does not matter whose sons they are, or who they may be. If you should find any of mine doing it, bring them up and straighten them out, and let the penalty of the law be inflicted for their evil, pernicious practices; and if it be anybody else’s sons or fathers, do the same with them. And let us guard jealously the principles of virtue, sobriety and purity, by disfellowshipping and purging from us those who dishonor and trample them under foot. And let us be for God and for Zion, for truth and for righteousness; for we cannot drag the contaminated and corrupt into heaven, such are not wanted there; and I do not want to introduce them there whether they are my sons or the sons of anybody else. The Scripture says: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Now, it is for us to choose what course we will pursue. I do not suppose that I am talking to any of these drunkards, they generally do not come to meeting; they would rather have a bottle with them at home, or meet in grog shops or other places where the debased and contaminated are wont to assemble. And it is proper they should seek their own company, for we do not want them here. We want men who are Saints from principle, men who love God, who keep his commandments, men who are pure and virtuous, men who are seeking to glorify God through obedience to his laws, and men who do these things because they love to do them. We do not wish to see anything approaching coercion in dealing with persons, but we wish them to understand that we will not any longer be disgraced by their infamies.

As has been referred to, we have entered into covenant with God, and it is only on the condition of our keeping our covenants inviolate that we shall be entitled to the exceedingly great and precious promises which he has made to us. And he does expect us to be true to him: he expects it of me; he expects it of my brethren associated with me as Counselors; he expects it of the Twelve; he expects it of the Presidents of Stakes; he expects it of the Bishops; he expects it of the High Councilors; he expects it of the High Priests, of the Seventies and the Elders, and of all Israel. He expects us all to be men of God, with clean hands and pure hearts, seeking to magnify our calling and to honor our God. Let us do this, and all will be right with us; and those who do not wish to do this, let them step on one side. And while we would avoid anything like harshness or precipitancy, and treat all men with forbearance and kindness, and bear, to a reasonable extent, with the weaknesses and infirmities of men, we must deal with transgressors for their fellowship, and cut them off from the Church. We must have people who will serve God and keep his commandments. And then we can go to God our Heavenly Father when our enemies conspire against us, and plead with him for protection; and he will take care of Israel and maintain and sustain his saints. But if we fellowship evil and iniquity, crime and corruption, infamies and drunkenness, debauchery and lasciviousness, and all the evils of the Christian world—if we do this we need not look for the help of God; he will leave us to ourselves to take our own course. But if we will do our duty, discountenance iniquity, obey the laws of God and keep his commandments, he will take care of Israel and sustain his people. These are my feelings in relation to this matter.

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

The Saints to Be a Peculiar People, Etc.

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered at Meadow Creek, Millard County, October 31, 1881.

It is very interesting to meet with the Latter-day Saints as we do in the various settlements throughout these mountains, and to witness the growth, prosperity and increase of the people—a state of things which is very evident to those who travel as we are now doing.

It is very important, in fact, of the greatest importance to us that we keep before us the objects for which we have been gathered together in these mountains.

There is a large number of children growing up to manhood and to womanhood, to whom the old persecutions and drivings and the old teachings that the Church had in its early days, are unknown only as they are related and imparted to them by those who are familiar with these matters. And in consequence of this many, unless they should be taught and reminded of these things would imagine that we are here only as other people come here, and that the objects of our lives are only the same as theirs. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we should have these things set before us in such plainness, and be reminded of them so constantly, that, we shall not forget them; and that the rising generation shall have them impressed upon their minds so that they will grow up with a knowledge of them.

It is very evident that God our Heavenly Father, did not bring us to these mountains to get rich. If that had been his idea he might have taken us to a land better adapted for the acquisition of wealth than ours is. And yet he has promised unto us that we shall be a rich people, and this promise is being fulfilled, but we shall not acquire riches, we shall not become a wealthy and powerful people upon the same basis as other people do. We shall get rich by keeping the commandments of God; we shall get rich by building up the kingdom of God. He will wean us from and make us to see the folly of old traditions which we have inherited from our fathers; and I think he is doing this very rapidly among us at the present time, and has been from the beginning. It is contrary to all the traditions of mankind to do what we are doing. I will illustrate my idea by pointing out some things that go to prove that God intends to make us a people dissimilar from the rest of mankind.

In consequence of the departure of our fathers from the truth, we have inherited lies; and we have fallen into a false method of living. For instance, you could not get any people besides the Latter-day Saints to go out and preach the Gospel as we are doing. All the traditions that belong to the race from which we spring are in antagonism to such a practice. For men to go out without purse or scrip is something new in the world in this age. It requires uncommon faith in God to enable men to do this; faith in the living God who hears and answers prayers for men to place themselves upon the tender mercies of the world as bearers of the Gospel message, which is and always has been unpopular to them, and in the women to stay at home to take care of their families during the absence of their husbands, their fathers and sons. But this faith God has given unto us, and he has taught us that he is able to supply our wants when we do that which he requires at our hands.

It may be thought that the payment, of tithing, in obedience to the law of God, would be a means of impoverishing all those who did it; that the giving of a tenth of their means would be a burdensome tax upon them. God has taught us that this law is essential to our salvation, and that if we obey it in the spirit in which it is given, he will bless us in our basket and store, and increase us in the earth.

Now, it is an apparently remark able fact—but remarkable only because it comes in contact with our traditions and prejudices—that the men who have gone without purse and scrip, have prospered in it; and it is also a remarkable fact that those men among us who have been the most punctual in responding to the calls God, through his servants, has made upon them, are today the men who are the most prospered in the land. Illustrations of this can be easily found all around us. God, in his dealings with us, shows that he intends that we shall break away from the old traditions—for the old traditions would lead us to believe that the man who paid his tithing would not grow as rich as the man who did not pay it. But God is proving to us that he has his own method of building up his kingdom. And he is proving to us that the men who go out without purse or scrip on missions, devoting their time to the interest of this work, are the men who have been most prospered among us.

You take the men in your own settlement—for there are men in most of your settlements who have spent considerable time upon missions—and you will find, upon examining the results of their labors, that they have been more prospered, when at home, than men who have not gone upon missions, so that their absence from home has not been a loss to them. It is our experience that the men who have gone upon missions have had their absence made up to them afterwards by the Lord increasing his blessings upon them for their faithful labors in the ministry.

I speak upon this matter of tithing to show you that God intends to bring about results favorable to the Latter-day Saints, from a basis entirely different to that acknowledged and adopted by the world; and that he can control all things for the good of his people, if they put their trust in him.

It may have been thought that when we were driven from our homes, and came to these mountains, that those who stayed behind in those fertile lands would grow rich in comparison with those of the Saints who came to this wilderness. But what are the facts? The Latter-day Saints in these mountains have been prospered by keeping the commandments of God in a manner that those who live back there know nothing about; and we are richer today than the people from whose midst we were driven. I was greatly surprised, when on a visit, in company with Brother Brigham Young, Jr., some eight years ago, to Nauvoo. Upon inquiring respecting the price of land between Carthage and Nauvoo, we learned that it could be bought for $20 per acre; while in the vicinity of Salt Lake City, land sells today for $150 per acre, and much of it could not be bought at that price. This shows the difference there is in our value and theirs. God has prospered the people who came to these mountains, to this once desert land, to an extent that our enemies know nothing about. And today, in the places where our people lived, the present occupants of these land are mourning over our lost crops, while our granaries are groaning under the weight of the grain stored within them.

And there are other things very remarkable, which show that God, in his dealings with us, intends to make us a people different from any other. I allude now to our system of marriage. It is a subject of constant remark to me in Washington. Men with whom I am familiar ask in relation to the large families of our people. “Why, Mr. Cannon,” they have said, “How do you live? It is as much as I can do to keep one wife and bring up and furnish two or three children with education and the things they need. And how you people in Utah can sustain such families as you have and take care of them and bring them up as they ought to be brought up is a marvel to me.” And of course the curiosity is great of people who came here from the east, to know with regard to our domestic institutions, as to the number of our wives and children, and it is a mystery to them, they cannot understand it. It is a noticeable fact that the men among our people who have obeyed this commandment of God to us are the men most prospered in the land. I do not suppose this would be denied by anyone who has traveled throughout our Territory, that as a rule the men who are the wealthiest and most influential and the most successful in our community are those who have obeyed the command of God. It might be supposed, naturally speaking, that that would be the means of impoverishing them; that the men who marry wives take upon them burdens that would crush them and that they would necessarily have to live in poverty in consequence. But the contrary of this is the case; and actual experience has proven to us that God is determined to remove from us the old traditions of the world, and show us that he is able to build up his kingdom upon a new plan and upon an entirely different basis from the kingdoms of the world. We can see this everywhere we go.

It is frequently said at the present time in the east—and the evil, I regret to say, I sometimes imagine is growing in our midst—a young man says it is as much as he can do to take care of himself, without attempting to sustain a wife. But a young man marries a wife, and he sustains himself and his wife too. He feels as though he would not be able to sustain a wife and child; but the baby comes, and they are able to get along as well after as they did before the child came. And thus it seems the way is provided for a second child and a third. And in times past some of our young men have taken second wives, and they have got along as well, and in many instances a little better, than when they had but one wife. And as the family increases, they have been able to provide for them all.

God is building up a peculiar people, a people of faith, a people who will do that which he requires of them, although what he may require of us may be directly opposed to our traditions; and in doing his bidding in all things, he will show us that he is able to feed and clothe and take care of us. But I wish to repeat, he did not bring us here to make us a rich people; that is not the first consideration. It was to prepare us for the destiny which awaits us. God is about to perform through His Saints, one of the mightiest revolutions that has ever been effected in the earth. He is able to establish his kingdom—a new order of things, an entirely different rule and power among men.

When God inspired the leading men of this nation to seek to establish a government here that should be independent of all governments upon the earth, it was the design that men should enjoy equal rights throughout the land. This is the form of the constitution; this came to us according to the purposes of God. But throughout this nation at the present time there is oppression. And in the eastern cities the evils under which the old world groans, are increasing; so much so is this the case that men who travel in Europe can see but little difference when they come here, between the evils of the old world and the evils that are fast developing themselves in the midst of the large cities of the United States. The government has, to a certain extent been mismanaged. We are an illustration of this. We have been prosecuted and persecuted; we have been driven; we have been mobbed, and we have been robbed and despoiled of our homes and possessions, and all because we would not worship according to the dictates of other American citizens; because we chose to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience we are in these mountains. We were driven from lands that belonged to us by the right of purchase and possession, and were compelled to come into the wilderness to seek a place where we could live free from maladministration, and enjoy the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Today we are a standing protest in the midst of the nation against evils that are growing, and the results of which must, sooner or later, be felt by others to their sorrow. Freedom and liberty, virtue, honesty, good government and everything, in fact, desirable among men must be nourished and cherished and maintained in our midst. We must be for sustaining these things, and, as I have said, for establishing a new order of things upon the earth. For that which God has revealed unto us meets all of our wants; it supplies every righteous desire of every heart; there is no right and proper desire of the human heart that any human being can entertain, that this Gospel does not satisfy. It is equal to all the circumstances and all the wants and all the desires of every human being, it having been designed and framed by Him who created us and who knows our wants. And having such a religion, we must of necessity be willing to extend the blessings and benefits of this religion, and of human liberty, to every person. God has raised us up for this purpose, and to establish these things on the earth and to perpetuate the reign of righteousness among the children of men. He has brought us here. These valleys of the mountains are the best, or, at least, as well adapted as any land upon the face of the earth for the home of a free people. It would be something extraordinary if a people brought up as we are in these mountains should not be a liberty-loving people; if we should not be a free people. We could not well be otherwise with such surroundings as we have. And our children will grow up filled with the love of freedom; and God designs that this shall be our home, and that we shall multiply and increase until the time shall come for us to go back, according to the revelation, to repossess the land from which we were driven.

