The Channels of Communication From God to Man—Dreams, Visions, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the General Conference, in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday, A. M., Oct. 8th, 1881.

I want to preach a short sermon to this congregation. To begin with, I have heard President Young and President Taylor a great many times from this stand ask the people to keep quiet until the meeting was dismissed; but as soon as the sermon ends there are a hundred boys and girls, or two hundred of them, rush for the doors. I do not like it. It pains me to see the President of the Church make this request, and the people pay no attention to it.

Now, in this fast age we are passing from a polite age to a very rude one in many respects. When I was a boy 65 years ago, and went to school, I never thought of passing a man whom I knew in the street, or a woman, without taking off my hat and making a bow. I never thought of saying “yes” or “no” to those that were placed over me. I was taught to say “yes, sir” and “no, sir;” but today it, is “yes” and “no,” “I will,” “I won’t,” “I shall” and “I shan’t.” Now, when I see this rudeness amongst us, I sometimes wish that the spirit of the New England fathers was more among the people. But I do hope, brethren, sisters and friends, when a man stops talking and the choir rises to sing, that you will keep your seats. You can afford to do this as well as the President of the Church, the Twelve Apostles, or others who are sitting on this stand. You don’t see us jump up and run for the door the moment a speaker is done. The Lord is displeased with any such thing. I hope you will pardon me for so speaking. I felt to say that much.

We have a great variety of teaching and preaching, and I have sometimes thought that we have more preaching and teaching than any other people on the earth. I expect it is all right. I think we need it. The world need teaching, we ourselves need teaching; but I have thought that the Latter-day Saints have had more of the Gospel of Christ proclaimed to them than any other generation that ever lived.

My mind reverts to the channels of communication from God to man. Here we have the Bible which gives a history and prophecy of the prophets from Adam down to our own day extending through a period of near 6,000 years. The Lord, through all the destruction that has taken place in the various libraries of the world—like the great library of Alexandria, for example—has preserved the record of the Jews, at least we have a portion of it to read. Then, again, we have the Book of Mormon, the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim, giving a history of the ancient inhabitants of this country from the time of their leaving the Tower of Babel to their disappearance from the land, and of the visitation of Christ to them. We have these books from which to obtain knowledge. Then we have the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, our Testament, which contains the most glorious, godlike, solemn and eternal truths ever recorded within the lids of a book on the earth. All these records are the words of God to man; and though the heavens and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will ever fall unfulfilled.

Then the Lord has other ways of communicating His mind and will. We have the living oracles with us, and have had from the day that Joseph Smith received the ministrations of Moroni, the Nephite, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, Moses, Elias, Elijah, Jesus Christ—from that day we have had the living oracles to teach us the word of the Lord.

President Joseph F. Smith yesterday spoke of the gifts and graces. Now, the Lord has many ways in which He communicates with us. Frequently, as has been the case in every age, truths, principles, warnings, etc., are communicated to the children of men by means of dreams and visions. There is a great vision recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith saw the visions of heaven they were commanded to write while in the vision. The Lord was in that. It is a communication to man. But we have had a great many dreams—I have had in my life, and I suppose you have more or less—which amount to nothing. I will tell you just about what I refer to. A man eats a hot supper when he goes to bed; he gets the nightmare; he is chased by a bear; or he falls over a precipice, and as soon as he strikes the ground he wakes up. Now, the Lord had nothing to do with that. A man may go to bed half-worried to death, tired and dream about something that will never take place. Last night, for instance, I dreamt I was making glass houses out of blocks of glass two feet square. Now, I don’t know that the Lord was in that. Yet I have had dreams of a very different character. When I was a boy eleven years old, I had a very interesting dream, part of which was fulfilled to the very letter. In this dream I saw a great gulf, a place where all the world had to enter at death, before doing which they had to drop their worldly goods. I saw an aged man with a beaver hat and a broadcloth suit. The man looked very sorrowful. I saw him come with something on his back, which he had to drop among the general pile before he could enter the gulf I was then but a boy. A few years after this my father and mother removed to Farmington, and there I saw that man. I knew him the moment I saw him. His name was Chauncy Deming. In a few years afterwards he was taken sick and died. I attended his funeral. He was what you may call a miser, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. When the coffin was being lowered into the grave my dream came to me, and that night his son-in-law found one hundred thousand dollars in a cellar belonging to the old man. I name this merely to show that in this dream I had manifested to me certain things that were true. I think of all the inhabitants of the world having to leave their goods when they come to the grave. After this scene had passed before me I was placed in a great temple. It was called the kingdom of God. The first man who came to me was Uncle Ozem Woodruff and his wife I helped into the temple. In process of time, after embracing the Gospel, and while on my first mission to Tennessee, I told Brother Patten of my dream, who told me that in a few years I would meet that man and baptize him. That was fulfilled to the very letter, for I afterwards baptized my uncle and his wife and some of the children; also my own father and stepmother and stepsister, and a Methodist priest or class leader—in fact I baptized everybody in my father’s house. I merely mention this to show that dreams sometimes do come to pass in life.

Then, again, there are visions. Paul, you know, on one occasion was caught up to the third heaven and saw things that were not lawful to utter. He did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body. That was a vision. When Joseph Smith, however, was visited by Moroni and the Apostles, it was not particularly a vision which he had; he talked with them face to face.

Now, I will refer to a thing that took place with me in Tennessee. I was in Tennessee in the year 1835, and while at the house of Abraham O. Smoot, I received a letter from Brothers Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, requesting me to stay there, and stating that I would lose no blessing by doing so. Of course, I was satisfied. I went into a little room and sat down upon a small sofa. I was all by myself and the room was dark; and while I rejoiced in this letter and the promise made to me, I became wrapped in vision. I was like Paul; I did not know whether I was in the body or out of the body. A personage appeared to me and showed me the great scenes that should take place in the last days. One scene after another passed before me. I saw the sun darkened; I saw the moon become as blood; I saw the stars fall from heaven; I saw seven golden lamps set in the heavens, representing the various dispensations of God to man—a sign that would appear before the coming of Christ. I saw the resurrection of the dead. In the first resurrection those that came forth from their graves seemed to be all dressed alike, but in the second resurrection they were as diverse in their dress as this congregation is before me today, and if I had been an artist I could have painted the whole scene as it was impressed upon my mind, more indelibly fixed than anything I had ever seen with the natural eye. What does this mean? It was a testimony of the resurrection of the dead. I had a testimony. I believe in the resurrection of the dead, and I know it is a true principle. Thus we may have dreams about things of great importance, and dreams of no importance at all. The Lord warned Joseph in a dream to take the young child Jesus and his mother into Egypt, and thus he was saved from the wrath of Herod. Hence there are a great many things taught us in dreams that are true, and if a man has the spirit of God he can tell the difference between what is from the Lord and what is not. And I want to say to my brethren and sisters, that whenever you have a dream that you feel is from the Lord, pay attention to it. When I was in the City of London on one occasion, with Brother George A. Smith, I dreamt that my wife came to me and told me that our first child had died. I believed my dream, and in the morning while at breakfast, I felt somewhat sad. Brother George A. noticed this and I told him my dream. Next morn ing’s post brought me a letter from my wife, conveying the intelligence of the death of my child. It may be asked what use there was in such a thing. I don’t know that there was much use in it except to prepare my mind for the news of the death of my child. But what I wanted to say in regard to these matters is, that the Lord does communicate some things of importance to the children of men by means of visions and dreams as well as by the records of divine truth. And what is it all for? It is to teach us a principle. We may never see anything take place exactly as we see it in a dream or a vision, yet it is intended to teach us a principle. My dream gave me a strong testimony of the resurrection. I am satisfied, always have been, in regard to the resurrection. I rejoice in it. The way was opened unto us by the blood of the Son of God.

Now, having said so much on that subject, I want to say to my brethren and sisters, that we are placed upon the earth to build up Zion, to build up the kingdom of God. The greater proportion of the male members of Zion, who have arrived at the years of early manhood, bear some portion of the Holy Priesthood. Here is a kingdom of Priests raised up by the power of God to take hold and build up the kingdom of God. The same Priesthood exists on the other side of the veil. Every man who is faithful in his quorum here will join his quorum there. When a man dies and his body is laid in the tomb, he does not lose his position. The Prophet Joseph Smith held the keys of this dispensation on this side of the veil, and he will hold them throughout the countless ages of eternity. He went into the spirit world to unlock the prison doors and to preach the Gos pel to the millions of spirits who are in darkness, and every Apostle, every Seventy, every Elder, etc., who has died in the faith as soon as he passes to the other side of the veil, enters into the work of the ministry, and there is a thousand times more to preach there than there is here. I have felt of late as if our brethren on the other side of the veil had held a council, and that they had said to this one, and that one, “Cease thy work on earth, come hence, we need help,” and they have called this man and that man. It has appeared so to me in seeing the many men who have been called from our midst lately. Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley. On one occasion he was suddenly taken very sick—near to death’s door. While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: “Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil. I have had a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help. I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them. I want to inquire into your circumstances.” The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another. President Maughan then said to him: “I think I will not call you. I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.” Bishop Roskelley got well from the hour. Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Brother Roskelley did not go to him. By and by this man recovered, and on meeting Brother Roskelley he said: “Brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,” and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley. A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died. Now, I name this to show a principle. They have work on the other side of the veil; and they want men, and they call them. And that was my view in regard to Brother George A. Smith. When he was almost at death’s door, Brother Cannon administered to him, and in thirty minutes he was up and ate breakfast with his family. We labored with him in this way, but ultimately, as you know, he died. But it taught me a lesson. I felt that man was wanted behind the veil. We labored also with Brother Pratt; he, too, was wanted behind the veil.

Now, my brethren and sisters, those of us who are left here have a great work: to do. We have been raised up of the Lord to take this kingdom and bear it off. This is our duty; but if we neglect our duty and set our hearts upon the things of this world, we will be sorry for it. We ought to understand the responsibility that rests upon us. We should gird up our loins and put on the whole armor of God. We should rear temples to the name of the Most High God, that we may redeem the dead.

I feel to bear my testimony to this work. It is the work of God. Joseph Smith was appointed by the Lord before he was born as much as Jeremiah was. The Lord told Jeremiah—“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the nations.” He was commanded to warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem of their wickedness. He felt it a hard task, but ultimately he did as he was commanded. So I say with regard to Joseph Smith. He received his appointment from before the foundation of the world, and he came forth in the due time of the Lord to establish this work on the earth. And so it is the case with tens of thousands of the Elders of Israel. The Lord Almighty has conferred upon you the Holy Priesthood and made you the instrument in His hands to build up this kingdom. Do we contemplate these things as fully as we ought? Do we realize that the eyes of all the heavenly hosts are over us? Then let us do our duty. Let us keep the commandments of God, let us be faithful to the end, so that when we go into the spirit world and look back upon our history we may be satisfied. The Lord Almighty has set His hand to establish His kingdom never more to be thrown down or given to another people, and, therefore, all the powers of earth and hell combined will never be able to stay the progress of this work. The Lord has said he will break in pieces every weapon that is raised against Zion, and the nations of the earth, the Kings and Emperors, Presidents and Governors have got to learn this fact. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Lord. It is a fearful thing to shed the blood of the Lord’s anointed. It has cost the Jews 1,800 years of persecution, and this generation have also a bill to pay in this respect.

I bear my testimony to these things. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants contain the words of eternal life unto this generation, and they will rise in judgment; against those who reject them.

May God bless this people and help us to magnify our callings, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Character of God’s Work—True Riches—Our Responsibilities, Etc.

Discourse by Apostle F. M. Lyman, delivered at the General Conference, Friday Morning, October 7, 1881.

My brethren and sisters, I am pleased to meet you in this General Conference, and although it is a great task to undertake to speak to so large an audience, I am willing to undertake my part if you will give me your faith and prayers, and the Lord will bless me with His Spirit. The work that engages our attention is more remarkable than any work that the Lord has ever commenced upon the earth. The determination of our Heavenly Father that this work shall stand forever, that it shall not be taken from the earth nor be given to another people, is one of its important features. And I sometimes fear that we do not feel as ambitious, as energetic to do our part, to bear the responsibility that he designs to come upon our shoulders, that we are not as careful as we ought to be in observing his laws and requirements; that we do not appreciate them and prize them as we ought to. If we did we would not sin; if we did we would every day of our lives seek to know the mind and will of the Father; to have His Spirit to be present with us, prompting and inspiring and urging us forward to the accomplishment of the purposes of the Lord. We forget the early love of the Gospel. We are too much swallowed up, perhaps, in the making of a living, in obtaining the comforts of this life and a little more of this world’s goods. We ought to labor; we ought to be industrious; we ought to seek to gather from the elements means that would sustain us, to clothe us, to build our habitations, and to enable us materially to build up the kingdom of God. But as the spirit and body are one, and grow together, sympathizing with each other, the spirit giving life to the body, without which the body cannot live at all, so it should be with us in regard to the things of the kingdom. The Spirit of the Lord should be first, the life, the energy that should propel us to the performance of our temporal duties. In cultivating the earth, in buying and selling, in caring for the wealth of the world, our object should be to supply our necessities, to make ourselves comfortable, to keep us alive, to keep us in good condition; but the chief part of our lives should be used in works of righteousness, of charity, seeking to improve the spiritual condition of man, to develop the intellectual man, to develop the moral man, and to gain favor with our heavenly Father; and to lay up treasures in this life that can be taken hence with us. We are not ambitious enough to excel in doing good. We are ambitious enough to excel in obtaining wealth—and yet I do not know that it ought to be called wealth. President Taylor gave a very nice explanation of true wealth yesterday. Quoting from the revelation of God to us which says, “He that hath eternal life is rich,” and applying those words to our late Brother, Orson Pratt, he said, pointing to his remains, “There lies the body of a rich man.” We all know that Brother Pratt was not rich in this world’s goods, but it can be safely said of him, that he is rich—rich in the things of God. What he has done and accomplished is more than all the wealth of the world, the gold and the silver, the diamonds and precious stones, the houses and lands, and the cattle on a thousand bills; for he has earned the title of a son of God, and he cannot be robbed of it, having been true to the end and faithful to his latest breath.

Well now, what of worldly wealth, what of houses and lands, flocks and herds? They bring care and responsibility and trouble, that is if we have too much of them, and if we do not use them properly and rightly. If a man is endowed with the Holy Ghost; if he has first and foremost the kingdom of God and the righteousness of our heavenly Father, let wealth flow unto him as it may, he will use it properly; he will remember the poor, he will pay his tithing, he will give liberally for the building of Temples, for the supporting of the families of missionaries, and for the building up of home industries. The more wealth a man has, the better if he has the Spirit of God to guide him in its use. The kingdom of God must be built up with means. Money is necessary in some instances with us today. I presume the Trustee-in-Trust finds money very necessary to supply certain materials in the building of Temples; and the men working on them need some money to procure some of the necessaries of life, and probably, in some instances, the unnecessaries of life. Money is necessary to supply these demands, and we cannot very well get along without it, not as well as we could when there was none here. But it is not necessary that a man should be contaminated with wealth. If wealth necessarily contaminated and destroyed life or destroyed man, what should we say of our Father who dwells in heaven, for His wealth is boundless. The wealth of the world is only borrowed for a little season. The wealth of our millionaires does not belong to them in reality, it is not theirs, not a dollar of it; they are entitled to use and to enjoy the benefit of it; in other words, they are stewards over it for the present time. If the wealth they possess were theirs, they would take it with them; they would not divide it among their friends, they would take it with them. That is, that amount which they hold to in this world. They would still cling to it tenaciously if it were possible to take it with them. Of course, I except that which they distribute before hand; and I am not sure but what to me would be less generous in the distribution of that wealth even to their children if they could take it with them. But they know they cannot do this, hence they divide it as they see fit before they are released from their stewardship. These means are necessary. God has made this earth. He put in every vein of gold and silver and iron and precious metal, etc. He has given fertility to the earth; and he has done these things by His own power. And He has a right to say what shall be done with them. He has a right to say to us, when you cultivate the earth, “I require you to give me one tenth of all that is produced, and the nine-tenths you are welcome to use for your own support, and for the accomplishment of my purposes. But I require this of you as an acknowledgement that you are using the earth that belongs to me.”

Why should the Lord require this? There is a philosophical reason for it, there is a philosophical reason why He should require us to have faith in Him, He being the owner of the earth has the right to direct and control in regard to it, and to all who come upon it, hence it is necessary that we should have faith in Him. For He is the foundation of life, the fountain of intelligence, the fountain of knowledge, of happiness, of joy; and He knows exactly what is good for us. He knows every particle of experience that we pass through, that is necessary for us. And this earth has been brought together and arranged according to eternal principles, eternal laws, by which other worlds have been made, and by which other worlds will yet be made, that are behind us, that will follow this earth. The Lord is well acquainted with these things; and the revelation of the Gospel is intended to give unto us knowledge in regard to these eternal laws, that we may go parallel with them, walk with them and by them, in order that we may be saved—saved from sin and sorrow, saved from death, saved from destruction, saved from evil, and be blessed and rewarded for our fidelity and faithfulness to those laws.

In the first place, God requires us to have faith in Him, because it is not possible to please Him without faith. If we do not have faith in Him, we will not listen to Him, we will not accept His word, we will not be led and counseled by Him, hence it is necessary that this principle should be and abide with the Latter-day Saints.

It is necessary, too, that we repent and turn away from sin, and work righteousness. I would to the Lord that all Israel had thus worked up to this day, from the time we embraced the Gospel, that we had done right from that time until now, that our sins should all be forgiven us. We cannot have our sins forgiven, and continue in sin. That would not be rational; it would not be philosophical. We will find that every requirement that God has made upon us tends to direct us in the strait and narrow path. But when I consider the organization of the kingdom of God, the Priesthood that he has restored to us, crowned with the First Presidency and the Apostleship, giving to us every quorum in the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods, setting all things in order; and requiring every man and woman to be prayerful morning and evening, and to remember our secret prayers; to pay our tithing; to build Temples; to perform missions; to partake of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper every Sabbath day—and the various duties that are required of the several quorums of Priesthood: it does seem to me that the Lord has been well acquainted with man’s situation and necessities here, to arrange so many safeguards and provisions, for caring for the people, looking after them, and feeling after them, directing them, counseling and advising them, and holding them to the strait and narrow way into which they have been led by faith. And not only do they need to be planted in the strait way, but it is necessary that all those requirements be made upon them, and that they listen to them, and heed them in order that they may be kept in that way through life. For there is another power in the world that is working assiduously and faithfully, by night and day, to destroy the children of men and defeat the will of God, and to thwart His plans. And it is the business of that power to destroy man, to turn him from the service of God to the service of the Evil One. And hence the necessity of all this carefulness, these detailed plans and regulations urged in the Gospel of Christ, to keep men in the strait and narrow path. And with all this, some of Israel will go over the wall, they cannot be kept in. They will break out in spite of all the guards and bulwarks thrown around them. And the Spirit of the Lord which we received when we embraced the Gospel, and that was intended to be with us always, is grieved and driven from us because of our want of fidelity and humility, and because of our carelessness in the observance of the laws of God.

I spoke somewhat in regard to the ambition that Latter-day Saints should have, which I think has somewhat cooled in the Elders of Israel. If it was in the obtaining of a good country; if in colonizing Arizona, for instance, we had found an admirable country like Illinois, like Ohio and the Mississippi Valley and the Middle States that are watered by the rains and the dews of heaven, if we had found a country like that in Arizona or Western Colorado, or in Southeastern Utah, in Southern Idaho, in Eastern Nevada or Western Wyoming, broad acres inviting people to come in and take up large farms, we would be ambitious enough. There are railroads that are being built in the country; we are ambitious enough to take contracts and work in their construction. The Latter-day Saints cannot be charged with being idlers, but on the contrary, they are working themselves to death, in many instances. They are not a slothful people, if they were they never would have been satisfied with this country, and subdued it as they have. The spirit of the Lord has prompted them to industry. But it seems to me that our desire to work carries us to such an extent that we have little time to devote to the performance of our religious duties. We have not been so prompt in attending to our prayers, and to our meetings; our time and attention seem to be absorbed in getting teams and wagons, horses and lands, and clothing and food for ourselves and families. In early times we did not take our meals so regularly; food was not so plentiful, neither was it so easily obtained, consequently we did not get the variety nor so much of it as we do today. Circumstances have changed; and as the earth answers to the labors of the husbandman, we put on better clothing, we set our tables more sumptuously, and our homes are altogether better furnished. We eat more and drink more; we eat extravagantly and we drink to excess of things that are proper to be taken, and of things that are improper and should not be indulged in.

This is not right, and the Lord is not pleased with those who do it. And it is the duty of every one bearing the holy Priesthood, to make his voice heard against extravagance and evil. But first of all let him see that he himself is free from that which he would denounce in others. He should himself observe the law which God has revealed as to what we should eat and what we should drink. The Lord knows exactly what men should do and how they should live in order to obtain happiness, the realization of which is the object or life. There are a variety of ways in which men seek happiness, which, however, result in their sorrow. But there is no sorrow to be found or experienced in keeping the commandments of God. It is true, we may have to face death, and perhaps meet it; we may suffer from the loss of property, and have to endure persecution; but when we suffer such experience by reason of our rendering service to God, it promotes eternal joy in the soul of man. Our mission as Elders should be from now on to vie with each other in doing the works of righteousness, and in living humble and pure lives. In this we will find wealth and joy, and I desire to say to you that the Elder, the Priest, Teacher or Deacon—and the term Elder covers every man bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood—who neglects these things, will be found sorrowing; he will be found mourning; that, he did not fill his mission—and every man is on a mission upon whose head the hands of the servants of God have been placed, conferring upon him the holy Priesthood; all such persons are missionaries. And we should not wait to be called to the Old Country or elsewhere, or to be set apart as Home Missionaries, or to be Bishops or Presidents of Stakes, High Councilors, etc. For I say unto you that every man who has received any portion of the Priesthood is a missionary; and the salvation of the world, to a certain extent, rests upon his shoulders. And the man who neglects his duty will see a day of sorrow for his neglect.

