Greatness of the Work Inaugurated and Accomplished By the Prophet Joseph Smith—Sketch of the Prophet’s Early Life—Refutation of the False Charges Made Against Him and the Latter-Day Saints—Character of Our Traducers—Divine Nature and Value of the Book of Mormon

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, October 29th 1882.

Brother Woodruff in the course of his remarks made the assertion that Joseph Smith was the greatest Prophet that has ever lived of whom we have any knowledge, save and except Jesus Christ Himself. The world would say that he was an impostor; and the Lord said that his name should be had for good and for evil among all the nations of the earth, and this much, at least, so far as his name has become known, has been fulfilled. This prediction was made through the Prophet Joseph Smith himself when he was an obscure youth, and there was but little prospect of his name ever becoming known beyond the village where he lived. It was at an early period of his life and at the begin ning of the work that this prophecy or revelation was given, and it has been truly verified. Today there is not another man, perhaps, who has figured in religion whose name is so widely known, and the report of whom has gone so far and is so widespread among the nations as that of Joseph Smith. In connection with the work of which he was the instrument in the hands of God of laying the foundation, his name is spoken of in nearly every civilized nation upon the globe for good or for evil. Where it is spoken of for good, it is by those who have had the privilege of hearing the Gospel which has come to the earth through him and who have been sufficiently honest and humble to receive the same; they speak of him with a knowledge which they have received by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through obedience to the principles which he taught as a Prophet and as an inspired man. They speak to his praise, to his honor, and they hold his name in honorable remembrance. They revere him and they love him as they love no other man, because they know he was the chosen instrument in the hands of the Almighty of restoring the Gospel of life and salvation unto them, of opening their understanding of the future, of lifting the veil of eternity as it were from before their eyes. Those who have received the principles which he promulgated know they pertain not only to their own salvation, happiness and peace, spiritual and temporal, but to the welfare, happiness, salvation and exaltation of their kindred who have died without a knowledge of the truth. The work in which Joseph Smith was engaged was not confined to this life alone, but it pertains as well to the life to come and to the life that has been. In other words, it relates to those that have lived upon the earth, to those that are living and to those that shall come after us. It is not something which relates to man only while he tabernacles in the flesh, but to the whole human family from eternity to eternity. Consequently, as I have said, Joseph Smith is held in reverence, his name is honored; tens of thousands of people thank God in their heart and from the depths of their souls for the knowledge the Lord has restored to the earth through him, and therefore they speak well of him and bear testimony of his worth. And this is not confined to a village, nor to a State, nor to a nation, but extends to every nation, kindred, tongue and people where the Gospel, up to the present, has been preached—in America, Great Britain, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and upon the Islands of the sea. And the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God of bringing forth to this generation, has been translated into the German, French, Danish, Swedish, Welsh, Hawaiian, Hindostani, Spanish and Dutch languages, and this book will be translated into other languages, for according to the predictions it contains, and according to the promises of the Lord through Joseph Smith, it is to be sent unto every nation and kindred and people under the whole heavens, until all the sons and daughters of Adam shall have the privilege of hearing the Gospel as it has been restored to the earth in the dispensation of the fullness of times.

The world presume that we have not received a knowledge of the truth. Those who are in ignorance in regard to the character, life and labors of Joseph Smith, who have never read his revelations or studied or investigated his claims to divine authority and are ignorant of his mission, revile him, sneer at his name, and ridicule his claims to prophetic inspiration, and call him all impostor. Jesus was also called an impostor in His day, except by a few that hearkened to His instruction, and believed His testimony. The great majority of mankind then living who knew of Christ, deemed Him an impostor, and considered him worthy to be put to death; precisely the same feeling existed towards Joseph Smith.

The disciples of Jesus Christ anciently were regarded in the same light as their Master, the Savior; so it is not at all surprising that the people of the world today, who know not the truth, should pronounce Joseph Smith an impostor and try to ridicule the doctrines which he taught; but in so doing they make themselves ridiculous, for they know little or nothing about them; indeed, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred where the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints—which are no other than the doctrines which were taught by the Savior himself or contained in the Bible—are ridiculed and pronounced false and evil, they are so pronounced by a class of people who, being ignorant of, or willfully perverting the truth, build aerial castles in order that they may tear them down, or “make a man of straw” to shoot at so that they can create a great noise and excitement about the “Mormons,” and thus we are often charged by those who abuse us and write and preach against us with believing and practicing the most absurd things—things which no Latter-day Saint ever dreamt of believing or accepting as a principle of his faith. As I have said, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the Latter-day Saints are accused by their enemies of believing doctrines which they do not believe, and which are not the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints at all. They accuse us of every abominable thing. They call us murderers; they say we are immoral, ignorant, superstitious; they call us dupes, they say we are deceived, that we are enslaved by the Priesthood; that we are fettered and in bondage. Now, is it true that the Latter-day Saints are ignorant? If so, then I am sorry for the great majority of mankind, for millions of them are in a far worse condition than we are, in this respect. I will say here, and not without good and sufficient proof to back it, that the Latter-day Saints will compare favorably with any other people upon the face of the earth for good, sound common sense, and every other good thing. Hence, to say that the Latter-day Saints are an ignorant people is saying only what may truthfully be said of the whole world. Taking the best evidence that we have to prove the facts, the statistics of the schools as compared with the statistics of the schools in the various States and Territories and of European countries, it appears that the people of Utah stand in the front ranks in relation to education, and are in advance of many of their neighbors and stand equal with many who have far greater advantages than they have. Yet we do not boast of being very intelligent; and only claim the credit which belongs to us, that we stand on a par with our neighbors and with our fellow citizens throughout the United States; and for that matter, will compare favorably with any people on the face of the globe.

But we are called an “immoral people.” Well, is the world so very moral? Are our accusers so very pure and holy and so extremely righteous that they should accuse us of being immoral? Consistency would demand that he that is without guilt should throw the first stone. But it is a fact that in our case our bitterest accusers—and this has been well demonstrated hundreds and perhaps thousands of times—are themselves reeking with corruption. Generally those who are the most immoral themselves are the first to make the charge of immorality against the Latter-day Saints! But I deny the charge in toto, and I assert, without fear of successful contradiction—that there is not an equal number of people upon the face of the globe today who present to the world as much pure and simple morality and virtue as do the people called Latter-day Saints. In other words, there is not a more moral people upon the face of the earth today than the Latter-day Saints, taking them all in all. Not but what there are some “black sheep” among them. But who can fathom the depths of crime and corruption which exist in all the great cities of the world? You may go to the rural districts throughout the United States, and gather therefrom the most virtuous of our country to the number that are gathered together as Latter-day Saints, and I will venture to say that there are half as many children murdered among them annually, either before or after their birth, by their own mothers or fathers, as are born to the Latter-day Saints in the same period. The Latter-day Saints are proverbial for NOT murdering their children. They have hosts of them, and they do not try to destroy them neither before nor after birth, but endeavor to rear them to manhood and womanhood, that they may teach them the principles of the Gospel of Christ—the highest code of morals known, that they may be able to bear off the kingdom of God upon the earth, and to regenerate the world. This is the object for which the Latter-day Saints are raising children, that God may have a pure and a righteous people. How much time Latter-day Saints neglect their opportunities or privileges or fall short of their duties in regard to training their children, and instructing them in the principles of morality, virtue, purity and uprightness, is difficult to say; but of this I feel sure that while they are the best people that I know of there is great room for improvement in this direction.

But, it is said, the immorality of the Latter-day Saints consists in their marrying more wives than one! We are not charged with the crime of frequenting houses of ill fame, of fostering illicit intercourse, of infidelity to our wives—of child murder, of drunkenness, profanity, dishonesty, cruelty or indolence, or if we are the charge is utterly false, but our great offense is in marrying our wives and protecting them and our children as all honorable men should. God forbid that I should undertake to compare the honorable marriage of the Latter-day Saints with the debauchery and sexual crimes of our accusers! If our actions and our faith in regard to marriage are called wicked and immoral by them, in the name of God and humanity what will you call the crimes of those that accuse us? There is no adequate term in the dictionary of the English language with which to make a comparison, hence “Mormon” plural marriage cannot be degraded to the level of a comparison with the sexual crimes and iniquities of the world; there is no similitude between them. One is the antipode of the other—one is virtuous, pure and honorable, and the other is corrupt, treacherous and debasing to the utmost degree. Our system of marriage promotes life, purity, innocence, vitality, health, increase and longevity, while the other engenders disease, disappointment, misery and premature death—that is the difference. Hence there is no resemblance for they are not allied to each other at all.

The people of Utah are charged with having committed terrible murders and robberies. “Danites” or “Destroying Angels” are talked about by sensational writers and believed in by the uninformed. Now, what is the fact? Utah stands head and shoulders above every other Territory in the United States so far as the crime of murder is concerned. You cannot find a western Territory or State within the United States where there has not been a hundred percent more murders, lynching and lawlessness than can be found in the annals of Utah. Take the State of California, the State of Nevada, and all the surrounding Territories, and it will be found that there has been less violation of law, fewer murders and less lynching in Utah than in any one of these from the beginning. There is no man that knows anything about the history of the western States and Territories for the last thirty years but knows this to be absolutely the fact. But because a few horse thieves and murderers have per chance been summarily dealt with by officers of the law—who were the appointees of the United States, and acting under the authority of the parent government and the laws of the Territory—the whole people of Utah are accused of being murderers. I attended a Methodist revival meeting held in a big tent in this city a few years ago by some itinerant preachers, who had spent but a few days in Utah, and were totally ignorant of her history, and it fairly made one’s blood run cold to hear them relate their pious suspicions of the horrible murders that had been committed in Utah. They thought, or pretended to believe, that if the rocks of these mountain gorges could only speak, that nearly every rock could some terrible tale unfold of horrible secret murder and rapine. The most damnable nonsense that was ever uttered by man. But this is the sort of preaching that is generally done against the Latter-day Saints by this class of men, and as I have said, those who denounce the doctrines of this people as heresies and as abominable, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred know nothing whatever of the facts. If the Latter-day Saints had not been Latter-day Saints, if it had not been for their religion, and their faith in God and in His omnipotence to deliver them from the power of their enemies; or if the Territory of Utah had been inhabited by the same number of people composed of the various sects and denominations of Christianity, so-called, and the one-thousandth part of the infamies that have been perpetrated upon this people had been perpetrated upon them, many of the perpetrators of these infamies would have been long ago summoned to their final abode by “Judge Lynch.” But the patience of the Latter-day Saints, and their willingness to leave their cause in the hands of God has spared them from shedding the blood of their enemies, and preserved them from violence or harm. Men that have not deserved to live, and would not have been suffered to live in any other community under the same circumstances, have equal protection with the very best citizens, and no man would harm a hair of their heads. We have too much good sense to make martyrs of such characters, and consequently they are left alone to pursue their nefarious course. Sometimes it seems rather hard to bear it, but it is the best to do so, I suppose. We are engaged in the work of the Lord, and He will bear it off victorious.