But we have an immense work to do in these mountains. This is the foundation of that which is to be. The Lamanites must be brought into the covenant; they must receive the Gospel from us. We must be their “nursing father’s and their nursing mothers.” This, among other things, is a labor devolving upon us. We are here for this purpose; not to become rich ourselves, that when we shall pass away we may bequeath to our children large possessions for them to enjoy the good things of this world to spend upon their lusts and to gratify their carnal desires. God will not give unto us riches, neither lands nor property, for any such purpose as this; but it will be for the accomplishment of that which He has predicted by the mouths of the Holy Prophets. We have Temples to build; and these buildings will doubtless be, before long, of easy access to the entire people, and through the sealing ordinances we shall be welded together and be made one people, and also be connected with the past generations until we get to Father Adam. This is the nature of the work to which we are called. And every boy and girl in our community should be taught to look forward to it. The idea of our cultivating a little land and getting our minds concentrated upon little things that pertain to a livelihood, and think that this is all we are here for; to come and take upon us a probation merely to eat and drink like the animals; do you think for a moment, my brethren and sisters, that this is all we have been sent here to do? There is something more than this. There is an object to be accomplished of far greater and higher importance. It is of course intended that we should use that which God has given unto us, but we should use it all to right advantage. But this may be said to be of minor consideration, a matter of small moment compared with the great work with which we are identified.

Every mother should train her children to look forward to the destiny that God has in store for them, to fit and qualify them for it. And every boy should be trained in such a manner as to fit him to move in the first circles of society; and every advantage of training should be given to every son we have. He should be made as perfect as it is possible to make him. We should not be content to make our children like ourselves; that because we have lived in a certain way that they may do so also. Our children will occupy positions that we scarcely dream of, if we will do our duty by them. Our boys and girls should be cultivated and trained. Give them the best training and the best education that you can afford; and do not think that you can do too much for them in this direction. And while you are cultivating the soil and building houses and making improvements of different kinds, look forward to the future, and put yourselves in a position in which you can do far more good than you are doing at the present time. Great and glorious promises have been made to us, and we should be reaching out in the proper direction to realize the benefit of them. Of course this can only be done by the necessary work of preparation. The Lord has said that he will make us the noble of the earth, the greatest among men, the rulers and even saviors of men. This means rule and dominion; it means control. And still we should be humble and meek and lowly, and put our trust in God, and look to him as the source of our strength.

Mothers, let me beg of you to bestow all the care and training that you possibly can upon your daughters. Make them as perfect as you can; give them every facility within your power to become women of culture. And, fathers, do the same by your boys. If there is a man in your settlement who excels in any one thing, let him teach the rest. If there be among you a good penman, let him teach others this beautiful art. And if there is a woman that excels in anything, let the girls be taught in that one thing until they shall equal or surpass her. If there is a man among you who is accustomed to society, let him impart lessons to the boys, and let them imitate him. This is one thing that devolves upon us, as Latter-day Saints.

You are living in a small place, and you are apt to become narrow in your views. You have a log house for a meetinghouse, and you seem to be satisfied with it; and how many of you live in log houses? Many of your ditches I see, are wide, and your wives and daughters have either to jump them or wade through them. It is time you were building a new and better meetinghouse, and then you will erect better dwelling houses; and your ditches will be bridged, and your fences and sidewalks be improved.

Do not allow the feeling of indifference to come over you. Improve your city, make it attractive, so that when people come into your midst, they will say, “Here is a thrifty, prosperous people; this people are improving their condition, and they are seeking to excel.” This is a duty that devolves upon you. The work of improvement connected with this great, growing country which God has given unto us, which he has placed in our hands, so to speak, is our work, and we should have pleasure in improving and beautifying the places of our habitation.

Parents, you should see that your boys are taught mechanism. You need good mechanics. You need masons, you need carpenters, you need painters and other skilled workmen, and why not let the boys learn? Everything they learn of a practical nature will be useful to them some time or other during their lifetime, and workmen in the building line almost always find employment. In regard to what I have said about the training of your families, I do not mean to reflect upon you, for I expect you do what you can in this direction; at least, I hope so; but I speak of what we ought to do in regard to our families.

Our enemies are continually trying to destroy us, and we as a people should be banded together in the bonds of the Gospel. I desired to have said some things at Fillmore, and should have done so had I had another opportunity. I understand there are a great many bad influences in this county. You have apostates, among you, and your daughters—at least there have been some cases where your daughters have married into the families of apostates and your sons have married the daughters of apostates. If this is the case, it is a deplorable condition of things. When Latter-day Saints marry those who are not of their faith, I look upon it as a great misfortune to those who do so. If those barriers were to be broken down which ought to exist between us and the world I should view it as a great calamity. One of the strictest commands that the Lord gave to Israel in olden times was that they should not marry with the nations surrounding them; and this law is equally binding on us, and we should do everything in our power to maintain it inviolate. For our enemies are determined to take away from us the control of our affairs. And such people, part of whom are in Fillmore, and you may have some down here, if they had their way—or if the measures which they would vote for could be carried out, you, all of you, would be reduced to the condition of serfs; you would not even have the right to vote for a justice of the peace; you would not even have the right to vote for a constable, nor for a probate judge, nor selectman, nor for an assessor or collector; they would deprive you of the right of suffrage, and reduce you to the condition of slaves, if they could have their way. It is not only once or twice, but it has been many, many times that bills have been introduced into Congress containing these features, and leaving us the bare privilege of paying taxes, while they who live here and urge this legislation, would have the right to spend them. Now, I am told that there are people in this county who are sustained principally by the Latter-day Saints so-called, who use their influence and their means against us, who are in full sympathy with the men who make it their study and their business to destroy us, and who, if they had the power would imprison and put to death the best men among us. A man calling himself a Latter-day Saint, who would do that—that would use his means and his influence, which by the way he is indebted to God for, to destroy his work, I consider as being terribly ignorant; or if having good sense, is not worthy of a name and place among the Latter-day Saints. I feel keenly on this point, because it is a vital point; and I repeat, that the man who would put his means into the hand of the enemy, the avowed enemy of this Church, to destroy his brother is most culpable, and cannot escape the condemnation of the Lord. The man who is a free man, and who values his own liberty and that of his neighbors, will do nothing of the kind; he will jealously guard against aiding such people even to the amount of one cent. He would say, “I cannot afford to let my means, or any part of it, go to destroy my own peace or that of my neighbor, nor to deprive us of our liberty.” But there is a disposition which I have noticed among many of our folks to break down these barriers and distinctions. They would sustain men who, directly or indirectly, are pledged to do all they can against this people, against the liberties and rights of this people, against our freedom and against our religion. If they have any influence at all, it is used against us. They would take control of this Territory from the old settlers and give it to their deadly enemies. The man who would so far forget himself as to do such a thing has no part in this work, if he comprehends it at all, and unless he repents, he will sooner or later lose the Spirit of God, and go into darkness and apostasy. It matters not who the man may be, or what his standing may be among the people, such a course is bound to sever his connection with us. God has called us to build up Zion. He has called us from the world for this purpose. He has not called us to be like other people, but to become a peculiar people unto Himself a people upon whom he can pour out His Holy Spirit to enable us to accomplish His designs. And we should act in accordance with the testimony of this Spirit, and according to the instructions of his servants unto us; and if we do this all will be right. But the man who will use his influence against my brethren is not my friend; I have no fellowship with him. He may talk very nice and profess great friendship, but he is not my friend if he is opposed to my brethren and the work of God; there is no sympathy in common between us; we do not stand upon the same platform. It seems to me that this should be understood by all who consider themselves members of this Church. We must stand together: we must be united. We must exercise faith in God, and we must do that which he requires at our hands, or we shall lose that which he has given unto us. And it would be a sorry day for us if we were to fall into such a condition that God would let our enemies loose upon us, to drive us, and get control in these mountains.

I pray God to bless you, my brethren and sisters, and fill you with His Spirit, that your zeal, interest and devotion may increase in the work of God, and that your understanding may be enlarged, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Liberty of Conscience—The Unrighteousness of Religious Persecution—Eternal Truths Revealed—Indestructibility of the Principles of the Gospel, Etc.

Discourse by President Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, October 23, 1881.

There being a little time left us this afternoon, I feel disposed to make a few remarks to those who are present. There is one principle which has been universally acknowledged by the Latter-day Saints, by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, the Apostles and all the leading men of the Church. I have heard Joseph Smith and Brigham Young say that if they had the power over the whole world, over every human being who breathes the breath of life, they would give every inhabitant of the earth the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is a principle which we believe in as Latter-day Saints, we ever have believed in it, and it is a principle which even the laws of our country, the Constitution of our government holds out to all of its citizens. What! Would you give the Methodists, the Baptists, etc., the privilege of enjoying their religion? Certainly. Our city abounds with churches of different denominations. Have they ever been opposed by anybody belonging to this Church in the erection of their churches and in the enjoyment of their religion? I think not. If they have, they should not have been. Why would you do this? Because the God of heaven gives all his children this right and privilege, it belongs to the whole human family, every man, woman and child under heaven has the right to worship God according to his desires, according to his own views, and according to the light which he has. The Lord gives all the children of men this right and privilege. He gives them their agency and holds them responsible for their actions, and while the Lord does this, why should the children of men interfere? Why those scenes of blood that have taken place on the earth through religious principles? They are unrighteous. As Latter-day Saints we claim the same right that we would give to the inhabitants of all the world. We say to all men, “Enjoy your religion, worship God according to the dictates of your own conscience.” We ask the same right as the children of God. We claim this by the Constitution and laws of our country, and upon this principle we have embraced the fulness of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord has sent forth angels out of heaven. He has delivered the fulness of the Gospel to Joseph Smith. He was raised up as a Prophet of God, by the power of God, to lay the foundation of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the earth, and to lay the foundation of that kingdom which the Prophet Daniel and the other Prophets spoke of, and to build up that Zion which Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel said should be built up in the latter days. We believe this with every sentiment of our hearts. Now, in reading the publications of the day, I find there are many men in our country that seem to be filled with great anger against the Latter-day Saints, and they belch forth their wrath and indignation and animus against us, because we differ from them in some principles pertaining to the Gospel of Christ. Now, here is one principle that I wish to impress upon the minds of every Saint of God who dwells upon the earth—and I want our reporters to write it down—I want to impress it upon the rulers of our nation and upon all the inhabitants of this nation and every other nation, namely, that the love of God, faith hope and charity, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with all the ordinances thereof, with the Holy Priesthood, which has power both in heaven and on the earth, and the principles which have been revealed for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men—that these are principles you cannot annihilate. They are principles that no combination of men can destroy. They are principles that can never die. Prisons cannot confine them; fire cannot burn them; the sea cannot drown them; no storm can wreck them; no gulf can swallow them up; no grave can entomb them, because they are eternal and will endure forever. They are beyond the reach of man to handle or to destroy. You may put men in prison and abuse them; you may burn men at the stake; you may drive men from their homes who advocate these principles; but it is not in the power of the whole world put together to destroy those principles, they are as firm and independent, as far as the agency of man is concerned, as the pillars of heaven or the throne of God. I want the inhabitants of the earth to hear these things and remember them. The inhabitants of the earth have tried for generations to destroy these principles. Yet it matters not what may take place on the earth. Republics may be destroyed, kingdoms overthrown, empires broken up, thrones cast down, the sun may be turned to darkness, the moon to blood, the stars may fall from heaven, and heaven and earth itself may pass away, but not one jot or tittle of these principles will ever be destroyed. I would to God the world could understand this. It would have been a blessing for them if the Jews could have understood it before they put to death the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ came to the Jews he brought the everlasting Gospel. He was of the tribe of Judah himself. He came to his own father’s house; he offered them life and salvation; yet he was the most unpopular man in all Judah. The High Priests, the Sadducees, the sectarians of the day, were the strongest enemies he had on earth. No matter what he did, it was imputed to an evil source. When he cast out devils it was imputed to the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. When he opened the eyes of the blind they said: “Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” This unpopularity followed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross where he gave up the ghost. Now, the inhabitants of Judah had an idea that if they could only put to death the Messiah, that that would end his mission and work on the earth. Vain hope of that generation as well as this. When they led Jesus to the cross, the very moment that spirit departed from that sorrowful tabernacle, it held the keys of the kingdom of God in all of its strength and power and glory the same as he had done while in the body. And while the body lay in the tomb, Jesus of Nazareth went and preached to the spirits in prison, and when his mission was ended there, his spirit returned again to his tabernacle. Did the Jews kill the principles he taught? No. He burst the bonds of death, he conquered the tomb, and came forth with an immortal body filled with glory and eternal life, holding all the powers and keys he held while in the flesh. Having appeared to some of the holy women and the apostles, he then went and administered to the Nephites upon this continent, and from here he went to the ten tribes of Israel, and delivered to them the Gospel, and when they return they will bring the history of the dealings of Jesus of Nazareth with them, while in his immortal body. The same unpopularity followed the twelve Apostles. Some of them were sawn asunder, others were beheaded, crucified, etc. But did the Jews destroy the principles they taught? Did they destroy the keys of the kingdom of God? No, verily no. They had no power over these things any more than they had power over the throne of God, or God Himself. These men when the spirit left their body returned holding the keys of the kingdom of God into the presence of God.