Then, I exhort you, my brethren, as your fellow laborer, and as a servant of the Lord, to be diligent in observing to keep the commandments of God, to magnify the holy Priesthood that the Lord, through his servants, has placed upon you. We are expected to be saviors, working in conjunction with our elder brother, Jesus, and also in conjunction with our deceased friend and brother, Apostle Orson Pratt, who has gone to continue his labors in another sphere. When did Brother Pratt allow his mind to be idle? He exercised it continually in the right direction; he labored and studied; the bent of his ambition lay in searching the Scriptures, ancient and modern, and seeking to become acquainted with the Lord. Hence he became profound in knowledge, a man possessing the true riches, a servant of the living God, who has gone to reap his reward—gone from his sorrow, from his weariness and from his labors in this life, and, as was remarked yesterday, he will find his quorum, he will find his place therein, and will abide with the saved, exalted and redeemed and those who have “fought the good fight and kept the faith.” May this be said of us! But if it is said, it will be because we labor better in the future than we have done in the past.

Let every man look into his own heart! Let every man ask himself this question: Has this tongue of mine been used to the very best advantage? Have I spoken words of counsel to my neighbor? Have I taught my wives, my children, my brothers and my sisters as I ought? Has my mouth always been willing to give forth counsel to the world? Have I shrunk from bearing testimony of the truth? If you have in the past do not do it in the future. This life is not very long. We are only here for a little while. We are here to obtain experience. That is the object of our being, and the Lord has revealed unto us the Gospel, and we should be faithful. When we look over the world and find it teeming with millions of people who have not a knowledge of the truth—and many of them just as honest as we are in their worship, but they know not the truth, they have not sought after it, and in some instances they have been so educated and so prejudiced, and have taken error for truth, until they do not know the truth when they hear it—what a boon it is to us that God has given us a spirit by which we may know the truth and not be deceived! What a great gift and boon this is, and it ought to make us good husbands, good wives, good parents, good children, good neighbors, good men and women, laboring for the salvation of the human family.

We cannot be Saints without the spirit of the Lord. And as I said before in regard to these ordinances and requirements, they all tend in their particular place and time to keep us in the strait and narrow path. Hence upon the Sabbath we partake of the sacrament, and thus renew our covenants with the Lord, we fellowship each other, and we ask the Father to forgive the sins of the past and desire to have His Spirit to be with us in the future. This we do every Sabbath day, prayers every morning, prayers every night, prayers secretly every day of our lives; and when this is the case with the Latter-day Saints, when they partake of the sacrament worthily, and do not eat and drink condemnation to their own souls, there will be less sickness and less quarrels among us, and the spirit of the Lord will brood over Zion.

I have thought that if we as Elders of Israel would seek to obtain a knowledge as to why these principles are given to us and their force and effect upon us, we could then explain them better to our families than we can today. But we have been satisfied by receiving a portion of the spirit of the Lord. We have not progressed as we should; we have yielded obedience to the ordinance of baptism, but we have not gone forward as we ought to have done. Possibly we have gathered with the Saints into these valleys, but individually we have settled down more or less to follow the ways of the world, to the making of means, to the cultivation of our farms, etc. We send our children to school, it is true; but there is not that system of education, there is not that training and teaching of the sons by the mothers that ought to be. We have grown more or less careless regarding these things; we have become somewhat wrapped up in the things of the world. But I tell you that every Elder in Israel ought to feel like saying, “Father, use me as thou wilt. Give me power to magnify my calling and Priesthood, so that when contagious diseases come into the land I may look unto Thee for help.” By observing the Word of Wisdom, I believe that many of the calamities which come upon us as families could be averted; not that we would live forever; but I do believe that many would be saved unto us that are taken away because of our want of faith and because we break the laws which have been revealed unto us. When a man is doing right he has remarkable courage. You know it is said that sin makes cowards of us all. Now, the man that would approach the Father should not be a coward. In approaching the throne of grace, we should do so with humility, but with frankness, asking in faith, believing that the Lord will give.

Take my exhortation, my brethren and sisters, and observe the laws of the Lord; become acquainted with them, practice them in your lives, and let your time be employed from this day henceforth in observing the laws of God, that we may have His salvation and blessing in this life and exaltation in the life to come. May the Lord bless you. Amen.

The Great Principles of Salvation, Etc.

Last Discourse of Apostle Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 18, 1881.

It has been almost one year since I have been able to stand up before a congregation to address them, having been severely afflicted during that period of time. I am now blessed with the opportunity and privilege of occupying a few minutes, as long as my health would justify, in speaking a few words to the congregation. I am just able to stand upon my feet, most of the time scarcely able to sit up. I believe that the Saints have exercised their prayers and their faith in my behalf. If they had not done this, I doubt very much whether I would now be able to appear before you. Notwithstanding the afflictions of my body and the long silence that I have kept, so far as public congregations are concerned, yet I have felt the same enduring love for the principles of truth and for the people of God in all my afflictions, that I had in the time of my health. There is nothing so precious to me as the great principles of salvation. They have for the last 51 years of my life—it being 51 years tomorrow since I was baptized—occupied the uppermost place in my mind. Riches, the honors of this world, etc., have been but a very small consideration with me, com pared with the riches of eternal salvation, the blessings of the everlasting Gospel, the new covenant which we have embraced, the great work which the Lord our God is performing by his mighty hand in the age in which you and I live. I trust and verily believe that that which has had so conspicuous a place in my understanding, in my thoughts, in my meditations, in my mind, will continue to hold the same position with me so long as the Lord shall permit me to tarry here in this probation. Fifty-one years ago tomorrow, as I have said, I entered this Church, the Church then being confined to a small district of country in the State of New York. The knowledge of the Gospel, and the doctrines which we have taught, had not spread forth except within a very small limit of country. What a contrast between then and the present! Tomorrow—if I live till tomorrow—I shall be 70 years of age, which is said to be the average old age of man. They are the years appointed to man. So says one of the inspired writers, and if man, peradventure, should reach a few years beyond three score and ten, it is said that it is filled up with afflictions and sorrow and infirmities of old age. I trust, however, that if I am permitted to tarry still longer than this appointed time, or rather this period of time, I trust that my days may not be those of suffering. At any rate, so far as my mind is concerned, my understanding, that is at rest, that is at peace. I know what my hopes are. I know the plan of salvation. I have had the communications of the spirit of the Lord God, to teach me more or less all the days of my life, and this has given me great consolation. Hence, if I live past seventy, I do not expect to have sorrow of mind. I may have afflictions; I may encounter them; I may not to any great extent.

I wish to call your attention for a few moments to a subject closely connected with those days that I have been speaking of—the rise of the Church. It will be next Thursday night, 54 years since the Prophet Joseph Smith, then but a lad, was permitted by the angel of the Lord to take the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, as it was called in ancient times, located in the State of New York. This I consider one of the most marvelous occurrences which has taken place for the past eighteen centuries—to be permitted to observe the face of an holy angel, and then be permitted, in addition to that, to take out of the ground, in fulfillment of ancient prophecy, a record of one-half of our globe, giving a history of the peoples and nations that occupied this great western hemisphere—more marvelous than anything that has transpired during that long period. What makes it still more marvelous is, that it is connected with revelation, with something that comes from heaven, with divine authority. God permitted this record to be taken from its place of ancient deposit. He it was that sent the angel to deliver those records into the hands of this boy. It was God. And what object did the Lord have in performing this marvelous thing? It was to establish on this earth that kingdom predicted by the ancient Prophet Daniel, that should be set up in the last days, which should stand forever, and should finally become a great mountain and fill the whole earth. What could be of more importance? Such an event was predicted to happen, that such a kingdom should arise, that God should be the autho rity of it, that he should lay the foundation of it, that he should set it up. If we go back to the finding of the records of the Book of Mormon; if we go back to that eventful day when God sent his angels to confirm the divinity of that record to three other persons; if we go back to the time of the organization of this Church, we find that God has in all these matters spoken himself. We did not select the day on which this kingdom should be organized. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, did not select the day, but God pointed out the very day, the very month, in which this work should be performed. Hence it is God’s work; it was God and not man that set up this kingdom. Has there been an authority established in this Church from the day of its organization that was established by man’s authority? Not one. Every authority in this Church, however high or however low, or whatever the nature of the callings might be, whatever the duties of the callings, God has introduced that authority. We have no record, no minutes in our Church, where there have been Apostles called and ordained in this kingdom, by man’s authority. It is just what we might expect. Anything else than this would not be ascribed to the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God could not be set up by man. Man has no right to select even the day for the organization of that kingdom. Man has no right to select the least officer of that kingdom; it must all come from heaven. It was said that such a kingdom should be set up. It was set. It was set up according to the mind of God, according to his own mind, not according to the whims and notions of sectarians, or any theologians, or any learned man, but according to the mind of the great Jehovah. We have seen the progress of this kingdom. We have seen what God has accomplished during the last 51 years. We have seen his hand made manifest. We have seen the kingdom organized, not to dwell in the place of its particular organization, and the people be scattered all over the world like sectarianism, but a kingdom that should gather together the sons and daughters of God, according to the predictions of the ancient prophets into one place upon the face of our globe, to prepare them for the mighty events and occurrences that should take place when he should accomplish that work. And how marvelous it is to see the hundreds and hundreds of vessels that have crossed the ocean, the mighty ocean, in perfect safety, bringing the Saints of God to their destined haven, to rejoice in one body, in one place, in one region in the mountains of Israel, the great back bone of the western hemisphere, if we may so term it. This is all to fulfil prophecy.

But I must not enlarge upon this subject. How happy I feel that I am once more, after having been brought so low, so near the gates of death—how happy I feel that I am permitted once more to lift up my voice before you. I do not know that I can make you all hear, but I trust that my voice will be strengthened, I trust that my body will be strengthened, I trust that my mind—if it has been weakened at all by sickness—may also be strengthened, and that I yet may have the humble privilege of lifting up my voice and testifying, before thousands of people in these mountains, if not abroad among the inhabitants of the earth, of God’s power. It is a day in which he has commenced to perform a mighty work, and the foundation is already laid and is quite broad, and he has quite a numerous people through whom he can work and accomplish his mighty purposes; and although feeble in body, I do not know but what the Lord may yet strengthen me to again publish glad tidings of great joy abroad among the nations of the earth, or perform whatever duties may be assigned unto me by the general authorities His Church.

May God bless the people of Zion—all the Latter-day Saints scattered throughout all these mountain regions: may he favor us before many years with a full and complete redemption according to the promises that are made in His word. Amen.

Duties of the Saints—The Atonement, Etc.

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at Provo, Sunday Afternoon, August 28th, 1881.

We meet together here and elsewhere in a Conference capacity, for the purpose of regulating, managing and directing the affairs of the Church, and submitting the reports of the several Stakes to the people, that the Saints may comprehend the position which they occupy, and that through our inter-communication with each other and through the various reports, we may become acquainted, to a certain extent, with the spirit and feeling, the desires and motives that permeate the Saints of God, throughout all the land of Zion.

We talk about a great many subjects, and many principles are introduced to our notice. The various duties and responsibilities of the presiding authorities are referred to, as well as those of the Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, the Bishops and their Counselors, and the Priests, Teachers and Deacons, as also the various societies and organizations which exist as aids to the Holy Priesthood in the several Stakes. All these things are very good, so far as they go; but it is proper that we should examine ourselves, and when it is our duty so to do, examine one another; and then ask the Lord to examine us; for it is possible that we may entertain ideas regarding ourselves and our position that may not be sanctioned by the Almighty; and if this be the case, then if that harvest should come off which we have heard sung this afternoon, it may find some of us who are not “wheat,” not faithfully performing in all respects the various duties and responsibilities which devolve upon us. And it is quite proper that we, as an intelligent people, professing preeminently to be the servants of God, should act with candor and truthfulness, and should be able to scan our own actions as well as those of others, to see wherein we come short in following the example that was set us by one of the ancient Prophets, in which he said, “Search me, O God, and try me and prove me; and if there be any way of wickedness in me, bid it depart.”

The position that we occupy is indeed a very peculiar one. We are gathered here from the nations of the earth. We are gathered here because of certain plans, purposes and designs of Jehovah, pertaining to the world wherein we live, pertaining to the peoples who have existed before us, and relating to all men whether living or dead. And as the Lord organized this world; as He is said to be the God of the spirits of all flesh; and as he is interested in the welfare of all humanity, he would be the proper personage to inaugurate every measure, everything that would be calculated to promote the interests of mankind. And in the accomplishment of the salvation of the human family his designs, plans and purposes have been perfected generations long ago. If he could reveal unto Adam all of the events which would transpire upon the earth associated with coming generations, he certainly must himself have had a knowledge of those things which he communicated to our first parents, or he could not have revealed them. Among other things which the Lord designed should be introduced upon the earth was what is termed the dispensation of the fulness of times, wherein he would gather together all things in one, whether they be things on the earth or things in heaven; but all should be gathered together in one.

We have had in the different ages various dispensations; for instance what may be called the Adamic dispensation, the dispensation of Noah, the dispensation of Abraham, the dispensation of Moses and of the Prophets who were associated with that dispensation; the dispensation of Jesus Christ, when he came to take away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself, and in and through those various dispensations, certain principles, powers, privileges and Priesthoods have been developed. But in the dispensation of the fulness of times a combination or a fulness, a completeness of all those dispensations was to be introduced among the human family. If there was anything pertaining to the Adamic, (or what we may term more particularly the patriarchal) dispensation, it would be made manifest in the last days. If there was anything associated with Enoch and his city, and the gathering together of his people, or of the translation of his city, it would be manifested in the last days. If there was anything associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood in all its forms, powers, privileges and blessings at any time or in any part of the earth, it would be restored in the last days. If there was anything connected with the Aaronic Priesthood, that also would be developed in the last times. If there was anything associated with the Apostleship and Presidency that existed in the days of Jesus, or that existed on this continent, it would be developed in the last times; for this is the dispensation of the fullness of times, embracing all other times, all principles, all powers, all manifestations, all Priesthoods and the powers thereof that have existed in any age, in any part of the world, For, “Those things which never have been revealed from the founda tion of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times.”

And who was to originate this? It originated with God the Father, and it was sustained by Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and it was sanctioned by all the Prophets, Patriarchs, Apostles and men of God who held the Priesthood in former ages. And finally, when all the preparations were made and everything was ready, or the time had fully come, the Father and the Son appeared to the youth Joseph Smith to introduce the great work of the latter days. He who presides over this earth and he who is said to be the maker of all things, the Father, pointing to his well-beloved Son, says, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” He did not come himself to regulate and put in order all things, but he presented his Only Begotten Son, the personage who should be, as he is termed in the Scriptures, the Apostle and great High Priest of our profession, who should take the lead in the management and regulation of all matters pertaining to the great dispensation that was about to be ushered in. And that Jesus who had been spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world was, and was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, who was the Son of the Eternal Father, and who was the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person, he it was who was to take charge of this all-important work, to regulate the affairs pertaining to the interests of humanity, to introduce the dispensation of the fullness of times, and to operate with the various Priesthoods that had existed and the men who held the keys of these Priesthoods in former times for the salvation of humanity.

And thus the work was commenced. Everything was prepared in the heavens that had been contemplated from the beginning. And I here desire to mention one thing pertaining to the Son of God. We are told that when it was determined to organize the earth, and when God had laid his plans before the councils of the heavens that he asked Lucifer what he would do. Lucifer answered, “Behold I, send me, I will be Thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost; and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” The Father then turned to his well-beloved Son, and asked, “What will you do, you have heard these things as well as Lucifer?” The Son replied, “Father, thy will be done, and thine be the glory.” Satan, we are told, rebelled against God; and he wanted to introduce something that was contrary to the law of God and to the counsel of God; as much as to say, “O, you do not know much about it; I will go and save all; wherefore give me thy glory.” Some of our folks nowadays feel and say sometimes, they have a portion of the Priesthood, and they think they are almighty personages; they think they know better than anybody else, better than the Bishop, better that the Twelve, better than the Presidency of the Church: they are puffed up and filled with their vain imaginations. Say they, “let me have my way; and then, I want you to give me your honor to help me to carry it out.” Or, in other words, “I want to fight against the work of God and against the Priesthood of God, and I want you to give me power and influence to accomplish it.” They do not tell you that in so many words; but those are the facts. Now, we are told that Satan rebelled against God. He could not rebel against a law if that law had not been given; he could not have violated a commandment if that commandment did not exist. And we are told that he sought to take away the agency of man, to make man a poor miserable serf; and then to take his own course in regard to the destiny of the human family. But God would not have it so; and because of his rebelling he cast Lucifer out of heaven and with him one-third of the hosts of heaven because of their departure from God and his laws, and because they sought to pervert the counsel of God, and violate those principles which he had introduced for the salvation of the world which was to be, and upon which we now dwell.

Was it known that man would fall? Yes. We are clearly told that it was understood that man should fall, and it was understood that the penalty of departing from the law would be death, death temporal. And there was a provision made for that. Man was not able to make that provision himself, and hence we are told that it needed the atonement of a God to accomplish this purpose; and the Son of God presented himself to carry out that object. And when he presented himself for this position he was accepted by his Father, just the same as any man who owes a debt, if he is not able to pay that obligation, and somebody steps forward and says, I will go security for him. If the persons to whom he is indebted are willing to take him as security they will receive the security’s note or obligation to meet the debt. So Jesus offered himself. Now, man could not have done that. Man could do all that he is capable of doing. But there was an eternal law of God violated and it needed an eternal, infinite sacrifice to atone therefore; and Jesus offered himself as that sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world; and hence it is written, he was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.

Now, to carry out this view of indebtedness a little further. We will suppose that a man has given his note to pay a certain amount in a certain given time, and in order to keep that note good, he agrees to pay interest on it. Now, when Jesus gave himself up as security for the sins of mankind, and God accepted of his security, what was done then? Why, sacrifices were introduced as types of the sacrifice of the Son of God, to show that the ancient servants of God recognized this principle which had existed in the heavens, and many of them understood the principle with great clearness. We find that Adam offered sacrifices, and when he did this, he said in answer to a question put to him by an holy angel, I do not know why I do it, only the Father has commanded it. And then the angel commenced to explain to him that this rite was a type of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father who should come in the meridian of time to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; and said he, “Thou shalt do all things in the name of the Son, and call upon the Father in his name for evermore.” When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, the mercy of God was extended to them, and they perceived as Eve expressed it, that if there had been no fall, they would have had no posterity, and that they would have been deprived of many joys and blessings relating both to this life and the life to come. And so Adam and Eve rejoiced in their hearts that God had provided the plan, and although they were fallen, yet in this life, through the atonement, they would have joy, and by and by they would return to their Father, and there rejoice exceedingly in the abundant mercy of God, and in the redemption wrought out for them by the Son of God.

We find that from that time Satan began to operate and to use his influence against God, seeking to introduce rebellion on the earth as he had done in heaven. He succeeded but too well in his operations. And when Cain and Abel offered up their sacrifice, Cain would not have done it if the devil had not urged him; but we are told that Cain loved Satan better than he loved God, and that he departed from the laws of God. Satan requested Cain to offer up a sacrifice, which he did, and the Lord rejected it, but he accepted his brother Abel’s. Why did the Lord refuse one and accept the other? Because the Lord knew that Cain had departed from him, and that he was not sincere in his offering, as we sometimes are not sincere in our offerings and in our worship, and therefore he rejected it. Then Satan came again and whispered to Cain, I could have told you all about it before; God is an unrighteous God; he gathers where he has not strewn, he reaps where he has not sown. He was unjust to me in heaven, and therefore I rebelled against him; and I advise you to do so also. And Cain listened to the advice of Satan, and as the devil was a murderer and a liar from the beginning, so he induced Cain to become the same, and he instigated him to kill his brother Abel. Here were the two powers represented in the two men, that of God in Abel, and that of Satan in Cain; and thus the warfare commenced, and the opposition was inaugurated, for we are told it was necessary there should be an opposition in all things. And furthermore, we are told that it became him of 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.

Now, these things spread and grew. It was necessary and proper that there should be good and evil, light and darkness, sin and righteousness, one principle of right opposed to another of wrong, that man might have his free agency to receive the good and reject the evil, and by receiving the good (through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the principles of the Gospel, which he introduced, and which were advocated long before he himself appeared on the earth), they might be saved and exalted to the eternal Godhead, and go back to their Father and God, while the disobedient would have to meet the consequences of their own acts.

This warfare continued; and as men began to increase upon the earth, so wickedness increased, until it was decided that they should be destroyed, that they might be deprived of the privilege of perpetuating their species. Why? Let us go back to the time when Satan rebelled against the Almighty and drew away one-third of the hosts of heaven. We find that there were pure spirits that stood that test and who had given to them the promise of bodies on this earth. Let us suppose that you and I were there as spirits, awaiting the privilege of taking bodies, and that we could see the wickedness and corruption that was going on upon the earth, and that we could see Prophets going about teaching the principles of righteousness and warning the peo ple of judgments that should come, of the flood that should overwhelm them and of the prisons prepared in which the ungodly should be cast. And we say, “Father, you see the people on the earth that they are wicked and depraved, fallen and corrupt!” “Yes.” “Is it right and just that we who have done no wrong should have to enter into such corrupt bodies and partake of the influences with which they are surrounded?” “No,” says the Father, “it is not just, and I will cut them off, I will cause the floods to come upon them to destroy them, and I will send those wicked and disobedient spirits into prison,” which he did.

Here was an act of justice. Some men who profess to be very wise, think God was unjust in thus destroying so many of his creatures. They know nothing about it because they do not comprehend the law of God and the purposes of God. It was an act of justice and righteousness according to the eternal justice that dwells in the bosom of the Father.

What next? Before they were destroyed, Enoch ministered unto them; he organized a church, and he sent forth Elders, as we are now doing, to warn the people of the desolation that was about to overtake the inhabitants of the earth; and the Savior, according to Luke, said referring to this event in the world’s history, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” And says Matthew, in referring to the same thing, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” After these Elders had gone forth, under the direction of Enoch, they gathered together those who believed in their message, and they built up a city which they called Zion. And the power of God was with Enoch, and with those Elders; and the enemies of God and of his law arrayed themselves against God and against Enoch and his people, as some of our very pious people are doing today against us, and as others would like to do. Say they, “Look, what a wicked people these ‘Mormons’ are, they have more wives than one. It is true we have mistresses besides our wives; it is true we commit adultery; it is true we are covered with infamy and debauchery; it is true that the stink of our crimes and iniquities rises into the nostrils of Jehovah, as it did in former days, but we will cover all that over.” But they cannot do it; it sticks out on every side; the covering is too narrow. They are murderers and murderesses of their infants, and the stench of their infamy ascends into the nostrils of Jehovah; and you that want them, take them, and you that do will go along with them, and go to perdition with them; and I tell you that in the name of the Lord. And you that want your children to go to perdition send them to be taught by those not of us. Are there any more foolish than some of the Latter-day Saints are today? We read in our newspapers from time to time of certain combinations conspiring against us, and who are they? The Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Episcopalians and others, and they want to petition Congress—what to do? To destroy the very people whom you profess to love; and still you would send your children to be taught by them, to drink in their influence and spirit, and in time to imitate their acts, would you? What is being done in certain parts of the Southern States today? Mobs, led on by Christian ministers, co-religionists of these men, are seeking the lives of your own brethren, and those who are here manifest the same spirit and would perpetrate the same acts if they had the power in the same way that is being done in Georgia, for instance; but they pretend to be so nice, and so pure and so virtuous, and to have such agreeable manners, and to be so well educated, and they want to teach your children, and to tell you the truth, to lead them to hell. And you will assist them to do it! Woe to that man and that woman who permit their children to come under such influences! They will sup sorrow in time and in eternity, where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Do you hear it? I tell it to you in the name of the Lord. Woe be unto those fathers and mothers, I say, who thus tamper with the children that God has given them.