Let us return to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was accused of nearly everything that was vile, by his enemies, who, as is well known by the Latter-day Saints, were generally entirely ignorant of his true character and mission. What did Joseph Smith do? Was human blood found upon his hands? No, verily no. He was innocent. Was he a slanderer and vilifier? No, verily, he was not. Did he wrongfully and unjustly accuse men of wickedness? No, he did not. Did he institute an order of things that has proven injurious to the human family? Let the people who have become acquainted with his doctrines, and with the institutions which he established upon the earth and his own life’s labor answer. He was born December 23, 1805, in the State of Vermont. His parents were American citizens, as had been their ancestors for generations. In the Spring of 1820 he received the first supernatural or heavenly manifestation. He was then fourteen years of age. Ordinarily we do not expect a very great deal from a boy who is only fourteen years of age, and it is not likely that a boy of that tender age could have become very vicious or wicked, especially when he was born and reared on a farm, apart from the corrupting vices of great cities, and free from contact with the debasing influences of vile associations. It is not likely that he spent many idle moments during the working years of his life up to fourteen years of age; for his father had to labor for his living and earn it from the soil by the labor of his hands, being a poor man with a large family to support. In 1820, as I have said, Joseph Smith received a revelation in which he claimed that God had declared that He was about to restore the ancient Gospel in its purity, and many other glorious things. In consequence of this, Joseph Smith became very notorious in the neighborhood where he resided, and people began to regard him with a great deal of suspicion. He was at once called an impostor, and a few years later he was styled by his enemies, “old Joe Smith.” His fame became known throughout the United States. He was called “a money digger,” and many other contemptuous things. If you will look at his history, and at the character of his parents, and surroundings, and consider the object of his life, you can discover how much consistency there was in the charges brought against him. All this was done to injure him. He was neither old nor “a money digger,” nor an impostor, nor in any manner deserving of the epithets that they applied to him. He had never injured anybody, nor robbed anybody—he never did anything for which he could be punished by the laws under which he lived. When he was between 17 and 18 years of age, he received another heavenly manifestation, and some great and glorious things were revealed to him, and for four years subsequently he received visits from a heavenly messenger. He did not claim he was in communication with wicked men or demons from the lower regions. He claimed he was in communication with Moroni, one of the ancient Prophets who lived upon this continent. He was a good man when he lived here and it is not likely that he had become wicked since he went away. This personage, he claimed, revealed to him the mind and will of the Lord, and showed him the character of the great work that he, in the hands of God, was to be instrumental in establishing in the earth when the time should come. This was the labor that was performed by the angel Moroni, during the four years intervening between 1823 and 1827. In 1827 he received from the hands of the angel Moroni, the gold plates from which this book [Book of Mormon] was translated by him through the inspiration of the Almighty, and the gift and power of God unto him. I heard it read when I was a child, I have read it many times since and I have asked myself scores of times, have you ever discovered one precept, doctrine, or command within the lids of that book that is calculated to injure anybody, to do harm to the world, or that is in contradiction to the word of God as contained in the Bible? And the answer invariably came, No, not one solitary thing; every precept, doctrine, word of advice, prophecy, and indeed every word contained within the lids of that book relating to the great plan of human redemption and salvation is calculated to make bad men good, and good men better. Did Joseph Smith, during the three years intervening between 1827 and 1830, while he was laboring with his hands for a scanty subsistence, dodging his enemies and trying to evade the grasp of those who sought to destroy him and prevent the accomplishment of his mission, struggling all the while against untold obstacles and depressing embarrass ments to complete the translation of this book, have much chance of becoming wicked or corrupt? I do not think he had. When he had finished translating the book he was still only a boy, yet in producing this book he has developed historical facts, prophecies, revelations, predictions, testimonies and doctrines, precepts and principles that are beyond the power and wisdom of the learned world to duplicate or refute. Joseph Smith was an unlearned youth, so far as the learning of the world is concerned. He was taught by the angel Moroni. He received his education from above, from God Almighty, and not from man-made institutions; but to charge him with being ignorant would be both unjust and false; no man or combination of men possessed greater intelligence than he, nor could the combined wisdom and cunning of the age produce an equivalent for what he did. He was not ignorant, for He was taught by Him from whom all intelligence flows. He possessed a knowledge of God and of His law, and of eternity, and mankind have been trying with all their learning, wisdom and power—and not content with that, they have tried with the sword and cannon—to extirpate from the earth the superstructure which Joseph Smith, by the power of God, erected; but they have signally failed, and will yet be overwhelmed by their efforts to destroy it.

Again, the world say that Joseph Smith was an indolent person. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized April 6th, 1830. Joseph Smith was martyred in Carthage, Illinois, on the 27th of June, 1844—14 years after the organization of the Church. What did he accomplish in these 14 years? He opened up communication with the heavens in his youth. He brought forth the Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the Gospel; and the revelations contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; restored the holy Priesthood unto man; established and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an organization which has no parallel in all the world, and which all the cunning and wisdom of men for ages has failed to discover or produce and never could have done. He founded colonies in the States of New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, and pointed the way for the gathering of the Saints into the Rocky Mountains; sent the Gospel into Europe and to the islands of the sea; founded the town of Kirtland, Ohio, and there built a temple that cost about a quarter of a million of dollars; he founded the city of Nauvoo in the midst of persecution; gathered into Nauvoo and vicinity some 20,000 people, and commenced the building of the temple there, which when completed cost one million dollars; and in doing all this he had to contend against the prejudices of the age, against relentless persecution, mobocracy and vile calumny and slander, that were heaped upon him from all quarters without stint or measure. In a word, he did more in from 14 to 20 years for the salvation of man than any other man save Jesus only, that ever lived, and yet he was accused by his enemies of being an indolent and worthless man! Where shall we go to find another man that has accomplished the one thousandth part of the good that Joseph Smith accomplished? Shall we go to the Rev. Mr. Beecher or Talmage, or any of the great preachers of the day? What have they done for the world with all their boasted intelligence, influence, wealth, and the popular voice of the world in their favor! Joseph Smith had none of their advantages, if these are advantages. And yet no man in the nineteenth century, except Joseph Smith, has discovered to the world a ray of light upon the keys and power of the Holy Priesthood or the ordinances of the Gospel either for the living or the dead. Through Joseph Smith, God has revealed many things which were kept hid from the foundation of the world in fulfillment of the Prophets—and at no time since Enoch walked the earth has the Church of God been organized as perfectly as it is today—not excepting the dispensation of Jesus and His disciples—or if it was we have no record of it. And this is strictly in keeping with the objects and character of this great latter-day work, destined to consummate the great purpose and designs of God concerning the dispensation of the fullness of times. The principles of baptism for the redemption of the dead, with the ordinances appertaining thereto, for the complete salvation and exaltation of those who have died without the Gospel, as revealed through Joseph Smith, is alone worth more than all the dogmas of the so-called Christian world combined. Joseph Smith is accused of being a false prophet. It is, however, beyond the power of the world to prove that he was a false prophet. They may so charge him, but you who have received the testimony of Jesus Christ by the spirit of prophecy through his administrations are my witnesses that they have not the power to prove him false, and that is why they are so vexed about it. In my humble opinion many of our enemies know that they lie before God, angels and men, when they make this charge, and they would only be too glad to produce proof to sustain their accusations, but they cannot. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. He lived and died a true prophet, and his words and works will yet demonstrate the divinity of his mission to millions of the inhabitants of this globe. Perhaps not so many that are now living, for they have in a great measure rejected the Gospel and the testimony which the Elders of this Church have borne to them; but their children after them and generations to come will receive with delight the name of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Gospel which their fathers rejected. Amen.

Peace Enjoyed, But Trouble Expected—Falsehoods About the Saints—Power of the Saints Dreaded—Truth and Error in Conflict—Plural Marriage not the Real Objection—Mining for Precious Metals Avoided—Good Effect of Unlawful Legislation and Rulings—Hopes for the Future

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, September 24th, 1882.

I am thankful this day for the peaceful circumstances that surround us. I am thankful that throughout these mountain valleys a goodly degree of liberty prevails, and that the people are able to meet to worship God without molestation or fear. The saying of the Savior is exceedingly applicable wherein He taught His disciples that sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. If we Latter-day Saints did not enjoy the present and lived in anticipation of the dreaded future, I imagine that we should be a very unhappy people, for there never has been a day, or at least a period in our history when, so far as threats were concerned, the future—if we look at it naturally, from men’s standpoint—did not look forbidding. But we have proved that dreaded evils, when met courageously and with an undaunted spirit, generally vanish.

We are in an excellent position today, as we have been at many times in the past, to have our faith tested to the proof, to see whether we really have faith in God or not. The idea generally prevails among those who are not familiar with us and with our methods of preaching and teaching, that in order to gather the people together from the various nations the Elders of this Church hold out extraordinary inducements to their converts, telling them flattering tales about the life that they will lead if they will only gather to Utah; and by these means they are successful in beguiling the ignorant and unsuspecting, inducing them to forsake their homes and connections. But those who have been familiar with the teachings of the Elders of the Church know that the very opposite of this has been the course and the style of the teaching adopted by those who have faithfully preached this Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. From the beginning we have been taught to expect that our adherence to this Gospel might cost us everything that was near and dear to us upon the earth; that God designed to have a tried people, a people that should be tested to the very utmost, that should be felt after in the most trying manner, a people that would be willing to pass through and endure faithfully the most severe ordeals. And up to the present time those who have entered this Church, who have espoused the doctrines taught by the servants of God, have not been disappointed. It is true that in many respects the faithful people of God have had a much better time, have enjoyed circumstances that have been more pleasant and prosperous than they were led to expect; but this has been because they have had the faith to overlook the evils by which they were threatened, and attached no im portance to them, and did not allow them to disturb their peace or to annoy them in any manner. For if it had not been for faith, the faith that God planted in the hearts of those who espoused the truth, it would have been impossible for them to have endured; they would have been so frightened that they never could have remained faithful to this work. And one of the most striking evidences that this people offer to the world of the divinity of this work, which the world opprobriously call “Mormonism,” is the fact that in the midst of the most severe trials and persecutions, surrounded by circumstances that in some respects have been the most threatening in their character, the people of God have remained true and faithful, united and undisturbed.

One by one the falsehoods that are propagated concerning us are exposed. The idea has been industriously circulated, printed and published, that the people throughout the valleys of Utah were only held together by the strength of superstition and delusion; that the few cunning men who had succeeded in gaining power and place among them, by their shrewdness and by their cunning arts, had succeeded in duping the people and holding them together. I do not suppose that any single idea has been more widely circulated concerning us than this; and I do not suppose that any other idea is more widely believed about us than this. The great majority of people who do not understand, by actual contact with us, or who take no pains to investigate our doctrines, imagine that it is by this means that the Latter-day Saints have been gathered together and held in these mountains. Why, it is not 20 years ago that one of the stories most frequently circulated, published and dwelt upon, upon the platform and in the public press, was that no man or woman could leave Utah without the consent of President Brigham Young; that no man or woman could write a letter from Utah Territory without it being inspected by him; that we lived here in a condition of terror imposed upon us by President Young and those who were immediately associated with him; and that if a man or woman attempted to leave, especially if he or she had left the faith, he would be followed by destroying angels, and that if he escaped at all it would be at the risk of his life and probably the entire loss of all that he owned. So firmly had this idea obtained possession of many minds that today it forms the staple of two or three dramas that are played upon the stage and that receive considerable patronage east and west.

When Albert Sidney Johnston came here with the army in 1857-8, the popular idea was, that as soon as the troops reached this valley there would be a complete outburst on the part of the people; that they would hail with unbounded joy the presence of the stars and stripes in their midst, and that women by hundreds would leave the bondage in which they were supposed to be living.

Now, as I have said, one by one we have proved the falsity of these statements. But does this misrepresentation and slander concerning us cease? Not in the least. The manufacture still continues. Every conceivable slander is manufactured and put in circulation. No sooner is one lie nailed to the counter than another is started and passes current, until there are many people who scarcely know what to think, they having such exaggerated ideas concerning the people of Utah Territory.

The railroad has done us an immense amount of good in making us better known. The travel to and fro across the continent, together with the travel throughout these valleys north and south, east and west, has had the same effect. But with increased knowledge there has come an increased dread. A feeling has taken possession of a great many minds that we are a people greatly to be dreaded. This brings to my mind a remark made by a man whose name you are familiar with, he having taken a very prominent part in the discussion of our case in Congress, in the House of Representatives, a representative by the name of Haskell, a sort of half preacher: One day in conversation with me, at the time the Edmunds’ bill was being discussed, he remarked: “I have had occasion, Mr. Cannon, to examine Catholicism and am somewhat familiar with the Roman Catholic organization. I have also paid some attention to the organization of your Church. I think it the strongest and most magnificent organization that exists at the present time in Christendom, or within the range of my knowledge—where did you get it?”

It was no feeling of admiration that prompted these remarks. He followed them up by stating that the time would come, if this legislation did not answer, when the army would be brought to bear upon us and our organization would be wiped out in blood. You see the feeling he had was one of dread, of apprehension. Instead of viewing this organization in its true light he looked upon it as an engine of evil that would be likely to accomplish dreadful results, that was in antag onism to existing institutions, and that would have to be put down by such law as the Edmunds’ law, or if such legislation failed, then by the strong arm of the military, by the use of weapons of war and the shedding of blood. That is the feeling that some men have concerning us. In the course of our conversation I invited him to come out to Utah. “Come out,” said I, “and know what you are talking about; you have ideas about us which are entirely incorrect. If you will travel through our valleys, as I will furnish you opportunities to do, if you will come out, I will give you letters of introduction which will enable you to see our people at their homes, and if you are a fair man, a man disposed to accept the evidence of your own senses, you will change your views concerning the people I represent.”