I will here say in passing that there is one principle that it would have been well if the Jews had understood, it would be well if all the inhabitants of the earth understood it, and that is, that it costs something to shed the blood of the Lord’s anointed, to shed the blood of Prophets and Apostles and righteous men, to fight against God, against his Christ, and against his work. When these Jews cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him,” and a Gentile judge had declared he could find no fault in him, still they were ready to say—“All right, you let his blood be upon us and our children.” In this the Almighty took them at their word. The Jews have been trampled under the feet of the Gentiles for 1,800 years, in fulfillment of that declaration. The yoke is not even broken today. In the eastern world, in Russia, and in all the nations of the earth, more or less they are trampled under the feet of the Gentiles. Tens of thousands have been put to death. Nero put to death many, as also did other men in their day and time. Hence you see it has cost the Jews something for the putting to death of the Lord’s anointed.

Now, I want to say something with regard to the dispensation in which we live. The God of heaven has set his hand to fulfil the volume of revelation which the Bible contains, to build up that kingdom that Daniel the Prophet saw in the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. The God of heaven has sent forth that angel which John the Revelator saw “fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” That angel has delivered the Gospel to Joseph Smith, and I know it. I bear my record and testimony to this truth. It is the truth of the living God. He has set his hand, as I have said, to build up this kingdom. Isaiah has written its history. Look at these valleys of the mountains. I came here on the 24th of July, 1847. What did I find? A barren desert, as barren as the desert of Sahara. There was no mark of the white man. It did not look as if any white man could live here at all. How is it today? Travel through the length and breadth of this Territory and behold the cities, towns, villages, gardens, orchards, fields, and crops that cover this once barren desert. What does it mean? It means that God Almighty is carrying out his purposes, it means that he has brought to his remembrance what his Prophets and Apostles have spoken; and all things shall be fulfilled to the very letter, even to the winding up scene. From whence has come this congregation; from whence have come the Saints gathered together throughout these mountains of Israel? They have been gathered from every nation as far as the Gospel has been preached. We have been gathered together by the power of the Gospel. Yet, as I have remarked many times in my public discourses, if we had preached until we were as old as Methuselah, we could never have got men and women to leave their homes if they had not been moved upon by the Holy Ghost. The Elders of Israel preached the Gospel unto them and promised them in the name of Jesus Christ, that if they would receive this Gospel they would receive the Holy Ghost. Is there a man on the face of God’s footstool today that would dare make such a promise as that unless he were backed up by the power of God? No, not one. If the Elders of Israel had been impostors, deceivers, they would have been very soon found out; but the God of Israel has backed up their testimony, and it is on this principle that these valleys are filling with the people of God today.

Now, I want to say that the same principles which existed in the days of Jesus and his Apostles exist today. There is a spirit of oppression, opposition, and persecution against the Latter-day Saints, because they differ from the world in their principles of religion. Jesus, however, said in his day: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” What is the cause of this hatred? It is because we declare the Gospel of Christ; it is because we believe in Prophets, Apostles, and the gifts and graces of the Gospel; it is because we preach faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; it is because the Church is organized with Prophets, Apostles, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, etc., according to the ancient order of things. This does not agree with the feelings of the sectarian world, therefore they are opposed to us. “But,” says one, “it is your polygamy that has created so much trouble with you ‘Mormons.’” Oh, indeed, is it? I will ask, where was polygamy when we were driven from Kirtland and Far West, from Jackson, Van Buren, Clay and Davis Counties, Mo., from Nauvoo, etc., to other places, men and women put to death, houses burned, etc? We suffered more persecution then than we have ever suffered, ten times over, since polygamy was revealed and advocated by the Elders of Israel. What was the matter then? “Oh, you believe in revelation, you believe in Prophets and Apostles. We cannot stand this—you have got to give up that belief, and if you don’t we will destroy you, put you to death, etc.” The feeling among the people of the United States then was that if they could only put to death the leaders of the Church, that that would be the end of “Mormonism.” So they thought in putting to death Jesus of Nazareth, that that would be the end of his teachings in that land. But lo and behold! when they put to death Joseph and Hyrum, they did not kill “Mormonism,” they did not kill faith in God, they did not kill hope and charity, they did not do away with the ordinances of the house of God, nor the power of the Holy Priesthood. The God of heaven had ordained these things; he had ordained men under the hands of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the kingdom of God in the eternal worlds, and that Priesthood and the keys thereof was to remain on the earth forever. It is beyond the power of man to destroy it. I want the Latter-day Saints to understand this: “Fear not them,” said the Savior “which kill the body, but are not able to destroy the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The purposes of the Lord must be fulfilled. There is not one jot or tittle of the Old Book that the sectarian world believe in but will be fulfilled. The same with regard to the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The opposition of the world cannot stay the progress of this work. Some men are trying to do so all the time. I dislike to refer to individuals, but I have read lately of a Mr. Talmage, who seems to be in a terrible torment about the “Mormons,” and is forever pouring out his wrath and indignation against them. Now, I just want to say that if we had a thousand million Talmage’s, and they were to spend every breath they had, they could no more stay the hand of the Almighty in the rolling forth of this work than they could stop the wind from blowing. Why? Because God Almighty holds in His hands the destiny of this people, and of all nations, and this generation will yet realize that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn,” saith Isaiah, and I know he was a Prophet.

Now, so far as I am concerned, I want to say to my friends, and to all peoples, I have no fears with re gard to the kingdom of God, I have no fears with regard to Zion; I have no fears with regard to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is in the hands of the Almighty, and all that he hath said with regard to its work in the latter days will come to pass in spite of earth and hell combined. I want the world to understand this. These are eternal truths. The principles will live when our nation is broken to pieces and wasted away, and when we ourselves have passed away to the spirit world. There is no power beneath the heavens that can hinder, stop or destroy the progress of truth and the decrees of Almighty God. I want to have the Latter-day Saints understand these things. We are in the hands of God. This is a very different generation from any other. It is a generation when the Lord has decreed—and that, too, before the world was made—that in the last days the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed nor given to other people; the little stone cut out of the mountains without hands shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth. These are the declarations of the Lord Himself.

I will now refer to another principle. I am an American citizen; a great many of this people are, I hope most are. I was born in the State of Connecticut, and many of the New England forms and teachings in our childhood, 65 years ago, were good to receive and live by. But what I want to say is: We live in a government raised up by the God of heaven. We have a constitution that was given by inspiration from God to man. I believe it is the best human form of government that was ever given to the human family. Now, I say if our rulers and governors become corrupt and attempt to trample those principles under their feet; though the nation itself might go to pieces, yet it is beyond the power of man to destroy the principles of the constitution. They may destroy one another, yet the principles contained in that instrument will live, and the God of heaven will maintain them until Jesus Christ comes in the clouds of heaven to set up His throne in Jerusalem, and to reign on the earth a thousand years.

I felt that I would like to say so much. I want my brethren and sisters to understand these matters. We should live our religion. I have no fears with regard to the kingdom of God. We may have fears in regard to ourselves. This man may apostatize, the others may apostatize, John Taylor, myself, or anybody else may die, but it will make no difference with regard to this work. Israel will never be without a lawgiver. Zion will become all that Israel saw it, in its beauty, power and glory in the earth. I wanted to say so much to strangers here as well as Latter-day Saints. We believe in these principles with every sentiment of our soul. We expect to live them, we are ready to die for them, but they will never be destroyed. We may go to prison, we may suffer all manner of persecution, but the principles we advocate will remain forever. When Joseph Smith’s body was laid in the grave, his spirit, like unto the Son of God, went into the spirit world with the keys of this dispensation to unlock the prison doors. There were fifty thousand million of spirits that never saw the face of a Prophet, or heard a gospel sermon in their lives until Joseph Smith preached to them the message of salvation. Those people in the spirit world have got to have equal rights in the Gospel dispensation with those on the earth. That is the reason why Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison. Joseph Smith will hold the keys of this dispensation throughout the countless ages of eternity, as Peter, James and John will hold theirs. He (Joseph Smith) will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, and will rise up in judgment against this generation. He sealed his testimony with his blood. That testimony is in force upon all the world from the hour of his death. These are eternal truths. I hate to see any nation, I hate to see our own government, I hate to see the clergy of the day, rise up in anger against these Latter-day Saints, because they differ from them in principles of religion. We know for ourselves this Gospel is true. We know it has been given unto us by the revelation of God. We know it will stand. The power of God will be made manifest. These valleys will be filled with Latter-day Saints. We will grow and increase until the coming of the Son of Man. Whatever men may do, as I have said before, they are in the hands of God.

I pray God, my Heavenly Father; that He may instil these principles into your hearts, that they may accomplish the mission for which they have been sent. Even so, Amen.

The Building Up of Zion—Gratitude to God, Enduring Trial, Etc.

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at Box Elder County, Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 1881.

I am pleased to meet with you, and I should have been so the other evening, when you held your last meeting, but I thought it proper to remain among our Lamanitish brethren, as they look to us for instruction. We sent other brethren along, but I heard some of the Saints felt a little disappointed because we did not come. We feel you are our brethren and sisters, and that you are one with us, and we are one with you, and with all who love righteousness.

We are endeavoring to build up the Zion of our God, that we may fill the measure of our creation upon the earth, and fulfil the various duties which devolve upon us, and also teach others to do the same. It is for this reason that we travel around among the people; and there are a great many people to see now. In a short time hence we shall have traveled all through the Territory, visiting almost all the settlements. We are building up Zion, and Zion is not confined to our prominent cities, but includes all the cities of the Saints. We are desirous that all should become acquainted with the principles which God has revealed for the guidance, benefit, blessing and salvation of His people upon the earth. These are our feelings towards you, and towards all the Saints. And then, we have not any bad feelings towards others, although the world generally are opposed to us.

You have a beautiful valley here, and have facilities for a large settlement; and the water, perhaps, if properly managed, would not be malad, or sickly.

Zion is growing, and the Lord has said it should; and it will continue to grow, and it is for us to grow with it—to grow in intelligence, virtue and purity, and in the knowledge of correct principles ourselves, and then to teach the same to our children; to cultivate these virtues in our own homes and in our little settlements, and to have all our surroundings such as God, angels, and all good men would approve. That our daughters may grow up virtuous, pure and happy; that our young men may abstain from licentiousness, from wrong actions, and from wrong speaking; that we ourselves may set our children a correct pattern, reverencing the Lord our God, and acknowledging His hand in all things—in the blessings we receive from Him, in the food we have to eat, the raiment we have to wear, and every temporal blessing that is conferred upon us, for all that we receive and enjoy comes from Him. And we are told that with none is the Lord angry, except those who do not acknowledge His hand in all things. Seek for His blessing upon everything you engage in. If you have a farm, dedicate it to God, and pray that His blessing may be upon it. If you build a house, dedicate it to God; also your garden, your cattle and sheep and all that you possess, and pray that His blessing may rest upon you and upon everything that pertains to you.

I am told you have had rather severe times, that you have been a good deal afflicted with grasshoppers and other things, and that for a number of years you have had short crops; that, in fact, you have not been able to raise sufficient wheat to bread your settlement. Well, while this is so, we must bear in mind that you here are not the only ones who have thus been afflicted. I am told that the crops throughout our Territory are far better than the general crop throughout the United States. The destructive insects and elements which you have had to struggle against begin to appear in other regions, afflicting the people of other places as they have you.

God has given unto us a land, but there are houses to build, farms to open, fences to make, our wants to be provided for, our animals to be taken care of, etc.: all these are necessaries that seem to crowd themselves upon us. Bishop Hunter says, children never come into the world with shoes and stockings on. No, nor clothes either, and if they did, their clothes would soon be too small for them. We have to try to make provision for the wants of our families, and to make them comfortable. The difficulties that you have to contend with, we have experienced; and as far as difficulties are concerned, none of us are free from them. Men of wealth among us, as elsewhere, who command their tens and hundreds of thousands, who have their every want supplied, have more anxiety, care and perplexity than many of you, who have to struggle for a comfortable living. And if you were placed in their position you would be a great deal more uneasy than you are now. We do not realize these things, but they are given unto us for our experience, and we should learn to understand and appreciate the position we occupy here upon the earth.