I am reminded of a case of mobbing which occurred lately in Georgia, in which Elder Geo. W. Bean, a young man from this place (Provo), was attacked, the mob as usual having been gotten up by Christian ministers. And this same class of men will tell you what good people they are, and yet they will approve such acts; and on the back of that they will ask that your children may be sent to them to educate, to be taught what? How to mob; how to trample on the rights and liberties of men, how to trample upon everything that is great and noble and exalted in Israel. And they will pull down the pillars of this nation by their mobocracies and infamies; and, yet, you will tamper with them, will you? Leave them alone. Tell them to convert those Christians who are engaged in mobbing their fellow men, and when they get that done to come and convert you afterwards.

You know they had Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc., in Enoch’s time—or a lot of religious professors like them. Perhaps they did not call them by those names; but they assembled together their armies, the same as armies have been assembled against us, and will be again. And some of you will help to do it, and teach your children to do it. Now, the wicked assembled against the people of God, and Enoch rose up in the power and spirit of the living God, and prophesied and the mountains shook, whilst the people trembled and fled afar off, because of the power of God that was with him; and the power of God will be with Israel today if Israel will serve God; but if we pander to iniquity, evil and corruption, we will have to abide the consequences. What next? The flood came and destroyed the unrighteous, and their spirits were confined in prisons, as they are termed. And I think I hear the devil laughing, as some of them did when we were driven away from our homes, thinking that “Mormonism” had gone to perdition. But we live yet, and they were mistaken; and so was the devil. For although they were destroyed in the body, yet when Jesus came and was put to death in the flesh, yet quickened by the spirit, he went and preached to the spirits in prison that were disobedient in the days of Noah. And then the devil put on a long face and said, I imagined I had got rid of these fellows, but they are going to have a chance yet that I did not think of. And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God; and that man should be a free agent to act for himself, and that all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth, and be governed by it or not according to their wishes and abide the result; and that those who would be able to maintain correct principles under all circumstances, might be able to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds. It is the same eternal program. God knew it and Adam knew it.

Now, with regard to Noah and his day. God made arrangements beforehand, and told Methuselah that when the people should be destroyed, that a remnant of his seed should occupy the earth and stand foremost upon it. And Methuselah was so anxious to have it done that he ordained Noah to the Priesthood when he was ten years of age. Noah then stood in his day as the representative of God; and after him Abraham was selected to take the lead in relation to these matters pertaining to man’s salvation, Some people suppose that Abraham was an old fogy who knew but little, a kind of dull, dumpy old shepherd. But we were informed that he was a man that followed after righteousness, and that he sought to obtain more righteousness; that he searched the records of his fathers as they had come down to him, and traced them back until the days of Adam, and even before the world was. Before the world was? Yes. God, we are told, talked with him, and told him of certain noble spirits who stood in his presence in the beginning, whom he had determined to make his rulers; “and thou, Abraham,” said he, “art one of them.” He was not only a prince on the earth but a prince in the heavens, and by right came to the earth in his time to accomplish the things given him to do. And he found by tracing his genealogy that he had a right to the Priesthood, and when he ascertained that, he prayed to the Lord, and demanded an ordination. And he was ordained (as we are told by Joseph Smith) under the hands of Melchizedek to the holy Priesthood. And afterwards, we are informed, became in possession of the Urim and Thummim by which he could obtain a knowledge of God and of his laws, and all things pertaining to the earth and the heavens. And God revealed himself unto him; and he told him that in blessing, he would bless him; and in multiplying, he would multiply him, and that in him and in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. And has this been so? Yes; from that time forth, by that lineage the blessings of heaven have flowed to the children of men. Let us examine a few things. Who were Isaac and Jacob? Heirs of the same promises as himself. Who was Joseph, who was sold into Egypt? A descendant of Abraham. Who was Moses, who delivered the people from Egyptian bondage? A descendant of Abraham. Who was Aaron, who was associated with the Aaronic Priesthood, and who presided over it? A descendant of Abraham. Who were the Prophets that we read of in this Bible? They were descendants of Abraham. Who was Jesus, who as the Son of God, taketh away the sins of the world? A descendant of Abraham according to the flesh. Who were the Twelve Apostles, commissioned to preach the Gospel to all nations? Descendants of Abraham. And who were the Twelve Apostles that lived upon this continent? Descendants of Abraham. Who was Joseph Smith, to whom the Gospel was revealed in these last days? A descendant of Abraham. And it had been predicted of him that his name should be Joseph, and that his father’s name should also be Joseph, and that he should be a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. And who are the present Twelve? Just the same kind of people. And who are we gathering to Zion? A remnant of that seed, with a considerable mixture of grizzly, grey, and all kinds. But Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and they know me, and a stranger they will not follow, because they know not the voice of a stranger. And why do not the millions of the inhabitants of the earth embrace the Gospel? Because they are not sheep; that is all. And if the goats kick up and cut a few antics, you need not be astonished. It is the nature of goats, is it not? (Laughter.)

This Gospel is introduced that we may be taught and instructed in the ways of God, and that the Priesthood may be organized according to the holy order of God, What for? That this Priesthood may associate with the Priesthood behind the veil, who are operating with God and for God in the interests of humanity. That is the reason of it. And hence we find that these men who hold the Priesthood, the everlasting Priesthood, that ministers in time and in eternity, coming one after another to Joseph Smith, and conferring upon him the Priesthood which they held. They conferred on him first the Priesthood of Aaron, a descendant of Aaron, John the Baptist, who held the keys of that Priesthood in his day, came to Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery, and laid his hands upon their heads and said, “Upon you, my fellowservants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministry of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” Then came Peter, James and John, who conferred the same Priesthood and keys that they held. And then came other powers, principles and revelations in succession, one after another. After the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods had been conferred in general terms, then some of the most specific things in regard to the introduction, of this Gospel were accomplished. When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were together in Kirtland Temple, we find that Moses appeared to them. He committed unto them the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. And did they have this power conferred upon them? Yes. And is that power continued? I think it is or I do not think you would be here today. What brought you here? Why did you not stop where you came from? Because you believed the Gospel. When you heard it and obeyed it, the Elder who laid his hands upon your head, conferred upon you that principle which brought you here, and you hardly know why you came, but you could not rest easily until you did come; and you entered into all kinds of plans and calculations to get here. And I have known people so anxious to come here, that they were ready almost to sell themselves. And was it because we were such a good people? I do not know about that; I do not think we were as good as we ought to be. Nevertheless, that spirit operated upon you, and you could not rest until you got here.

Another thing associated with this was the coming of Elijah. What to do? To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. And what is meant by that? He was a representative of a certain class in the heavens who felt interested in their children. And their children are our fathers; and hence they, the father’s hearts, are turned to their children; and our hearts who are their children, are turned towards them. And we begin to build Temples. Some think this is a very foolish thing to do. It does look like it to some, but not to those who are informed. Why do we build Temples? Because Elijah conferred certain keys which he held upon Joseph Smith. And when he laid his hands upon Elders conferring on them the Holy Priesthood, they carried the principles imparted by Elijah to Joseph to you and to others, and you received it without knowing it. And by and by as the Church began to gather together, we began to talk about building Temples in which to receive and to administer ordinances which had been revealed unto Joseph Smith, pertaining to the interest of the living and the dead and necessary to our salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of our God, as well as for those for whom we administer. And we have not only talked about it, but have done considerable in that direction. For besides having one handsome structure in St. George, we are employing not less than 500 men today who are engaged in the same work in different parts of the Territory. And we intend to go on with this work; and while our Christian friends look on and wonder what it all means, we will carry on the work, for we know what we are doing if they do not. As I have remarked before in speaking on this subject in other places, if we were to turn over a Temple to them after we had built and finished it, they would not know what to do with it, for God has not communicated this knowledge to them; and hence they could do no more than they used to do when I was a boy, and which I suppose they still do; that is, the minister, if an Episcopalian, would appear in a white surplice with a prayer book in his hand, from which he would read something like this: “We have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep”—which by the way, would be quite correct (laughter); “we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and left undone those things which we ought to have done.” And if the minister were a Methodist, he would be in favor of getting up a great revival, to embrace each other and invite each other to “come to Jesus,” and call upon the mourners to come to the mourner’s bench to be prayed for, and the sum total of the whole would be, “Come to Jesus.” Say some, “What shall I do to be saved?” Says the Methodist, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Well, I do believe.” “Well, continue to believe.” “But I do believe.” “Well, continue to believe,” (Laugh ter). Would not the devil laugh at such foolishness? Yes, and the angels would, and everybody else who had good common sense, for such kind of foolishness is incompatible with the plan, ordinances, order and law of God, and with the Gospel of the Son of God.

In our Temples we expect to receive certain ordinances revealed to us from God through His servants. And would not the world like to know what they consisted of? They will have to go to their God to find out. But I am afraid that he would be a good deal like the gods we read of. It reminds me of a story told of Abraham. It is said Abraham’s father was an idolater, and that he had a number of gods in his house. This grieved Abraham, whilst his father wanted his son to believe and worship as he himself did; but Abraham knew better than to do such a thing. Abraham at last thought he would teach his father a lesson by making a clean sweep of his gods. So he got a club, or some other weapon, and knocked off the heads of some, the arms and legs of others, and made a general wreck among the idols, but left the biggest untouched. When Abraham’s father learned what had happened, he of course was greatly exercised; he inquired of Abraham who had done it. Abraham told him that the gods had had a quarrel among themselves, “and,” said he, “here is the fellow, (pointing to the big one he had spared) that did it.” Said the father: “My son, why do you tell me such a thing. My gods cannot fight; they have legs, but they cannot walk; they have arms, but they cannot use them; they have eyes and ears but they cannot see nor hear.” “Why, father,” said Abraham, “is it possible that you worship a god that cannot hear or see, walk or use himself at all?” The god of the Christians, according to their own description of him, being a god without body, parts or passions, would be as unlikely to hear them: when they called upon him, as were the gods of Terah, Abraham’s father, when he called upon them.

In speaking further on this matter, I will tell you what we are doing. We are building three Temples, besides the one that is built in St. George. Two or three weeks ago we were in Logan; and we were on the roof of the Temple at that place. Brother Woodruff was at Sanpete; he says the Temple being built there is progressing finely. And then we are moving along with ours at Salt Lake City. A gentleman who called on us lately asked me when we expected to finish our Temple. I told him that I could not tell him. “I suppose,” said he, “it will depend upon the means at your disposal to carry on the work.” “O no,” said I, “money has nothing to do with it; we go at it, and work at it, and intend to work at it until it is done.” To show the kind of feeling that existed in Cache Valley, I will say they were a few thousands of dollars behind, and they applied to me, as Trustee-in-Trust, to help them. “O yes, I said, we cannot only help you, but finish the building. But we would not do that. Why? Because we would be doing you an injustice. When you build it yourselves, you have a right there. You are called to be Saviors upon Mount Zion, and it is one of your privileges, of which we would not deprive you, to build a Temple to the Lord, in order that people may be saved therein.” And it is not the men that wear the best clothes that are doing the work. I said to the people in Logan, the man who chops down trees, and those who drag them through the snows and frosts, and expose their bodies to the inclemency of the weather in the interests of the kingdom of God, as well as those who hew the rock and carry the hod, are as much interested in these things, and will receive their reward as well as those who contribute money or other means for that purpose. I saw, amongst others, a number of Lamanites helping to make mortar. I felt like blessing them in the name of the Lord. All men, those engaged in the work, and those who contribute to it, have an interest in these things. God is looking upon us, and has called us to be saviors upon Mount Zion. And what does a savior mean? It means a person who saves somebody. Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; and he was a savior to that people. When he came to atone for the sins of the world, he was a savior, was he not? Yes. And we are told in the revelations that saviors should stand upon Mount Zion; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. Would we be saviors if we did not save somebody? I think not. Could we save anyone if we did not build Temples? No, we could not; for God would not accept our offerings and sacrifices. Then we came here to be saviors on Mount Zion, and the kingdom is to be the Lord’s. Then what shall we do? We will build Temples. And what then? Administer in them, When we get them done. Do we know how? Yes, we do, for God has told us how. And who shall we save? Our fathers and mothers, our uncles and our aunts, our grandfathers and our grandmothers, and we will look after the interest of all we can trace; we will still go to work, after we have settled indi vidual matters and attended to our family affairs and a few little things among us—for we are a small people comparatively, notwithstanding that we talk about extending our power; we are a few people comparatively, but God has chosen us and selected us and planted us here, and told us what to do. Then after we get through with our own affairs, what next? There are myriads who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, that God and Jesus and the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and men of God were interested in as they are in us, and whom we are informed shall have the opportunity of receiving the Gospel if they had it not on this earth. And are the Priesthood operating behind the veil? Yes, and we are operating here. And we have a Priesthood here, and they have one there. Have we a Presidency? They have one there. Have we a Twelve? So they have there. Have we Seventies here? They have there. Have we High Priests here? They have there. Have we various quorums? Yes, and we operate in them; and when we get through we join our quorums above. As I told you yesterday that when Patriarch Joseph Smith died we were told that he was seated at the right hand of Abraham. And why was he there? Because Abraham was a Patriarch, and Joseph Smith’s father was a Patriarch. He was at his right hand because he was associated with the dispensation of the fullness of times, the same as Abraham was a leading Patriarch in the dispensation in which he lived. And David Patten, one of the first Twelve, what about him? Another was to be ordained in his place, but he was not to have his Priesthood; of David, we are told, his Priesthood no man taketh—he should stand in his proper position. Where? He was dead. No, he was not; he was alive. But he died? Yes, he did; but he lives. He was killed by a mob in Missouri, but he lives behind the veil and occupies his proper place there in his own quorum. Then, there was a man named Seymour Brunson, who died, who was a member of the High Council. It was said that another should be put in his place, but that he held his Priesthood: Where? Behind the veil. What of Seventies and High Priests? Just the same, if they fulfil their duties and magnify their callings. Has Joseph Smith ceased to minister in his office because he has left the earth? No; he administers in his office in the eternal worlds under the direction of the Son of God, and a proper presiding Priesthood as it exists in the heavens. And so will we. Hence they have gone to live forever. If a man dies, shall he live again? Why, yes. A man goes to sleep, but he wakes again. It is said that Jesus possessed life in himself; and says he, “I have power to lay down my body, and power to take it up again.” But we have not that power. But says he, “I am the resurrection and the life;” and, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Die! We will go to sleep, and we will wake up again. We will associate with the Priesthood again; and that is the reason why we want to have our records all right, and everything straight in relation to all of these things.

If we are saviors, what have we to do? Build Temples. What then? administer in them; and others in the heavens are engaged in the same work as we, but in another position and in other circumstances. They preach to spirits in prison; they officiate in ordinances with which we have nothing to do. We administer in ordinances which God has revealed to us to attend to; and when we attend to them correctly, God sanctions them. For instance, you Elders who have been out preaching, you told the people if they repented of their sins and were baptized they should receive the Holy Ghost, and they received it, according to the promise you made them. God sanctioned these proceedings, and you are all witnesses thereof. And God has said that it was his business to take care of His Saints. But then it is our business to be Saints.

And then, in relation to these matters, when we are faithful and true to our calling on the earth, and we step behind the veil and are associated with our quorums in the heavens, and there continue to operate, what shall we have to do? We are told that all those myriads before referred to, that would have received the Gospel, but had not the privilege of hearing or receiving it in this world and have died without it, shall have the opportunity of receiving it hereafter. But who are to be the administrators of these ordinances? Are we? No, they are out of our reach, they are behind the veil. But there is a Priesthood there; and there is a place for the Seventies and the High Priests, etc., to operate there. And what were the Twelve to do who lived and operated on the continent of Asia? It is written that they should sit upon twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And what of those Twelve that were on this continent? They are to be judged by the Twelve whom Jesus chose in Judea. And then the people of this continent will be judged by the Twelve that were here; and very likely the Presidency and Twelve of this Church will have something to do in this matter in relation to those who live in this age of the world.

Now if they have that to do what have we to do? Build Temples. What then? Administer in them. And when we have got beyond the range of those whom we know, we shall need information from the powers behind the veil to know for whom we are to be baptized. Do you think they will be at the trouble of informing us? I rather think they will, if they are set to judge people. And having seen proper to organize the Church and establish the Holy Priesthood and reveal the first principles of the Gospel, it is but reasonable to conclude they will be sufficiently interested about the other matters. But it is for us to build the Temples and administer in them, and help the fathers to save their children, and the children to save the fathers. Have they rights in heaven? So have we on earth. Have they privileges? So have we. Have they earned salvation and become saviors? We also shall participate in that if we magnify our calling, honor our God, and keep His commandments. Hence we are joint saviors with them. We need their assistance, they need ours. These are some of the things that we have to perform. We have a labor before us. You, Seventies; you, High Priests, you are not here to find out what you shall eat or drink, or wherewithal you shall be clothed. You are not here to quarrel over little things and to have your own way. Jesus said, “Father, Thy will be done.” He said, He came not to do His own will, but the will of His father who sent Him. And when His disciples came to Him and said, Lord, “Teach us how to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said, pray, “Our Fa ther who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: Thy kingdom come.” Let the rule and government of God be established. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This was His feeling, and this is the feeling of all good Saints and faithful Elders in Israel. And what did Joseph Smith come to do? The will of his Father, to learn that will and do it. What, was the duty of Brigham Young? The same. What is mine? The same. What is the duty of the Twelve? To follow the counsel of the Presidency. What is the duty of the Presidents of Stakes? To follow the counsel of the Presidency. What is the duty of the Bishops? To follow the counsel of the Presidents of Stakes and of their presiding Bishop. I have had men frequently come to me and want to pass by the Presidents of Stakes. I pass them back again. I tell them to go to their Presidents. Again I have men come to me who wish to pass by their Bishops; I send them back to their Bishops as I wish to honor all men in their place. I have enough to do without interfering with the little details of others and so on from them to the Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, every man in his place.

When the disciples of Jesus desired to know who should be the greatest amongst them. He placed a little child in their midst and said “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We need not talk about our dignity; we have none only as God gives it us. We want the spirit of union and harmony in our midst, every man being governed by the principles of the Gospel and the laws of God. We are traveling through the Stakes instructing the people in the principles of life, that they may be one as the Father and the Son are one, that we may be one in Him; and that all the Presidents, and all the Bishops, and all the various authorities of the Church may see eye to eye, as we are told they shall when God brings again Zion. We want men to be governed by those principles; and for this reason we are traveling among the Stakes to teach people the principles of truth and righteousness; and we want you to be governed by your various officers; and by your various courts too.

Here I want to talk a little on a certain principle. There has been some considerable difficulty between you people of Provo and those of Salt Lake County about water. You should come together as men, and if you cannot compromise the matter, bring it before your High Council, and have it regulated there: and I will tell you here today, that if you take this matter to law before the courts of the ungodly, you shall be cut off from the Church. Now, do you hear that? If I have any voice in the matter I wish to be heard, and I tell you, in the name of Israel’s God, we will not tolerate such flagrant violations of the law of God, among the Latter-day Saints. No man shall hold a standing in the Church and kingdom of God, or preside in that Church, who will violate the laws of God, and seek to the ungodly, inasmuch as God has laws by which He expects us to be governed. That is my feeling about it; and we will carry it out, God being our helper. For we will not suffer this kind of iniquity; and if they do it in the other county, we will treat them the same. It is time for us to lay aside our follies and nonsense, and cleave to the truth and rely upon it, and maintain the Church of God upon the earth. If we do this, we shall be the blessed of the Lord and our offspring with us; and if we do not, then we shall not be, and this will not be a land of Zion unto us. But it will be a land of Zion. The work of God will progress; but the ungodly shall be severed from this Church. I will not fellowship them. And any man who does it, he does it at his own peril, for I will not have anything to do with it. God has given us laws to regulate these matters and all our matters before our High Councils, under the direction of inspired men who have been ordained to the holy Priesthood to judge in matters brought before them. And when we turn to the ungodly, we sell ourselves to the devil, which we will not permit men to do and maintain the fellowship of the Saints and a standing in the Church and kingdom of God. Now, all who are in favor of this hold up your right hands. (The congregation held up their hands). Now, Brother Smoot, you see that carried out.

Brethren and sisters, God bless you and lead you in the paths of life. Do I talk plainly? God expects me to talk plainly. I have not come here to daub you with untempered mortar, but I tell you the truth. And while He has called us to high privileges, to thrones and principalities and dominions, and to be saviors on Mount Zion, and to be kings and priests unto God, and our wives, queens and priestesses unto their husbands, while God has ordained us for this, in the name of Israel’s God we will try and carry it out. And we will find enough that will be true and faithful to God and to His Holy priesthood. And the work of God will roll on, Zion will be established, and the kingdom of God built up, and no man will stay its progress. Amen.

The Abundant Testimonies to the Work of God, Etc.

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, September 18, 1881.