There are men who make use of us to gain favor with the ignorant and with those who have strong religious prejudices and but little knowledge concerning us. There are men who seek to gain popular approval in this way, and instead of telling the truth, or being willing that the truth should be told and known, they are ever willing to have every kind of story propagated however false it may be. Will there be any change in this respect? We have been looking for it for the past 52 years, ever since the Church was organized, but that change has not come. As I have said, as soon as one slander has been disproved, another has been put in circulation. There is no end, neither will there be to the falsehoods that will be told and circulated concerning us. It may be asked: Why is this? For the best of all reasons, that whenever God has attempted to do any thing upon the earth, from the days of Father Adam down through the centuries that have intervened until today, all hell has been aroused against that work and against those engaged in it. Even when men have had only partial truth, and have attempted to reform existing errors, they have had this opposition to contend with to a greater or less extent; and no great reform has ever been effected upon this earth without costing the best blood of the generation in which the reform was attempted. Our generation is no exception in this respect. Even in this land, under our glorious form of government, the most glorious ever framed by man, under which the largest amount of liberty is to be enjoyed—even under it, the blood of Prophets and Apostles has been shed and has stained the earth; and we, because of our religion, were obliged to flee from our homes and take refuge in these mountain wilds and build up new homes in order that we might live in peace and in quiet, unmolested by those who hate us.

This is not a new thing in the earth, the antagonism between error and truth, between wrong and right, between the followers of him who seeks to usurp dominion upon the earth, and the followers of the Son of God. That antagonism has been a perpetual one, an undying one. It cost the blood of the best Being that ever trod the earth, even the Son of God Himself, and all His Apostles and all the prophets—they all, with few exceptions laid down their lives for the truth. And yet we talk about our civilization, the enlightened nineteenth century, and we say as did the generation in which the Savior lived: “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have slain the Proph ets, we would not have been guilty of shedding their blood.” This was the cry of the generation in which the Savior lived, yet that same generation crucified Him in the most ignominious manner.

Now, it has been said to us—and I cannot tell how many times I have been told it—“if you ‘Mormons’ would only do away with some of your doctrines that are so objectionable, there would be no trouble.” I have had men speak to me in this strain whose opinion I respect very highly, who were friendly, who were kindly disposed, who were anxious to have these difficulties settled, and to have us escape the evils with which they believed we were threatened and might perhaps be overwhelmed. It is not many days since a prominent man said to me, “Why, Mr. Cannon, there are fifty millions of people that are opposed to you. Now cannot you waive some of your peculiarities. If you will say that you will do this this year, or next year, or within a certain period, while I am not authorized to speak for the government, yet I can say there need be no trouble about your affairs.”

Now, I have not a single doubt in my mind that there are thousands of well-meaning people, who would like to see us enjoy peace in these valleys, and enjoy the land, which we have reclaimed at so much toil and sacrifice from a wilderness, undisturbed by outside influences. They firmly believe that this is attainable if we only would forego some of our peculiarities. There never was a greater mistake, never a more mistaken idea entertained by anybody. How do we know it? By the sad and bitter experience of the past. It is true if we were to apostatize; if we were to renounce our religion; if we were to put aside that which we believe God has entrusted to us and commanded us to impart to the world, I do not doubt but what we would get along so far as the world is concerned, without the antagonism that we now have. But, then, who can do this? If a choice has to be made, as it would have to be made by us, of rejecting salvation on the one hand, and accepting peace and favor with the world on the other, who is there that is prepared to make that exchange? But friends have said to me, “O, you make a mistake when you think that we ask you to renounce your religion.”

Now, there is something more than marriage as a point of attack that rises in the minds of men in talking about this. Mr. Haskell expressed it. It was not plural marriage alone that was in his mind. It is not plural marriage alone in the minds of hundreds, and I may say thousands, who have examined this question. There is something more than this; there is something behind this, something that is greater than this, and that is the organization of the people, the union of the people, that which many men call the theocracy of this organization. It was that which excited the mob, in the earliest days of the organization. While at Far West, in Caldwell County, in the year 1838, the General who headed the militia that came out under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs of Missouri, in his address to the “Mormon” people said, “You must scatter and live like other people, and do without your Bishops and your Prophets and your leading men, and not listen to their counsel.” This is not the exact language, but these are the ideas. In other words you must break up; we cannot endure your organization, your coming together and being united as you are. We fear you will take possession of our principal counties, and your political influence will be so great that in time you will hold control of this country; and we cannot endure it, and you must go. Governor Boggs’ order said, if the people did not leave the State of Missouri in a given period, they would be exterminated. So the people had to flee in the depth of winter, and cross the Mississippi into the State of Illinois. Now, whoever heard then of plural marriage? It was not practiced. It was the organization of the people that was objectionable; and so it was afterwards when we were compelled to leave Nauvoo. The mob burned our houses and killed our cattle, and destroyed our grain, not because of any feature of this kind, but because we were “Mormons,” and believed in a form of religion that they did not believe in. So they were determined that we should leave there.

And that reminds me of another falsehood that went the rounds in those days to justify the outrages against us. All manner of stories were circulated concerning our thieving; it was said that we were a band of thieves and robbers; that the people near Nauvoo and along the upper part of the Mississippi, through all that region of country, were living in a state of terror, so it was alleged, because of the proximity of the “Mormons,” and it would be a great blessing to drive them out, for they were outlaws. So the mob deemed themselves justified in their outrages for those reasons; and public opinion was created against us which sustained them in killing the Prophet Joseph Smith and Hyrum, his brother, in shooting President Taylor, and in killing other men and women. And public opinion was created so unfavorable to the “Mormons” that other people thought, “Well, they are a bad lot; they deserve extirpation; we are sorry to see the laws trampled upon and violence resorted to, but something must be done with these ‘Mormons.’” “We must get rid of them in some way; and if the law cannot reach them,” as was remarked by the mob, when Joseph had been tried and acquitted for treason, “powder and ball can.”

The same process is now going on. What is it that produces the condition of affairs that exists here today? It is a public opinion that is adverse and hostile to us which justifies the outrages and illiberal acts to which we are subjected. It is this which actuates men to trample upon the Constitution and all the institutions of the government. It is this which permits the right of representation to be stricken down and causes a Governor of a Territory, who is guilty of the most outrageous acts of tyranny, to be sustained by three administrations, and a voice scarcely heard in protest against it—republican government stricken down and the people of these mountains, without exception the best and most quiet people to be found within the confines of the republic, deprived of the right of representation.

I allude to this, though it is a political matter, as it comes appropriately within the line of my remarks. What is the cause of it? It is, as I have said, because God has stretched forth his hand to do a work in the earth, and the devil is determined that it shall not be done. He is determined to shed the blood of every man connected with it, and he puts it into the hearts of the children of men to hate the truth and to hate those who teach it. Yet there are a great many people who say there is no God and no devil. I would like them to explain why we have suffered as we have; why it is that a people who, were it not for their religion, ought to be applauded for what we have done in these mountains, are treated as we are treated. When we had the control of these valleys, from one end of the land to the other, from north to south, drunkenness was unknown; a woman might then have traveled our streets and our highways, even to the most remote parts of our Territory, and never hear a word of disrespect, never witness a gesture that would cause her to blush; she could travel in perfect peace and safety throughout all our cities and settlements. Robbery was unknown, and human life was sacred. So with property. Peace reigned in our borders. We look back to it now—I do, I look back to those days and contrast them with the present, and ask myself, How long is this condition of things to continue? We could leave our doors unlocked; no one thought of thieves. Virtue was cherished, and a man who would be guilty of unvirtuous acts was denounced. And such industry as we practiced—and it is no boasting to say so—was unparalleled. We dwelt here in peace—people from various nations speaking various languages, of various modes of thought, and various educations, living here in peace and quiet, each man pursuing his own course unmolested by his neighbors. This was the condition of our Territory. It might be thought that a people thus living, living in a country that no other people could possibly covet, that is so far as agricultural interests, the pursuits we follow mainly in Utah, were concerned—it might be thought that such a people might be left unmolested to enjoy the fruits of their industry and toil.

We did not touch the mines, for we knew if we opened them and embarked in mining that they would be coveted by others, and therefore it has not been our policy to touch mines. In the beginning it would have been a most unwise policy to have done this; it would have unsettled us, and instead of spending our time in raising the food necessary to sustain life we would have been prospecting in the mountains, hunting for the precious metals. But when the railroad was finished and it was then possible to obtain supplies from other places if we ran short, it was even then impolitic for us to take up mines from the fact that if we had obtained rich mines we could not have hoped to have held them; they would have been coveted, and in the courts the probabilities are we should not have stood as good a chance as other people.

If you think, my brethren and sisters, that we are to be unmolested and left free from attack, you are deceiving yourselves. It is not written in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath; just as sure as we live we shall have opposition, persecution and violence to contend with. God has stretched forth His hand to establish a power in the earth. That power has excited antagonism in the past; it excites antagonism today, and it will continue to excite antagonism to the end, until God reigns, and the inhabitants of the earth bow to His scepter. This book (the Bible) is full of predictions concerning it. All the prophets who have ever spoken concerning the last days have foretold that God would do a mighty work in the last days; and he is doing it.

“Well,” says one, “Do a handful of people like you expect to revolutionize the earth and accomplish these results?” Yes, we expect it; we believe it with all our hearts; we labor for it; we teach it to our children. We would make this country a peaceful, a delightful place for people to reside; we would make this union of which I have spoken possible in these valleys; and if our principles were extended over the earth, they would make the earth in the same condition. I thank God with all my heart that there is such a work going on. When I hear of people coming from remote lands, impelled by their faith, who have heard the preaching of the Elders who have gone forth in their weakness, and in many instances, yes, in the most of instances, in their scholastic ignorance, to proclaim the Gospel—when I see the wonderful results of their preaching, men and women from foreign lands with the testimony of God in their hearts, that this is His work, which they have received through repentance and being baptized by a man having the authority, each man testifying in his own language—the Scandinavian, the German, the French, the British, the people of far off Africa and of the islands of the sea, and the various countries where our Elders have gone, all flocking together like doves to their master’s windows, many of them never having seen an Elder from Utah, but having heard men who had the authority to teach this Gospel—all coming from the various points of the compass, testifying in all humility and in the name of Jesus, that God has given unto them a knowledge of the truth—when I see these things my heart is filled with glad ness and thanksgiving. I thank God that my lot has been cast in these valleys. I thank God for my children, that their lot has been cast in these valleys; that we live in a day when God is doing so mighty a work; when He is gathering His people together; when He is pouring out upon them the spirit of union, for that is the spirit of the Gospel. Jesus in his last prayer adds: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” He prayed for them all, that they might be one with Him as He was one with the Father; that the same union, that the same love might be in their hearts. The Latter-day Saints are an unlettered people, far from being what we hope they will be; but they are an honest people, honest enough to embrace the truth when they hear it; honest enough to forsake houses and lands and homes, and everything that men hold dear in this life, for the sake of the Gospel as they believe it. It requires moral courage to be “Mormons,” to take upon them the opprobrium of the world, to know that it may cost them their lives before they get through with it, and it requires the power of God to be with men and women to enable them to do this. And I thank God that He has found such, here a few and there a few. In the various nations where the Elders have gone they have found them, God directs them to them, and they come; and their children will inherit the earth and they will be intelligent and they will become a great people. For they will possess all the virtues which constitute true greatness among men. I have no fears in my own mind for this people. When I have been spoken to as to the effect of this legislation, I have remarked that such a people as are in Utah Territory cannot be crushed out by adverse legislation. They will endure an immense amount. You take a people who are united; who are industrious, who are frugal, who are acquainted with hardship, who have endured persecution in the past and are familiar with it and expect it, you take such a people, having in their hearts the love of God and the love of each other, believing that the best expression they can give of the love of God is to love their neighbor as themselves; a people of that kind cannot be crushed. They are bound to live upon the earth in the struggle for existence; bound to have their place among mankind; they are perfectly fitted to survive any struggle or any condition that may be brought upon them.