There is quite a fine opportunity now for men—good men, pure and virtuous men and women to raise up a goodly seed. A Bishop has a good chance, also his Counselors and those who are associated with him—and he should seek to gather around him the most honorable, chaste and virtuous men, and endeavor to elevate those over whom he presides; and as things progress get better houses and better gardens and surroundings in keeping with them. And upon everything we do we need the blessing of the Almighty; and we need to put our trust in him. If, for instance, I was living here and was raising a family, the first thing which I should do would be to dedicate myself and my family, my house and garden, my land, my cattle, and everything I possessed to God, and should ask his blessing upon them. Then every morning when I arose I should kneel down to supplicate his blessing upon me and mine during the day, to preserve us from evil influences, accidents and dangers, and to otherwise bless our labors in obtaining a livelihood. And then I would pray for those who presided over me in the Priesthood. Joseph Smith, upwards of forty years ago, said to me: Brother Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost. Now follow the influence of that Spirit, and it will lead you into all truth, until by and by, it will become in you a principle of revelation. Then he told me never to arise in the morning without bowing before the Lord, and dedicating myself to him during that day. Some people treat these things lightly. I do not; because I know that we derive our food, our raiment, and all earthly as well as spiritual blessings from the goodness of God our Heavenly Father. I know, furthermore, that as President of this Church I should not know how to dictate if the Lord did not help me. Should I desire people to yield to my ideas? I have no ideas only as God gives them to me; neither should you. Some people are very persistent in having their own way and carrying out their own peculiar theories. I have no thoughts of that kind, but I have a desire, when anything comes along, to learn the will of God, and then to do it, and to teach my brethren to do it, that we may all grow up unto Christ our living head, that we may be acquainted with correct principles and govern ourselves accordingly: and if we have our trials—why we are all tried. You see people well off, such as I have referred to; they have just as many trials as you have. They may have nice houses, and have at their command many comforts; but what of that? Such things alone do not make people happy. It is a mistaken notion that wealth makes people happy. Cattle, sheep, houses, possessions, would not bring you happiness. The Scriptures tell us that he that hath eternal life is rich: and the Lord has told us to seek after the riches of eternal life.

We are here occupying a peculiar position. The Lord has called us from the nations of the earth, and he has restored to us the everlasting Gospel, and that Gospel is calculated to elevate us in time and throughout eternity. Jesus, in speaking to his disciples, called them his sheep; and in praying to the Father in their behalf, he said; “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me. * * I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given me; for they are thine * * * Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom Thou has given me, that they may be one as we are.” That there may be nothing but harmony and peace, and the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of intelligence dwelling in all, that all may feel to promote one another’s welfare, and all try to enhance the happiness of the whole. That is how Our Heavenly Father feels towards us.

Through some remarks already made I am reminded of my boyhood. At that early period of my life I learned to approach God. Many a time I have gone into the fields and concealing myself behind some bush, would bow before the Lord and call upon him to guide and direct me. And he heard my prayer. At times I would get other boys to accompany me. It would not hurt you, boys and girls, to call upon the Lord in your secret places, as I did. That was the spirit which I had when a little boy. And God has led me from one thing to another. But I did not have the privilege that you have. There was nobody to teach me, while you have access to good men at any time who can direct you in the way of life and salvation. But my spirit was drawn out after God then; and I feel the same yet.

We are here as Latter-day Saints. What would you do? I would try as much as circumstances would permit, without laboring too hard, to make comfortable houses, to make good orchards; I would endeavor to make my family comfortable and would try to promote their welfare.

Have you a school here? (Answer: Yes, sir). Have you a good teacher? (Ans. A pretty good teacher). Well then, I would educate my children. The teacher should be a man or woman who fears God, who not only teaches grammar and the common branches of education but the principles of the Gospel as well, that our children may grow up in the fear of God. And then if I were the head of a house, I should consider it not only a duty but a great pleasure to call my family together and pray with them morning and evening, and to pray for them, and to teach them to cherish this feeling and spirit. Do you think I would ever want them to hear me swear? Oh, how ashamed I should be if my children or my wives or any of my good brethren were to hear me swear. That would be setting a very bad example; while we, as parents, are required to set good examples to our children and to all men. And then we ought to be honest with one another; we should be truthful and never prevaricate. Parents, be truthful; let your children have confidence in your word, so that if father or mother says anything, they might say, “if father or mother says such and such a thing, I know it is right, because father or mother said it, and they never prevaricate or tell a falsehood.” That is the kind of feeling we want to cultivate among ourselves and with our families. And again we want to be cleanly in our persons, in our houses and in everything. And mothers, you ought to cultivate in your hearts the spirit of peace; you ought to be like angels of God, full of every virtue. And the father ought to treat the mother right. Has she her infirmities? Yes. And so has he. What would you do under such circumstances—would you bear with her? Yes, of course, and love her, and do everything I could to promote her happiness; and instead of trying to perplex and annoy her, I would bear with her in the spirit of love and kindness, and cultivate that everywhere. And on the other hand, I would say to the sisters, treat your husbands right, and make their homes pleasant. Is there anything they would like to eat? Try to prepare it for them; and let your children see that you love one another, that they may grow up with the same feeling, and be led from principle to honor their father and mother. These are the kind of feelings that will elevate us; and we will try to educate and elevate the Indians around us; and when they become educated, we will send them out to preach the Gospel among their own people, as we have done among our race. Oh, if we could comprehend the glory, the intelligence, the power, the majesty and dominion of our Heavenly Father! If we could contemplate the exaltation, the glory, the happiness which awaits the righteous, the pure and the virtuous, of those who fear God, even the Saints of the Most High! If we could comprehend the great blessings that God has in store for those people that fear him and observe his laws and keep his commandments, we should feel very different from what we do. But then, we do not. The Lord has brought us from among the different nations, that we may be educated in the things of the kingdom of God. He has conferred the Holy Priesthood for that purpose: and the very organizations that we have of Stakes and Wards, with their Presidency and Bishops, High Councils, High Priests, Seventies, Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, etc., are placed in the Church by the Almighty, to educate and elevate us: and we are going around today lecturing on the principles of education. Education in what? In everything. In our morals; in our social position; in our religion; in everything pertaining to time and to eternity, so that we may be happy in our families, that we may prosper in our enterprises, and operate together and have the confidence of one another, and do away with everything that is wrong and dwell together in love and peace according to the Gospel of the Son of God. This is the kind of feeling we want to be educated in, and we want to start with it first in ourselves. As fathers and as mothers we want to do right; and as children we must do right. If they will not, as parents, we will set them good examples, and be kind to them, and lead them as well as we can in the paths of life. That is the spirit that dwells in our Heavenly Father. We want to follow after him, and cultivate these principles in our bosoms and in our hearts. For this reason we have various organizations in our midst. We have our Bishops; and it is their duty to look after their wards, and see that everything is moving along right, and that everybody is doing right, and if there be any poor or sick, to feel after them and relieve them; and then to enlist the sympathies of the brethren and sisters, that they may also feel after them. Then we have out Mutual Improvement Associations. Have you got one? (Answer, Yes, sir.) What are they for? To instruct the rising youth. This is another branch of our education. Our sisters, too, in their Relief Societies are doing a good work. Continue in it. Our sisters know a great deal better now to sympathize with their sex than the brethren; they can better enter into their feelings. Carry on this work. This is another part of our education. And referring again to our Young People’s Improvement Associations; how much I should have enjoyed such privileges when I was a boy. But I had no such opportunity. I had no Priesthood to teach me. You have privileges, young men and young women, that we older folks had not. And this spirit and feeling of improvement is not confined to one or two places; it is all over, and a good work among the young is being done throughout the dwellings of the Saints. And the Contributor, which I believe is the organ of the Mutual Improvement Associations, is an excellent periodical; and the young people ought to avail themselves of its pages by subscribing for it, which, no doubt, is being done generally. This movement among the young people is another branch of our education. Another is our Sunday School movement. Our children should be taught by good men and good women. Train their infant minds, and lead the little ones in the paths of life that they may understand about the Church of Christ, and be nurtured in the fear of God. By and by they will be men and women in Israel. It will not always be as it is now. Men will not always entertain towards us the feelings they do today. When they find that we are not the people the world has held us up to be; when we shall have proven to the world that we are not what they have believed us to be, but that we are a virtuous and law-abiding people, the honorable among men will acknowledge our worth. And the day will come when it will be said of our children, as the old Prophets have prophesied, that such and such a one was born in Zion. It will be considered a great blessing and one of the greatest honors that could have been inherited by our children to have been born in Zion among the people of God. These people are not liars, whoremongers, adulterers or thieves, as represented by our defamers, but they have learned the principles of virtue and holiness, and such things as are calculated to exalt and ennoble individuals, families and nations; they are in possession of these principles, and are exalted by them; and is it not an honor for a child to be born of such fathers and mothers? Yes. Then let us be such fathers and mothers. If we have done wrong, let us cease our evil practices and repent of all wrongdoing; humble ourselves and become as little children before God. Let us lay aside covetousness. We need not scramble, for there is not much to scramble after. There is not so much in the riches of this world as some people think there is. They cannot be compared for a moment with the riches of the kingdom of heaven, which are within the reach of all men who have not forfeited them.

Then we should treat everybody right, those who are not of us, as well as our own brethren. Would I cheat a man because he is not in the Church? The thought of such an act would bring the blush of shame to my cheek; and I feel chagrined when I hear of men, who have entered into solemn and holy covenants, doing such things. It is a common thing among a certain class of men to say I made a splendid trade today with Brother So-and-So. But did Brother So-and-So make as good a trade out of you? If he did, all right. But if you, because you happen to be a little smarter, or shrewder on a trade than your brother, have got the better of him, it is not all right, it is all wrong, and I do not think it a credit for a man to be possessed of that kind of smartness. I do not think it a credit to anybody to want something which belongs to somebody else. The Lord is trying us; and some of you are already pretty well tried: and you try one another sometimes. David, you know, said on a certain occasion, if it had been an enemy he would have borne it; but it was his friend that did it, and that cut him to the heart.

It is necessary that we should be tried, and that we should be cut to the heart. And why? “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Why? In order that we might have a High Priest who is acquainted with our affairs, and one who was tempted in all points like unto us. He was tempted as we are. I have seen men tempted so sorely that finally they would say, “I’ll be damned if I’ll stand it any longer.” Well, you will be damned if you do not. So you had better bear it; and go to the Lord and say, O God, I am sorely tempted; Satan is trying to destroy me, and things seem to be combined against me. O Lord, help me! Deliver me from the power and grasp of the devil. Let thy Spirit descend upon me that I may be enabled to surmount this temptation and to ride above the vanities of this world. This would be far better than giving way to sin, and proving yourself unworthy of the association of the good and pure.