The remarks which have been made by Brother Orson Pratt have no doubt been listened to with great attention and with a feeling of delight by those who have heard them. It is indeed a very great pleasure to have him in our midst once more, and especially to listen to the sound of his voice—to hear the testimony that he still bears to the work of God. It is probable that today Brother Orson Pratt is the oldest living member of the Church, and certainly there is no man in the Church who has labored longer and more diligently and with a greater spirit of self-sacrifice in proclaiming its principles, in defending it, and in advocating the cause of God in the midst of the earth. And no doubt, as he has said, the fervent prayers of the Latter-day Saints have been offered up without ceasing throughout all our valleys, and in all our settlements, and in every dwelling place, unto God the Eternal Father in his behalf, that his life might be spared, that his health might be again restored to him, that he might have the privilege of proclaiming the word of the Lord unto the people. I trust that these prayers will still be offered up, that faith will be exercised in his behalf, that the desire of his heart may be granted unto him; for I know that faith will be exercised in his behalf, that the desire of his heart may be granted unto him; for I know that there is no desire so strong in his breast as that which he has expressed—the desire to proclaim the truth, and to win souls unto Christ, and to help establish that Zion of which God has laid the foundation. It is indeed encouraging to listen to the voice of a man who has had his experience, and to witness the unflinching zeal that he still possesses for the work of the Lord. I felt as though I did not want to say one word—if I could have answered my own feelings—after he had concluded. I would much rather have left his remarks to be pondered upon by the people, than to have said one word myself. But as there is time remaining, and we have come together for the purpose of partaking of the sacrament and worshipping our God, it is not improper that that time should be occupied.

Brother Pratt has alluded, in brief terms, to the revelations which God gave unto his servant Joseph Smith, through the Book of Mormon, or through the plates upon which that record was found. Today there is probably no greater stumbling block in the way of the people regarding this latter-day work than this record. Everything has been done that could be done to blind the eyes and darken the understanding of the children of men concerning the Book of Mormon. Every conceivable falsehood, almost, has been put into circulation concerning the origin of that work, and the inhabitants of the earth have been led to believe that it is one of the greatest impostures that was ever palmed upon mankind. And the name “Mormon” has been applied, in consequence of this, in derision to us because of our belief in that work. I have many times been reminded of the falsehood that was palmed upon the people by the Pharisees concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They would not believe that most momentous event in that generation, though borne testimony to by living witnesses. They declared that his Apostles, or disciples, had stolen the body, that he had not been resurrected, and that false belief became current in that generation and was an accepted theory concerning the founder of the Christian religion, and the whole world deemed themselves justified—speaking now in general terms—in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, and his disciples as the Apostles of God, and yet today it is the belief of Christendom. A man who doubts that the Savior was resurrected the third day from death, is looked upon as unworthy of that holy name, the name of Christian. So belief change and misrepresentation and falsehood fade away as time passes on and truth is received and accepted; and the day will yet come—and it is not very far distant, when we speak about it in comparison with this event to which I have alluded—when this Book of Mormon and all connected with it will be received and accepted, that is, all the truth, as the truth of the living God, for the reason that it is true, and that God himself is its author. For that reason, and for that reason alone, the time will come—and as I have said, it is not far distant, though it may seem very presumptuous to make such a statement—when this record will be accepted, as the Bible is now accepted, as a book of divine origin, and that it has been revealed through the ministrations and agency of holy angels. We accept the Bible today without a question—that is, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and in God. There is not a living witness to substantiate its truth. We accept it because our fathers and our mothers and our teachers from our earliest days have taught us that it is true, that it is the word of God, and among protestants a belief in its sacredness, that I am sorry to say is fading away in many circles, was general. The Bible was accepted after the reformation as infallible; it took the place of the infallibility of the Pope, and yet, as I have said, there is not a single living witness whose testimony has come down to us authenticated respecting its divinity, and in fact it is so open to attack that there are thousands who deem themselves justified, because of the insufficiency of the testimony and the conflict between statements which it contains, in rejecting it as the word of God. But in the case of the Book of Mormon, three witnesses, in addition to the man who was chosen of God, to translate it, testify, in the most solemn manner that an holy angel came and exhibited the plates and testified to them that it was of God. We have heard those living witnesses bear testimony to this, and though they became alienated from Joseph Smith afterwards, though every one of them afterwards left the Church, because of differences that they had with members of the Church, and because fellowship was withdrawn from them, in consequence of acts of rebellion—yet all three men maintained their testimony unflinchingly—two of them being now dead—when they came back to the Church as they had done before, and as they did during their alienation from the Church, that the Book of Mormon was true; that they had seen an angel, and that that angel had testified to them that this was the work of God. One of these witnesses is still living, and though not connected with the Church, he still bears testimony, and publishes it—we see it frequently in the newspapers—confirming that which he had written, constantly bearing testimony unto all with whom he is brought in contact, and who make inquiry of him concerning this matter. When I was a boy I heard it stated concerning Oliver Cowdery, that after he left the Church he practiced law, and upon one occasion, in a court in Ohio, the opposing counsel thought he would say something that would overwhelm Oliver Cowdery, and in reply to him in his argument he alluded to him as the man that had testified and had written that he had beheld an angel of God, and that angel had shown unto him the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. He supposed, of course, that it would cover him with confusion, because Oliver Cowdery then made no profession of being a “Mormon,” or a Latter-day Saint; but instead of being affected by it in this manner, he arose in the court, and in his reply stated that, whatever his faults and weaknesses might be, the testimony which he had written, and which he had given to the world, was literally true.

Besides the three witnesses who saw an angel and handled the plates, there were eight others who testified also in the most solemn manner that, though not shown the plates by an angel, they were shown the plates by Joseph Smith; that they hefted the plates, that they handled them, that they examined them, that they appeared to be of ancient workmanship, that they saw the characters upon them, which were curious; and these eight men have testified to this, making in all twelve witnesses, many of whom we have known. But if this were the only testimony concerning this work, I myself would have, I might say, comparatively slight faith in it. It would have weight, of course. The testimony of men of character, men who testify solemnly to any fact, always did have weight with me. I suppose such testimony has weight with all, more or less, according to the credibility of the witnesses. But there are evidences in this work itself of its divinity. It is the internal evidence which the Book of Mormon contains that bears testimony of it. If Joseph Smith’s claims as a Prophet of God had no other foundation than that which this book furnishes, then there is foundation enough for him to rank as one of the greatest prophets that has ever lived upon the face of the earth. There were predictions recorded in this book and published to the world in the winter of 1829 and 1830, which are being fulfilled today, and which have been fulfilled, or have been in process of fulfillment since the day that the work was issued from the press. There is scarcely a thing connected with the movement of the Latter-day Saints that has not been foreshadowed in the Book of Mormon. The way in which the work should be received, the manner in which it should be treated—I mean this organization, this Church, the manner in which the world would receive it, the manner, also, in which they would receive the record—that is the book—the expressions which they should use concerning it, had all been described in the greatest plainness before the Church itself was organized, even to the gathering of the people together, to which Brother Pratt has alluded as being so wonderful a work; and it may be said so phenomenal a work in its character. For the gathering out of this people called Latter-day Saints from every nation is a phenomenal work; the bringing them to these mountains; their organization throughout these valleys; the union, the love and the peace which prevail among them are all phenomenal in their character. This Book of Mormon, before there was a Church organized, before it had an existence, foreshadowed, in great plainness, that a people would be gathered together from the nations of the earth, and it has also described to us what their fate would be, how they would be driven and mobbed, and how they would be compelled to flee into the wilderness, as we did flee. There is scarcely a thing, as I have said, connected with this Church, or its history, that has not been alluded to with greater or less plainness, but especially the rejection of the Gospel by the nations and the treatment that those who espoused it would receive. This book was published, too, at a time when it was the proud boast of every American citizen, that religious liberty was universal wherever the stars and stripes waved; when such a thing as religious persecution was unknown; when every man could worship God without let or hin drance, according to the dictates of his own conscience; when such a thing as mobocracy, as driving men and women from their homes, burning their houses, destroying their property, or anything connected with these scenes, had never been witnessed in the Republic. Yet God, through this record, revealed in great plainness that such would be the case when this Church should be organized, and this was published, as I have said, before the Church had an existence upon the earth. It also testified what the fate of Joseph Smith should be. It alluded to the persecution that he should receive. It described how he should be treated by his enemies; these things were set forth and can be found within the pages of this book, and also many events that have not yet transpired. Joseph Smith has made predictions, and they are embodied in this book. I say he has made them, that is, God chose him as an instrument to bring these predictions to light—concerning the remnants that are left in the land—the Indians. Now, it is the general opinion—and it has been the opinion entertained for many years—that the Indian tribes would disappear, that they would be wiped out from the face of the land, that they would disappear as the buffalo have disappeared, and that it would only take a very short time until they would be obliterated. If there is any one opinion that is general in our land among the people in our Republic, this today is the general opinion concerning the Red Man. Of course there may be some who entertain a different opinion, but they are so few that they can scarcely be noticed, certainly they cannot be heard. Even those who advocate and espouse the cause of the red man, and look upon his race as ter ribly wronged, see no hope for him in the great future, but believe that he must disappear before the march of civilization and the increase of the pale faces. Now, Joseph Smith has predicted in this Book of Mormon the very opposite of this, and the world will yet see and know for themselves whether he is a true Prophet or not concerning this. This Book of Mormon with its promises is to a very great extent based upon the idea and the view that there is a future for the red man of this continent, and that they will at some time become an enlightened people and be redeemed from their present condition.

Now, if Joseph Smith had chosen to have said something as an impostor that would have suited the people, he would never have published the promises which this book contains concerning the red man; he would never have thought of such a thing, because the whole current of thought, even as early as the days of his childhood, was in a different direction. But inspired of God he made these predictions, and they are left on record like the other predictions to which I have alluded, and they will be fulfilled just as sure as God has spoken. And it is in consequence of our entertaining these views that we have been accused of having undue sympathy with the red man; because we have believed that they were human beings, that they had souls to be saved, and have felt to treat them with that kindness which we think is due to every man that stands in the form of God, whatever his race or color may be, whether black or red, yellow or white. Because we have taken this course and entertain these views, we have been accused thousands of times of having undue sympathy with the Indians, and sometimes of rendering them aid in their depredations. In our valleys and throughout our mountains an Indian has been as safe as be would be in the midst of his tribe. We have fed them, we have clothed them, we have endeavored to elevate them, we have treated them kindly. We have thought that a man who would shed the blood of an Indian would receive as severe condemnation and punishment therefore, as if he were to shed the blood of a white man. We have also endeavored to teach the people this idea, and the consequence is that travel where our people may, if it be known that they are people of Utah, they can travel with a degree of safety that no one else can, because for these thirty-four years in these mountains we have pursued this policy—not to aid them in their attacks upon the whites, but, on the contrary, to persuade them—and, in fact, we have endeavored by force of arms to prevent them from doing such things when they have resolved to go upon the warpath. We have invariably said to them: “You cannot commit a greater crime than to shed the blood of your fellow men, whether it be of your own race or any other race.” Our influence has been to maintain peace, to endeavor to reclaim them from their degraded and indigent condition, and teach them industrious habits and those arts which would elevate them from their degradation. The Book of Mormon has had that influence with us, and, as I have said, there are promises connected with it which will yet be fulfilled, and which will establish, even more than it is already established the truth of what I have said, that Joseph was a man inspired of God, and that he spoke by the inspiration of the Almighty.

I know that it is very fashionable —we have experienced it, we know about it—to decry everything that is not popular. In every age of the world, the men who have laid the foundation of reformation, who have endeavored to stem the public current, and to mark out a path different from that trodden by the majority of mankind, have had the most bitter opposition to contend with. They have had everything to meet, and in many instances have had to lay down their lives in testimony of the truth of that which they were doing. And we are no exception to this rule. Our pathway has been marked from the beginning with sufferings from this cause, and we may expect that it will continue to be. We need not look for anything else. Our religion is an unpopular one, and we might possess all the virtues of the angels and they would be obscured by the misrepresentations and the clouds of calumny that are raised against us. Our virtues are lost sight of. Our industry and the good qualities which have made this land so beautiful; those qualities which have been the means in the hands of God of reclaiming this land from its desert condition, and peopling it, and making the valleys resound with the hum of industry, and creating beautiful homes in it, from north to south, and from east to west; the practice of temperance and virtue, and the other qualities which characterize this people, are entirely lost sight of, because in the opinion of the majority we are heretic. We adhere to a religion that is, as they believe, or as they assert, an imposture, and because of this they are ready to do with us as the Jews did with the Savior, and with those who believe in his divine mission. Nevertheless, this being the truth, it must prevail. There need not be any doubt in our minds, I do not believe there is. I do not believe that 150,000 or 200,000 people can be found in any part of the globe who have the feelings of serenity and calm security, and who have less apprehension concerning the future than have the Latter-day Saints who dwell throughout these valleys of the Rocky Mountains. I do not believe another people can be found who have the feelings I describe. And when the clouds have been darkest, when everything appeared to foreshadow the destruction of the people, when it seemed as though all earth was raised against us, there has never been a time, even during those dark hours, that there has been any quailing in the hearts or feelings of the Latter-day Saints concerning the future. They know that God reigns; that this is his work, that he has laid the foundation of it, and that he will preserve and make it triumph in the earth; that he has sustained every man, woman and child belonging to this church from the beginning. When mobs have descended upon us like an avalanche, and when all the evils which they have wrought have come upon the people, even then there has been no flinching, no quivering of the hands, no shaking of the knees, no quailing of the heart, but calmly reposing upon the promises of God, the people have been sustained, and have gone forward rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be numbered among the Saints of God. This has been the feeling, it is today—and notwithstanding that threats of the most fearful character have been fulminated against us from time to time, and the press has come out with too great unanimity for its credit, suggesting every manner of scheme to exterminate us—notwithstanding all this the Latter-day Saints, I believe, of all the people upon the face of the earth, have had more peace in their hearts, have had more peace in their habitations, have had more confidence and less apprehension concerning the future than any other people to be found upon the face of this wide globe, go where you will to find them. And why is this? “Oh,” says one, “it is your fanaticism; you are an enthusiastic, fanatical race of people. Your leaders are shrewd men, and the rest of the people are the dupes of your imposture; you exercise an influence over them, you blind their minds and they are led by you because you are shrewder than they.” This is the common expression of opinion respecting us. It shows how ignorant mankind are concerning this work. There is not a faithful man, there is not a faithful woman, who crossed the Mississippi River when driven from Illinois, but felt and knew that it was right for us to go into the wilderness and to carve out a new home, far away from those people who called themselves Christians, but who belied their profession—who did not feel this as much as President Young did, or any of the Twelve Apostles. Even the children themselves had the spirit of it. The whole people crossed that river and started out into the then Territory of Iowa, with entire confidence that God would lead them to a good place; they started with far more confidence than the children of Israel did under the leadership of Moses. And from that day to the present the people have had this spirit. Not a settlement has been formed throughout these mountain regions without the people themselves who founded it, being fully imbued with the feeling that they were called of God to come to this land, and it needed no con straint from President Young or any other man to influence them to do so. They were ready to act for themselves.

Every man and woman who enters into this Church has the right to know whether this doctrine be of God or not. I would not give a fig, if we numbered millions, if the people did not know for themselves that this was the work of God. I would rather have the six persons who formed the nucleus of the Church on the 6th of April, 1830, if those six knew for themselves that this was the work of God; I would feel we were a greater strength in the earth than six millions who had not this knowledge. And so I say concerning this people today throughout these valleys; if they only know for themselves that this is the work of God; if they have received this knowledge by the revelations of God for themselves individually, then they become a power in the earth, they are a living force. Murder may be resorted to for the purpose of destroying them, but as long as one remains there is a power through which God can work and bring to pass that which He has said shall be accomplished. The killing of Joseph Smith did not destroy this work, that was tried; it is not the killing of those who were associated with him that will do it. The past expulsions of the people did not injure or destroy the work, neither would any such attempts, if permitted, do so in the future. It is a living entity, and it is composed of living entities, men and women who know for themselves that this is the work of God, not depending upon Joseph Smith, not depending upon Brigham Young, not depending upon John Taylor, not depending upon Orson Pratt, or any other man tabernacled in the flesh, for their knowledge concerning this work. You might kill all these men off, if God would permit you, and still the knowledge remains until you extirpate the whole people; and in this respect it differs from every other work known among men. I have said it was phenomenal. It is phenomenal this people who come from the nations of the earth—each one comes bearing testimony that he or she knows it is the work of God. They know that before they leave their homes, and they come impelled by that living faith, and they hear testimony to it. Hence it is a power in the earth. It is God’s work. As Brother Orson Pratt has said, God dictated the day of its organization; God dictated that we should come to these mountains. There is not a settlement we make without our seeking to know the mind and will of God concerning it. We do not send a missionary abroad without asking the mind and will of God upon the subject. His mind and will is sought for in all things in holy places, and this Church has been guided from the first day of its organization until today, by that spirit of divine revelation. Hence the prosperity that has attended us, and the wonderful results that we witness today.

God has broken the long silence that has reigned for centuries. It is not to us alone, but He has spoken to the whole world, if they will open their ears to hear and their hearts to understand. God is working mightily today among the nations of the earth, and He is bringing to pass His great purposes, that have been so long deferred. But who hears His voice? Who seeks to understand it? Very few indeed. Unbelief is increasing, until even among those who profess to be ministers of religion you hear the power of God questioned respecting the affairs of men, and it is a rare thing today to find any man, even a professor of religion, who believes that God interposes by special providence in behalf of any of His children upon the earth. It is very rarely you can find men who have such a belief. They believe that God allows all things to go on without interference on His part. That, however, is not the faith of Christ, that is not the teaching of the Savior, who taught His disciples and all men to go unto the Father, and ask in His name for that which they needed, and that the very hairs of their head could not fall to the ground unnoticed. This is the God the Latter-day Saints believe in and seek after. They know that He lives. They know by revelation for themselves, and this constitutes the great difference between this Church and every other church. We believe in revelation from God today. We believe that He is the same yesterday, today and forever; that He changes not, and that if His mind and will were revealed unto the inhabitants of the earth 1,800 years ago in answer to prayer, in the same manner they can be obtained today.

I pray God to bless you, to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you, to lead and guide you into all truth, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Testimony of the Gospel, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Chas. W. Penrose, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 14, 1881.

One of the many evidences of the truth of the Gospel which we have embraced is the experience of young brethren, some of them born in Utah, others who have come here in their childhood and have grown up in the midst of the people, and who are occasionally sent out into the world to advocate the Gospel of Christ. We find that every one of them who is faithful to his trust, who attends to the duties imposed upon him, and keeps himself unspotted from the world, returns with a testimony of the truth in his heart. He is able to say that he knows the work is true independent of the instruction which he may have received or the testimony which he may have heard from others, and he is able to say that he has received this witness from God to his own soul. Now the testimony of the young brother who has spoken this afternoon is the testimony of all our brethren who go out in like manner and return in the same way. And there is another thing connected with this which corroborates it, and that is if any of our missionaries go out into the world and become contaminated, fall into the ways of the world, transgress the commandments of God, and stain their garments with impurity, they lose that testimony, and when they return they do not come back full of confidence and of zeal, they do not come back with the spirit of union in their hearts towards the rest of the Church, but they go into the dark, they become full of faultfinding, they fall away, and finally make shipwreck of their faith.

It has been truly said this afternoon, that the bond of union which binds the Latter-day Saints together, is this testimony, or the spirit by which it comes. We are not bound together by any cast-iron rules or ceremonies, nor are we held together by the power of men who preside over us, as is supposed in the world; but the bond of union which unites us, is the inspiration of the same spirit. We have obeyed the same Gospel in the same way; we have been baptized by one spirit into one body, whether we were previously Catholics or Episcopalians, Methodists or Baptists, Congregationalists or Quakers, Theists or Infidels—no matter what our faith or lack of faith may have been before, when we received this Gospel we all received the same truths in the same fashion, and being baptized by one baptism, we were prepared to receive the same spirit, and that spirit resting down upon us enabled us to see eye to eye.