As for this legislation, I want to say to you, that in some respects I am thankful for it. Let persecution come if it will have a good effect. And as for the rules which have been made by the Commissioners, as I stated myself personally, to those gentlemen, I disagree with their construction of the law, and I think the rules are wrong; nevertheless, I am thankful they have made them in their present form. Brethren have said to me: Cannot we represent to the Commissioners how wrong and unjust those rules are and endeavor to have them changed so as to make them applicable to the people out of, as well as those in the marriage relations? I told them, Yes; try it if you wish; and if you can effect a change, all right; but in my own heart I am thankful that the Rules have been made as they are. They are made applicable to all—those who have never broken any law; as well as those who have. There is no distinction between those who entered into plural marriage before and those who entered into that state after 1862. Until the law of 1862 was passed, you should understand, there was no law of the United States, no law of this Territory, that made plural marriage a crime. You ought to understand this, and I have no doubt you do understand the difference between that which is a crime in and of itself, per se and that which is made a crime by statute. Plural marriage is not a crime in and of itself, it is malum prohibitum, made so by a law, and that law was enacted in 1862. Now unless legislation is made ex post facto persons who married prior to 1862 violated no law; but the rules as they have been enforced exclude these people from registration; they exclude even a wife whose husband took plural wives prior to 1862. Most extraordinary ruling. But I have been thankful for it. Why? Because it puts us all in the same boat and does not divide us. A better plan could not have been devised to make us one than the ruling they have made in regard to those “in the marriage relation.” There are hundreds of people who can take that oath that if those words were not in it could not take it. They can register because of these four words. They can walk up boldly and take that oath that they have done nothing of the kind “in the marriage relation.” I am thankful that is the case. Why? I should feel extremely bad, I think, if we were reduced to the level of those who have violated the laws of God and of man. We have violated, some of us, the laws of man, but we have not in our faithfulness violated the laws of God. We are sincere in our belief; and give me a fanatic any time in preference to a scoundrel. I can tolerate a fanatic who does what he believes to be right; but I have no sympathy for a man or woman who commits an act knowing it to be wrong. We have been excluded from registering because we have done something enjoined upon us by the Lord; but men who have done things knowing them to be wrong, who have acted contrary to the laws of God and of man, men and women both, can take the oath and register.

Well, I am glad of it; I am glad I am not in that category; I do not want to be in that crowd. I want to be able to say, as I can say, that because of my religion, because of my doing that which I believe I should be damned if I did not do I have been disfranchised; I believe with all my heart that God gave a command of that kind, and it rested with such power upon me that I believed I would be damned if I did not obey it. Now, I am willing to take the consequences of that; but I would hate to be put on a level with every adulterer and seducer in the land; and I am not by the ruling of the Commissioners. There is a sharp, well defined line of demarcation drawn between the Latter-day Saints, who practice plural marriage because of their religion, and the adulterer and seducer.

I see the hand of the Lord in it all, and I acknowledge it. God is overruling and will overrule these things for our good. He will test us, He will prove us, and if there is a weak spot in us that is not seen, He will find it out. We expect to attain to the glory that Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, has attained to. We pray for it, we have striven for it, that we might be counted worthy to sit down at the right hand of God, our Eternal Father; be counted worthy to dwell with Jesus in the eternal worlds; and with the holy ones who have gone before, with men whose blood has been shed, who have not counted their lives dear because of their religion—we expect to be with them. Can you imagine, then, for one moment that we can attain unto that glory unless we, like them, are willing to endure all things for the sake of the Gospel?

Now, the world thinks this is a very strange practice for a religion; they wonder at it; they cannot understand it. Yet, let any man look abroad in the earth and see the floodtide of corruption, the evils under which mankind groan in the various nations of Christendom, as also the division and strife that exist in all religious matters. Marriage and morals rightfully belong to religion and are part of it. Go out into the world and ask the ministers of religion: “What shall I do to be saved?” One will tell you one thing and another another thing, each man walking his own road, every congregation divided from its fellow congregation—strife and confusion of every kind amongst those professing to be the followers of Jesus Christ. But I have often thought, when I have been traveling in the world and seen the spirit that is manifested, that if I had no other hope than that which I see all around me, I would not care to have a family, I would not care to have children, there would be so little to live for; men seeking to take advantage of their fellow men in every possible way; men seeking to destroy their fellow men; professors of religion having none of the spirit that the Bible teaches us is the Spirit of God. I never go from home without turning my face towards these valleys, and the people of these mountains, and without a profound feeling of thankfulness to God that my lot has been cast among this people, with all their faults, and they are numerous, and with all my faults, and they are numerous. We have a love for each other and are striving to overcome our faults and to cultivate that love which belongs to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, let us be patient. As I said to some friends whom I met yesterday, I never felt happier in my life than I do at the present time. True, I have had to endure domestic affliction, which has made me sorrowful. Yet I am gladdened by the hopes I have for the future, and I can truly say I never felt happier among our people than I do now. All is peace; God is with us, His angels are around about us, and His Holy Spirit is being poured out upon us. I do not know that the sun is any less bright, that the moon is any the less clear, that the elements are any less pure and delightful than they were twelve months ago. Our grain, our vegetables, our fruits, all ripen, the earth yields of its strength and gives us of its increase for our good. Peace reigns in our habitations; peace reigns in the hearts of the people. We know that God overrules all, and that He will control all things for His glory, and for the accomplishment of His purposes. Why, then, should we be sad? Why should we mourn? Why should we dread the future? Why should we anticipate that which will never occur? There is no need for it. Let us enjoy today. Let us rejoice today in the goodness of God, and when tomorrow comes it will be laden with blessings as today is. And so it will be every day and every week and every year until we are ushered into the fullness of the glory of our God.

I have not had the opportunity before of thanking you for your faith and good feelings towards me while I have been gone. I can assure you, my brethren and sisters, I have appreciated them. Men have said to me, in view of that which we are passing through, and the bitter feeling manifested towards us—How cheerful you seem to be! I replied that I had cause to be cheerful; that there was not a man on the floor of Congress that had more cause for cheerfulness than I had. Behind me stood my constituents in solid columns, giving me their support and kind feelings and love. And I have several times said, that from almost every habitation in Utah, from north to south, where Latter-day Saints dwell, I knew that prayers to Almighty God ascended morning and evening, not from men alone but from women and children, in my behalf. I knew that, and it gave me great comfort; yea, indescribable comfort. I thank you for your kind feelings, as I do all my brethren and sisters.

I pray God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you; to preserve you from every evil; to keep you in the truth; to cause you to love it more than anything else in the earth, and to follow it even to the end, which I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Hostile Feeling Towards the Saints—Their Morality Compared With that of the World—Laxity of Laws and Immorality in Washington—Object of the Edmunds’ Bill—Cause of Former Hostility—Saints to Contend for Liberty—Rights of Congress—Other Things to Be Dreaded More Than Hostile Legislation—Effect of Such Legislation—Shame of Congressmen—Destiny of the Saints

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 25, 1882.

I am exceedingly thankful to have the opportunity once more of being with you and of partaking of that peaceful and sweet influence which prevails in the midst of this much despised and terribly abused people. The contrast, to me, is exceedingly marked between the circumstances in which I have been placed and the influences that I have had to meet, and those which surround me today. There have been some things which have transpired which have not been very pleasant; but on the whole, I can truthfully say, that I have enjoyed myself better than I expected, and probably much better than many of you would suppose that one under the circumstances could do. At no time, in my experience—in my life, have I ever seen a more embittered feeling manifested against the Latter-day Saints than prevailed during this past winter. You have had opportunities of understanding this to some extent, for you have felt that influence here, and you have seen its effects in the results that have been wrought out. And I suppose if we were like other people we should have been terribly alarmed at the manifestations we have wit nessed. There was a time when it seemed as though all hell had broken loose, and that nothing less than the entire destruction of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would satisfy popular clamor. A most extraordinary manifestation, especially when we consider the absence of all provocation for such an outburst of wrath. If a person last winter had come into Utah Territory and traveled through our settlements, visiting the houses of the people and examining the condition of affairs here, he would have found it difficult to understand the cause of all the excitement that was raging throughout the United States concerning this people. If there are those who do not believe in the existence of spiritual powers and influences, let them examine into this Utah question and the effects of its agitation upon the public mind, and it seems to me they must be convinced that there are unseen powers which operate upon the minds of the people at large, to produce such extraordinary outbursts of prejudice and passion as we have witnessed—fifty millions of people stirred up from one end of the land to the other by a tornado of passion, unreasoning, blind, besotted, bloodthirsty, which has carried men and women before it, and has dethroned reason, concerning a people who were quietly pursuing their avocations, molesting none, doing nothing that could be construed by any reasonable person into anything that would be offensive.

It is generally supposed that we are living in an enlightened age. Popular preachers claim that this is the crowning generation for light, and knowledge, and truth; that we are living in fact, in the full blaze of Gospel light and glory. Politicians also claim that this republican government of the United States is the fruit of the ripened experience of all the ages; the product of the accumulated wisdom of the centuries; that human aspirations finds the fullest development under our form of government. This is the boast of the press, and these are the teachings of the pulpit. And yet, through agencies which boast of their enlightenment, this whirlwind of passion to which I have alluded—this spasm of feeling that has convulsed the nation, has swept over the land, and everything has been done that was possible to make it destructive in its effects upon the objects of its wrath. I have thought, and have sometimes expressed myself, that if lies could destroy a people, we should have been buried out of sight long ago. The basest and most malignant and most cruel, the most unfounded and causeless misrepresentations and falsehoods have been circulated, and men and women who knew nothing about us, preachers who had no idea of our real belief, and editors who had no conception of the true condition of affairs in this Territory, have all lent themselves, sometimes understandingly, and other times ignorantly to do everything in their power to destroy an innocent people. And what has been the crime? We have been accused of immorality. God knows if that were to be a crime sufficient to evoke destruction, there would be other communities visited with wrath besides ours, even if we were all that we are painted. But the fact is, there is no other Territory or State in the United States—and I say this knowingly and understandingly—where virtue is respected, revered and protected as it is in Utah. There is no other community in the United States in which more young men grow up to manhood pure, in proportion to the population than in the Territory of Utah.

As I have repeatedly said, we believe in marriage, we have opened the door in that direction, and we say to the sexes marry; but we close the door in the other direction, and say, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not seduce, defile, prostitute or lead astray innocent beings; if you do, and we had the power, we would punish you. It seems like a paradox that those who do that which is according to their religion should be punished, while those who trample upon their religion should go free. And yet this is really true. All that we can be accused of is, we have embodied in our religion practices that belonged to the Patriarchs, which we believe, and so declare, God has revealed to us, for the purposes of salvation and of producing greater purity and of checking the flood of vice that is sweeping through the land and sapping the foundation of this nation and all the nations of Christendom. We have adopted the principle of plural marriage as part of our religion. We have not led women astray, we have protected them. We have not coerced them or used violence, but have thrown around them a shield of protection, and at the same time have left them to exercise the fullest liberty and the most extensive right of free choice in every respect. But this is a sin; this shocks, we are told, the moral sense of the nation. While, on the other hand, there are communities who say they do not believe in adultery or in seduction—that is, their religion teaches them that these things are wrong; but many of whose members practice these crimes, and yet they pass along unnoticed and undisturbed.

Salt Lake City is 2,400 miles from Washington—a remote place; it might be supposed the effect of our examples, if they were bad, would not reach that distance; that if there was any contagion flowing from our practices it would have expended its force before traveling that far. But in Washington City, at the head of the government, where Congress has unquestioned jurisdiction, there is no law against adultery; no one can be punished in the District for violating the marriage vow; that escapes the attention of Congress. So with fornication; it goes unpunished, unless it should be of so flagrant a character, done in so open and indecent a manner as to excite public condemnation. Now if morality were to be achieved it might be thought that Washington would be a fine field for the exercise of the power that is unquestionably invested in the Congress of the United States. I presented this view of the question to Senator Edmunds, when this bill, which has since become a law, was being discussed. I called his attention to the fact that it was not an infrequent thing, in taking up an evening paper in Washington City, to read accounts of the finding of two or three infants that had been cast away or deserted by their inhuman mothers, found in vacant lots and in out-of-the-way places, and that too in the most elegant city to be found in the United States. It appeared to me, as I said to him, that Washington was a splendid field for the exercise of the power of Congress. If it was a sincere wish to check immorality, and to put down vice that prompted the Edmunds’ bill, however mistaken its author might be in his ideas respecting the existence of these evils in Utah, the best place to commence was at the head. But it was plain to be seen that nothing in that bill was designed to reach real vice, to strike down immorality; it was a blow at our religious practices. To be sure, however, as to what the intent of the bill really was, and to know this from his own lips, I asked him if adulterers could be punished in Utah Territory under the provisions of the bill. His reply was that if a man who had one wife were to live openly and continuously with another woman he could be punished under it; but adulterers would not be very likely to expose themselves to the operations of the law in that manner. He said that “sporadic cases of adultery could not be punished by this bill.” I thought the reply one of which a Senator of the United States should be ashamed. I have known Senator Edmunds for some time, and have had some admiration for him, but I declare I blushed for him when he made the reply that “sporadic cases of adultery” could not be punished under the provisions of this bill, now become law.