I am reminded of Elijah. There was a time in his life when we find him alone in a solitary place. And it thundered and lightened, but God was in neither. By and by a still small voice whispered to him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Elijah told the Lord that they had digged down His altars and slain His Prophets, and that he only was left; and said he, they seek my life also. This was a gloomy picture; it was a sad story to tell the Lord. But God understood the situation better than Elijah did; and said he, I have reserved 7,000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal, in whom are the principles of integrity and honor. Abraham was tried, and so was Job. Abraham was tried severely. He was told to take his son Isaac, him that had been given to him by promise, through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Now, said he, Abraham, take thy son and offer him as a sacrifice. Do you not think that some would say, “I’ll be damned if I do.” Abraham did not stagger. He be lieved that God had given him this son in his old age, and that a great and glorious promise had to be fulfilled through him, and moreover if he was sacrificed God was able to raise him from the dead. He did not stagger through unbelief; but he went in obedience to the command to offer up his son. A great deal might be said, but it would take too long to show what Abraham expected. But he did expect that his seed would inherit the Priesthood through all subsequent time. And that is the meaning of that saying, “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” not cursed. Abraham, through the spirit of prophecy, had gazed upon his posterity as they should exist through the various ages of time. And among other things he saw the days of Jesus, when he should come; and we are told, he was glad. And after all this, God told him to take the life of his son. What, and thus prevent your posterity from coming upon the earth as you beheld it in vision? Yes, and in one stroke of the knife blast all these glorious, these blessed hopes. He approaches his son, and says, Come, Isaac, come with me upon this mount. And they went. “Now, let us build an altar.” And they built an altar. And the boy was heard to say, Father, here is the wood, and here is the altar, but where is the Lamb for the burnt offering? Says Abraham: The Lord will provide the offering. Finally, the father, choking, probably with the awfulness of the moment, as his thoughts crowded upon him, says, My son, thou art the one that I have got to offer up. Then at last he takes his son and lays him upon the altar, and at the last moment he is seen lifting the knife to slay the promised child, when the voice of the Lord is heard, saying, Hold, Abraham, put not thine hand upon the lad. Look; there is a ram caught in the thicket. Take that, and offer it as a sacrifice. Would you, my brethren, like to be put in that position? And referring to Job, he was also proven. It seems that at a certain time the sons of God were gathered together, and the devil was among them. And the Lord, addressing himself to Satan, said, Hast thou considered my servant Job? Oh yes, but you have put a hedge about him. If you were to serve me the same way, I would be as obedient as he. Possibly I do not know about that, says Satan. Let me tempt him. Well, replies the Lord, you may try. Then what do we read?

“And there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them:

And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

While he was yet speaking, there came also yet another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Job received all this intelligence, sad as it was, without being moved in the least to anger. He, we are told, rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down and worshipped, and said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” We do not always feel so. We used to say in Missouri, “Those damned Missourians have stolen our cattle. Those damned Gentiles have done this and that.” But they could not do it if the Lord did not permit them. Here is another evidence of our being in the hands of God, and we should feel that we are in his hands; and then it will be all right. We will not blame the devil, nor wicked, corrupt men; for they are of the devil whose works they do. But we will say with Job, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

The devil again appeared before the Lord, and the Lord said to him: “Well, you told me that Job would do thus and so; but he remains true and unshaken, although thou movedst me against him to destroy him.” Satan then answered and said, “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” And the Lord said unto Satan, “Behold, he is in thine hand; but spare his life.” Satan sallied forth again from the presence of God, and smote Job with sore boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. And while in this condition we are told that he sat down in ashes, and took a potsherd and scraped himself. And his friends hearing of his misfortunes came and taunted him with being a hypocrite, etc., as we are apt to do when a series of misfortunes overtakes a man. But he would not be moved by this, although he was stripped of everything and afflicted withal. At last his wife thought she could not stand it any longer; she got worked up over it, and I can imagine her saying to her husband Job, I would not stand it any longer, I would curse God, and die like a man. Job still retaining his self-possession turned and said to her, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women.” “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Naked came I into the world; and naked must I return. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” And said he further, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Job was a man that feared God and lived up to his privileges, and the Spirit of the Almighty God rested upon him; and hence he says, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter-day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, and revel in this brain; although I go down to the silent tomb, there to rot and become as the dust of the earth, yet, in my flesh shall I see God; and these eyes shall gaze upon Him. And I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that these eyes shall see him, and he shall reign in the lat ter-days upon the earth. That the kind of religion those men had; and we want the same kind of principle. After Job had been tried and proven, the Lord lifted him up again, and increased his flocks and herds and everything in the shape of earthly possessions which the world calls good. And so great was the goodness of God extended to Job, that we are told he was more blessed in his latter days than in his former days. And it was as the devil had said, God put a hedge around about him; and so he does about us, and we do not know it.

Here is Brother Cannon, for instance, who is soon about to go to Washington as our Delegate to Congress, and you know the influence that has been exercised against the people whom he represents, and you know also that he, as Delegate, is not entitled to a vote. And notwithstanding the devices and schemings of men and organizations, that have used their influence directly for the purpose of bringing inimical legislation against us, God has confounded them in all of their plans up to the present time. Has not God put a hedge about us? Yes, He has. And as long as we fear him, he will continue to do it; and he will preserve us, and no power this side of earth or hell can injure us.

One of the poets says—

“Shall I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease, While others sought to win the prize And sailed through bloody seas?”

And John, while wrapped in vision, saw an innumerable company of the redeemed clothed in white raiment, singing a song that no man knew save he that received it. And he inquired saying, Who are these arrayed in white, and whence came they? These are they that came up through much tribulation, who washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. I have heard Joseph Smith say to the Twelve, “God will get hold of your heart strings, and he will wrench them to the very core.” Has he done it? He has. The Twelve know that he has. President Young knew it, and Joseph Smith knew it; and finally he had to give himself up as an offering for this people. Have we passed through suffering? We have. And shall we have more of it, to face? We shall, if we be found among those whom John saw. We have got to be sifted in the sieve of tribulation until we shall prove our integrity to be true to God and man. Brethren, seek for the Spirit of God upon yourselves, and all that pertain to you, and live so that your prayers can be heard and answered upon your heads; and walk according to the light of that which you have already received, and the blessings of God will attend you. You can make a little heaven right here among yourselves, if you want to; and you need not go anywhere else for it. Live your religion, and you will be blessed in time and all eternity. God bless you. Amen.

The Priesthood—God’s Love for the Human Family, Etc.

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at the General Conference, in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Oct. 9, 1881.

We have now been in session for some time. We have listened to a great many interesting things associated with the Church and kingdom of God. We have had also, during the Conference, matters to reflect upon, pertaining to the departure of some of our brethren, whom we loved and esteemed. They have been taken away from us, and have gone into another state of existence, which is all perfectly right. We have nothing to say particularly in relation to these matters.

The Lord has revealed unto us his holy will. He has by his own voice, by the ministering of holy angels, restored to us the everlasting Gospel, that plan which was ordained by Jehovah, before the world rolled into existence, or the morning stars sang together for joy. Associated with the Gospel he has restored the Priesthood, which is simply, in a few words, the rule and government of God, whether in the heavens or on the earth. This Priesthood, this law, this government and these principles have been communicated from the heavens. They originated not with man upon the earth. They did not originate with any church upon the earth, or any people, or any authority. This is the gift of God to man. This Gospel places man in communication with God, his Heavenly Father; this Gospel brings life and immortality to light; this Gospel is proclaimed in the interest of all men in all parts of the earth; the Priesthood in connection with the Gospel has a commission to proclaim to all the world, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. It is a message of salvation to the nations of the earth, and it is very different from that which many call the Gospel, whose followers would seek to destroy, to defame, to overturn and to injure all humanity who are opposed to them, and to their views and feelings. God feels interested in the welfare of the whole human family, and for this purpose he has established principles upon the earth which exist in the heavens—a Gospel that has prevailed among the Gods in the eternal worlds, containing principles which are calculated to elevate, ennoble and exalt the human family. The principles are eternal as the Gospel itself is eternal; and as the love of God was manifested in former times by the giving of His Son for the redemption of the world, so the goodness of God is extended in the last days to save, to bless, to elevate and to dignify the human family. And those who are in possession of these principles are in possession not only of the love of God, but of the love of man, and will seek, by every means in their power, aided by the Spirit of God, and that light, love and intelligence which dwell in his bosom, to spread these sacred principles and to save men, if possible almost contrary to their own will. It is a mistaken notion, let me say here, that some people entertain, that because men persecute us, we must persecute them: that because men would proscribe us in our religious faith, we must persecute them in theirs. There is no such principle associated with God, or with those who dwell in the love of God, or who are actuated by the Spirit of God. Everything of that kind proceeds from beneath and not from above. God is interested in the welfare of all people, all nations, all kindreds, and all tongues. He is the Father of the spirits of all flesh, and however narrow and contracted men may be in their ideas, he can afford to let his rain descend on the evil and the good, and cause his sun to shine on the just and on the unjust. For this purpose he has introduced the Gospel; for this purpose he is gathering together a people under the influence of the Gospel, which Gospel, when received and obeyed, imparts the Holy Ghost, and which Holy Ghost takes of the things of God, and shows them unto us. He has gathered us together here in this place and in this land, in order that we may be more fully instructed in His law, for men are not acquainted with God by revelation anywhere else to my knowledge. Very few men upon the face of the earth believe in revelation from God. They believe in their own theories, and notions and ideas and principles, but they know nothing about “thus saith the Lord,” as men used to do when they had the Gospel; and wherever the Gospel exists, there exists with it a knowledge of God, and of the laws of life. God has committed to us the Gospel and the High Priesthood, which is not intended, as some suppose, to bring men into bondage or to tyrannize over the consciences of men, but to make all men free as God is free; that they may drink of the streams “whereof shall make glad the city of God;” that they may be elevated and not debased; that they may be purified and not corrupted; that they may learn the laws of life and walk in them; and not walk in the ways of corruption and go down to death. Jeremiah tells us that the Lord says, “I will take you 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.”

We have learned this, that God lives; we have learned that when we call upon him he hears our prayers; we have learned that it is the height of human happiness to fear God and observe his laws and keep his commandments; we have learned that it is a duty devolving upon us to try and make all men happy and intelligent, which happiness and intelligence can only be obtained through obedience to the laws of God. It is in him that we trust. We are not so much concerned about the destiny of this kingdom as some people think we are. God is interested in it, the holy angels are interested in it, the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and men of God who have lived in other ages are interested in it, and in the councils of heaven it was agreed that this kingdom should be established; it is according to the word and will and eternal designs of Jehovah. And as he called men in other days he has called them in these days, and this Priesthood administers in the earth and in the heavens. And when Brother Moses Thatcher talks about a man being called, having finished his course here, to go into another state of existence, he talks understandingly on that point. This Priesthood is an everlasting Priesthood, as was the Priesthood of Jesus, after the order of Melchizedek, and it administers in time and in eternity. This Gospel brings us into communion with God our Heavenly Father, with Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn; and while they are operating there, we are operating here. For this reason we are building our Temples and administering in them, and these are things that I wish to speak a little upon to you Latter-day Saints who are assembled here from the various parts of the Territory. It is not an idle phantom that has been presented to us in this matter. There is nothing vague or visionary about it, we are dealing with sober, serious, solemn facts. Elijah it was prophesied should come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. That prophecy has been fulfilled, and while millions and myriads of the human family have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, we are instructed what our duty is towards them; and while we are engaged in building Temples and administering therein both for the living and the dead, the everlasting Priesthood in the heavens are engaged in operating in the same way in the interests of all humanity, not only of those who now live but those who have lived. We need, it is true, the assistance and guidance of the Almighty, and the Holy Priesthood behind the veil also requires our assistance and our help. Paul, who understood these things, said, “that they without us should not be made perfect,” and we without them cannot be made perfect. They in their day had obtained a knowledge of God and his law, and we are permitted to obtain the same. God has been pleased to restore the same principles and to place us in communion with him and them. Hence, while they are operating in the heavens we are operating here upon the earth. We build Temples and administer in them. They are attending to those who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, and who will communicate from time to time with us to show us our duty.

It is written that saviors shall come upon Mount Zion. How can a man be a savior if he saves nobody? And how can they save unless God shows them how? How can they build Temples unless they have a knowledge of the work in which they are engaged? And how can they administer in these Temples, unless God instructs them? They cannot do it; we cannot do it; nobody can do it; and therefore it is necessary that we should all the time be under the guidance and direction of the Almighty, for without Him we can do nothing.

The reports that we hear concerning the Temples that are being built are very interesting. We hear they have placed the roof on the one in Cache Valley; in Manti, they are progressing with another very favorably, and the people all around in those districts are contributing and aiding all they can for the advancement of the work, and then with the one already built there will soon be two and three and then four Temples in operation for the labor in which we are engaged. Some people I know will say it is a very poor speculation, a very singular kind of a religion. Yet we are carrying out the counsel of God, for all these things are designed by the Almighty, and emanate from Him. And if we die what then? We shall live and reign throughout eternity, worlds without end, and we know it. Therefore we are satisfied as to the work in which we are engaged. It is all right.

I say to the brethren and all who are engaged in this labor, I say God bless you, and if you could hear the voices above you would hear loud cries of “Amen:” for all heaven is interested in the work in which we are engaged; and whatever other men may think about these things, we know what we are doing, and we shall try, in the name of the Lord, and under His guidance and direction, to build up his Zion upon the earth; that there may be a phalanx of people that God will acknowledge—a phalanx of people that will bow to the behests of Jehovah; a phalanx of people in whom the heavens are interested; a people who are engaged in rolling forth the work of God, and establishing not only the Church of Christ, but His Zion and the kingdom of God upon the earth.