It is claimed by some people in the world that it is impossible to make different people see alike; that it is a matter of impossibility to bring all people to the unity of the faith. It is claimed that as our countenances differ, so do our dispositions and our minds, that what will convince one person will not convince another, and therefore that it is impossible to make a body of people all understand alike, and if they do act together it must be through some compulsion. Now, I regard this as a great mistake. I know it is not true by my own experience and by what I see here among the people called Latter-day Saints. I know that it is possible for a great number of men and women to be brought to see things exactly alike. We may look at this outside of religious matters. If a number of us take a problem in geometry, as soon as we all understand the principles which govern it, are we not able to solve the problem in the same way? Certainly. So with a sum in arithmetic. So in regard to any branch of exact science. It is supposed, however, that theology is not a science, cannot be made a science, that it is a mere matter of opinion, and that as people differ so much in opinion in other things, they will be bound to differ in their views in regard to religion. But these ideas are founded on fallacies. Theology, properly speaking, is not a mere matter of opinion. What is called religion in the world, I admit, is a matter of sentiment and opinion, and one man’s opinion is just as good as another—and in some respects, as the Irishman said, “a great deal better.” One reverend divine’s opinion is just as good as another’s, for they differ just as much as the people do whom they teach. And so the idea prevails that religion is a mere matter of opinion, and therefore we can expect nothing but division. But true religion does not come from man. True religion comes from God, if there is a God. Our young brother this afternoon, says he knows there is a God. It is no matter of opinion with him. He knows that God hears and answers prayer, and you may find thousands of men and women here in Utah, who are willing to bear the same testimony. They do not hold this as a matter of faith alone, it has become knowledge to them. They know that there is a Supreme Being, that He is a personage, that He hears and answers prayer, and He has demonstrated to their entire satisfaction not only that he lives, but that the Church of which they are members is his; that this work in which they are engaged is his work; that he has established it, that he is rolling it on, and that he will sustain it and bring it to a glorious consummation, no matter what earthly power may intervene. Now, I say if there is a God, and if that God made this world upon which we live, and if he is our Father, the Father of our spirits, then he has the right to control the earth and all the people that live thereon, and it is unreasonable to think, if there is such a Being who made the earth and formed the creatures that dwell upon it, and who guides and controls their destinies, that he will never manifest himself to his creatures. It is unreasonable to me to think that. We have a book here called the Bible; we have another book called the Book of Mormon, and here is another called the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In each of these books it is declared that there is a God, and that he has revealed Himself. The Bible gives a history of some of the revelations of that Divine Being to people on the eastern continent, in Palestine particularly. The Book of “Mormon” gives an account of some of the revelations of the same Being to the ancient inhabitants of this continent, the progenitors of the American Indians, civilized persons from whom the American Indians have descended, for they were not always the despised beings they are at present. The Book of Doctrine and Covenants contains revelations from the same Being, given in the day and age in which we live. Each of these books corroborates the others. They run together like three drops of water, or, to make scriptural reference, like the three measures of meal in the parable. In each of these books the testimony is given of a God, and also the fact that he will reveal himself to those who rightly approach him. If this be true, if the united testimony of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and Covenants is true, then it is possible for the inhabitants of the earth to obtain knowledge from God, and further than that, if these books are true, knowledge has been sent down from on high, religion has been sent down from heaven, for the guidance and benefit of people dwelling on the earth. If these books are true, God, at different times in the world’s history, has called and appointed men to be His representatives—not to represent his perfection, because they were only human beings, but to represent certain truths which he revealed to them for the benefit of their fellows, and in some instances, for all the people dwelling upon the widespread earth. If these books are true, Jesus, who died on Calvary, was the Son of God, and he sent out his Apostles unto all the world to preach the true religion. Now the religion that God gave to these men in any age, whether we find it in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants is not the religion of man. It did not spring out of the human heart; it was not framed by men meeting together in conclave; but it came by revelation from the Supreme Being. He manifested it to mankind. I know that there are a great many different things called religion in the world that have come out of the hearts of men, at least in part if not altogether. They have taken some of the things written in the Bible, they have reflected upon them, and then have added a little of their own opinion concerning these things. They have taken a part of what God has revealed and added their own notions to it. But true religion, the religion of God, must come from God. The religion of Jesus Christ must come from Jesus Christ, and not from man. If religion comes down from God to man and man receives that religion and the spirit of it, they will all come to the same understanding concerning it. Being baptized into one body, they will comprehend it alike. Having the same light they will “see eye to eye.” And according to the Scriptures, there is to be a time when all people shall see alike. “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion,” so says the prophet Isaiah. And there is to be a day when all people that breathe the breath of life will know God, from the least unto the greatest. They will be able to bear the testimony our brother has borne this afternoon, and no one will have need to say to his neighbor, “Know ye the Lord.” But if religious affairs go on as now in the world it will take a long time to accomplish the change, will it not? Well, the Latter-day Saints, as I said just now, are able to bear this testimony. Why? Because they are better than anybody else? They make no such assertion; but if they are no better than the people of the world they have not very much to boast of. I have traveled a good deal and know the doings of the world, and if the Latter-day Saints are no better than the majority of the people, they have nothing particular to boast about. But we do not claim that we can bear this testimony because of our extra goodness. We do not say, “Come not near unto us; we are holier than you.” We have no such disposition or spirit. But having heard the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Elders of this Church and reflected upon them, prayed about them and compared them with the old scriptures, we came to the conclusion that they were true, because they corresponded in every respect with the teachings of Christ and his Apostles. And let me say, in passing, that this cannot be claimed for any religious sect in the world—we do not call our Church a sect—there is no religious sect in the world whose creed, ordinances, formula, and Church government correspond, in every particular with that we read about in the New Testament. But we find on close comparison that the doctrines taught by the Elders of this Church correspond in every respect with the doctrines taught by Jesus and his Apostles. They made the same promises to us that the ancient Apostles did. On hearing this we prayed about it; we sought wisdom from God; we did not turn away from these men because their names were cast out as evil; but we turned to the Lord. He heard our prayers and answered them, and stamped the truth of their testimony upon our hearts. We were baptized, and being baptized we received the testimony that our sins were remitted; for we came forth from the liquid grave to a new life, we had “put off the old man with his deeds” and “put on Christ” to walk after the pattern of his life. And when the Elders laid their hands upon us, according to the order of confirmation, that God established in the Church, the Spirit of the Almighty rested down upon us, and filled our hearts with sweet satisfaction, and with the knowledge that we had received the truth, and we were filled with light, communication was opened up between us and our Father. We received peace, revelation, knowledge and wisdom, gifts and powers for our own individual benefit as members of his Church. The Holy Ghost bore testimony to us that God lived, that the religion we had received was his religion, and that Spirit, to those who have been faithful and listened to its whisperings, has been a continual guide, “a light to their feet and a lamp to their path,” a continual monitor, an abiding witness, which brings things past to their remembrance, confirms the things of the present, shows us things to come, and bears record of the Father and the Son. It is this that has drawn this people here. The Latter-day Saints received this Spirit wherever they dwelt on the face of the earth, when the Gospel came to them. We have come a great many of us from various parts of Europe, the different States of America, and from other countries and nations, north and south—we have all come here and embraced the same faith, we see many things eye to eye, understand alike and work together, not because we are forced to do so, as some people im agine, by the craft and cunning of men who understand human nature, but because we have received the same spirit. Men who oppose this work—“Mormonism” as they call it—leave this matter out of consideration altogether. In consequence of this they can never comprehend this work, they cannot discern the cause of the union of this people; they cannot account for the work accomplished by the Latter-day Saints, in spite of all the opposition and persecution they have had to endure. But the real cause of our union is the Spirit of the living God, which rests upon us. That Spirit led us here, and we are here to stay. We are here to do the work which God designs shall be done. We are willing to make any sacrifice—if there be such a thing as sacrifice—because God Almighty has enlightened our minds, because we know that he lives, that he hears and answers our prayers and gives us the blessings we ask for when they are good for us, and withholds them when they are not; for like children we are apt to ask for razors to cut our fingers with. God answers our prayers when it is wise to grant the things we desire.

This testimony which we have received is not imaginary, it is not a phantom, it is a fact, and the same testimony has been experienced wherever this Gospel has gone. It is claimed that Joseph Smith was an impostor. We say we know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The promises he made have been fulfilled. When the Elders were sent out to proclaim the Gospel, they made the promise to all who should obey it, that they would receive the testimony I have been talking about. Could man have bestowed this testimony? No. But we received it and we know it came from God, and as I said before, wherever people have received this Gospel, this religion that the Lord has something to do with personally—they receive the same testimony, and when they seek for the gifts of the Gospel, they obtain them if they ask in faith. I speak now of the gifts enumerated in the Bible, that were manifested in the ancient Church. They are now manifested in this Church; for it is the Church of Christ, and it is established on the same basis that it rested upon in the first place. In the Church now is the power of the holy Priesthood, the authority of the Apostleship, and of all the different offices of the Church, as was the case in the Church anciently. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is joined to the Church of the Firstborn behind the veil. This is not the church of man. The principles we have received have not sprung from the brains of men. They have been revealed from God. This Gospel is now being preached as a witness to all nations before the end shall come. Jesus promised this to his disciples just before his crucifixion. He gave a number of signs, “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees. When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” This Gospel of the kingdom, the Gospel that Christ preached, has been sent down from heaven in our own time, and is being preached as a witness to all the world—not preached for hire or proclaimed for money; for the Elders go out without hope of pecuniary reward, in fact in most instances they pay their own traveling expenses in order to bear their testimony. And wherever people receive that testimony they receive this spirit and they know it is true, and that is the power which bound them together. No human being could weave such a tie as that which unites the Latter-day Saints. It is a heavenly union among themselves, and it is a union between the heavens and the earth. The Saints are gathering from all nations to the place which the Lord has appointed, and are building temples to his name for the benefit of the living and the dead. We have come out of the world, and therefore the world hate us; we have turned our backs upon our former friends and kindred, and have formed new relations and new associations. We have experienced the influence of the Spirit of God, and our desire is to bear testimony to the truth of this work, which shall roll on until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and until “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That is our work, that is what we are here for. If we are accumulating any earthly wealth here, it is by the blessing of God that we may the better accomplish his purposes, that we may help to build up his kingdom on the earth, that wickedness may be swept from the earth, that he whose right it is to reign may come and take possession of his kingdom.

Now, my friends, the time at my disposal has nearly expired, but before sitting down, I desire to bear my testimony, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I know this is the work of God; I know that God lives and that he hears and answers the prayers of the faithful; and I know this work will prevail. I know that no earthly powers can retard it. The combined powers of the earth—Presidents, Kings, Emperors or Governors—cannot stay the progress of this work, because the great Jehovah hath spoken it. This is the way, walk ye in it. Avoid evil and choose the good. “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” I know this work will roll on, though all the world is against us. We are a little handful of people compared to the nation of the United States, but true strength is not in numbers. I do not mean when I make such a comparison, that all the millions of this nation are against us; many are opposed because they do not know us, they do not know our object, they do not know our spirit, they do not know what manner of men and women we are. They think we are a set of fanatics. But it is principle that has brought the Latter-day Saints to dwell in these valleys and we live and labor that out of this Church may be built up the kingdom that all the prophets and inspired men of God have seen from the beginning, upon which the glory of God shall shine, and over which the Lord shall rule. This work will prevail, no matter what opposition may be brought to bear against it. If this whole nation should rise up and other nations should join them, with the object of destroying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they could not accomplish it. Our kind Methodist friends are anxious to see “Mormonism” stamped out; but the more they attack it, the stronger they will make it, as the more united will be our people, and the firmer our desires and our determination to roll on the work of God, and live as He directs. The best policy, therefore, for the Methodists, or any other sect, to pursue, is to let us alone. However, they cannot let us alone, for there is an influence—the influence of the evil one—which is antagonistic to this work, and stirs up the hearts of the wicked against it. All manner of lies are circulated concerning us, which, however, only serve to increase our strength. If we were let alone there might arise internal divisions; but while we are hated and derided by the world, misrepresented and maligned, by preachers and editors, and men who profess to be men of God, we shall become more and more consolidated, for all this only unites us more together. It is according to human nature that it should do so, and in all this we can see the providence of God. This will continue and prevail. I know it just as well as I know that I am here. The general outline of the work to be performed in this generation is clearly mapped out in my mind. And if the Latter-day Saints will keep the commandments of God, and walk in the path they have commenced to tread, revelation and knowledge and wisdom will be given to them from on high, the servants of God at the head will be filled with revelation to feed the flock of Christ, and this work will roll forth in strength and power in the earth, until all things which have been predicted by the Prophets are fulfilled.

May God hasten the day and help us to be faithful, that when His kingdom is established, we may be worthy of a place therein, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Gathering—Miracles not Designed to Convert the World, Etc.

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 24th, 1881.

The speaker read the 18th chapter of the Revelation of St. John, and said: This chapter which I have read in your hearing, contains a series of important predictions concerning Babylon. It is found four chapters after another prediction concerning the restoration of the Gospel. The sixth verse of the 14th chapter of the same book says: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The next verse says—“And there followed another angel saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” We would infer from this that one consequence of the preaching of the Gospel, or the declaration of it by this angel that should fly through the midst of heaven, would be the downfall of Babylon. We are not left in doubt, as Latter-day Saints, respecting the application of this name Babylon. Commentators have been puzzled to explain what this meant, or to what city or people it applied, but in the records that have come to us this is made so plain that I suppose there is no Latter-day Saint who entertains any doubt respecting this matter. One consequence which should follow the preaching of the Gospel, as I have said, should be the downfall of Babylon; but in the first verses that I have read it appears there should be a cry go forth before Babylon should fall. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” There should be, it appears from these passages that I have read in your hearing, several events connected with the preaching of the declaration of the Gospel by this angel that should fly through the midst of heaven—there should be a cry go forth among the people to come out of Babylon, out of this system which had made all nations drunk with her fornications, and no doubt this would be done in a manner that would be so remarkable that all the inhabitants of the earth would have the testimony concerning it.

There have been a number of predictions made concerning the gathering together of people from various nations and from the midst of various peoples, Isaiah and Micah, two ancient prophets, have left on record their plain predictions concerning certain events that should take place in the last days connected with the gathering of people together. Their predictions concerning these events are among the most remarkable that are contained in their books, and as Latter-day Saints we fully believe these events are taking place and have been taking place for a great many years. Isaiah, in speaking about this matter, uses very much the same language as Micah. He says in the 2nd chapter, commencing at the 2nd verse: “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Now this is a remarkable prediction concerning the gathering together of the people in the last days. I have often thought in connection with this latter-day work that one of the most remarkable features of the divinity of the work is to be found in the gathering together of the people called Latter-day Saints. As we firmly believe, the prediction that I read concerning the coming of the angel with the everlasting gospel has been fulfilled in the establishment of this Church. The Elders of this Church have testified of this for many years, in fact since its first organization—that it was necessary for the everlasting gospel to be restored in its primitive simplicity and purity from heaven, there being no Church in existence upon the earth that possessed it, and, therefore, God the Eternal Father, in fulfillment of his designs and the predictions of the Holy Prophets, condescended to send angels from heaven to restore the primitive Gospel with its accompanying gifts and powers from heaven.

The Elders of this Church have often been questioned as to the necessity of such a revelation; for the Gospel, as they believe, was in existence upon the earth. “Why,” it, has been asked, “do you mean to say that we do not have the Gospel? that we do not have churches organized by the will of heaven? that the Christian religion as believed and practiced by us is not divine?” These queries have often been propounded to the Elders of this Church when they have testified that God has restored through the ministration of holy angels the everlasting gospel in its original purity. There has been but one answer to these queries; that if the Church of Christ existed in its original purity upon the earth, then which out of the numerous sects was that Church? How shall we distinguish it? Hundreds of sects exist upon the earth that profess to be the Church of Christ. The ministers of these various sects claim that they are the ministers of Jesus Christ, yet in many instances contend concerning doctrine, concerning methods of Salvation, concerning ordinances concerning many matters that in the mind of the great majority are deemed essential unto salvation. For instance, there are Christian churches today which believe in at least three forms of baptism. Now Paul has expressly declared that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Yet, as I have said, there are churches which are considered orthodox in christendom, that have three different forms of baptism. One believes in sprinkling, another in pouring, and another in immersion. And they differ as to the methods of immersion and the preparatory steps to be taken before being immersed, and before being sprinkled, and so with almost every cardinal doctrine of the Christian religion. There being this diversity, a man with the Bible in his hand going forth in the midst of the Christian sects with an anxious desire to know which is of God, would be puzzled beyond expression to find out which of the various churches laying claim to being divine, and to being the authentic church of Christ, was the true church. He, if he could not obtain knowledge from God, or some communication that would satisfy his mind, would be compelled to give up in despair, or to content himself with the idea that he would join that which suited him best and risk the consequences, hoping that he would fall into the hands of a merciful God. It is on this account that the Elders of this Church have constantly testified that there was a necessity for divine revelation; that in these days, God being the same yesterday, today and forever, those who sought unto Him to obtain knowledge from Him in the proper way, could obtain that knowledge, and could receive some communication that would satisfy them as to the course which they should take.

The Church of Christ—which is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has been organized as we testify according to the original pattern, with Apostles and Prophets, with Evangelists, with Pastors and Teachers, and the various officers that were contained in the ancient church, having all the essential features of the primitive church. But not this alone. The Gospel as taught is claimed to be the same Gospel in every particular as was preached by the Savior while upon the earth, and committed by him to his Apostles to declare unto all nations; the same doctrine, the same ordinances, the same gifts and the same blessings. The Latter-day Saints are distinct from all other denominations which claim to be Christian in this respect: that they claim that if they obey the same form of doctrine that was taught by the servants of God anciently, and have the ordinances administered by those having authority from heaven, that the same results will follow, that the same gifts, the same blessings, the same supernatural manifestations will attend the believers in those doctrines today that attended believers in ancient days. Numerous testimonies have been borne that these have been the results. In every land where the Elders of this Church have gone to preach the Gospel, hundreds have embraced it, and after having embraced it have testified that they have received the gifts as promised by the Savior, and as promised also by those who have gone forth to declare this Gospel. I suppose that when these declarations have been made thousands of persons have said—“If this be true, and if the supernatural gifts that Jesus promised unto his disciples follow the preaching of your Gospel, or that which you call ‘Mormonism,’ then why cannot you give us a sign, that we may see for ourselves and be convinced that it is divine?” This is a very easy way of appealing to the Elders and, as many believe, of cutting them off from any further statement respecting their claims until they show a sign. But those who ask this forget that Jesus himself gave no signs to convince unbelievers. When applied to himself to give a sign, he said it was a wicked and an adulterous generation that sought for a sign, and no sign should be given them. And on one occasion, when he visited a certain place, it is recorded of him that he did no miracle because of the unbelief of the people. Now it would seem that if signs had to be given to convince the people that would have been the best place Jesus could have labored, a place where unbelief was most prevalent, and when he himself was appealed to. But he refused to do so. He did not come for the purpose of giving men signs. They were told in the Scriptures that “these signs shall follow them that believe,” they should not come to convince men and to make them believe. Now in this respect the Latter-day Saints have had considerable experience. We know very well that the Lord has not given signs for any such purpose, and yet I suppose in this congregation, were liberty given to speak and to bear testimony, there are hundreds and perhaps thousands under the shade of this roof who would testify that they have seen the mighty power of God follow the administration of the ordinances of this Church. But I think myself that God has given unto us greater evidences and more convincing than the working of miracles. In these days when there are so many materialists, as they are called, when the senses of men are appealed to, to convince them of supernatural power, it seems to me that this is about one of the weakest evidences that could be brought forward to establish the divinity of the work. If men were to work miracles before me, to convince me of the truth of any system, I could not be convinced by any such evidence. My mind is of such a character that I could not accept miracles as evidence of the divinity of the system with which the men were connected who worked these wonderful powers. In fact we are told in the Scriptures, that the day would come when miracles should be wrought by false prophets, and men would be deceived by false evidence of this character. It is an easy thing to deceive the senses, we see it every time our theater is occupied by a magician—we see things done that hoodwink our senses. Our eyes are deceived, our ears are deceived; all our senses are deceived by shrewd, cunning men, by men who are expert in manipulating various articles, and if they were to set themselves up as the apostles of some system, and declare that these were the evidences of the divinity of that system, and we should believe this sort of evidence, we might be converted to error. All those who are familiar with the Bible know the experience of Moses before Pharaoh. There was scarcely a miracle that Moses wrought that the magicians of the king did not imitate, and every miracle that was wrought only tended to harden the heart of the king, and make him determined that he would not let the children of Israel go, so that we see that miracles in and of themselves are no evidence of the divinity of any system, nor of the power and the authority from God of the men who work them.

But did the Lord ever have a people upon the earth at any time whom he called his own who did not have power from God? If there ever was such a people the Bible has failed to give us any account of them. From the days of Adam down to the days of John the Revelator—a portion of whose writing I have read this afternoon—he made manifest his power unto his servants, and through his servants unto the inhabitants of the earth. He has communicated his mind and His will in great plainness whenever he had a people upon the earth; there is not a single exception. John the Baptist, it is said was a mighty prophet. Jesus said no greater prophet had been born of woman. Yet did no miracles, but he was attended by great power. One reason why he was called the greatest prophet ever born of woman was that he had the privilege of baptizing the Son of God, a privilege that no other human being had, and it was so great a privilege that doubtless it distinguished him above all the prophets that had preceded him or that followed him. But he had revelation from God, though he did no miracle, yet he was a prophet. He was filled with the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, and he declared in great plainness to the people who lived in Judea, that the coming of the Messiah was near at hand, and when he baptized him, he bore testimony that he was the veritable Son of God, the Messiah, and he was greatly endowed by the Almighty, as were all his servants of whom we have any account in the Scriptures. But as I have said, there are evidences connected with the Church of God at all times which are greater than those manifestations to which I have alluded which are called supernatural and which men seem to greatly desire to behold. I believe that if it were to be told to the inhabitants of the earth that a man that was nigh unto death was about to be administered to by “Mormon” Elders, and that he would be raised up from that bed of sickness, that people would flock by thousands to witness that manifestation. And if God would consent to do such a thing, do you think they would believe any more in the divinity of the work of God or in the mission of the men who had thus administered than they did before? I do not believe that men can be convinced as they should be convinced by such manifestations. It has been a matter of remark among those who have had experience in this Church, that where men have been brought into the Church by such manifestations, it has required a constant succession of them to keep them in the Church; their faith has had to be constantly strengthened by witnessing some such manifestations; but where they have been convinced by the outpouring of the spirit of God, where their judgment has been convinced, where they have examined for themselves and become satisfied by the testimony of Jesus in answer to their prayers and to their faithful seeking unto the Lord for knowledge—where this has been the case they have been more likely to stand, more likely to endure persecution and trial than those who have been convinced through some supernatural manifestation of the character to which I have alluded.