Now, you can see what the design is. It is not to punish immorality. If immorality were the object to be reached, that law would have been made broad enough for every case, whether they be practices, what they term under religious guise, or practices in violation of religion. What then is the object of the measure? It is to strike down a prominent feature of our religion; that is its object, and there is no other object to be achieved. It is the fact that we make marriage a part of our religion that excites animosity, and they are determined to destroy us.

“If you were to protect immorality and not call it religion,” I have been told many and many a time, “we should not object to it; but you are sanctioning by the forms of religion that which we cannot endure, and which is hateful to our civilization.” It is the marriage ceremony, that is the offensive part of it; it is, in other words, the marrying that excites dislike and hatred.

Now, is this to be wondered at? I do not wonder at it; I am not surprised at all at this feeling; for the reason that I have always expected that this doctrine, like every doctrine connected with this Church, would excite the bitter hatred of those who oppose the work of God. It was the fact that the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Elders of this Church declared that revelation had been received from God, that excited animosity in the first place. The Elders of this Church might have preached any doctrines they pleased and not said they had been taught them by revelation, nor by special divine assistance, nor by angels having come from heaven, but preached them as the speculations of men, as doctrines discovered, framed and arranged by men, by some theologians of eminent ability, and they would have had no particular difficulty. In preaching precisely the same doctrines we now preach, that is, the first principles of the Gospel, a church might have been made one of the most popular churches upon the face of the earth.

But what was it that excited animosity? It was the declaration that God had spoken from the heavens and had restored the primitive Gospel in its original purity and power, and that we had the power and authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel through which had been restored the gifts and blessings and powers that pertained to the Gospel in the days of Jesus. It was this declaration that excited animosity throughout the religious world against the Latter-day Saints in the beginning. Every preacher felt that he was condemned by this declaration. If we had stood upon the same platform as they, saying that our organization was the result of man’s wisdom, we should then have had some sympathy from them. But because our Elders declared that God had spoken, and that we preached that which had been revealed to us, animosity was excited, and mobs rose against us, entertaining the most bitter feelings, and committing the most terrible outrages.

It is interesting reading now, in this year of our Lord, 1882, to go back to that which occurred fifty years ago, in Missouri, soon after this Church was organized. The charges against us then were that we believed in Prophets, that we believed in revelation, that we believed in healing the sick, according to the pattern in the New Testament, that we were so credulous as to believe that God would work miracles; and the crowning accusation was that we were Yankees and abolitionists, and therefore were unfit to live in the State of Missouri. I say, it is interesting in these days to go back and read the documents issued by the mob in 1832-3 in Jackson County, Missouri. There was no plural marriage then to cause offense. The cry against us then was, that we believed that God was a God of revelation as He was in ancient days; that He was the same God in this, the 19th century, that He was in the first century of the Christian era, when Jesus and the Apostles ministered among men. This was considered sufficient cause for mobs to organize themselves and drive our people from their homes and lands, and to kill some of them.

If we were to practice plural marriage in some other manner, and not sanctify it by the forms of religion; if we were to be guilty of anything of this character, separating it entirely from all religious ceremonies and ordinances, there would be little, if anything, said about us. To judge from expressions I hear, I do not suppose it would excite any particular animosity.

We, as a people, have to pass through these ordeals. It is a great consolation to me, it has been while I have been absent, to know that we are fighting the battles of religious liberty for the entire people; it might be said, for the entire world. And there is no people on this continent in so good a position to do this today as we are, for there is no people so well organized as we are. No man, single-handed, could do what we are doing; no half dozen men could do it; they would be crushed. Let any man go out from this place and attempt, single-handed and apart from any other organization, to fight the battle that we are fighting, and he would soon be overwhelmed. But we are an organized community; we can live here as we did in the early days without help from any other source except God. We can raise our food; we can make our clothing. If it be necessary we can pinch ourselves, dispense with luxuries, and can live on those things which are barely essential to life. We do not necessarily have to depend upon other people for support. If grasshoppers come and sweep our fields, as they have done, there is no cry from Utah to the general government for help. We have borne these afflictions unassisted by our fellow citizens; and we have proven to our own satis faction, if not to the nation at large, that we are capable of sustaining ourselves. Therefore, when wrath is excited against us, we do not lose employment, we do not lose food, we are not turned out of our houses nor otherwise impoverished; because we have the elements in our own midst from which we can draw a living; and we know how to use them for our own sustenance, and for the preservation of those who are dependent upon us. Hence we are in an excellent position to fight the battles of freedom; and it is the most glorious warfare that men or women were ever engaged in. I expect we shall continue to contend for liberty, not with physical weapons but with steadfast moral courage, despite the Edmunds’ law, despite the Poland law, despite the law of ’62, or any other law that may be made in violation of the Constitution, and of the Bill of Rights. We shall have to contend unceasingly for those principles, without wavering or yielding one iota in our determination. I claim this not for Latter-day Saints alone, but I claim it for every man and woman in this Republic; for I say that the men and women in this great nation have the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, as long as they do not, in so doing, interfere with the rights of their fellow citizens; and I claim that they have the right to do this, despite the Supreme Court decisions, despite the action of Congress, despite the expressions of pulpit and press; and I am willing to contend for that liberty for every man and woman whether they be of the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Episcopalian, or any other persuasion, or whether they be believers in the doctrines or views of Col. Robert Ingersol. God has given us this right, and He has given unto us our agency. If we violate His will He will punish us; He has threatened us with punishment if we do so, and we are responsible to Him, and not to the Congress of the United States, not to the President of the United States, nor to any human being; we are responsible alone to our God, and there is no power upon the earth that can justly deprive me or deprive you of this right. They may, by force of power, by illegal measures and unconstitutional laws do this; men may be imprisoned or slain; but the principle that I now declare is a fundamental, a constitutional principle, and it will endure. And the day will come in this land when every man will have this right, regardless of his profession. Are we to be dictated to by popular preachers? Such men say to the Congress of the United States, “You must enact certain laws; we demand it of you; our congregations demand it; you must put down ‘Mormonism.’ We do not want that religion. We are Methodists; we are Presbyterians, or we are somebody else, and we call upon you to maintain orthodoxy and to put down heterodoxy.” I would just as soon be dictated to by the Pope of Rome, by Mr. Ingersol or by a “Mormon” Bishop, as to be dictated to by popular preachers, as to what I must accept as religion.

Fault is found with us in this Territory because it is said the hierarchy dictates legislation; but you know this is not true. I wish we could dictate it more than it is done. We have our views like other citizens, but who has ever known them to be forced upon any? And, yet, this is the head and front of our offending, namely, that in Utah there is a theocracy dictating legislation. Now, who is it that has demanded of Congress this Edmunds’ law against Utah? It has been the pulpit of our nation, the orthodox pulpit. It is at their behests this legislation has been enacted. They would destroy us; and if they could do this then they would turn their attention to somebody else—the Catholics, the Infidels, the Spiritualists—they would not be satisfied until they obtained what they call “uniformity.” They do the very thing themselves that they charge us with doing, and which they pretend they desire to prevent in this Territory.

It is this principle of freedom of which I have been speaking that we are determined to maintain; we shall contend for it to the very uttermost as long as life remains. This is the feeling I have. Do you not feel the same? I am sure you do; I know you all do; I need not call for any expression of your feelings. We cannot fight law; we must submit to law, the law being more powerful than we are; but we can do as John Bunyan said: “I cannot obey, but I can suffer.” We cannot renounce our religion; we cannot throw it aside; we cannot trample upon the commandments of God; but we can endure the penalty of obeying God’s law, even if it be imprisonment. It is part of the contract. We know what others had to endure for the religion of Jesus, and if we expect to obtain the same glory as they, we must be prepared to endure the same consequences.

I do not make these remarks to stir up feelings of defiance. It would be a most unwise and a most unfortunate position for us to occupy, to place ourselves in an attitude of defiance against the laws of the land; but while we do not defy, we at the same time shall maintain, I hope, the principles of liberty, and claim them for every man and woman as well as ourselves. We shall never cease our efforts, I hope, until from one end of the land to the other men and women can worship God whether they be Mormon or infidel, or whether they believe in Buddha, or are believers in the God of Israel, the Lord of the whole earth, or worship a wooden god, without interference or interruption from others as long as they do not trespass upon or interfere with the rights of their fellow citizens. All ought to have this right, and no one should seek to deprive them of it.

The most nonsensical arguments have been used against us in consequence of our claiming liberty of this kind. Say some men: Suppose there were Thugs in this country, or Hindoos who believed in burning widows as they did in India, shall the government not have the right to put down such murders and such ceremonies of cremation? Suppose that human sacrifice was deemed proper by some religious sect and should be called a religious ordinance, do you mean to say that government has not the right to interfere with and to stop the taking of life in such a way?

Certainly, I have never said it had not, neither have I claimed it when I have said that we had a right to practice this feature of our religion. There is a very wide distinction, but many do not seem to understand the difference. There are certain acts that are crimes in and of themselves; they are not made so by statutory law; one of these is murder. It always was a crime against nature and always will be. He who takes the life of a fellow being commits a crime, even if it should be in a land where there is no law; it is in and of itself a crime—malum in se. It needs no statutory law to make it so. Marriage occupies a very different position from this. Before the law of 1862 was passed by Congress a man might have married in this Territory two or more wives, there being no law—human nor divine—that we had any knowledge of, prohibiting it. There was no law of the United States against it; there was no law of the Territory against it, and it was not in and of itself a crime. It was made a crime by the law of July 1, 1862, which, we assert, was in violation of the first amendment to the Constitution. It was malum prohibitum!—a crime made so by statutory law. There is a wide distinction between the two; and every ordinary mind must, I think, readily admit that there is no comparison between marriage and murder, robbery, theft and crimes of a kindred character. Still there are a great many people who do not seem to understand this.

They say, “Suppose you believed in murder, in human sacrifice, do you mean to say that we would not have the right to interfere with you; that we could not do anything to check that practice?”

Certainly they could and should. They could check any practice that we might be guilty of that would interfere with the rights of our fellow men. Government has the right, and owes it to its citizens, to protect them in their rights—to protect their lives, to protect their property, to protect them in all their civil rights and in their religious rights also, and to prevent others from doing them violence. Beyond this it should not go. And they call our system of marriage, bigamy. Such confusion of terms! The essence of the crime of bigamy is that a man, already married to one wife, clandestinely marries another. Both women are wronged and deceived; the first by his marrying a second time during her lifetime; the second by his concealment of the fact that he already has a living wife. In the anxiety to attach odium to our system of marriage, our enemies call it bigamy, ignoring the fact that, according to our rules, a man who has one wife does not take another wife without the consent of the first wife; no advantage is taken of her by keeping her in ignorance. The new relationship has been entered into by common consent. There is no element of crime about this—that is, of the crime of bigamy. It is, as I have said the concealment that makes it a crime; it is the fact that both women are deceived and wronged by the act of the man. And such a man ought to be punished. That which has been done has been done in the face of high heaven, in the light of day, believing, as we did, that it would be the means of preserving this community in purity, that if every means were used to provide for marriage there would be no margin of unmarried women left for lust to prey upon.

Men have said to me: “Mr. Cannon, we cannot understand why it is that women will consent to such arrangements.”

“My dear sirs,” I have said, “do you not think that the ladies who occupy questionable relationships to gentlemen in this city (Washington) would be very glad to have that relationship sanctified by marriage; do you think they would object to it? Would any true woman, if she loved a man, put herself in such a false position in society, and yet not marry him if she could do so honorably? Which relation would be the better and more honorable?”

I do not wish to convey the idea that plural marriage can be universal. In the very nature of things as I have often said, it is impossible; the equality of the sexes would prevent this, were men ever so desirous to make it so. Take our own Territory: the males outnumber the females; it cannot therefore be a practice without limit among us.

No one need be afraid of the extensive spread of this system even if the Edmunds’ law were not in operation. Besides all this, it should be borne in mind, that God did not give this revelation and commandment to us to urge upon the world for its practice.