This is a work that is not popular among men. They want their ideas, their theories, and their notions; we want the ideas and theories, the word and will, and the guidance and direction of the Almighty; and if we are connected with his kingdom, if there is such a thing as the kingdom of God upon the earth, it means the rule and government of God.

Peradventure some will say, “We won’t let you do it.” Now, don’t stop the Lord, will you? No matter about the theories, ideas and notions of men. God has committed to us certain principles, and by the help of God we mean to carry them out. In doing this it devolves upon us to send the Gospel to every creature under heaven, and for this we have a First Presidency; for this we have the Twelve Apostles; for this we have some seventy times seventy of Seventies; for this we have several thousand High Priests; for this we have some eight or ten thousand Elders, and God has called us to do his work, and by the help of Israel’s God we will do it in the name of the Lord, and let all Israel say, Amen. (The vast congregation responded, “Amen.”) These are our feelings on that subject. And let the Twelve, let the Seventies, let the High Priests, and let the Elders work up to the dignity and importance of their calling, and feel that they are under command, as the servants of God, to do his will in spreading the Gospel of life and salvation to the nations of the earth. The world will hate you. No matter—they hated your master before you. They persecuted Him before they persecuted you. He endured it; we will try to.

What then? We will go on building our Temples, and when we have built them we will administer in them according to the word of God. And who else knows this order but us? Let the Latter-day Saints build these Temples and hand them over to the divines of the world, and what would they do? Why, all they would do would be to quarrel about theology. What do they know about the ordinances of the Gospel? Nothing. What do they know about salvation for the living and the dead? Nothing. They would not know how to ad minister in a Temple if they had one, and further, we should not know if God had not shown us how. We are dependent upon the Lord; but we have our friends, as I have said, behind the veil. They have the same Priesthood which we have, and they are operating in our interests and it is that which frequently operates among men now, silently working when they know nothing about it. They rage in many instances, and foam and get up resolutions; generally very religious people. Well, it was that class of people that persecuted Jesus and his disciples; they thought they were unfit to live. What of it? Do you hate them? No. Would I injure any of them? No, they are injuring themselves, God knows, ten thousand times more than I could do. Any man who departs from the principles of right; any man who tramples upon human rights and human liberty; men who cannot allow other men to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, are in a deplorable, condition; they are fast going back to barbarism; and it is necessary that God should introduce principles to lift man above these groveling ideas. We can look upon all mankind as our brothers, and can try to benefit and elevate the human race. This is the mission which God has given us to attend to—first, in regard to religious matters, and afterwards to political matters, that all men may enjoy perfect freedom in every respect, not in name, not in theory only, but in reality.

I find that time is passing. We scarcely have time in our assemblages to attend to things and talk about principles that we would like to. There are ten thousand things present themselves before my mind, which I would like to lay before this congregation; but we have not time. We shall have to take these things by degrees, little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept.

There is one thing I wish to speak about here politically. “What do you think about the government of the United States,” some people say. “What are your opinions?” I will tell you what I think about the Constitution. I have just the same opinion of it that Joseph Smith had, and he said it was given by inspiration of God. The men did not know this who wrote it; the men did not know it who adopted it; nevertheless it is true. There is an embodiment of principles contained therein that are calculated to bless and benefit mankind. “What do you think about the government of the United States as a government?” I think it is a good deal ahead of most governments, but I think the administrators are apostatizing very fast from the principles that the fathers of this nation instituted. It has become quite a question nowadays, whether men can be preserved in their rights or not, whether men can worship God according to the dictates of their conscience or not, or whether we are living in a land of freedom or not. What is the matter? Why, they are like the religionists. How is it with them? They profess to believe in the Bible. They do believe it shut, but when you open it they deny it. The people of this nation profess to believe in the Constitution. They do until it comes to be applied to the people and then they do not. That is perhaps too broad a saying; but I will say there are many who feel like this—not all by a long way. There are thousands and tens of thousands who are imbued with the same principles as were the framers of the Constitution and who desire to see human freedom perpetuated. The principles of freedom and the love of human liberty have not quite died out of the hearts of all men in these United States. There is a respectable balance in favor of liberty and freedom and equal rights. But there are others—why they talk sometimes about our polygamy until you would think from what these open-mouthed people say, that we were the most corrupt people on the face of the earth. I could say something about them if I wanted to talk, I would say here that we respect family virtue, and we protect virtue among us. We associate with our families upon principles that have been ordained of God, and sanctioned by Him, in the different ages of the world. And then we are true to our covenants, while they profess to be true to theirs, and violate them and disgrace and corrupt themselves. God save us from their infamies! Do not follow after their example. What have we seen of men here right in our city sent to evangelize us?—seducing females when they could, and then go into courts, churches, etc., and talk about the impurities of the “Mormons!” This is not a very good way to evangelize people nor to exalt them; it does not produce a love of those ennobling principles which all honorable men ought to be governed by. We would say then in regard to religionists—if you profess a religion be true to it; if you profess to believe in the Bible when shut, believe it when open, and practice its principles. We would say to men who profess so much loyalty and patriotism to the government, be true to your institutions, be true to the Constitution of the United States, as we say to all our people to be true to the same. We expect the Latter-day Saints to be so, and to be subject to law, to avoid lawlessness of every kind and the interference with men’s rights in any shape. Let all men worship as they please. That is a matter for their own consciences, it is not for us to dictate. Let all men be free in their business relations, that in all things we may feel that we are performing our part as citizens of the United States and citizens of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth; and if other people can afford to traduce us, we can scarcely afford to tell the truth about them. I might talk about thousands of things that I am acquainted with that I know as well as I am standing here; but we will leave them to their master. If they choose evil let them choose it. We talk sometimes about the influence of saloons, of whiskey and beer, and all these kinds of things. Cannot you Latter-day Saints let them alone? If you cannot you are not fit to be Latter-day Saints and you will not be so long. If the world choose to wallow in these things, let them wallow. But would an Elder in Israel and a saint of God disgrace himself by being found in such dens? Yes, many have, but they have got to repent and turn round a short corner and purge themselves from these things, or they will be severed from the Church and kingdom of God, and they will have no association among us. We are after truth and after righteousness, and let us, as we have been exhorted, maintain our purity and our virtue, and if others introduce corruption among us, let them alone, let them take their own course, but “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.” Ye Latter-day Saints purge yourselves from iniquity and speak the truth, act honestly, be pure and virtuous, and honor God and your calling, and God will honor you, but if you do not, you will be speedily rooted out. There is a day of reckoning fast coming. God is beginning to trouble the nations of the earth, and these things will grow and increase, and it is time for you Elders of Israel to be on the side of right, to depart from evil, to cleave to the truth, to work righteousness, and to honor God. God expects it of you, the holy angels expect it of you, and if you do not leave your evils you can have no place with the Saints of God on the earth or in the heavens.

As I before said, we have not time to enter into all these matters. You have had a good deal of needful instruction. Let us profit by it and honor our God. And I say God bless all men who love the truth, whether here or anywhere else; God bless all men who maintain human rights and freedom; and God confound the opposers of these principles everywhere. These are my principles and feelings. We want nothing like communism, or nihilism, or any of the outrageous infamies that are beginning to vex and perplex the nations. Yet these things will roll on until it will be a vexation to hear the reports thereof, and unless this nation speedily turns round God’s hand will be upon them; unless they speedily adhere to the principles of equal rights and freedom, He will be after them. Now, you can set that down if you like, and see whether it will come to pass or not. I say, then God bless every lover of right, whether among this people or anywhere else, and God bless the rulers of this land who rule in righteousness, and God remove those who do not. (Amen). And let us honor our God and our religion and adhere to the principles of truth. God will stand by us, and the glory of God will rest upon us, and no power this side of hell can hurt us if we be followers of that which is good.

I ask the blessing of my Heavenly Father to be upon this congregation, upon all Israel who love the truth, and all men everywhere who are desirous to do right and keep the commandments of God, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Saints a Peculiar People—Their Religion Practical—Sustaining Each Other—Honesty in Trade—The Blessing of God on the Faithful, Etc.

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered at the General Conference in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, Oct. 9, 1881.

In the presence of so large an audience as we have here today, every one ought to sit very still and repress every noise as much as possible, for the acoustic properties of this tabernacle are of such a character that the combination of sounds—shuffling of feet, crying of babies, walking about of children—drown the speaker’s voice however strong it may be. Every person should therefore keep as still as possible. No human power can make a congregation like this hear, unless the congregation itself sits quietly, and babies should not be allowed to disturb those in their immediate neighborhood. It may be very interesting to the mother; she may think the music of her baby’s voice very sweet; but those who come to hear are not interested in hearing it.

In coming together as we have done upon this occasion and during this Conference, we should be so united in our faith that when a speaker arises the people will draw from him that instruction which they need. Many of you have come long distances. I see some here upwards of 300 miles from their homes and of course when men take such journeys, traveling about 700 miles in the round trip to come to Conference, there should be something imparted to them which will be a profit to them, that they may feel satisfied when they leave here that the journey has been well taken. Now, there are topics enough before us, topics of great, vital importance to us as a people, which we should consider, and which upon occasions like this are appropriate for our consideration.

We have been told—indeed it is a constant comment about us—that we are a peculiar people. We know this ourselves. It is a very remarkable thing, that this Gospel, which the world calls “Mormonism,” has gathered only here and there one out of the families of the earth, and as the most of you who are adults well know, you were, as a general thing, different from the rest of your family in many respects. It seemed as though you were waiting for something to come along a little different from anything that you had heard. The systems of religion, the ideas that were inculcated by your teachers and that you were taught in your Sunday schools, in your chapels and in your meetinghouses and churches, did not accord with your views concerning God and Christ, and the plan of salvation; and yet, had you been asked what you believed in, where you should go to find that which you did believe in, or to define your ideas of what you wanted, it would have been impossible for you to have done so. Yet there was a yearning in your hearts for something higher, something nobler, something more Godlike, something after the apostolic plan of salvation. And it is a remarkable fact that the Elders of this Church, in their travels and administrations among the people, though they have had great difficulties to contend with, have had persecutions and all manner of evil things said about them, have been frequently mobbed and driven—that notwithstanding they have had these difficulties to contend with, it has been an easy matter to bring those who are now Latter-day Saints into this Church. When the Elders found the honest in heart, when they found men and women who were meek and lowly, who were prayerful, who believed in the Bible, who were willing to accept truth however it might come to them, however unpopular its advocate might be—when they found people of this description, they have never had any difficulty in gathering them out. The Latter-day Saints throughout these valleys, from north to south, have been gathered without much, if any, trouble on the part of the Elders, for the word of God has come to them in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost, and they have been convinced of the truth very frequently before they scarcely heard it. This is very remarkable—remarkable how the hearts of the people have been prepared to receive the Elders, how their minds have been softened, and how willingly they have received the truth and borne testimony to it, when they heard it. I remember well my own mother’s experience. I was a little boy sitting beside her the first time she saw an Elder. She had never heard of the Latter-day Saints or “Mormons,” she did not know that he was one; she did not even know that he was a professor of religion; but she had been waiting for something. My father and mother were both Episcopalians, but they had no faith in the system, it was cold and inanimate, there was nothing lifelike or godlike about it. When he left the house she said to me, “George, that is a man of God.” She had a testimony to that effect, although, as I have said, she did not know he was even a professor of religion. That Elder was President Taylor. And when he began to talk afterwards regarding the principles of the Gospel, she was ready to be baptized, for it was that for which she had been waiting, her heart was prepared for it, and there are thousands and thousands of such instances among the people called Latter-day Saints. God prepared their hearts beforehand, and the Elders found them without much difficulty. It is true they had to labor and contend with others, but those who were the honest-hearted sons and daughters of God, who were willing to receive the truth, received it without much difficulty, as I have said. And it is a wonderful fact that in accordance with the scriptures God is gathering together a people to lay the foundation of this great work, concerning which all the Prophets have spoken. God has predicted through the mouths of his Holy Prophets—and their words are to be found in the Bible—that in the last days there should be just such a work as that which we witness—that is, one of a city and two of a family being gathered together, in order that there might be a representation of all the families and races of men upon the earth, to lay the foundation of this, the greatest work that has ever been established upon the face of the earth. And yet men talk of there being no evidence in favor of “Mormonism.” They say, Where is the evidence of its divinity? Where is the evidence that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God? Show us a sign that we may see whether you are the people you profess to be? Why, here in these mountains is one of the greatest signs presented to all the inhabitants of the earth that ever was shown to man—a system, an organization composed of people from every creed, and it may be said from every civilized creed, and from every civilized race, gathered together, dwelling in union and in love, and worshipping God according to the laws which he has given with a oneness, with a union, with a love that is unexampled upon the face of the earth. Nowhere else can such a thing be found; and I often think when men talk about delusion, and about the shrewd leaders of this people, and that by the power of their shrewdness and the strength of the imposture, they are able to hoodwink the people and to lead them astray, that it takes more faith to believe that theory than it does for the Latter-day Saints to believe the truth as we have received it. If this be imposture where is the truth? The Gospel of Christ was to produce union, its mission was to produce love, to destroy strife, to make men and women live together as brethren and sisters, and it has done so for us and it is doing so and it will do so more and more, and it will build up a system such as cannot be found on the face of the earth. And it is growing and increasing. It is like a little leaven, and by and by it will leaven the whole lump, and the influence and the power that will go forth from this people will be felt throughout the whole earth. I know it is a great thing to say, and men, looking at us numerically, think we are exceedingly presumptuous to advance such an idea, but it is nevertheless true. The union of this people, the power which accompanies them and the effect of their example will be felt more and more, and the truth will continue to spread until all honest-hearted people will be convinced of the truth of the statements which are made concerning the restoration of the everlasting Gospel in its original purity and power, and those who may not be prepared to receive it—will sooner or later respect it and admire it, and be willing to share in the benefits which will accrue from its establishment on the earth.