Now, this Apostle, whose writings I have read, has borne testimony that a cry should go forth after the declaration of the everlasting gospel to all the inhabitants of the earth to come out of Babylon. It is a very remarkable fact connected with the preaching of this Gospel, that wherever it has been preached, in every land to which the Elders of the Church have gone, though nothing was said unto the people for years after the Church was organized, concerning the doctrine which had been revealed to the Church, that is, the doctrine of gathering—though nothing had been said concerning that doctrine, the spirit of gathering together took possession of the converts of this Church. There are thousands of people throughout this Territory, who, before they received this Gospel, never expected to leave the land of their birth. Some born in the Eastern States, some in the Middle States, some in the Southern States, some in the Western States, some in Canada and in Europe, and in various parts of the earth—they had not the remotest idea in their minds before they heard the preaching of the “Mormon” Elders that they would ever leave their homes; they never thought of it, it never entered into their minds. And yet it is a very remarkable thing that when they heard the Gospel and became convinced by its truth, directly afterwards, or simultaneously with the hearing of it they were seized with an intense desire to leave the land of their nativity, break up their old associations, and gather with the people of God. I look upon this as one of the most remarkable phenomena that has ever been witnessed. There is nothing we read of in either sacred or profane history that approaches this work in being remarkable. It is true that Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. But they were one people, they were only sojourning in the land of Egypt. The traditions which had come down to them from their fathers were that they should leave that land and go back to the land which God had promised to their great ancestor Abraham. When Moses came to them he came to fulfil preconceived ideas; he came to carry out traditions that had come down to them and which were sacred in their memories; they were looking for some such event as the leading of them forth from bondage in Egypt to the land of Canaan. On this account, therefore, it is not a parallel case. But we see in these mountains from north to south, extending some 600 or perhaps 800 miles north and south, a string of settlements built up by people of various nations who have not come to this land because of the desirableness of the land; who have not come to Utah because it is rich in minerals, who have not come to Utah because it abounds in agricultural resources; who have not come to Utah because it is a healthy climate, or because of some advantages of this character. If we visit the settlements in Idaho, and converse with the people who live in these settlements, and travel from there through Utah, down into Arizona, and converse with the people in their settlements and ask them the motive that prompted them to come to this land—why are you here? Why did you leave your former homes? Some of you are eastern people, some southern, some western, some from the middle States, some from the various countries of Europe, some from far-off Australia and New Zealand, and some even from Africa and from the East Indies—you ask these people why did you come here? What motive had you in view when you came to Utah to settle? And the universal reply would be from every adult member of this Church, “I came here because I believed it was the will of God I should do so. I was prompted by a feeling I could not resist to leave my former home, to dissolve my connection with my kindred, to break my old associations and to travel and cast my lot with the Latter-day Saints.” This would be the universal response if the people were interrogated upon this point. Some have left pleasant homes, which before hearing and obeying the Gospel they never expected to leave, it was a matter they had not contemplated. Now to my mind, my brethren and sisters, this is one of the most remarkable features of this work to see a people moved, upon as this people have been in various lands, all taking up their line of march and gathering together into one place. As I have said, we fail to see anything in his tory that corresponds with it. In the days of the Apostles, such a doctrine was not taught. The Apostles built up branches of the Church in various places where they could get opportunity. They baptized the people and organized them and left them, and they were overcome in time. There was no gathering place. It was so in previous ages. But in these days, in conformity as I firmly believe, and as the most of you doubtless believe—in conformity with the prediction that I have read, the prediction of Isaiah, and in conformity with the prediction of the Apostle John, when he said there should be another voice calling upon the people to come out from Babylon—in conformity with these predictions these things have been accomplished. Now if I were to ask you, could I or could any other man induce you by any human reasoning to have done this unless you yourselves had been moved upon? I know very well what your response would be. You would say that it would be impossible for any human influence to have operated upon your minds to have brought this about. You are witnesses in this respect of the power of God upon you. You know whether it was the inducements held out by the Elders; you know whether it was the preaching of the Elders, whether it was the arguments of the Elders, or whether it was any other influence of this character that operated upon your mind in this matter. If the thousands that are numbered in this Church had the opportunity of testifying, they would say, “I was moved upon by a power that I could not resist. I had enjoyed the society of my friends, I had intended to live with them all my life before I heard this Gospel; but when I heard it a greater love sprang up in my heart, than I had ever before known. The love of kindred became feeble as compared with it. I felt as though I could not be happy away from the society of those who believe as I believe and who had embraced the same truths that I had embraced. I therefore dissolved my connection with my kindred. I bade them farewell, and I went forth a stranger to cast my lot among a strange people whom I had learned to love because I had received the same spirit that they possessed.” And we all know—every one who has had any experience in this Church—how strong that feeling is. Why, to keep the Latter-day Saints from gathering together you would have to put them in dungeons, you would have to deprive them of their liberty. The most powerful magnet never attracted towards it a substance for which it had affinity with any greater influence than this Gospel has attracted the people who comprise the Church. I look upon it as I have said, as one of the most remarkable phenomena connected with the latter days that we behold anywhere among the human family at the present time. It is a most wonderful spectacle. Here are people of almost every nationality known to Christendom, people speaking almost every variety of language—that is, the language of every Christian nation—not trained alike, not educated in the same schools, not brought up in the same religion, with varied traditions, and varied knowledge, yet they are drawn from the various nations of the earth, into one place impelled by one common impulse; for it is not the least remarkable fact connected with this that those who come from every land seem to possess the same influence. I have had the opportunity myself, at least on one occasion, of seeing nine different nationalities leaving Europe on board one ship. They sang songs composed of the same truths in their various languages, all bore the same testimony, all were moved upon by the same influence, and all dwelt together as if they were of one family. Now, it might be supposed that people coming from various nations would be hard to control, would be quarreling, would have feelings of national jealousy, and that strife and contention would grow up amongst them. But the contrary is the case. Someone may say that this is brought about by the influence of the “Mormon” leaders; “You ‘Mormons,’” says one, “have shrewd leaders; Joseph Smith was a shrewd man, a man of wonderful magnetic power, as also was Brigham Young.” But Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are dead. Yet it is said that the leaders are shrewd men still, and that they control and influence the people. What a wonderful thing! What a wonderful power that men by delusion—for it is said to be a delusion—can accomplish such great works without the aid of truth and light and intelligence! Let any number of intelligent men with all the advantages that they may possess attempt to do what the ignorant, unlearned Latter-day Saints have done; let any body of men in Christendom go to and attempt to establish such an organization as we witness in Utah Territory, and what will be the result? If any doubt this let them try it. Let any sect try it. Take the best and most enlightened, the most powerful church that contains the greatest purity and the greatest truth—let them attempt to do anything like what has been done by these unlearned, illiterate, ignorant “impostors,” as they are called, and see what the result will be. Let the Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Methodists, or any other denomination, or let any combination of scientific men attempt anything of the kind, and see what the result will be. For fifty years the Elders of this Church have been preaching the Gospel. We have traversed the whole of the United States and the Canadas, and nearly all the nations of Europe, and this people have been gathered out from these nations, and there is no failure connected with the labor. Men have apostatized, as we see; they have denied the faith; men and women have left the Church, and they have used all their influence against the Church, yet the work is still onward, and every hour has brought acquisitions from abroad. Wherever the Elders have gone to preach this Gospel they have found men and women who were willing to receive the truth and rejoice in it, and to cast their lot with the people of God and to endure all the consequences attached thereto. Now, until there can be something of a similar character to this accomplished, I think that men ought to be careful about charging the Latter-day Saints with being impostors, and this work as being the work of imposture; unless there is found something that is parallel to it, unless there is a power exhibited by somebody else that is equivalent to it, or at least will bear comparison with it, I think men and women should be modest in their statement that it is all a delusion and humbug. You, my brethren and sisters, know very well it is no such thing. You know that no body of men could have convinced you by their human power to have done what you have done, and no human power could have blended the people into one, as they are throughout all these valleys.

There is one thing that distinguishes the Latter-day Saints from every other people that I know anything about—and I have traveled considerably—and that is, they love one another. It is not in name, it is not a profession of love, but they fire a people that love another so strongly that they are willing to die for each other if it is necessary, and it is that deep and abiding love that binds them in union. Travel among the “Mormons” wherever you will, north or south, east or west, at home or abroad, in the United States or in foreign lands, this love is a distinguishing characteristic of the people, you behold it everywhere. Men may never have beheld each other’s faces and yet they will love one another, and it is a love that is greater than the love of woman. It exceeds any sexual love that can be conceived of, and it is this love that has bound the people together. It has been a cement that all the persecution, all the tribulation and all kinds of trial could not dissolve or break; and the extraordinary feature of it all is, as I have said, that this people who are thus bound together are not a people of one township, not a people of one nation, not a people of one language, but they are as diverse as it is possible to get the human family to be. It would not be so strange if all were Americans, or all eastern men, born in New England, brought up with the traditions of New England; it would not be so strange if all were men of the middle States, or of the northern States or of the western States. But who is there that asks among the “Mormons” or Latter-day Saints as to a man’s nationality? Who is it asks where a man or woman came from? Here are Danish, French, German, Italian, English, American—northern, southern, eastern and western men—all living together as brothers, full of love for each other; none of that rancorous feeling that exists between nationalities is to be witnessed in Utah Territory. This entire people can be moved by a hair when it is in the right direction. Men say it is priestly influence, and it is something that should be broken to pieces. It is dangerous, they say, to America. Why it is all folly. Let anybody try to drive this people, and it will be found that they will die in their tracks before they will be driven. There is no more independent people lives upon the face of the earth than the Latter-day Saints in this mountains. A more determined and unyielding people I never met with. The men whom I associate with, why you might as well try to bend a bar of steel as to bend them; they will not bend, and yet they can be led by a hair. But they must know that what they are advised to do is right. Here are men and women who have sacrificed their all, who have been willing to give up their homes, who have had their homes burned over their heads, their cattle shot down, every piece of property taken from them, and then were driven out ruthlessly and cruelly by mobs. Yet they endured all rather than forsake their religion; they could not be driven—that is, they could not be driven into apostasy; no, they would have died before they would have yielded. If there is one characteristic, one peculiarity that the Latter-day Saints are noted for more than another it is for their unyielding tenacity to principle, and any man that would drive them in any capacity, be he Priest, Elder, Apostle or President, would find that he had undertaken a job that he could not carry out.

What is it, then, that makes this people united? It is the outpouring, as I testify, of the Spirit of God. Others will say it is something else, but I say it is the Spirit of God, and these are the fruits of that spirit as borne testimony to by ancient Prophets and Apostles. They said it would be so, Jesus prayed in the last great prayer that he offered unto his Father that his disciples might be one even as he and his Father were one. This was the great distinguishing character of his Church; and we learn from the Scripture record that they were one in heart and one in feeling. They would suffer persecution, they would go to prison, they would suffer death, for the sake of their religion. The Latter-day Saints have exhibited the same qualities. They have been patient, long-suffering, forbearing, and averse to quarrels and litigation. There is no disposition to go to law and quarrel with one another, and yet every man is tenacious of his rights. The people who have embraced this Gospel have had to think for themselves. It is no light matter to become a “Mormon.” It involves serious consequences. Our people may be ignorant in certain directions, but they are not ignorant about the Gospel and about the Bible. They understand the Bible and know upon what their faith is based, and they have clear conceptions of duty and personal rights, and yet in this Territory there is little or no litigation among the Latter-day Saints. Who ever hears of “Mormons” going to law with one another? It is a rare thing. They have a way of settling their differences as brothers and sisters should and as all christian men and women should.

What is going to be the result of all this? Why, this work will go on. This work which the world call “Mormonism,” but which I call the Church and Kingdom of God, will roll forth. It will draw to itself everything that is honest and pure. Despised today, looked upon today with contempt, it will evince qualities in the eyes of the world that will yet wield a power in the earth. As I have often said a people who are frugal, temperate, industrious, peaceable, united, who do not blaspheme, who do not commit outrages, but attend to their own business, must make their mark in the world. They must live in the struggle for existence. They will live; the qualities that they possess cannot die, they cannot be extinguished very readily. Wherever Latter-day Saints have control good government prevails, honesty prevails; you do not find people heavily taxed; you do not find officers consuming all the taxes for their salaries. No; you will find peace, good order and honesty. We are lied about! Yes, all manner of lies are circulated concerning us. I have heard men say that when they came to Salt Lake they were actually afraid of their lives because of the falsehoods that had been sent abroad. Why, from some of the stories that have been circulated one would think that a “Mormon” Apostle ate a man for breakfast every morning; that he was never satisfied unless he breakfasted upon somebody not of his faith. I do not think that to look at the Apostles and the leading men that they would give anybody such an idea. They do not look very savage nor very ferocious. Yet, these lies are being told and circulated, and they have their effect upon certain classes. But like all the lies in the past, we shall outlive them. It would be amusing to read all the lies that have been used in days past and gone. But there is a new batch in process of incubation all the time, and when the old ones get stale the new ones come forth adapted to the change of the case. Yet notwithstanding all this we continue to live. Lies do not hurt us. I do not think they cause us to sleep any the less. They do not cause us to enjoy any the less our pleasant homes, our fruit, or these beautiful streams that come from the mountains. We have learned that we can live and be lied about. We will continue to live and increase.

Now, my brethren and sisters, I am exceedingly thankful myself that God has revealed the truth, and that he has commanded his people to gather out of Babylon, that they may be free from the corruption that exists therein. We know there is a condition of society at the present time on the earth, which corresponds exactly with that which the Apostle John predicts, and which I read. You read it at your leisure and you will find that everything in modern society is represented in the 18th chapter of John’s Revelation. Now, God has commanded his people to come out of Babylon. We are trying to do it. We are trying to establish a new order of society, not to tear down the old, but to establish a new order that will grow and increase, and be better than the old one. Everything connected with this people has for its design the renovation of the earth from the evils which exist at the present day. I am thankful there is a prospect for myself and my children in this respect; for when I look at society as it exists, its hollowness, I confess if I had no hope only in that to be found in such society, I would have no desire for life, and I certainly would not care about having a family. But when I think of the society that the Latter-day Saints are trying to establish, every man having his rights, every woman enjoying her rights, I have hope for myself and for my children. I believe that they can live and not be preyed upon. I think with pleasure about the future, the union and the love that I hope will continue to grow and increase among the people. There is a desire to feel after and help each other, to care for somebody else besides ourselves. I notice a disposition of this kind, and I think in many breasts it is growing and increasing.

I pray God that we may continue to develop in this direction; that we may humble ourselves before God and call upon him in mighty prayer to aid us in our endeavors; that when we are disposed to be lifted up in pride that we will go to God and ask him to show us our true condition. We get the idea occasionally that we are a very good people; individually we get lifted up by vanity and pride; we forget who we are. Why, in the sight of our God, in the sight of his purity we can imagine how impure we are, and how far we are from being what we should be. Let us, therefore, go unto him and call upon him in the name of Jesus for his blessing. We believe in God. We believe that he is today, as he was in ancient days; a God who hears and answers prayer; who is well able to hear and answer the prayers of his children today as he was 1,800 years ago. Let us go to him and implore his blessing upon us, upon our children, upon the honest in heart in all the earth who desire to serve God. May God bless you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Divisions of Modern Christendom—Effects of Sectarian Proselytism, Etc.

Discourse by Elder C. W. Penrose, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 17, 1881.

Being called upon this afternoon, to address this congregation, I arise to do so, trusting that the Spirit of God will rest upon me to enlighten my mind and suggest such thoughts to me as may be profitable to the congregation assembled, and I desire that my brethren and sisters will sustain and support me by their attention and their faith, and prayers, that I may be inspired to speak the truth, and that all who listen may have the same spirit resting upon them, that they may be able to see and understand the things presented.

There are a great many people assembled today in different parts of the world to worship God according to the various forms which prevail in what is called Christendom. All those people who profess to be Christians, believe that there is a God, and that Jesus of Nazareth who died on Calvary, was the Son of God. They also believe that the book called the Bible, contains the revealed will of God to man. But although they all profess to believe in the same book, in the same God, and in the same Savior, yet they have different forms of worship, different tenets of faith, and they are traveling in different roads, with the expectation of arriving at the same place at the end of their journey. The differences which exist in the world in regard to religion are very deplorable. If mankind were actuated by the same spirit in their worship of God, they would worship in one way, they would walk in the path of truth, and would not be tossed to and fro and carried about by different winds of doctrine. The fact that people are divided in their belief in regard to religious principles, is proof that the same spirit does not rest upon them; they are guided by different influences, therefore are led in different paths. There is to be a time, according to the Scriptures, when the people who believe in God, will all be brought into such a condition that they will “see eye to eye.” There is to be a time when all people living upon the earth “shall know God, from the least even to the greatest,” and there will be no need to contend about doctrine or principle, but all will understand alike, for “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters fill the great deep.” How is this great change to be brought about? At the present time people who profess to believe in God have a great many different ideas concerning Him. They have a great many different opinions in regard to the being who is called His Son, they have a great many different ideas of the Gospel as taught by His Son, and these contentions do not decrease, on the contrary they increase. New sects are springing up, churches are increasing in the earth, but the children of men are becoming more and more varied in their opinions in regard to religion. If things continue in the present way, how long will it take till all the inhabitants of the earth are brought to a knowledge of the truth? How long will it take to bring them all to the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God? We are told in the Scriptures, that one of the objects of the preaching of the Gospel was that people might be brought to “the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” It appears to me that if things continue in their present condition, instead of the inhabitants of the earth being brought to a unity of the faith and to the knowledge of God, division and contention will increase. When missionaries are sent from Christian nations to heathen nations, they do not establish any unity of faith among those to whom they are sent. On the contrary, they introduce division. For instance, a number of missionaries go among the Mahomedans, and if they convert a portion of them to the different faiths which those missionaries teach, they are turned away from the union, such as it is, of their old creed to the divisions of modern Christendom. If the Baptist missionary should convert a certain number of Mahomedans to his creed, the Baptist church would be established among them; and if the Meth odists introduced their creed and obtained converts, there would be the Methodist faith and the Baptist faith among them; and so with the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians and the various isms which are prevalent in Christendom. If all these sects were introduced into a Mahomedan country, then instead of the people being brought to greater unity of the faith, division would be established in their midst, they would be split up into sects just like modern Christendom is today. And yet if the Bible is true, the time is to come when all shall know God from the least to the greatest, and when all shall bow the knee and confess that Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father. Unless something is introduced into the world of a different nature and character to the various sects which now exist in Christendom, these results can never be brought about.

If the Gospel which Jesus Christ introduced into the world, and which His Apostles were sent forth to preach, were restored again to the earth, and the people were brought to the understanding of that Gospel, then they would come into this condition, because this was one of the characteristics of the Gospel, one of its great effects upon the people when it was introduced into the world 1,800 years and more ago. When the Apostles whom Jesus Christ sent forth went to preach the Gospel in the country in which they were born, Palestine, they found people professing different creeds, but when these people came to receive the Gospel which the Apostles taught, they were all brought to the unity of the faith. If Peter went out and preached in one part of the world, say to the Jews, and Paul, “the Apostle of the Gentiles,” went out among the Gentile nations and preached to them, the converts made by Peter, and the converts made by Paul, believed exactly alike, no matter where they were born, no matter what creed they had previously professed; and when James went out, or any of the rest of the Apostles, and made converts, all came to the same belief as the converts of Peter and the converts of Paul. Indeed the Apostle Paul says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit”—“We have,” said he,” “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one hope of our calling.” This was the effect of the acceptance of the Gospel in the days of the ancient Apostles. And upon the principle that the same cause will always produce the same effect under the same circumstances, if that Gospel were to be preached in this day of the world the people who obeyed it would be brought into the same condition, no matter what their creeds were. When they received the Gospel of Jesus Christ they would be brought to a unity of the faith, they would receive one doctrine, they would receive one spirit, they would have one Lord, one baptism, one faith and one hope of their calling, they would be started on the same road, they would worship the same God in the same way, under the influence of the same spirit.

Well, what is the matter in what is called the Christian world? The difficulty is that the people of the earth have departed from the plan of salvation which was taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and the opinions of men have been introduced instead of the word of God. Men have stepped forth from the ranks to be preachers and teachers of the people, and have introduced their own notions, and churches have been built up and established upon those notions. In the olden times the Apostles of Jesus Christ did not feel that they had any right to go out and preach their views about doctrine, their ideas about salvation, but they went out as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ having authority from Him to preach the Gospel which He delivered to them and no other, and the Apostle Paul went so far as to say, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And John, the beloved and loving disciple, who talked so much about love and charity, says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” The servants of God who have been called at various times from the beginning to preach the word of the Lord to the inhabitants of the earth have always come with the word of the Lord; not their own ideas, not with their peculiar notions about doctrine, but they came to bring a message from the Almighty, and they delivered it with authority. Every word they spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was the word of God to the people, and was binding upon them, for those men were the representatives of God upon the earth, so far as their teachings were concerned. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” and that which they said under the influence of that spirit, was the Word of God to the people to whom it came. But for hundreds of years the people of the earth have been taught the doctrines of men. They have been “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” just as we read in the Scriptures they would do; and in consequence of this the people have become divided, sects have multiplied, division has increased, and the people, instead of obeying the voice of the Lord and walking in His ways, have the teachings of men and have walked in the ways of men, and therefore they have departed from the Almighty. We say sometimes that God has departed from the world. That is not exactly the case; the world have gone away from God; “they have heaped to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they have turned away their ears from the truth, and have turned unto fables,” as the ancient Apostles said they would. This, in a few plain words, is the condition of the Christian world today. Notwithstanding this, however, there are a great many people among those various sects and religions who are sincere in their worship. Their desires are good, and a great many of them think they are walking in the way of life. But as the wise man Solomon says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.” There is and can be but one way, one true way into the presence of God. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the path, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it,” said Jesus, while “Broad is the road, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” There is but one way, and, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” There being but one road to eternal life, he that walks not in that road is on another, but there is but one road to take him into the presence of God to receive the glory of His Father’s kingdom. Now, this may sound in some people’s ears very uncharitable. People say the Latter-day Saints are uncharitable, because they aver that there is only one way to heaven. You never hear a man called uncharitable when he says there is only one way in mathematics. If five times five are twenty-five, anyone who differs from that is acknowledged to be wrong, but when we talk about religious affairs there seems to be an idea in the world that people can believe what they please about religion, and it is all right. Now, this seems to me very inconsistent. Truth cannot be bent or turned aside. Truth cannot be turned into error; there is no compromise between truth and error. If a principle is true in one age of the world, it is just as much so in another; and the notions and sincerity of the people will not alter that truth in the slightest degree. Jesus came to show the way of salvation. He sent His Apostles to teach one way, one plan, and as the Apostle Paul said, if anybody preaches any other he will be accursed.

But supposing we look into the nature and character of this plan of salvation, this way that Jesus laid down. I will refer you to the 3rd chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, and the 5th verse. The words I am about to read are the words of Jesus Christ. Now if you please to say that Christ was uncharitable, you may. I will not say so. Jesus is the great Divine Master. Those who do not profess to believe that He was the immaculate Son of God, believe He was a great inspired Teacher, and what He said was the word of life to the inhabitants of the earth. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to enquire about the way of life. And “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus did not quite understand what was meant by being “born again,” whereupon Jesus further explained, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” This was the declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no compromise about it, no two ways about it. Here is the one way laid down by the Lord: No man can enter into the kingdom of God, except he has been born of the water and of the Spirit. How are we to understand this Scripture? We are to understand it, I suppose, just exactly as it was laid down. Jesus was making himself plain to Nicodemus. He told him that except a man was born again he could not see the kingdom of God, and when Nicodemus inquired how this could be, He further explained, that except a man was born of the water and of the Spirit, he could not enter into the kingdom of God.

We are told in the Scriptures that Jesus was not only the Teacher, but He was the Great Exemplar. Jesus “left us an example, that we should follow in his steps.” If this be the case, Jesus must have been born of the water and of the spirit, and if we can find out how He was so born, then we can find out how we must be born of the water and of the spirit. We are told here in the New Testament; that when Jesus Christ was about thirty years of age (he conformed to the laws and customs of the Jews among whom He resided) before he went on his ministry, he went to John, the forerunner, and asked to be baptized, but we read that John, who knew the character of Christ’s mission, said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Here is a pattern set by Jesus Christ, for mankind to follow. He knew it was necessary for every one to be born of water and of the spirit, and He went to John, a man who had authority from God to baptize, and was immersed by him, or baptized by him—the words are of similar meaning—and the Spirit descended and the Father witnessed that He was well pleased with this act.

Now, you will find, if you will read the Scriptures, that when Jesus Christ sent His disciples to all the world, he told them to “preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Again, he says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If we read the book called The Acts of the Apostles, we find that these instructions were carried out to the very letter. In that great sermon preached by Peter, on the day of Pentecost, when so many were brought to obedience to the truth, when asked by the people, “What shall we do?” Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” First, the birth of the water, then the birth of the Holy Ghost. This was the example of Christ, and this was how the Apostles taught it.