The greatest foe we have to contend with is ignorance. We are not known. We are lied about most extensively, and every avenue is blocked against us. Popular journals are afraid of injuring their circulation by speaking the truth concerning us. The publishers are affected by the same influences as the politicians—the pulpit and this popular clamor cause men to be afraid. If we could be known as we really are—not in Salt Lake alone, for this city is not a fair sample of Utah; if it were possible for the people generally, who reiterate these popular cries against us, to travel through our settlements north and south, and see our people, there would be a very different public feeling in regard to us. But we have been inundated by falsehood, we are nearly covered by its waves, and people who know nothing about us are so startled at this idea of polygamy, as it is called, that they are prepared to believe anything that may be said about us. We have this to contend against. In the end, however, we shall be abundantly successful, for a people possessing the qualities that the people of Utah do, can and will live—a people who are united, a people who are honest, a people who are frugal, a people who are temperate, a people who are orderly in their lives and who are virtuous, truly virtuous, can withstand a tremendous amount of pressure. There is only one way in which this people can be checked and that is by extirpation. Otherwise, the qualities they possess are bound to live in the struggle. The doctrine of “the survival of the fittest,” applies to us, and insures us a long, a prosperous, an uninterrupted and a glorious career. We can live in spite of adverse legislation, in spite of commissioners, in spite of governors, in spite of acts of persecution; we can live and still flourish, and still grow and still increase; and we shall do it. I am not at all afraid as to the result. Of course legislation of the Edmunds’ kind can pinch us; it can be made excessively disagreeable to us. It may test us in ways that may be new to us; but sincerely I say to you, my brethren and sisters, that I dread other things that exist in our midst more than I do hostile legislation.

I dread the increase of luxury; I dread the increase of class distinctions which I see growing up. The disintegrating influences of wealth are far more to be dreaded than any outside pressure of this character. All that is being done in this direction is to hoop us up, as the cooper hoops up barrels. This has been the case already. During the last five or six months I have had letters from all parts of our Territory, and they uniformly bespeak a determination to cling together.

But watch the effect of wealth; look at its effects. Communities get wealthy and they begin to think about their wealth. Where their treasure is there is their heart also. Especially is this the case if they are divided into classes. Then the rich are in a position to be tempted and tried far more than they would be if they were on the same plane with their fellows. If we are nearly alike temporally we feel alike. In this has consisted much of our strength in the past. We were not divided into classes, with interests diverse one from the other. The sacrifices we had to make fell pretty equally upon all, and there was no temptation offered one class because of its greater wealth, to compromise with principle, or to question the policy of standing up unflinchingly for principle, or to feel different from the bulk of the community.

The increase of wealth, therefore, and the consequent increase of fashions are more to be dreaded than hostile legislation. Let a wife follow all the fashions of the day, and then let her children do the same, and a man must have a deep pocket to sustain such a family. Give him two or more wives and their children of this kind, and how long can he keep up? Introduce fashions among us, and make women fashionable, and make their daughters fashionable, and what is called “the problem” will not be long in being solved. If a man then had more than one wife he would need a large income to sustain them. Some women might be shrewd enough to understand this, and if not wanting their husbands to have another wife, might take pains to consume all the income.

Well, our enemies never have had and never will have wisdom enough to adopt any plan that will hurt this work. Why, instead of injuring this people in what they have already done against us, they are only advertising us. The effect of this persecution—I cannot call it anything else—has been to call forth three able productions by men who personally knew little or nothing about us. One man had visited here and the other two were prompted in the interest of justice to write and speak as they did, feeling that a great injustice was being done to us, and that Constitutional rights were being trampled upon. One of these, a gentleman in Boston, delivered an able lecture; and another Bostonian wrote an able pamphlet; another gentleman in New York, wrote one of the best pamphlets on life in Utah, that I have seen for many years; and besides these there have been many correspondents who have written upon the subject, and the result is that men and women have been awakened to the consideration and examination of this question. But if they had been silent concerning it, many never would have thought of it. We must be advertised, and I do not know any better way than that which has been adopted.

As far as my own case in Congress is concerned, I have not allowed myself to be annoyed. Remarks have been made very frequently about my bearing the attacks upon me so pleasantly. I have replied, “Why should I not feel so—I am the wronged man? I had a larger majority in my favor than any other man upon the floor of the House. I am the representative of the people of Utah, properly elected, and fully qualified and eligible for the position. This the committee of the House, after the close of the strictest examination—and it might be said, the most prejudiced examination, have decided. Fourteen out of fifteen of the committee on elections, after making a full examination of the case, have decided that I was properly entitled to the certificate, and as a consequence to the seat. If the consciousness of being right ought to make a man feel pleasantly, then I am entitled to the feeling. I feel as one who is called to make sacrifices for a glorious cause.”

Great pressure was brought to bear upon republican members to have them vote solidly on this question. One somewhat prominent man purposed to make a speech denouncing the wrong which was being attempted against me. He told me that Speaker Keifer heard of his intention and “bulldozed” him out of making it. One member said to me: “Mr. Cannon, in voting against you as I did, I told those around me that I did the most cowardly act of my public life.” Another said, “Mr. Cannon, I wrote to my wife and told her that I had done the meanest thing I ever did since I have been a member of Congress, in voting as I did against you.” “But,” said he, “what could I do?” These are samples of expressions made upon the subject. You can understand that my position was one not to be ashamed of. The man that is wronged has no occasion to feel the blush of shame on his cheeks; it is those who commit the wrong who ought to have that feeling; and they cannot help feeling that they are inferior to the one they have injured. But notwithstanding the pressure of which I speak that was brought to bear upon members, the conspirators against the liberties of Utah dared not trust my case to the House till the Edmunds’ bill had passed. There were some strong men who could not see their way clear to vote against my taking my seat. It was felt therefore that the only way my case could be reached was by the Senate and House passing a law and having it signed by the President of the United States. In this way, by using all the powers of the government, except the judiciary, the case was reached; but then they had to trample upon the Constitution to do it; for the law, as applied to me, was ex post facto.

I had gone to Washington eight years previously; I had been at the bar of the House four times to be sworn in, the same man in every respect. It was not charged that I had violated any law since that time, or rendered myself ineligible. After a determined contest I had been confirmed in the seat by the 43rd Congress—a Republican Congress—also by the 44th Congress—a Democratic Congress; also by the 45th and 46th Congresses. Now by what law could a man in my position, having the majority of the votes, and the fact being conceded that the election had been fair and that there had been a full expression of the people’s will, according to the forms of law—I ask, upon what principle of right could such a man be excluded from a seat in the 47th Congress? Legally he could not. There is only one way in which that could be done, that is by trampling upon the principle of representative government and the Constitution of the United States. This was done in my case, and this action will stand on the books as a precedent that will cause men to feel ashamed of it in days to come.

Now, my brethren and sisters, I return here feeling, as I have said, excellently, and cheerfully, full of courage and hope, not at all weakened in my feelings. I feel exceedingly hopeful and joyful and am satisfied that we are in the right path, that we are on the winning side, because we have right, we have justice and we have truth on our side. The only fear I have is that we shall fail to make use of the opportunities God has given unto us of maintaining our integrity and being true and faithful, for God has said, “I have decreed in my heart that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.” He has also told us, “whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies.”

This exhortation God has given unto us. And we may as well prepare ourselves, if we are not already prepared, for everything of this kind. The time must come when the principles of truth and righteousness will prevail over the land; and it is our destiny to maintain them and make them universal. The prophecies that were made by the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning this nation and us will be fulfilled. He said that the time would come when the Latter-day Saints would be the only people that would maintain constitutional principles upon this land. I have been taught from my youth that that was the destiny of this people; that this nation would drift away from the Constitution and Constitutional principles; that mobocracy would reign, and the principles of right would be sacrificed to the power of might. And we can see this coming to pass.

In former times mobs came against us with cannon and muskets, with powder and ball, and the torch, and life and property alike fell sacrifices to their violence. That was the expression of the popular will; it found vent in illegal forms, the laws being trampled upon to satisfy its demands. But matters have changed. Mobocracy today assumes the forms of legality, and, therefore, in meeting this power you have to wrestle with it under the form of law. In the early days when the mob came upon us we could take our guns and meet it, but when a mob comes backed up by law, clothed in the garb of the law, claiming shelter under the Constitution, it is very different; and that is our position today. We have fought mobs from the beginning; there have been times when we have held our own, determined to stand our ground; at other times we have been driven; until, at last, we found refuge in these mountains.

Now we are subjected to another sort of test, and I look upon it as necessary to develop us and to prove us. I accept this, in the providence of God, as a means to school this people. It will make statesmen and legislators of us; it already shows the necessity of education; it will have the effect also to broaden our views, to enlarge our intellects, and to stir up our young men and our young women to prepare themselves for usefulness. We have to be a superior people; we have to educate our children, and make them the peers, and I may say, the superiors of all others, for we have the principles which will make us a superior people. And in order to become such a people, I do not know any better training that we could have than that which we are now receiving, unpleasant though it may be. Read the history of New England and you will see that we are passing through precisely the same training that the colonists there did. It developed them, and was the means of making them the great people that they have since become.

I pray God to bless you and fill you with His Holy Spirit, and help you to remain faithful and true to Him and to one another, that you may never lose your courage or falter for a single moment, but maintain your integrity to the last, and teach your children to do likewise, that you and yours may be found among those who shall be recognized as having been valiant in the cause of God upon the earth. Let us be wise and prudent in all our talk, and cautious in everything we do, feeling to submit to wrong rather than to do wrong, trusting the Lord to overrule the intentions of our enemies for our good and the final triumph of truth over error, and good over evil. There need be no rashness, no defiance or manifestation of feeling. Let us show the world that God has given unto us principles which lift us up above these clouds that now envelope us; and that we have not been taught in vain, that we have not passed through the scenes of the past fifty years without having learned many valuable and excellent lessons. Amen.

Exhortation From Isaiah—The Saints Obeying It—Glimpse at the Settlement of Utah—Fulfilling Ancient Prophecies—Jackson County, Missouri, the Destination of the Saints—The Temple to Be Built There—New Jerusalem—How It Will Be Preserved From Decay—Its Description—The Wicked Powerless to Prevent the Saints From Fulfilling Their Destiny

Discourse by Apostle Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 26, 1879.

I will read a few passages of Scripture which will be found in the 54th chapter of Isaiah. (The speaker then read most of the chapter referred to.) Continuing, he said:

I hope that the congregation will pardon me for undertaking three Sabbaths running to instruct them when there are so many of our brethren—those who are ordained and filled with the spirit of truth—who would be glad, no doubt, to speak to the people; but a great many of my younger brethren, younger than I am, may perhaps have a great many opportunities after I may pass away, provided that the Lord sees proper in His wisdom to call me hence.

I feel a great pleasure in standing before a congregation of Latter-day Saints, or a mixed assembly of those who belong to the Church and those who have not received the great message which the Church has received. It gives me great joy and great satisfaction to speak to them in the name of the Lord, and unfold, as far as the Spirit will give me utterance, that which the Lord has said concerning His people in the latter days. I had nothing upon my mind when I arose and walked into the stand, but upon opening the Bible my eyes fell upon this chapter, and I thought that I would read it—and perhaps something might occur in relation to this chapter that would be interesting in regard to the latter days, for certainly what I have read relates to future times—times that have not yet come.