Now, my brethren and sisters, there is one thing above everything else, that every speaker from this stand would like to impress upon your minds, and that is, when you go away from this Conference that you carry with you the determination to live and to carry out in your lives the principles that you profess. That is all that we can ask of you. Live your religion—that embodies all that can be said to you. There is glory in it, there is happiness in it, there is peace in it, there is virtue in it, there is wealth in it, there is exaltation in it, there is no gift or blessing or power that it does not contain and that does not accompany it. On the other hand, violate the principles of your religion, deviate from the path that God has marked out, and there is sorrow and misery for you, if persisted in.

You have been gathered together in the most wonderful manner that any people ever were. We talk about the gathering of the children of Israel under Moses. I consider that that mighty movement fades away in comparison with the gathering that is now going on. This people have been brought from the various nations of the earth, and you have received a testimony from God concerning this work. You know for yourselves if you are living as you should do—concerning these things. How necessary it is, then, that you should carry out these principles. But the great difficulty we have to contend with is that we bring with us our traditions and preconceived ideas, and to overcome these is the great labor we have to contend with; it is a labor that we should set ourselves industriously, patiently, perseveringly to accomplish. Let us be pure in our hearts, in our language, in our conduct, in everything that we think and say and do. Let us seek for purity; let us inculcate purity; let us take the principles of the Gospel and teach them to our children and endeavor to make them better Latter-day Saints than we are; let us do everything we can in this direction, and then if we do this there will be no vice in our land; liquor saloons, gambling houses, houses of prostitution and the other evils that abound in the world will not be found within our borders. It should be our aim to so live that these things shall be repressed, completely extinguished. It is a shame for anyone professing to be what we are to enter a liquor saloon, or to patronize one, or to patronize any of these evils; and we should withdraw the hand of fellowship from all who do. Drunkenness certainly will never be countenanced by the Lord. It is a gross vice, and it will bring the loss of the Spirit to everyone who indulges in it; and so with these other vices to which I have alluded. No one can be a Latter-day Saint who practices these things. We should be honest, we should be truthful, our word should be like the words of the Lord, that is, in our sphere. When a man says a thing to his neighbor, he should so live that his neighbor can have confidence in him. When he makes a promise that promise should be sacred, and if he cannot fulfil it, let him explain the reason so that confidence may be preserved. When we borrow we should repay; When we deal we should be upright in our dealing. I would like it to be the case among us that when a man has a horse to sell that he will tell all he knows about it and not endeavor to take advantage in any shape or form. The same with a wagon, a cow, a piece of land, or a house, or anything else, that a man will tell what he knows about these things, so that confidence may be maintained. There are some men of whom I have heard who when they make a trade think that the one with whom they trade ought to have his own eyes open, and if he does not and is taken advantage of because of his inexperience or being too confiding, the one who gets the bargain is not to blame, but to be congratulated on his good luck. Indeed there are some men who, if they can take advantage in this way, would think nothing of bowing down on their knees and thanking God for having made so good a bargain. Now, a man who calls himself a Latter-day Saint, and will do a thing of the kind, grieves the spirit of the Lord. Again, if a man employs you to do a piece of work, that work should be well done whether he is there to see it done or not. And when employers agree to pay a certain price, or a certain kind of pay they should abide by their agreement. But there is a great deal of trickery in such matters. Some people think “I am a good trader; I can sell a horse for more than it is worth; I have got an old wagon, but my neighbor, who has not my experience wants a wagon; I can trade that poor wagon to him, I can get a good price for it, and I shall thank God if I can do so.” I tell you such things are very sinful, and are not from God. When we, professing to be Latter-day Saints, do such things, we grieve the Spirit of God, and cause Satan to laugh. These are practical duties. I would give more for a Latter-day Saint who, if I employed him to do me a job and he did it right, than I would for a man who would offer a long prayer and tell the Lord a great many things that might be very good, and did not do the work honestly. I would rather have a man that was honest in his dealings with his neighbor—a man that if I wanted to buy a horse I could go to him with the full assurance that he would do the square thing by me—than I would have a man who offers very long prayers if he neglected this other duty. I tell you that the Lord wants works from the people and not professions. We have got lots of profession. There are some men very sanctimonious, and because they can pray well and are looked upon as good Latter-day Saints, they think they are privileged to take advantage of their neighbor. Now, I tell you that we want a religion that is different to this. We want a religion of honesty. If I say a thing to a man I ought to live so that he will believe every word I say. If I sell him a piece of property, I should tell him the truth about it, there should be no concealment, no lying or allowing the man to be deceived. It is on that account that I despise this trading. Some men live by trading, and in the long run somebody is cheated in the community. There are times, of course, when men can exchange property, and both parties be benefited thereby. If one man has a piece of property that another man wants, and the other has a piece of property that suits the first party, a mutual benefit results from the exchange. There are other instances of this kind which frequently occur; but it should be done on the square. Any man who takes advantage in this direction cannot be a Latter-day Saint, in truth and deed, and God will hold him accountable for his conduct. Ours ought to be a religion of works and not of profession. It should be a religion that we can carry with us in our every day work—a religion that will make a man a better son, a better brother, a better husband, a better father than he would be without it, and I would not give a fig for a religion that did not have that effect. When I hear men quarreling with their children, husbands with their wives, wives with their husbands, I say there is not much religion about that kind of work or conduct. A man who is not kind to his wife needs some religion. A man who is not kind to his children and to his neighbors, needs some religion, and he needs the religion of Jesus Christ. A man who is indolent and neglects his duties, needs more religion, the religion of Jesus Christ, to make him more industrious. An indolent man cannot have much of the Spirit of God about him; an uncleanly man, and certainly an impure man, a dishonest man cannot have much of it. When I hear a woman quarreling with her children and making the house too hot for her husband—I rarely, if ever, hear them, because I do not go where they are, but I hear of them—I think that woman needs religion. When she loses patience, she should go to God and ask for patience, that the power of her religion may rest down upon her.

The great difficulty with us is: We have a religion and do not seek for its power, we do not dive to its depths, we do not rise to its heights, we do not comprehend its beauties and blessings. We go along without seeking after our God and the power of our God, as we should do. If we would devote a little time to self-examination when we go to bed, review the events of the day, see if our conduct has been such as God can approve of, and as enables us to lie down with a conscience void of offense towards God and all men, we do well, and if we cannot do that it is time to repent. If we have wronged anybody, we should make it right. And when something comes along to cross us or disturb our equanimity, instead of throwing out words that are like daggers, lacerating the feelings of those to whom they are addressed, we should shut our mouths. Some people pride themselves in what they call their frankness and candor in this respect. I tell you, I don’t want such frankness around me. I would rather a man would hold his tongue and not indulge in such expressions as are hurtful to people’s feelings. We should so live that our examples as fathers and mothers will be worthy of imitation by our children. You see a brawling, boisterous, swearing man, and his children will copy after him. You see a man that is the opposite of that, and his children will bear his example in mind. If he is a prayerful man, his children are likely to be prayerful also; if he be honest and truthful and keeps his word strictly, that lesson will not be lost upon his children. If I were a young man and wanted to marry, I would not go to a house where there was continual quarreling between the husband and wife and children; I would not want to select a wife from such a family; I would want to go where peace reigns, the peace of God, which every man, woman and child possess in their hearts and in their habitations. That is our privilege. These are very simple things, and yet nobody has gotten true religion who does not possess these gifts. We may talk about our religion; We may boast about it; we may tell about its gifts and powers; we may tell about the manifestations we have had; but after all, the marrow of our religion lies in the performance of those everyday duties, some of which I have alluded to.

There is one thing that has struck me as very remarkable about the Latter-day Saints. God in the early day of this Church told us that we should be a people that should have peace, and he has given unto us a revelation which says, that “it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take the sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.” Now that day will come just as sure as God has spoken, and we of all people on the face of the earth ought to be a peaceful people in view of this promise—no quarreling, no seeking to injure each other, no doing violence to one another. I have heard of men threatening to do something which would involve the shedding of blood if certain things were done to them. Why, it is a most horrible thought, for there is no salvation for the murderer. There is no people on this broad continent who cherish the Constitution of the United States as a sacred instrument any more, or as much as do the Latter-day Saints in these mountains. Believing it as we do to be inspired of God, and given for an express purpose, of course we attach a great deal of reverence to that instrument. We do not always pay reverence to officials, because of their maladministration of the laws; but the instrument itself, and the form of government we live under, we think is equaled by none upon the face of this broad earth; we think it is the greatest form of government, the freest, the most liberal, the best adapted for men and women, that ever was instituted by man among men. This we hold in our hearts, in our heart of hearts, concerning this government. But then a great many people are not suited because we take the liberty of criticizing certain officials. There have been a good many who have trampled upon the principles of the Constitution; but these outrageous acts, even against a people such as we are, do not affect the instrument, the fabric or the genius of our institutions, and on this account we are truly loyal. When the South raised the flag of rebellion, there was no well informed Latter-day Saint who could approve in his heart of such conduct, however much we might have expected it, Joseph Smith having predicted, nearly thirty years before the rebellion broke out, that it would occur—however much this might be the case there was nothing connected with the principle of secession or rebellion that met with the approval of the Latter-day Saints. And it is a remarkable fact that God, through the acts of our enemies, caused us to be placed in a position where, in the war of the rebellion, we should not be compelled to shed the blood of our fellow men. Had we remained in New York, where our people first settled; or afterwards in Ohio; had we remained in Missouri, to which State we subsequently emigrated and from whence we were cruelly driven; had we remained in Illinois, where we afterwards took refuge, and from whence we were also cruelly driven to the wilderness, we should have been made participants in that dreadful strife, we should have been compelled to have taken up the weapons of war, or the people would have said we were disloyal. Inaction at such a time would have been set down to disloyalty and sympathy with the rebellion, and we could scarcely have escaped, in view of the prejudices against us, being branded and treated as traitors to the Government. But we were here in the mountains, in a position where we could do nothing in the strife. President Lincoln asked for some men to guard the great highway, to preserve the mails and keep open communication, and these men were sent out. But they did not have to fight. Under the command of General James Craig, our men were sent to guard the great trans-continental highway, and we did our part in that direction. But God, in His Providence, did not place us in a position to imbrue our hands in the blood of our fellow men. And when five hundred men—after we were driven from Illinois in 1846—were required to make up the Mormon Battalion for the Mexican war, the promise of God to these five hundred men was that they should not be compelled to shed blood during their absence, and in a remarkable manner this prediction was fulfilled. They never shrank from doing their duty as good, loyal citizens and soldiers, but there was no bloodshedding by the Mormon Battalion. We have been in all our troubles preserved from shedding blood. We are not a bloodshedding people. Our garments are not stained with the blood of our fellow men—I mean as a people. There are many among us who have been soldiers in the war, but I am speaking now as an organization, and we stand in that position today, in the United States. We can say to the Southerner, to the Northerner, to the Westerner, to the Easterner, and to every man, “We are your brothers.” We are at peace with all mankind. God has given unto us a law concerning this, that we must hoist the standard of peace and continue to proclaim it, and then if we are called upon to defend ourselves, we are told to leave our cause in the hands of God. We are a people who love peace, and in the turmoil, in the wars, in the confusion, in all the disorders that will eventually occur, not only in Europe, but in our own land—our own blessed land in many respects which shall become yet very unhappy in consequence of internal broils and disunion—when all this shall take place we are the people who will present such an aspect to the world, that they will say, “Here are the features we desire, they have the peace our souls long for.” Now, my brethren and sisters, we should cultivate this feeling of peace. My sisters, let peace be in your hearts. Repress everything like quarrelling. Suffer wrong rather than do wrong. It is a harder thing for a man to submit to wrong than to fight against it. The natural tendency of the heart is to resent wrong, to strike back when you are struck at, but it is not the way laid down by the Savior.