If you follow the Apostles in all their travels and teachings—so far as the history is given to us in the book called the Acts of the Apostles, and so far as laid down in the epistles which they wrote to the churches—you will find that this was the preparatory Gospel, the Gospel of the kingdom. First, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” What shall we do when we do believe? “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And you will find further that after the people were baptized, the Apostles laid their hands upon them, and by the administration of that ordinance the Holy Ghost came upon them. And this was uniform. It was not one Gospel in one country and another in another; it was the same Gospel for all. Neither were there a number of baptisms for different people in different parts, but one Lord, one faith, one baptism; not “pouring” in one part of the world and “sprinkling” in another, and the “sign of the cross” for another. No, it was one baptism, being buried in water after the likeness of Christ’s death, and being raised up out of the water in the likeness of His resurrection; brought forth from the womb of the water into the element of air in the likeness of the natural birth, all done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by men holding divine authority. No man had a right to administer these ordinances as he pleased or according to some fancy within his own mind. A man must be appointed to the ministry by the voice of God through the living oracles, or his ministrations are void and of non-effect. When people were baptized in this way they were prepared to receive the birth of the spirit, and when the Apostles’ hands were laid upon them they received the Holy Ghost, they were born of the spirit, and the effects were as I remarked at the beginning, no matter what they previously believed or disbelieved, they were all brought to the unity of the faith. They believed alike, they had similar impressions, the same spirit rested upon them, they were brethren and sisters, they were no longer divided in feeling, but all were inspired by the same influence, and desired to labor for the same object and purpose. We find also that this spirit developed certain gifts among the people, some that were internal, not perceptible to the natural eye, except as they influenced the acts of men; while others were external. For instance, we read that the fruits of the spirit are these: “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance, brotherly love and charity;” these were the effects of the Holy Ghost in the human heart in former times. Now, if the same spirit rests upon the people today, it will bring forth the same fruits. “Every tree is known by its fruit.” There were other gifts given by this spirit, which we read of in the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians and 12th Chapter. He says, “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” These were the fruits of the spirit in the days of the Apostles. Now, if this same spirit is given to people today, through obedience to the Gospel, it will bring forth the same fruits. The gift of tongues will be enjoyed; the gifts of interpretation, of healing, prophecy, discerning of spirits, etc., and people will be united together in spirit and be filled with love, joy, peace, patience and charity, and be baptized by one spirit into one body.

Now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—to which most of the people of this congregation belong—has been established by direct communication from heaven in our own times, and the reason for the establishment of this Gospel again by revelation from heaven is this: The world has departed from the ancient Gospel, an outline of which I have been giving to you this afternoon; people have turned away from it, and taken to the vagaries of men. The world has heaped to itself teachers. Men have been hired by the people to preach doctrines which would suit the people. Hence division has been in the world in place of union; discord and contention have sprung up instead of peace, joy and brotherly love, which are the fruits of the Gospel. But God Almighty has restored this Gospel in the day and age in which we live, because, according to the Scriptures it must be “preached to all the world as a witness, and then shall the end come.” The true Gos pel, the Gospel of the birth of the water and of the spirit, without which man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, must be preached to all nations. God has restored that Gospel by direct communication from the heavens. It is the only way in which it could be restored. It cannot be evolved from the mind of man. It must come from God or it is not the work of God. If Jesus Christ has nothing to do with a church personally, it cannot be the Church of Christ. It may be a Methodist church, an Episcopalian, Presbyterian or a Quaker church, or it may be a church bearing any other name that men have put upon it; but if it is the Church of Jesus Christ, He will be in communication with it. Well, the Lord has restored this Gospel by revelation from heaven. With it he has also restored the same authority held by the ancient Apostles. Angels have come down to the earth that they might restore this Priesthood. Peter, James and John have come as ministering angels and restored the ancient Apostleship, in which is authority to preach the Gospel, to baptize for the remission of sins, to lay on hands for the imparting of the Holy Ghost, to organize the Church of God, and set all things in order; that authority has been restored to the earth, and by that authority the Gospel must be preached to all the world as a witness, before the end shall come.

The world marvels how it is that people can be brought together from so many different nations and countries, and all settle down under one form of faith. People have an idea that there are certain persons here holding great influence over the minds of men; that they have gathered people together by that influence, and now hold them here in bondage. There could not be greater freedom anywhere upon the face of the earth than is enjoyed right here in Utah, by the people called Latter-day Saints. But what has drawn them here? What makes them willing to go through any trial or any sacrifice for their faith? It is just simply this: They heard the Gospel, received it in their hearts, and they have been born of water and of the spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. The spirit by which the Prophets wrote and spoke; the spirit by which Jesus Christ brought forth the living word of God; the spirit by which the ancient Apostles were inspired is here on earth, and dwells in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints. They have been baptized by one spirit into one body, and all the gifts of the spirit anciently enjoyed are the fruits of the spirit today, and each man and each woman for himself and for herself, has received a divine witness direct from the Almighty to their own souls that God has commenced the great work of the latter days, which is to establish His government on the earth bring all mankind to the unity of the faith, and prepare the world for the coming of Him whose right it is to reign. It is the power of the Spirit of Almighty God which rests upon the Latter-day Saints. It is that which has drawn them here, to leave their homes and friends and come up here to these mountains, where they can learn more of the ways of God, and walk more closely in His paths, where they learn further of this Gospel and of those glorious ordinances which pertain to the salvation of mankind.

But the question which may be asked here is: “If there is only one way of salvation and you have received that, and all the rest of man kind are in the dark and not walking in the ways of life, what is to become of them, and what is to become of the masses of the human race that never heard this Gospel?” Will you tell me what is to become of the heathen that have died, who never heard of Christianity in any shape? For there is but one name given under heaven by which men can be saved. What is to become of the myriads that have passed into the spirit world without even having heard the name of Jesus Christ? What is to become of all the Jews—numbers of good men and good women amongst them—what is to become of the millions of Jews who have passed away into the spirit world from every land—and some of them in a great hurry too, driven by the hands of “Christians”—who have never obeyed any Gospel at all? Now, the word of Jesus Christ must stand good. Even if I could not comprehend the decree, if there was no ray of light to make it plain to my mind, yet if I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ I must believe that saying that there is only one way into the sheepfold, that no man can get into the kingdom of God, who has not been born of the water and of the Spirit, and until it is made plain to my mind I must hold on to it by faith, if I cannot comprehend it by my reason. But thanks be to God, this has been made clear to our minds, not because we are wise and learned in the Scriptures, but because God Almighty has been pleased to make it known. That is the only way we have come to an understanding on this point. All the doctrines we have in our Church are scriptural, but they have not been taken from the Scriptures, they have come direct from the Almighty by revelation in our time. The Prophet Joseph Smith, previous to his death, obtained from the Almighty a knowledge in regard to the condition of the dead. He was shown the condition they would occupy in the eternities which are to come. In one great vision it was revealed to him that there are three degrees of glory, the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial: that those who enter into the celestial kingdom are they who obeyed the laws of the celestial kingdom; that those who enter into the terrestrial kingdom are they who did not obey the celestial law but obeyed a lesser degree of law and therefore were only prepared to receive a lesser degree of glory; and that those who enter into the lowest degree of glory are those who are cast down for their sins and who must pay the penalty of the same, but all, except the sons of perdition, eventually will come out of their suffering and enter into a condition for which they are qualified. But over and above this the Prophet Joseph Smith saw that the Gospel of the Kingdom could be preached not only to people in the flesh, but to people out of the flesh; that when people depart this life they retain their identity; that they can be informed; that they can receive and reject; and he was also shown that the time must come when all shall hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, because by that they shall be judged. The Apostle Peter says: “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them which are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” Every one must hear the Gospel and be judged by it: It would not be just to judge any one by that Gospel if they never heard it. “But,” says some one, “that is a new idea altogether. The idea in the Christian world is that there are two conditions to which the spirits of men go after death, namely, to heaven or to hell.” That is the common idea, I know; but according to the doctrine which Joseph Smith taught, and which he learned by revelation from heaven, the time is to come when everybody will hear the Gospel of the Son of God, every one will have the chance to bow the knee to King Emmanuel, and to do it understandingly.

Now, when we come to look into the Scriptures, we find that Jesus Christ on a certain occasion read in the Jewish Synagogue a passage out of the Book of Isaiah. You will find it in the 61st chapter of Isaiah. What is it? “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” This was a part of the mission of Christ. He was not only sent to preach good tidings to the meek, but it seems he had a mission to some that were in captivity. I will read a verse or two upon the same subject from the 42nd chapter of the Book of Isaiah: “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” In the 49th chapter of Isaiah, we find some remarks of the same kind: “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves” I ask, were these predic tions which it is generally admitted were uttered concerning Jesus Christ, fulfilled? Let us see. Jesus Christ was taken by wicked hands, hung upon the cross and crucified. He prayed for his enemies before he departed; he prayed that God would forgive them, because they knew not what they did, and then “bowed his head and gave up the ghost.” Where did the ghost or spirit of Christ go to after it left the body? The body was taken down and placed away in the tomb; but where was Jesus? Was he lying in that tomb, embalmed? Oh, no, that was merely the helpless body. His spirit had gone. Where had it gone to? Says one, “it went to heaven, of course.” Stay a moment. Three days after this we find this same Jesus, whose body was placed away in the tomb, walking in the garden, “and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” Jesus, while walking in the garden, met Mary; and Mary, supposing him to be the gardener, asked where they had laid Jesus. Making himself known to her, she sprang towards him. Whereupon he said to her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” Now, there were three days between the placing of Christ’s body in the tomb and the raising of it. Where was Jesus, the real Jesus, the living Jesus, while his body was lying in the tomb? Who can tell us? We read in the third chapter of the first epistle of Peter, 18th to the 20th verses: “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Where was he? Where did he go? “Put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” That is where Christ was between the time of his death and his resurrection, preaching deliverance to the captives, the opening of the prison to them who were bound. But some may ask, How do you know what he preached to them? The answer will be found in the 4th chapter of the same epistle, and the 6th verse, namely, “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” From this it appears that Jesus Christ went and preached the Gospel to the dead. What for “That they might be judged according to men in the flesh;” for it would not be fair to judge them by that Gospel if they never had the opportunity of hearing it. Here is Jesus, stretched out upon the cross, praying for his enemies; he bows his head and gives up the Ghost; his spirit departs from his body; he goes to Paradise. That is where the thief went who repented on the cross. “Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom;” he cried. And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Was that in the presence of the Father, in heaven, in glory? Oh, no. It was in the place for departed spirits, some of them disobedient spirits; a portion of it the place in which the rich man found himself who is spoken of in the parable of Lazarus. Christ went to the spirit world and the thief went with him. It was a place where the wicked pay “the uttermost farthing” for their sins in the flesh. There Jesus went. No longer trammeled by the laws which govern the earth, no longer subject to the bonds of the flesh. This is the place that David speaks of when he says, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Jesus is not now the babe of Bethlehem, he is not now the despised of men, he is not now bearing the sins of men upon the cross, but he is Jesus the mighty, Jesus the conqueror. Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the Prince, Jesus the pure, who knew no sin, and over whom death had no claim. He entered the abode of the doomed. He proclaimed deliverance to the captives. He preached the Gospel to the dead. He opened the prison house and “led captivity captive.” He then came back to where his body lay in the tomb. The guards fell back as though they were dead men, when the angels with the keys of the resurrection appeared at the door of the sepulchre. The great stone was rolled away and the risen Christ came forth in his might. He grasped the keys of hell when he entered the dark regions of Hades. He grasped the keys of death when he came back triumphant and arose on high to receive “all power both on the earth and in the heavens.”

Now this may be a different view to that which has been entertained for hundreds of years, but it is the eternal truth of God, and as it was with the disobedient in the days of Noah, so it will be with those of the latter days. It will be as we are told in the 24th chapter of Isaiah, where the Prophet in speaking of the last times says: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Jesus Christ when He was upon the earth, made use of this remarkable language: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” It appears from this that those who really believe in Jesus, those who are really his disciples, shall follow in His footsteps, do the works that he performed, follow in the same path which he trod, that by and by they may come up to the same glory. So we learn from the revelations of God, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that when the servants of God depart from this stage of action they follow the footsteps of the illustrious captain of our salvation, they preach deliverance to the captives, they publish the Gospel of peace in the regions of the departed. Hosts of the Jews, hosts of the heathen, and hosts of the Christians have died to wake up and find themselves in the spirit world, and not in the glory they expected, because the time to receive the glory and the reward is not till after the judgment. And they will be offered in the spirit those essential truths which they could not learn while in the flesh.

Is not this comforting to our hearts? It is to mine. I had thought over this many a time before I understood this principle, and when this light came to me it filled me with gladness: That all people whoever dwelt on the earth will have the privilege of hearing the Gospel of Christ; that God is not so narrow as sectarian preachers would make him; that he does not regard a few of his creatures only, but that “His tender mercies are over all his works,” and that all shall have an opportunity of receiving or rejecting the means of salvation, and will stand or fall thereby.

Now, there is another question that will come up, that I must say a word or two about to make this doctrine plain. When people who depart from the earth without hearing the Gospel, go into the spirit world, and by and by a man of God comes preaching the word of God, and they are willing to receive it, can they be born of water and of the spirit? Is baptism an ordinance that can be attended to in the spirit world? I thought, says one, that water was an element or compound of elements, belonging to the earth. Well, according to the revelations of this great Prophet, Joseph Smith—one of the greatest Prophets that ever breathed the breath of life, excepting, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ—those who receive the Gospel in the spirit world can have the necessary earthly ordinances attended to for them by proxy, that is, the living can be baptized for the dead. This will startle some people. Some good Christians will feel shocked at the idea. But stop; do not be in a hurry. Did you ever think of the principle of one dying for another? Did not Jesus suffer for all on the principle of a vicarious atonement? On this principle of proxy rests the whole scheme of human redemption. Without that principle of proxy, every one must pay the penalty of blood and death, for the wages of sin is death, and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Christ died for you and for me and for all mankind, on condition that they would receive His Gospel. He died, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” He who knew no sin died for those that had sinned. Here, then, is the principle of proxy in the vicarious death of Jesus Christ, as was typified in the ordinances and sacrifices that were given in the law of carnal commandments.

But is this a scriptural doctrine? It is. In the 15th chapter of I Corinthians, 29th verse, we find Paul asks a peculiar question. He is talking about the resurrection of the dead. The people in those days did not understand much about that subject. He asks, “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?” From this it would seem that in the early Christian church, the living were baptized for the dead. From this we can understand what Paul meant when, in writing to the Hebrews concerning their departed ancestors, he said, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” That is the condition of a great many of our forefathers, they cannot be made perfect without us. There is no redemption for the living or the dead except by the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not the Gospel of Wesley, Calvin, Luther, or of any man, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity, as it comes down from Him for the salvation of the human family. Without obedience to that Gospel, neither the living nor the dead can be saved.

I take great pleasure in bearing my testimony that I know the true Gospel has been restored to the earth. I know that the Apostleship has been sent down from heaven to the earth again, and that the power as well as the name of it is here. Men have received authority from the heavens to administer in all the ordinances of God’s house. This is the one Gospel, the true Gospel of faith, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost, through the laying on of hands, with the cultivation of all that is good, and the overcoming of everything which is evil. This is the Gospel of the kingdom. It will be preached to all the world as a witness that the end is near. There is no power which can stay the progress of this work. It is for this our missionaries go abroad in the world. Some people have an idea that they are simply emigration agents to gather out people to Utah. It is not so. They go abroad to preach the Gospel of Christ among the nations of the earth. It must be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue and people: to professors of religion and non-professors, to preachers and their congregations, to pastors and their flocks, to the king upon his throne and to the peasant in his cottage, to the presidents of republics, and in fact to all peoples on the face of the earth. All must hear the warning voice: Repent of your sins, O ye inhabitants of the earth! Turn away from your corruptions where with you have defiled yourselves and the earth on which you dwell, or woe unto you, for I the Lord God will cleanse the earth as with the besom of destruction. Repent, before judgment shall overtake you. Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and you shall be cleansed from sin, and a new heart shall be put into you. You shall be born of the water and be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. You shall be born of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost shall be given unto you as a gift from God, which shall be a light to your feet and a lamp to your path, by which you can be brought into communion with the Father and the Son and the heavenly hosts, by which light and intelligence can be flashed from the celestial kingdom to your souls, and by which you may know you are accepted of God! This Gospel must be preached to all the world by the servants of God. And wherever their testimony has been received—in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Islands of the sea, throughout the United States, South America, Africa, and the East Indies, those who have obeyed it have all been baptized into the same body and worship the same God in the same way, and they all want to come here, the great gathering place of the Saints. There is no need to coax them to come: the great difficulty is to find money to bring them here when they want to gather. In this they are fulfilling the words of Isaiah and Malachi: “And it shall come to pass,” says the Prophet Isaiah, “in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Those who receive the Gospel come in here “as the doves to their windows.” From the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, God is gathering His elect from the four quarters of the earth. This is one of the signs of the second coming of the Son of Man. We are building this Temple—I do not allude to the Tabernacle in which we are now assembled, although the Prophet Isaiah speaks also of a Tabernacle, a shadow from the heat and a covert from storm and from rain—but I allude to the Temple on another part of this block; we have others also at St. George, Logan and Sanpete. What are they for? Why, that the living may go into the House of God, according to the pattern received from on high, and attend to the ordinances for the dead. Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith were slain for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, and are following in the footsteps of their Divine Master. They have gone into the spirit world and preached deliverance to the captives, and we are building these Temples to the name of God, in the tops of the mountains, that the dead may be fully redeemed.

I have merely touched upon this subject, and my time will not allow me to go further. But I wish to bear my testimony to this congregation that the Lord has restored this Gospel I have spoken about. The power of it is here, the ancient gifts are here, and I know it, and hundreds and thousands that are occupying these valleys know it. That is why we are Latter-day Saints; that is why we are willing to be cast out and despised of men: that is why we cleave to our faith: and I tell you this work will roll on, no matter what may happen or what opposition is set up against it, for this is God’s work. The kings of the earth and the legislature of nations may counsel together, they may lay their plans and fulminate their decrees, but they cannot stop this work in which we are engaged. It will roll on, not because we are so wise or so great—for God has called the weak things of the earth to confound the mighty—but because it is the work of God. No power can hinder this work in the least degree; every weapon that is raised against it will fall to the ground. The Gospel will be preached, Israel will be gathered, and all nations and peoples shall be subdued, until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father. And the mansions of the dead, and the halls of the spirit world, and every part of the universe will resound with the Gospel of peace, preached by the servants of God, until all shall hear and obey, and when the work is done, Jesus Christ will go before the Father and present to Him this finished work, that God may be all in all.

May the Lord help us to be obedient, to labor in His cause as we are called to work, that we may find our way back to the presence of our Father, and receive the crown and reward of the faithful, even so. Amen.

The Present Condition of the Saints—Their Past Trials—The Attempted Assassination of President Garfield, Etc.

Remarks by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 3rd, 1881.

We have been traveling this last week through the settlements of Davis and Weber counties, meeting with the Saints in their various wards and visiting the people at their homes. It has been one of the most interesting trips I have taken for several years, and I think this is the general feeling of all who were of the party. A visitor to our settlements at the present time is impressed with the evident increase of the numbers of the people and of comfort and, it may be said, wealth. The land is being rapidly taken up and occupied, and places where a few years ago it was thought that no one could live, we now find farms and orchards and good substantial dwellings, and all the evidences of thrift. The water is being taken out, and large sums are being expended in the formation of canals and water ditches; but the most pleasing feature which presented itself to my mind was the contentment of the people and the spirit which they enjoy. Our meetings were excellently attended and were of a very spirited character, the people turned out in large numbers and crowded every meetinghouse to overflowing, so much so that in most places seats had to be arranged out side, and the windows thrown open, so that those who could not get into the houses could hear. In several places we met under bowers constructed for the purpose of holding meetings in the open air.

It is truly marvelous when we look at it—that is, those who have been familiar with the early settlement of the Latter-day Saints in these mountains—the great changes which have been effected in the condition and circumstances of the people. God has abundantly fulfilled the promises which were made in the early days, after the Latter-day Saints settled here. Some questioned in those days whether we should be able to find suitable places outside of this valley where the Latter-day Saints could live. And many of those who first came here had grave doubts whether we could, in this climate, be able to raise a variety of fruits. But God has tempered the elements; He has ameliorated the condition of the soil; He has blessed the labors of the people; and with the experience of the past confidence is felt that their is scarcely a valley in these mountains, however elevated, in which fruit cannot be raised, and all the grains and vegetables necessary for the sustenance of man be produced. Of all people who live upon the face of the earth, it seems to me, the Latter-day Saints should be the most thankful to the Most High for His kindness and mercy manifested unto us. We came here as weary pilgrims, fleeing from persecution, glad to find a place where we could rest for a little season, and be free from violence and mobocracy. And though I, myself, at that time, was but young, it seemed to me that I would be content to live here the remainder of my days, and subsist upon the most meager fare—bread and water—if we could only enjoy peace and freedom from the annoyances to which the people had been subjected, and especially if our leading men could be free from those harassing persecutions which they had been compelled to endure. While but a youth I had helped, with others, to stand guard at nights at their houses, that they might sleep with some feeling of security; for there were months, and it may be said years, before we left Illinois, when the lives of a number of the leading men were threatened. Some of the most painful recollections of my boyhood are the scenes of persecution and affliction through which the Prophet Joseph Smith had to pass. When his martyrdom, with that of his brother, the patriarch of the Church, was accomplished, it seemed as though the rage of mobs ought to have been satisfied; and the people, being bereft of their leaders, might be suffered to dwell in peace. For it had been repeatedly stated, that if Joseph Smith were put out of the way, there would be no trouble with the Mormons. He was the object of hatred; he was the target at which all the arrows of malicious envy were shot; he was accused of em bodying in his own person everything with which the people were charged, and it was claimed that if he could be disposed of, then they could be managed and there would be no difficulty. But this spirit of persecution is not exhausted by success; it derives strength therefrom, and the more victims it has the more it craves. Instead of the people being left unmolested after the martyrdom, the violence of mobs was redoubled; they were emboldened by the impunity with which they had performed this bloody deed, to make more cruel attacks upon the people. The Apostles who stood forward to take the lead after the death of the Prophet Joseph, became in their turn the objects of hatred. Charges of every kind were sworn to by men who were determined to frame some pretexts for bringing them into difficulty; and the most absurd falsehoods were circulated concerning them. Numerous writs were issued and officers frequently came to Nauvoo, to take the leading men into custody; it being the aim of the men who had banded themselves together in secret combinations for the purpose of taking their lives, to get them into their power as they had the Prophet. On this account there had to be a constant guard kept over the residences of the Twelve Apostles. As for myself, I never left any place with more gladness than I did Illinois. To launch into the wilderness, to grapple with all the difficulties incident to such a life, and even to run the risk of famine, or any other evil which might have to be met, seemed small in comparison with the evils we had been and were subjected to. It was with great gladness the entire people who took up their line of march, left what is termed civilization, to go among the red men of the plains. To dwell among them and to take chances among them, seemed preferable to being exposed to attacks having the form of legal measures, and claiming the authority of law, but which, in the most of instances, only furnished a covering for violence and the most deadly schemes of vengeance.