“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;” is the exhortation of the prophet to some class of people that should dwell on the earth. If we wish to know what class of people the Prophet had reference to, read the last verse of this chapter: “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” It would seem then, from the declaration given in that clause of the seventeenth verse of this chapter, that the Prophet was speaking of his servants and their heritage—that is, the heritage that his servants should occupy—that they were not to be narrowed and contracted in their feelings in regard to their inheritance as though it were to be in a small tract or region of country. The Lord had otherwise determined according to the words of this chapter. He intends they should inherit a great land, that they were to stretch forth the curtains of their habitations, and for fear that they would be limited in their views and contract themselves to a small region of country, the Lord says expressly, “Spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.” Well, we are trying to do this as Latter-day Saints. When we first came here we located this city in the month of July, 1847, some 32 years ago this last summer. Then it was thought by many that had not a knowledge of prophecy, that we were too expanded in our views to lay out a city—being only a handful of pioneers—to lay out a city covering several miles of ground, when there was not yet a house built; when comparatively there was before us a great dry, barren desert. It seemed almost folly to even some of the Latter-day Saints to see the surveyor with his measure line, others with their instruments of observation, getting the height of this land above the sea level—making great preparations, while we yet camped, a little handful of us, in wagons and in a few tents. It seemed folly to lay out a city covering an area of several square miles; but those who did this work were under the direction and inspiration of the Almighty. We knew that this people would become a very great people. We knew that the words of Isaiah would be fulfilled which are recorded in the 60th chapter, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” Now we believed that. It was not merely all opinion such as might be formed by the enlightened judgment of the human family, but by the inspiration of that Spirit which knows all things, we laid out a city sufficiently large in extent to accommodate and gather together an extensive population for this inland country and desert. Have we been disappointed? Has the Lord disappointed us in our expectation? Go over the area of this whole city, over these northern wards and western wards, and travel and traverse all the different lots and streets, and see if you find many vacant places. Is not the land generally taken up? Is it not generally occupied? Are there many vacant lots, where there are no houses or habitations? Are there many places where there are no fruit trees, no gardens? Are there many streets where there are no ornamental trees, no water ditches? We find after we have traveled several days and traversed nearly all the streets of this city, gone for miles each way, that all the lots with some very few exceptions, seem to be occupied, and not only so but some of the lots originally intended only for one family are now split up, divided and subdivided, and contain several habitations in the same lot, and scarcely room enough at that. We find the population coming into this city so great that there seems to be scarcely room, and even our water in dry seasons seems to be very scarce, not sufficient to water even the trees that are so necessary to be kept alive, to say nothing of gardens and flowers and shrubbery. “Enlarge the place of thy tent and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not;” that is don’t be stingy, don’t be contracted, don’t limit yourselves to a small area of country but break forth on the right hand and on the left. Already within the last 32 years we have been fulfilling this commandment. We have stretched forth the gardens of our habitation several hundred miles in the south especially, and one or two hundred miles in the north, into the Territory of Idaho. Utah does not seem sufficient for us, hence we have built many large towns and villages in Idaho. We have spread forth our towns, our villages and our settlements to the south for some 300 or 400 miles, and even after doing this we find the place is too strait, and the saying is: “give place to me that I may dwell.” We would scarcely suppose that a work of this great and important magnitude would have been accomplished in so short a time as scarcely one-third of a century, when all this great basin—nearly all with the exception of one or two small portions of the country traversed by Fremont and a few of his followers—was explored and considered an unprofitable desert, considered unfit for the habitation of man, in consequence of the dryness and parched condition of its soil. But the Lord when He begins to fulfill and accomplish a work among His people does so by degrees. He did not convert this great American desert, several hundred miles in extent, into a fruitful garden in one day, nor in one year; but in a few years, comparatively speaking, He has accomplished this work and has done it too with an eye to the predictions that were uttered by His servant Isaiah, the Prophet, and His servant, David, the Psalmist.

The Sabbath before last I addressed the congregation and spoke of the people inhabiting the great mountain territory, removing. You will recollect this. You know our enemies have had a great many speculations about our moving. A great many have supposed that we would remove to an island of the sea; others have pointed out Vancouver’s Island, others Russian America, as it used to be called; others have pointed out Mexico; others the islands of the Indian Ocean; and others South America, as the future destination of the Latter-day Saints. But Sunday before last I endeavored to point out to you our hopes, our views as contrasted with the views of our enemies, in relation to our future destination. I will repeat again, to bring to the remembrance of the Latter-day Saints, and those who might have been present on that occasion, what was then said. We expect that these mountains will not be the residence of all the Latter-day Saints; we expect that the great majority of the people will emigrate. We want to tell you where our eyes are fixed. As stated in our former discourse, they are fixed upon a land—not in the distant islands of the Indian Ocean, nor in the Pacific Ocean, nor in South America, but our eyes are fixed upon a land on the western boundaries of the State of Missouri and the boundaries of the State of Kansas. We expect to go there just as much as we expect the sun will rise and set. We have no other expectation. We expect to return there just as much as the Jews expect to return to old Jerusalem in the latter days. Perhaps you may inquire if we expect to return as a majority. Yes. Do we expect to return as a great people? Yes. Do we expect to return with our wives and our children? Yes. Do we expect to return in a peaceable manner? Of course. Have you ever seen any other feeling on the part of the Latter-day Saints, only to promote peace wherever they may settle? What has been our object from the commencement? Peace and goodwill to all men. But perhaps you may still further inquire concerning our emigration to the eastern boundaries of the State of Kansas, and to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, what we intend to do in that part of the country? We expect to be farmers, a great many of us. We expect to introduce all kinds of machinery and manufactures. We expect to build mills. We expect to become a very industrious, frugal, economical people. We expect to have our merchandise and our stores and storehouses in that land. We expect to build a great many hundred schoolhouses in that country, just the same as we have already done in this country and in the two adjacent Territories, Idaho in the north and Arizona in the south. We do not calculate to neglect our children in regard to their education. We expect to build a great number of academies or the higher schools, and besides a great many schoolhouses. We expect to erect universities for the still higher blanches to be taught. We expect to build many hundreds of meetinghouses, and we expect to be a people very densely located there—not one man taking up six or eight miles of land, and calling it his farm; we don’t expect to live in that way, but we expect to settle a very dense settlement in that region of country. We expect to own the land, too. How? By purchase. We expect to purchase the land that we have not already purchased. We have already purchased a great deal of land in Jackson County and Clay County, Missouri, and our purchases are on record if they have not destroyed the record; but we were driven from that land, from our farms and homes; our houses were burned down, our merchandise that we had in our store was taken and strewn through the street; our printing office—one of the most distant western offices in the Union—was also destroyed; the type was taken out and scattered through the streets; our hay stacks were burned, our cattle were shot down, and we were driven in the cold month of November from our houses and lands purchased of the general Government, and we fled before our enemies. “Well,” says one, “are you not afraid to go back again to purchase land in that country when you were thus treated in the early settlement in 1833, when you were driven from your homes, some of you massacred, your property destroyed—are you not afraid to return?” O, I expect they are more civilized now. Do you think civilized people would murder now? Do you think they would drive people from their homes now? We may give them a chance to see. At any rate we shall fulfill our part, purchase the land, gather together upon our own purchased land, and we calculate to obey all the laws of the State of Missouri, and all the laws of the State of Kansas that are constitutional in their nature. But, says one, suppose the people should rise up and say you should not possess the land, what would you do? We would leave the matter in the hands of the Lord, just the same as we did at first when He led us by revelation to where the great central stake of Zion should be built. We went there because the Lord told us to go. We settled upon the very spot where the Lord commanded us. We commenced to lay the foundation of a temple about three-quarters of a mile from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. It was then a wilderness, with large trees on the temple block. I visited that place 47 years afterwards, namely, a year ago last September, and not a tree was to be found on that temple block—not so much as a stump—everything seemed to be cleared off, and one would scarcely know, unless very well acquainted with the ground, where the temple site was located. There, however, we expect to build a temple different from all other temples in some respects. It will be built much larger, cover a larger area of ground, far larger than this Tabernacle covers, and this Tabernacle will accommodate from 12,000 to 15,000 people. We expect to build a temple much larger, very much larger, according to the revelation God gave to us forty years ago in regard to that temple. But you may ask in what form will it be built? Will it be built in one large room, like this Tabernacle? No; there will be 24 different compartments in the Temple that will be built in Jackson County. The names of these compartments were given to us some 45 or 46 years ago; the names we still have, and when we build these 24 rooms, in a circular form and arched over the center, we shall give the names to all these different compartments just as the Lord specified through Joseph Smith. Now, our enemies do not believe one word of this. They think we are enthusiastic, they think that this is all nonsense, and I do not know but there may be some of the Latter-day Saints that begin to partake of the same spirit, owing to their assimilating themselves so much to the fashion of the world, that they have lost their strong and powerful faith in that which God has predicted by the mouth of his servants. Perhaps you may ask for what purpose these 24 compartments are to be built. I answer not to assemble the outside world in, nor to assemble the Saints all in one place, but these buildings will be built with a special view to the different orders, or in other words the different quorums or councils of the two Priesthoods that God has ordained on the earth. That is the object of having 24 rooms so that each of these different quorums, whether they be High Priests or Seventies, or Elders, or Bishops, or lesser Priesthood, or Teachers, or Deacons, or Patriarchs, or Apostles, or High Councils, or whatever may be the duties that are assigned to them, they will have rooms in the Temple of the Most High God, adapted, set apart, constructed, and dedicated for this special purpose. Now, I have not only told you that we shall have these rooms, but I have told you the object of these rooms in short, not in full. But will there be any other buildings excepting those 24 rooms that are all joined together in a circular form and arched over the center—are there any other rooms that will be built—detached from the Temple? Yes. There will be tabernacles, there will be meeting houses for the assembling of the people on the Sabbath day. There will be various places of meeting so that the people may gather together; but the Temple will be dedicated to the Priesthood of the Most High God, and for most sacred and holy purposes. Then you see that, notwithstanding all these Temples that are now building in this Territory, and those that have been built before we came here in Kirtland and Nauvoo, the Lord is not confined to an exact pattern in relation to these Temples building in the different Stakes any more than He is confined in the creation of worlds to make them all of the same size. He does not make them all of one size, nor does He set them rolling on their axes in the same plane, nor does He construct any in many respects alike; there is variation as much as there is in the human form. Take men and women. There are general outlines that are common to all, but did you ever see two faces alike among all the millions of the human family? What a great variety, and yet all are constructed in general outline alike—after the image of God. So in regard to the building of Temples. The Lord will not confine Himself to any one special method to be so many feet long, so many feet wide, and so many places for the Priesthood to stand, but He will construct His Temples in a great variety of ways, and by and by, when the more perfect order shall exist we shall construct them, through the aid of revelation, in accordance with the Temples that exist in yonder heaven. And when I speak of yonder heaven I do not refer to that kind of heaven the sectarian world sings about, beyond the bounds of time and space. I have no reference to any heaven beyond space, but I have reference to the heaven that the Lord has sanctified and made heaven in other worlds that he has created, consisting of all kinds of materials the same as our world is, and when this world passes through its various ordeals, it, too, by and by, will pass away and die like the body of man and be resuscitated again, a new heaven and a new earth, eternal in its nature. The new worlds that are thus constructed and quickened by the fullness of the celestial glory will be the heavens where the Gods will dwell, or in other words, those that are made like unto God, when their bodies are changed in all respects like unto His glorious body, changed from materiality and cleansed from sin and redeemed, they will then be immortal and dwell in a heavenly world. Now, in this world there will be Temples, and these Temples will be constructed according to the most perfect law of the celestial kingdom, for the world in which they are built or in which they stand will be a celestial body. This last Temple that I am speaking of, or this last one to be built in Jackson County, Missouri, will be constructed after that heavenly pattern in all particulars. Why? Because it will never perish, it will exist forever. “What! Do you mean to say,” says one, “that the materials of that temple will not wear?” “Do you mean to say,” some of you may inquire in your hearts, “that age will have no effect upon the walls and the materials of that temple?” This is what I mean—I mean to say that not only the Temple, but all the buildings that shall be built round about that Temple, and the city that will be built round about it, which will be called the New Jerusalem, will be built of materials that never will decay. “But,” says one, “that will be contrary to the laws of nature.” You may cite me to some of the buildings that existed before Christ that were built out of the most durable materials that could be found, and yet when the storms of hail, rain and snow came, these buildings began to waste away until they could scarcely be recognized. Well, I do not ask you to think that this temple and the city round about it will defy the rough hand of time and the work of the elements of our globe, and exist forever, so far as natural laws are concerned; but there is a principle higher than these natural laws. Did you never think of it—a higher principle, a higher kingdom that governs all these laws of nature, such as you and I have been accustomed to understand ever since our youth. I say there is a higher law, a controlling power over all the laws of nature, that will prevent these buildings from decaying; and I wish while dwelling upon this subject to say a little about another subject; that is, the building up of Palestine with the new Jerusalem. It will be the old Jerusalem rebuilt upon its former site. Now, will that city ever be destroyed, will it ever decay? Will the Temple to be built in Palestine ever be thrown down or ever be furrowed with hail, rain, snow and frost—will these ever have any effect upon it? No, not in the least.