There is one thing I want to speak about before I get through, and that is in relation to our tithes and offer ings. I can speak about this not boastingly, but with freedom, for I do my part in this matter. There is too much delinquency on our part as a people in this respect. Let me entreat you to be more punctual in these matters. The more you do for the Church of God, the more you want to do; the more you are interested in its welfare the more you will become attached to it. Look at the Twelve Apostles, have they not set you an example—I will not speak of the First Presidency—in regard to these things? Have any of them sought to build themselves up and become wealthy? Here is Brother Woodruff, President of the Twelve Apostles. Is there any man in Israel who has worked harder to support himself and family than he? He is known for his persistent industry. He has set the people a great example in that respect. He has not been a burden to anyone. He has labored from morning till night for this people and for their salvation. He has not fattened upon your earnings, he has sustained himself by the blessing of God. And so have the rest of the Twelve. They have labored continually for this people. They have traveled thousands of miles, gone to the ends of the earth, to build up Zion, and not counted anything too great a labor. That is the example the Twelve have set this people. And they have paid their tithing punctually. They have done as much in this way according to their means as any of you, and in addition to this they have spent almost their entire time in the interest of the Church. What I say on this point applies fully also to President Taylor, when he was one of the twelve. Now, with such examples as these, how will you appear in the day of the Lord Jesus, when you present yourselves before Him, when you appear in those Temples to receive your blessings, if you have thought more about your money and about worldly things than you have about anything else? Let me say you will be very sorry for this if you do not repent and do better. There are many leading men among us who do not do their duty in this respect. They are derelict, and neglect of this duty is extending among the people. We must do more in this direction if we would have the blessing of God than we are doing. We must be more diligent; we must think more about God and His kingdom and His salvation than we do about the things of this world. It is true, as we have been told during this Conference, we shall have houses, farms, etc., etc.; these are all necessary; but above all else we should think about the kingdom of God and its advancement. We have no friends but God and ourselves. At the same time let us extend the hand of relief where we can to others; but it is our duty to build up Zion. From my childhood I have vowed in my heart—and I have endeavored to keep the vow—that not one cent of mine would ever go to build up anything that was opposed to Zion. At the same time I have spent years, as others have done, traveling without purse or scrip and preaching the Gospel to those who were in darkness; but so far as working to sustain that which is opposed to Zion I have determined, and I did so determine in my childhood, not to do that, God being my helper, and he has helped me up to the present time. The advancement of the kingdom of God should be uppermost in our hearts, and we should not be afraid to spend means to assist in this great work. Those who do will have it returned unto them an hundredfold. You look at the men who have done the most in this Church, and you will find them the most blessed. They may not have so much wealth as some, but wealth is not everything, not by a good deal. The men who have spent the most time and the most means for the advancement of this work have been the men who have been blessed and preserved of God, God has prospered them all the day long, and he will bless their children after them. It is something to have one’s children blessed. I would like to have that as well as to be blessed myself; I would like to live so that I could invoke the power, and blessing of God upon my posterity.

I pray God to fill you with the Holy Ghost; the Holy Ghost that will bring things past to your remembrance and show unto you things to come; that you may retain the things you have heard during this Conference, and be built up and strengthened in your faith which I pray may be the case, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Calling of Missionaries—The Proper Training of the Young, Etc.

Remarks by Apostle John H. Smith, delivered at the General Conference, in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Morning, October 8, 1881.

I am pleased to meet with you this morning, and have had much satisfaction in listening to the teachings and instructions of our brethren.

The duties and responsibilities which are imposed upon us are of that nature that it is necessary for us to be called together from time to time to have our memories freshened in regard to the principles of the Gospel, the order of the Priesthood, and the duties and responsibilities that are incumbent upon us, as the servants of the Most High. Our minds are caused to reflect upon various subjects. My reflections have been directed for some time in a direction that is different in some measure from what it has been heretofore, and that is in regard to the selection of missionaries from among the various Stakes of Zion, to go abroad and represent the cause and kingdom of God upon the earth, in the various fields of labor wherein we are enabled at the present time to introduce the principles of the Gospel. And in looking round among my brethren for those that it would be proper to send upon missions, I find, in my judgment, that it is highly necessary that fathers and mothers in Israel should adopt a more strict and conscientious course in the instruction of their sons in regard to the principles of the Gospel. We find in searching among our brethren, that we are compelled at times to call upon men who have in some measure—and to a very great extent in some instances—neglected to fully study and comprehend in their entirety the principles of the Gospel. They have been faithful in the discharge of some of their duties, but the cares of life, the necessity of providing for families, aiding father and mother, etc., have prevented them receiving that care and attention and instruction, by those who are placed to watch over them that they should receive. It is a fact, patent to all of us, that those children who are called around the fireside at home and instructed in the principles of the Gospel by father and mother; that these children, though they may be wayward for a season, as they grow older, get the principles of the Gospel fixed upon their minds, a substantial foundation is laid, and as the days of thoughtlessness pass away, they are prepared to step forward and perform their part in the advancement of the work of God upon the earth. I think, therefore, it would be a wise and prudent thing for every family in Israel, that have sons arrived at the years of accountability, to teach them, not only when they have grown to this age, but from childhood up, so that when the time arrives they may be prepared to go forward in the various fields of labor, and use their influence in the advancement of the work which our Father has established. We frequently have to strive, in some measure, to keep our children around us, inasmuch as they are engaged in various pursuits, sometimes in various places; yet it would be the ambition and pride of every man and woman who are rearing a son in Zion, that he should be a messenger of peace and salvation to the world.

This is one of the subjects that I felt to touch upon in Conference. I have never been called upon before to look around in the interests of missionary work, but I have been led to reflect upon this matter. The noblest work that a son can be engaged in is the work of carrying the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and to do this successfully they must have a testimony of the truth within their own hearts. Every father and mother, as their sons become of age, should see that they are prepared for the responsibility and honor of a position of this kind, and thus be an honor to their parents, who have stood firm to the principles of the Gospel. In my brief experience in this matter I have had to approach many young men who have been in some measure wayward, not wicked; they are willing to go and try, but they feel that their lives have not been as exemplary as they might have been. No young man, however lowly his estate may be, is exempt from this right and privilege—the son of the farmer and the son of the lumberman, as much as the son of the merchant, the doctor, or the sons of the Twelve, Presidency of Stakes, Bishops of Wards, etc.; the same responsibility rests upon all who have espoused the cause of truth, and who are desirous that our names should stand in Israel.

I would therefore plead with the young men that are within the sound of my voice this day, that they prepare themselves for this great work, study the scriptures of truth, cultivate the spirit of humility, and strive to learn the way of life and be prepared for the duties and responsibilities of Elders in Israel. This should be the desire of every young man; and if we, as fathers and mothers, will attend to our duties, if we will study the interests of our families, enter into their feelings and sentiments, and cultivate within their hearts a regard for the principles of truth, we will find our sons and our daughters grow up around us honoring the Priesthood of the Son of God, honoring the Lord and His laws, and striving to do their utmost in furthering the advancement of His work. It is the duty of every young man who has received the Priesthood to become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, so that he may be able to aid in the accomplishment of this great labor. And in order, my brethren and sisters, that they may have a proper education for this labor, it is necessary that we begin with them in childhood; that mother makes it her sacred duty in the absence of father, or whether he be at home or no, to call her little ones around her and teach them to pray to their Father in Heaven for His blessing upon themselves; their friends, their kindred, and the good and pure everywhere. And where fathers and mothers begin to thus train their children in early childhood, in the principles of the Gospel, we will find that in after life, they will take their place in the Church, when the proper time arrives. Under this influence and teaching they will take their place in the Young Men’s Improvement Associations, and learn to bear their testimony intelligently, and feel desirous of responding to every call made upon them. They may feel timid at the first, as I believe all men do to a greater or less extent; but the right spirit is within their breasts, and they cannot shake it off.

Now, I am sanguine that there are many who call themselves Latter-day Saints, who have neglected their duty in this respect, and many a son is permitted to grow to manhood, whose father has never asked him to bow with them at the family altar. This is a serious neglect upon the part of those who have named the name of Jesus, who have come up to these mountains to be taught in the ways of the Lord. It is a sad neglect, and those who have done it in the past should guard against it in the future. We should attend to the sacred duty of instructing our sons and daughters, so that when they are called to fill various positions, they will feel it an honor to respond. This sentiment and feeling should actuate us at all times. It is not necessary that our children should be taught to make particularly long prayers. Christ, our elder Brother, has set us a wise and prudent example in this respect; He has given us an example worthy of imitation. It is not for the number of words that we use in approaching our Father, but it is that we approach Him in earnestness, realizing that He can bless us; and if we draw near unto Him as we should, we shall receive a blessing at His hands. I have sometimes thought that fathers have been unwise in this matter: their prayers have been too long; so much so that those who may be taking part in the same get tired and desire to be away from the family when this duty is to be performed. This should not be so. The children should be taught to take a pride in this duty, and made to feel that it is their duty to be in attendance when the family bow down to return thanks to God for all the mercies and blessings He has vouch safed from time to time. If we as parents, will do our duty in this respect, if we exercise our privileges as the servants of our Father, we will find a race of men and women growing up around us who have faith, who will honor their parents and the cause we desire them to represent; but if we allow them to grow up without culture and a proper regard for the ordinances of the Gospel of Christ, we will find that our sons and our daughters will stray from us and from the principles of truth. We should look well to this condition of things and see that we are performing the duties devolving upon us.

I trust this is enough from me upon this subject.

I desire to speak a few minutes to the young men, for I see there are quite a number within the sound of my voice. I feel as a rule, that I am more at liberty to talk and reason with them than I am with those who are older and more experienced than I am. I desire to plead with the sons of Zion, that they will select for their example the best men that can be found in the kingdom. If there is a man in the Church whose life is unspotted, upon whose name rests no stain, and who is clear from every evil; pattern after his virtues; study to possess integrity as he possesses it; study to be honest as he is honest, just as he is just, and avoid the shoals, the rocks and evils upon which many men have wrecked and gone to pieces; for no man that is a thief, a liar, a robber, an adulterer, can keep the faith of the Gospel. I would warn you, my young brethren, to look well to your course in life, see that it is free from sin; for no man can remain in the kingdom of God long who has the thought resting upon him that he is guilty of wickedness. I find in my experience, in looking around me, men whose growth in the kingdom has ceased, and I find in seeking to know and understand the cause of this, that they have been guilty of indiscretions that they cannot face. We should see, therefore, that our course of life is free from stain, for if we leave the path of rectitude, we must expect to go down to disgrace and dishonor; but if we lay our foundation in righteousness, we will find ourselves in the path of life, and the blessings of Heaven will be upon us. We will have neither fear nor doubt. It is he that is guilty of sin that is doubtful and fearful, for he fears the justice of God.

Well, my brethren and sisters: I am pleased to be with you, to see your faces and to feel your spirit. I feel that Zion is growing, and that she may continue to grow and spread, until the purposes of God are accomplished, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.