Although the Prophet Joseph Smith, during his lifetime was brought upwards of forty times before tribunals, upon one pretext or another, in every instance when he had a fair trial he was acquitted; none of the accusations were ever substantiated against him. And when at last he surrendered himself, after receiving the pledge of the governor of the State that he should be protected—he having pledged his own honor, and the honor of the State to that effect—those who were his persecutors, who claimed to have grounds of charge against him, were well aware that the treason of which they accused him, could not be sustained; and because of this they said, “he is likely to be acquitted again and escape us; but if the law cannot reach him, powder and ball can.” With blackened faces, banded together and led by a preacher, they made an attack upon the jail, and the few men left there to take charge of it, fired upon them with blank cartridges to make a show of resistance in order to cover up the bloody deed, as one done without their connivance.

The last time the Prophet addressed the people he predicted that peace should be taken from the earth, and that terrible calamities would come upon its inhabitants, and particularly upon our own nation. He predicted what the results would be of the spirit of mobocracy which then raged, and which had caused our expulsion from our homes, if allowed to prevail. Already, the prediction had been recorded by him, twelve years previous to his death, that there would be a rebellion break out in South Carolina, and a fratricidal war commence between the South and the North. The revelation upon this subject had been written; it had been published. It was well known to the great bulk of the Latter-day Saints years previous to this. I, when quite a child heard it, and looked for its fulfillment until it came to pass. And this was the case with the body of the people who were familiar with the predictions which had been uttered by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

If the voice of this man could have been heard and his warnings listened to, the evils which have fallen upon our nation might have been averted. To many, doubtless, such a statement as this may seem presumptuous, because of the views they entertain respecting this Prophet. But whether it be admitted that he is a Prophet or not, it cannot be denied by anyone who is familiar with the tone of his teachings, with the character of his expostulations and warnings, with the manner in which he protested against the spirit of mobocracy, it cannot, I say, be denied by any of these, that if his counsels had been followed, many of the evils which have afflicted the nation might have been averted.

There is no form of government upon the earth under which so large a degree of liberty can be enjoyed as that under which we dwell; it is the best form of government ever devised by human wisdom for mankind. Larger liberty, greater freedom of expansion and development to man in every direction can be at tained under it, than under any other form of government. Every man and woman who professes the faith of the Latter-day Saints, must love it, because, under it the development of the Kingdom of God is possible; for believing as we do that God inspired the founders of this government to perform the work which they accomplished; that He raised up men for the express purpose of achieving liberty upon this land, building up this grand fabric of free government, we must of necessity admire and have a deep attachment to its principles. While the people are pure, while they are upright, while they are willing to observe law, the best results must follow the establishment and maintenance of a government like this; but, on the other hand, if the people become corrupt, if they give way to passion, if they disregard law, if they trample upon constitutional obligations, then a republican form of government like ours becomes the worst tyranny upon the face of the earth. An autocracy is a government of one man, and if he be a tyrant, it is the tyranny of one man; but the tyranny and the irresponsibility of a mob is one of the most grievous despotisms which can exist upon the face of the earth. And it is from this which we have suffered; it is this which caused us to take our flight into the Rocky Mountains; it is this which caused the founding and peopling of Utah Territory. When attacked, despoiled, and driven by mobs, the Latter-day Saints appealed to the authorities of the States where they lived; but their appeals were in vain, because the authorities were only the creatures of the mobs from whose cruel attacks we suffered, and whom they dare not offend. Hence our appeals were in vain. When we appealed to courts, the courts dreaded the power of public opinion, which was adverse to dealing justly with us, and they dared not do anything to favor us for fear of offending the mob who persecuted us. When appeals were made to legislators, the same result followed; when governors were appealed to they were in the same position; and when the case was carried to the President of the United States, he dared not face the issue, but declared that Congress had no power to deal with a sovereign State for its treatment of the Latter-day Saints, though they had been expelled from the State by violence. And even when Joseph Smith was barbarously murdered while under the pledged honor of the State, there was no redress; his murderers went scot-free, one of them a senator of the State in which he lived, and others well-known to the general public. There was no disposition to punish those men, although they were red-handed with the blood of innocence, and although it was well known that they were the men who perpetrated that cruel deed.

We have suffered enough from this spirit of violent lawlessness to feel profoundly moved in our hearts at the dreadful occurrence of yesterday. It comes to us as it does not to any other people, for we have suffered from this as no other people have. The men whom we loved better than we loved our lives, for whom this people would have been willing to lay down their lives, if by so doing they could have saved them, were stricken down by the hands of assassins, while they were helpless like sheep in a pen. They were slaughtered by a band of ruffians, who knew that they had the power if they could break into the building where the victims were confined, to take the lives of those men, for they were defenseless.

When the leading man of our nation is stricken down, as General Garfield was, it arouses emotions in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints—those of them especially who were participants in the scenes to which I have referred—which language cannot describe. There is something so abhorrent, so horrible in this method of curing evils, that as one of this community I cannot think of it with any other feeling than one of horror. General Garfield, I may say, was my personal friend, we having served eight years in Congress together. I have been intimately acquainted with him during that time, and I know him to be one of the greatest men of the nation. He may not be a strong man in every direction; I do not think he is strong enough to follow his convictions upon our question. He knew better concerning us than any man in public life, that is, he knew more of us. He was brought up in Ohio, near where our people had lived in early days, in the days of his childhood. He was familiar with men who had been members of our Church, and I believe was connected remotely by marriage with some of our people; and while he had no sympathy with some of our doctrines, nevertheless he had opportunities of knowing many things concerning us which others did not know. He had visited this city twice; he had become acquainted with the people, seen them at their homes, and had frequently conversed upon our doctrines. I know therefore, he understood our question probably better than any man in public life. But for fear, as I fully believe, that he would be suspected of cherishing sympathy for us, he uttered expressions which I thought were exceedingly unwise and unstatesmanlike in his inaugural address. But notwithstanding this, I must bear testimony to the man and to the largeness of his soul and the breadth of his mind. He is a man of broad intellect, of wide experience, and naturally of a good heart; and I cannot imagine any reason which could justify an act of violence towards him. There has nothing occurred during his administration to provoke such an attack as that made upon him.

But the word of the Lord has gone forth concerning all such matters as these. Deeds of violence will become more common, whether the world believe it or not. The Lord inspired His servants to predict these things, if the spirit of mobocracy were permitted to reign unchecked and unpunished. Innocent blood has been shed in our land, the blood of innocent men, the blood, as we believe, of Prophets and Apostles and Saints of God; and their blood stains the escutcheon of the States where it was shed, and it has not been atoned for. There has been no voice of protest against those deeds; on the contrary, today, notwithstanding the horrors of the past; notwithstanding our track is lined with the graves of our people who fell by the wayside, whilst fleeing from their persecutors, religious denominations all over the land meet together in public conventions, and appeal in the strongest manner to the government to review the old scenes of persecution against a people, who have done them no harm, and who fled as far as they could from their confines, and from their civilization. Today there are those who call themselves ministers and followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who, if they could, would stir up every feeling of hatred and animosity and bloodthirstiness in the human breast, and bring down anger, vengeance and destruction upon a people whose only crime is they will not worship according to their dictation—a people who have come into these mountains and reared themselves homes, and made this once desolate land beautiful; a people who have created wealth here for the nation; who have offered an asylum to all; who have fed the strangers and travelers as they passed through here, administering comfort and relief to them, and who have been inspired by Heaven to impart blessing and benefit, and exert an influence for good upon the hearts of their fellow creatures.

Now, as much as I deplore such acts as that of yesterday, I look upon it as one of the consequences which must follow. General Garfield, the President of the United States, innocent of any act which can be tortured into a justification for a deed of violence, now falls a victim to this spirit of lawlessness and personal revenge. When men permit the spirit of mobocracy and violence to prevail, when they suffer crime to go unpunished, when innocent blood is shed and is not atoned for, the time must come sooner or later, when the evil results will become widespread. As men sow, so will they reap. It is an eternal law and can only be avoided by deep repentance. Every nation which commits a crime must atone for that crime. God holds nations responsible as He does individuals. When a man sheds innocent blood a crime is committed by him, and he must atone for it either in this life or in the life to come. God will visit them in His own time and in His own way, until these things are atoned for. He will leave men and nations to themselves, when they abandon themselves to evil, and His spirit cannot abide with them.

It may be said that the Latter-day Saints were an insignificant people, and that therefore their treatment was a matter of little or no consequence; so it might be said respecting the disciples of Jesus. Jesus himself was an obscure Being on the earth—His persecutors at least thought him such; but He was the divine Redeemer, he was the Son of God. His disciples were obscure men; they were poor fishermen, yet they were disciples of the Lord Jesus, and because of the cruel killing of the Son of God, and the persecution inflicted upon His disciples, Jerusalem was overthrown, the Jewish nation was broken in pieces, and scattered among all nations.

My brethren and sisters, we, of all people upon the face of the earth, should be the last to rejoice in calamity of any kind, or to indulge in any feeling which would have the appearance of rejoicing over anything that may appear like vengeance. There is only one feeling which ought to have a place in our hearts, and that is one of deep sorrow when men do wrong, when they commit crimes, even though we ourselves should be the victims of the wrong. There ought to be no feeling in our hearts to wish or desire vengeance to come upon those who commit those acts. Our Savior has given us an example in this. He said after He had been lifted up upon the cross, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” This ought to be an example to us. The man who indulges in any other feeling grieves the Spirit of God, and is not worthy the name of Latter-day Saint. He certainly is not one; because any other spirit than this is in opposition to the Spirit of God; and there ought to be no feeling in our hearts excepting one of deep sorrow that our fellow beings do anything which would bring down the anger of God upon them. And I pray God the Eternal Father to bless us and fill us with the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, and lead us into all truth, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Saints’ Mission is One of Peace—Sympathy for General Garfield, Etc.

Remarks by President John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 3rd, 1881.

I have been interested in the remarks made by Brother Cannon, who has addressed us, because I am personally well conversant with most of the events to which he has referred. I also coincide with him in his feelings as regards the position we ought to occupy in this Territory as an integral part of the United States, in relation to the melancholy event which has so recently transpired in the nation; for all right feeling people must execrate a crime like that attempted on the life of the President. It is usual with many people when they think they have received an injury to hope and wish that the like calamity may rest upon those who are their opponents, or by whom they have received, or supposed they have received, certain slights or injuries; and it is very difficult for such people to comprehend the principle that actuates, or ought to actuate, all high-minded, honorable men, especially those who profess to be influenced by that Gospel which was introduced by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our motives as Latter-day Saints should be very different indeed from those which many are actuated by, who do not believe in the principles enunciated in the Gospel of the Son of God. Our mission to the world is a mission of peace. Our proclamation is the same as that which was made by the angels of mercy who heralded the advent of the Son of God; it is: “Peace on earth, and good will toward men.” We have never entertained any other feeling or principle than this; nor do we desire to cherish any unhallowed feelings in our bosoms either to individuals or the nation.

Reference has been made by Bro. Cannon in his remarks to the feeling and animus which exist among many calling themselves Christians, in their conventions, etc., in their endeavors to stir up a spirit of persecution and opposition to us. Let them take their course; let them follow the influence by which they are governed. We cannot afford to entertain a spirit of that kind, nor do we desire to cherish a spirit of retaliation. If Jesus, when upon the earth, could patiently endure the scoffs, sneers and reproaches of men which were so indiscriminately heaped upon Him; if we are in possession of the principles which were enunciated by Him, we can afford also to cherish the same noble and magnanimous feelings which dwelt in His bosom. I know of no other principle than this associated with the Gospel of the Son of God, whether in this age or any other age. Jesus came here according to the foreordained plan and purpose of God, pertaining to the human family, as the Only Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth. He came to offer himself a sacrifice, the just for the unjust; to meet the requirements of a broken law, which the human family were incapable of meeting, to rescue them from the ruins of the fall, to deliver them from the power of death to which all peoples had been subjected by the transgression of a law, and He Himself took the initiatory in this matter, and offered himself, the Son of God, as competent propitiation for the sins of the world. And when He was opposed, rejected, cast out, spat upon and maligned; and again, when He was crucified, in His last remark He used the words which have already been referred to, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” He taught that it was written in the law in olden times, that there should be “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth;” but says He, “I say unto you, That ye resist not evil * * Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” These were principles worthy of a God; these were feelings which if cherished by the human family, would elevate them from that low, groveling position in which they are laboring, would place them on a more elevated platform, would bring them into communion with their Heavenly Father, and prepare them for an association with the Gods in the eternal worlds.

In reference to this late melancholy affair which has occurred, I feel in my heart a strong sympathy for President Garfield. People may think this strange. Why, say they, did he not make some remarks which are calculated to injure you as a people? Yes. But he, like the rest of us is a fallible being. We are all fallible, and it is not every man who can resist the pressure which is brought to bear upon him, and the influence by which he may be surrounded. Even Pilate, who was inspired by strong principles of justice, found it difficult to resist the popular clamor against Jesus; he felt a disposition to deliver the Savior from the position in which he was placed by his enemies, and asked the people, What harm has this man done? Nothing. Only the people continued to cry out, “Crucify him, crucify him;” and in answer to their demands he delivered Jesus into their hands, saying, however, “I wash my hands of his blood.” He had not the firmness to resist the cries of the population but yielded to their unreasonable demands.

But to return. In speaking of these matters, I have reasons personally, myself, to have very vindictive feelings if I would entertain them, in regard to misrule and mob violence, for under the pledge of the governor of Illinois, made to me and to Dr. Bernhisel, (who is here presented) Joseph and Hyrum Smith were guaranteed protection, and the governor pledged us his faith and that of the State therefore. But these two innocent victims were slain in cold blood, and the very guards whom the governor ostensibly placed for their protection, assisted in the murder, whilst I, myself, who was not there as a prisoner, received four balls at the time of their massacre. Under these infamous circumstances it would be very natural for a man to entertain vindictive feelings. But do I have feelings of revenge in my heart concerning these men? No. Did any of you ever hear me give utterance to feelings of that kind? I think not. I do not wish to be governed by such influences. Those who perpetrate such acts have enough to answer for without any maledictions from me. I do not cherish feelings of that kind. I consider that all these things are governed by an all-wise and inscrutable Providence, by a God who rules and regulates, manages and directs the affairs of the human family. I saw Joseph and Hyrum Smith mortally wounded by men with blackened faces, and, as I have said, I was severely wounded—quite as severely as President Garfield is. Do I feel enmity towards these men? No, their case is not an enviable one. There is a Being who knows the acts of the human family and is acquainted with their affairs, who will judge all men and all nations according to their deserts. Do I know this? I do know it. The Gospel reveals many things to us which others are unacquainted with. I knew of those terrible events which were coming upon this nation previous to the breaking out of our great fratricidal war, just as well as I now know that they transpired, and I have spoken of them to many. What of that? Do I not know that a nation like that in which we live, a nation which is blessed with, the freest, the most enlightened and magnificent government in the world today, with privileges which would exalt people to heaven if lived up to—do I not know that if they do not live up to them, but violate them and trample them under their feet, and discard the sacred principles of liberty by which we ought to be governed—do I not know that their punishment will be commensurate with the enlightenment which they possess? I do. And I know—I cannot help but know—that there are a great many more afflictions yet awaiting this nation. But would I put forth my hand to help bring them on? God forbid! And you, you Latter-day Saints, would you exercise your influence to the accomplishment of an object of that kind? God forbid! But we cannot help but know these things. But our foreknowledge of these matters does not make us the agents in bringing them to pass. We are told that the wicked will slay the wicked. We are told in sacred writ, “that vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay.” And in speaking of ourselves we need not be under any apprehensions pertaining to the acts of men, for the Lord has said, “It is my business to take care of my saints;” but it is our business to be Saints. And to be worthy of that character it is our duty to live by the principles of virtue, truth, integrity, holiness, purity, and honor, that we may at all times secure the favor of Almighty God; that His blessings may be with us and dwell in our bosoms; that the peace of God may abide in our habitations; that our fields, our flocks, and our herds may be blessed of the Lord; and that we, as a people, may be under His divine protection. Fear him and keep his commandments, and if we do this we need know no other fear either on this side of heaven or of hell, for God has pledged himself to take care of his people and to sustain and deliver them from the hands of their enemies, Therefore we may feel easy, and we can always afford to treat all men right. What! Would you treat your enemies well? Why, yes. If they were hungry I would feed them; if they were thirsty I would give them drink; if they were naked I would clothe them; but I would not be governed by their principles, nor influenced by the feelings which animate their bosoms. I would try and imitate and cherish the same truths that dwell in the bosom of God, who makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust. Then, having done that, I would leave them in the hands of God, and let him direct his affairs according to the counsels of his own will.

I am sorry to see this murderous influence prevailing throughout the world, and perhaps this may be a fitting occasion to refer to some of these matters. The manifestations of turbulence and uneasiness which prevail among the nations of the earth are truly lamentable. Well, have I anything to do with them? Nothing; but I cannot help but know that they exist. These feelings which tend to do away with all right, rule, and government, and correct principles are not from God, or many of them are not. This feeling of communism and nihilism, aimed at the overthrow of rulers and men in position and authority, arises from a spirit of diabolism, which is contrary to every principle of the Gospel of the Son of God. But then do not the Scripture say that these things shall occur? Yes. Do not the scriptures say that men shall grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived? Yes. Do not the scriptures tell us that thrones shall be cast down and empires destroyed and the rule and government of the earth be trodden under foot? Yes. But I cannot help but sympathize with those who suffer from their influences; while these afflictions are the result of wickedness and corruption, yet we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that those who engage in these pernicious practices are exceedingly low, brutal, wicked and degraded. I would say “my soul come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.”

I have traveled abroad myself, quite extensively among the nations of the earth. Did I ever interfere with them? No, not in the least particular. Did I see things that were wrong? Yes, but it was not for me to right them. That was not my mission. I had no command of the kind. My mission was to preach the Gospel of salvation to the nations of the earth, and I have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to do this, without purse or scrip, trusting in God. And so have many of my friends traveled. We did not hurt anybody, did we? For instance, now, right in our own city, we have Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, and all kinds of isms. Do we interfere with them? We do not. Would you interrupt them in their worship? I know of no such thing, good Latter-day Saints will not do it. Would I malign or persecute them? No, I would not. If we told the truth about some of them it would be quite bad enough without stating falsehoods, and if other men cannot afford to treat us aright, we can afford to treat them properly and to give the fullest and broadest liberty to all who come within our reach; liberty to do right, not liberty to oppress, not liberty to trample upon correct principles, not liberty to rob men of their property or religion. Men who would do this are villains which we want nothing to do with; but all honorable men, all men who do right and maintain the laws and the Constitution of the United States, we are their friends and will sustain them to the last. These are my thoughts in relation to that matter.

In connection with President Garfield, have we any feelings of enmity? No; I have none. I feel truly to sympathize with him in his affliction, but I feel more profoundly moved that deeds of this description can occur in a free, liberal and enlightened government like this. We might expect such things in some of the European nations where the principles of nihilism exist to so great an extent, and where there seems a disposition to subvert all rule and government and place the people and nations in the hands of irresponsible mobs, and of low, brutal, murderous men, without any regard to the principles of law, order, justice, equity and righteousness. I could account for some of these things taking place there. It is really astonishing to see what efforts are being made to accomplish the overthrow of rule and government in Russia, Austria, Germany, Spain, England, Italy, France, Turkey, etc. These things are beginning to spread among and permeate the nations of the earth. Do we expect them? Yes. These secret combinations were spoken of by Joseph Smith, years and years ago. I have heard him time and time again tell about them, and he stated that when these things began to take place the liberties of this nation would begin to be bartered away. We see many signs of weakness which we lament, and we would to God that our rulers would be men of righteousness, and that those who aspire to position would be guided by honorable feelings—to maintain inviolate the Constitution and operate in the interest, happiness, well-being, and protection of the whole community. But we see signs of weakness and vacillation. We see a policy being introduced to listen to the clamor of mobs and of unprincipled men who know not of what they speak, nor whereof they affirm, and when men begin to tear away with impunity one plank after another from our Constitution, by and by we shall find that we are struggling with the wreck and ruin of the system which the forefathers of this nation sought to establish in the interests of humanity. But it is for us still to sustain these glorious principles of liberty bequeathed by the founders of this nation, still to rally round the flag of the Union, still to maintain all correct principles, granting the utmost extent of liberty to all people of all grades and of all nations. If other people see fit to violate these sacred principles, we must uphold them in their en tirety, in their purity, and be patriotic and law-abiding and act honorably toward our nation and to its rulers. It is truly deplorable to see our President, the President of this great and mighty nation, one of the greatest rulers in the world stricken down by an assassin. Yet these things we have to mourn over. But in all cases it is for us to be true to our God and to our religion, to obey the laws of God, cleaving to correct principles, letting purity, virtue, honor, truth and integrity characterize all our acts, that we may be the blessed of the Lord.

I pray God to bless you, and that we may be led in the paths of light; and I pray God to bless all honorable men everywhere, and to bless our President and our rulers who rule in righteousness, and that wherein any of them are doing wrong, that they may be led in the right path, and that we may be led to pursue that course at all times that shall secure the approbation of God, the approbation of our own conscience and the esteem and respect of all honorable men everywhere. Regarding the notions of others, we care nothing; our trust is in God; and we will try and observe His laws and keep His commandments. May God help us to do so in the name of Jesus. Amen.