Why? Because God will be there. So He will be in the temple of Zion on this continent, and by His power, by His laws—which are superior to all those grosser laws of nature—He will preserve both of these cities, one on the western hemisphere, and one on the eastern hemisphere, from any decay whatever. Now, we have it recorded here in this book, in the 31st chapter of Jeremiah, that this city on the eastern continent shall not be thrown down any more forever. It seems, therefore, to be an eternal city, never to be destroyed. “But,” says one, “I cannot believe that; I cannot believe but what these cities will be subject, just as much as anything else to decay.” Do you believe this good book—the Bible? If you do, you are obliged to believe that such things are possible. Do you want to know some of them? I will mention one instance. You will recollect that Moses commanded Aaron to take a pot of manna and lay it before the Lord, to be kept for their generations. Now it was a noted fact that if the children of Israel gathered more manna than would last them until after the next morning, it would decay, but on the last day before the Sabbath they gathered manna for two days, and they found that on the Sabbath day it was preserved. Who preserved it? Why did it last two days instead of one? Because God counteracted those lesser laws, or laws of nature, by His divine power, which is greater than them all, and He therefore preserved for two days that which would not last longer on the other days of the week than twenty-four hours. Well, we find that the Lord ordered the manna to be placed in the tabernacle to be kept for their generations, that they might see the bread wherewith He had fed them in the wilderness, when He brought them forth from the land of Egypt. Did that manna decay? No, it remained fresh and pure in the tabernacle. Why? Because God was there; His divine power was there; a miracle was wrought to counteract the general laws of nature such as we generally understand them to be, and this manna was preserved from generation to generation. Now the Being that could produce this effect upon a small quantity of substance on a pot of manna, could He not do the same in regard to whole buildings, or is His arm so limited that He has to work in a little narrow corner and preserve a little handful of manna from spoiling through decay. I would say that the same Being that could perform this, which we might term a lesser miracle, could extend the same power to stone, wood, and to all kinds of metal and material that might enter into the construction of a Temple. Shall I limit that power to the preserving of a Temple! No. The same Being could preserve the city round about the Temple, hence it is a city that shall never be destroyed nor thrown down from that time henceforth and forever. God will be in the city. He will take care that the building materials suffer nothing from the laws of nature. He will take care that the city is illuminated by His divine power, and especially the Temple, the most sacred of all the Temples, where He will have His throne, where the Twelve Apostles will have their thrones, as the judges of the twelve tribes of Israel; He will take care that there is nothing in that Temple that shall decay in the least degree. So it will be in the New Jerusalem. Zion upon this great western hemisphere will have a city called the New Jerusalem (because it has never been built before) and God will preserve it by His divine power. Read what the Psalmist, David, has said in the 50th Psalm: “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Perhaps you may ask why it is called “the perfection of beauty.” Shall I read from the chapter I opened with? In the 11th verse of that chapter we read: “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.” Now any person that is acquainted with mineralogy or with geology, and any person that has studied these things to any great extent, knows concerning these precious stones how very precious they are esteemed, and how a small portion of these stones is very frequently valued at more than its weight in gold, some of them one hundred times their weight in gold, and yet the Lord will bring or create, or form, as the case may be, or tell His children how to form those precious stones in great abundance, sufficiently pure and crystallized in order to complete the foundations and also the temples and the public buildings of that great city called the New Jerusalem. But before this shall commence, the Lord has addressed them as a people afflicted: “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.” Just as the Latter-day Saints have been now for upwards of forty years driven from place to place before we emigrated to this great mountain desert, persecuted by our enemies, our cities taken from us, our villages taken from us, our farms taken from us, our flocks and herds shot down; we were robbed of all these things, and yet without any redress from the Government under which we live. We then came forth beyond these great rocky chains of mountains, hoping that in the distant desert, where no other people would have thought of locating themselves, we might live undisturbed. We have been greatly prospered in this desert. We have lived here long enough to fulfill a great many of the prophecies that are contained in this good Jewish Bible. But we have not yet got through with fulfilling prophecies. We are designed as a people to fulfill a great many prophecies. We shall move however, as I have already stated, down into that region of country. But you may say—that is, some of the weak Latter-day Saints may say—that it will cost so much; we will have to purchase all that country sufficiently extensive to give place to all this people. How are you going to obtain means enough to purchase a country large enough for all this people to dwell in? Well, now, the Lord has that in His own hands, don’t you know it? Is it a difficult thing for the Lord to make his people rich when they are prepared for it, after days of tribulation, after passing through a great many afflictions and difficulties, tossed to and fro; would it be a difficult matter for the Lord to open up whenever He pleases, means of unmeasurable riches, more than all the Latter-day Saints would know how to use? Hear what the Lord says: “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders.” Who were the people here spoken of? They were people that should be clothed upon with this light that I have been speaking of, this glorious light; the presence of the Lord will be in their midst, and it will radiate over their temples, it will light their city by night and by day. “But are you sure,” says one, “that such a thing will take place?” I have no time to read all the Lord says on the subject, but if you read the 60th chapter of Isaiah, you will find that the sun shall be no longer necessary by day, nor the moon by night, to give light to a certain people. Why? Because “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down.” Not like our sun which arises in the morning and exists above the horizon for a few hours, then descends, and darkness covers the earth. Not so with this light, the glorious divine light that will lighten up the heights of Zion. It will never go down, it will be a standing miracle by day and by night, from one week to another, month after month, year after year, until the one thousand years shall have rolled away over the heads of the people that dwell on the earth. But let us see what more is said. That same God that has spoken of these great riches, brass for gold, iron instead of silver, for wood brass, and for stones iron—I say that that same God has exhorted the latter-day people called Zion to “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” I do not mean something that never can be discerned. I mean that true light that emanates from the great fountain of light, the Messiah, the Redeemer; that true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; that true light which is in all things and giveth light to all things; that true light that lighteth up the understanding of the children of men and quickeneth their memory; that true light that quickens the eyes of this mortal tabernacle, that we are able to discern objects round about us; that true light which is of God, will be rendered visible to the eyes of all the inhabitants of that city. And shall I limit it there? No. The light will shine so conspicuously from that city, extending to the very heavens, that it will in reality be like unto a city set upon a hill that cannot be hid, and it will have quite a tendency to strike terror to all the nations of the earth. Will all see it? No, some may be too far off, beyond the ocean, to behold that miraculous light that will shine forth in this city, but I will tell you the effect it will have upon the kings, queens, rulers, congressmen and judges of the earth—they will hear of it by telegraph; the news will be flashed over the civilized nations of the earth, but they will not believe it. They will say, “Let us cross the ocean, and let us see this thing that is reported to us by telegraph; let us see whether it is so or not.” Well, when they get within a day or two’s journey of the city they will be alarmed. Some of these kings and nobles, when they see the light shining forth like the northern lights in the arctic regions, illuminating the whole face of the heavens—when they see this light shining forth long before they reach the city, fear will take hold of them there, says the Psalmist, in the 48th Psalm, they will become weak, and their knees will smite together like the knees of Belshazzar. They will try to haste away from the glory of God and from the power of God, and to get out of the country as soon as possible. Fear and terror will be upon them. It will have an effect upon many other kings and nobles, more pure in heart, more honest, that are willing to receive the truth; it will have a different effect upon them, so much so, that they will say with Isaiah, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen from thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” These are the different effects which it will have upon the rulers of the various nations, some believing, some trembling, some humbling themselves and willing to forsake their thrones and their kingdoms and their empires to come and dwell with the people of God, while others more wicked, more corrupt, will not be able to endure it. This shining light will be seen for many miles distant, and the wicked will flee away; they will be fearful lest they be smitten by that power that illuminates the people of God, hence the terror of the Lord will be there. Terror will take hold of the wicked when Zion becomes as fair as the sun and as clear as the moon, and her banners will be terrible to all nations. One would naturally suppose when we see the present hardness of heart that exists among our enemies, when we see our Elders waylaid, young peaceable boys that are taking their first mission abroad to proclaim the Gospel of the Son of God—when we see them shot down and their murderers tried by a jury and acquitted, and then tried for riot and acquitted of that—one would naturally suppose that a people so hard in their hearts would not be converted to believe even if they should see the power of God manifested. But do you suppose that among these people where such things are carried on in the light of day, where murderers go free and where judges say, “commit murder, commit riots, take the life of the innocent; we will free you”—do you suppose that there are no honest hearted among the people that are allowed to do this? If you do you are mistaken. There are many of the honest in heart deceived by the cunning craftiness of the children of men, by priestcraft which lies at the foundation of all the persecutions endured by the Latter-day Saints. Priests, afraid of their craft, afraid of this little one, afraid that the little one will become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation, say: “let us down upon them, let us drive them from their homes, let us burn their houses, let us persecute them from city to city, let us fall upon their missionaries and put them to death.” We would hardly suppose that there could be found an honest person among such a people, but there are. There are goodhearted people all through the States. In Missouri, where they first drove us? Yes, many. In Ohio, where we were also driven? Yes, many which are honest before God, and will receive the testimony of the Gospel, and unto this Zion that I have been speaking of such will gather together, to swell the numbers of the Latter-day Saints, and we will become a strong nation and they cannot help themselves, and this is what makes them feel so bad. But, says one, we can help ourselves. We have got the Secretary of State, Mr. Evarts, and he in connection with others of the Cabinet, have published a circular unto the nations of Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, asking their help; “Will you not step forward,” say they, “and put a stop to the emigration of the Latter-day Saints. We are afraid they are growing too strong. We are afraid there are too many of them in yonder hills. O, Great Britain, help us! O Germany, help us! Let your arm stretch forth and allow no more of these Latter-day Saints to gather to the mountains of Utah! O keep them back. Shut up the ports of Liverpool, of Europe, and let no more emigrate to that land!” Do you think they can shut the ports of heaven? Do you think that yonder spirits that dwell in the presence of God the Father, will be kept back, and will not come here and take infant tabernacles to swell the borders of Zion? Think you, you can shut down the gates of heaven and control this matter? Stretch forth your arm and try to stay the arm of the Almighty, that He send no more spirits here to swell the borders of Zion! Would it not be well to pass laws to prevent these spirits coming, to prevent this heavenly emigration? Think you, you can stay the purposes of the Great Jehovah? No; these spirits will come and our streets will be full of children, sons and daughters, and they will say, as they crowd up: “The place is too strait, Give place to me that I may dwell,” and they will stretch forth the curtains of their habitations, they will lengthen their cords and strengthen their stakes in spite of all the powers of earth and hell combined. “A little one,” says the Prophet Isaiah, “shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” Daniel caught the same spirit. He saw a little one planted in the mountains. He saw a kingdom organized, an ecclesiastical government called the Kingdom of the God of Heaven. He saw it organized—not in the lower countries of the earth, but he saw it organized in a high and lofty region; in other words, as is recorded in the 18th chapter of his prophecies, he saw an ensign lifted up upon the mountains. What is an ensign? “Why,” says one, “according to our dictionary, and according to our opinion upon this subject, I should suppose an ensign, or standard, to be something unto which the people will gather.” You have thought right. This ensign, says the Lord, shall be lifted up upon the mountain. What is an ensign? It is not only something unto which the people will gather, but it is something of divine appointment, something that the Lord organizes, something that will be a pattern to all peoples, nations and governments erected in the mountains, and He calls upon all the inhabitants of the earth to see it. In another place the Prophet Isaiah says: “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Can you hinder it? Can you oppose the almighty hand of Jehovah that he shall not accomplish His purposes? It cannot be done. You may afflict, you may pass laws, you may call upon distant nations to help you, you may shut down the emigration against the Latter-day Saints, you may drive them, you may burn their houses—you may do all this, but they will continue to live and to stretch forth in spite of all the powers beneath the heavens, and become a great people under the Constitution of this great land. We never want to be freed from the Constitution of our country. It is built upon heavenly principles. It is established as firm as the rock of ages, and when those that abuse it shall molder in corruption under the surface of the earth, the American Constitution will stand and no people can destroy it, because God raised it by our ancient fathers, and inspired them to frame that sacred instrument. The Constitution is one thing; corrupt politicians are another thing. One may be bright as the sun at noonday, the other as corrupt as hell itself; that is the difference. Because we have a good Constitution that is no sign that the strong arm of the law, founded upon that Constitution, will protect the minority as well as the majority. The politician may suffer the majority to trample upon the rights guaranteed by that Constitution to the minority. They have done it before, and perchance they will continue to do it until they are wasted away. Then will be fulfilled another saying in this same chapter which I have read—“For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” Now, there are a great many cities in the United States that will not be totally destroyed when the inhabitants are swept off the surface of the earth. Their houses, their desolate cities will still remain unoccupied until Zion in her glory and strength shall enlarge the place of her tents, and stretch forth the curtains of her habitations. That is the destiny of this nation, and the destiny of the Latter-day Saints. Amen.