The Gospel—It Brings Temporal As Well As Spiritual Salvation—The Prophet Joseph Smith—Persecution—Our Religion Cannot Be Destroyed

Discourse by Apostle Lorenzo Snow, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City.

In addressing an assembly of Saints I expect the benefit of their prayers, without the ceremony of asking; being assured they are aware, as well as I am, that our teachings and administrations in the Gospel of life are blest according to our faith and prayers, and the diligence and patience we bestow.

I propose to make some general observations upon the Gospel and its administrations, and in relation to its effects when received, and the important blessings derived by this community, through its divine power and virtue. This Gospel, which God has commanded us to offer to the world, is an order or system of things, simple, plain, and may easily be understood. In regard to its principles, the nature of its requirements, and the precise kind and character of its blessings and promises, no one, however ignorant or unlearned, needs to be left in the dark; but may discover its golden truths, and the emblazoned mark of divinity in its arrangements as distinctly and as speedily as Naaman, the captain of the Assyrian host, found divine virtue and the hand of Divinity in the order prescribed to him by Elijah, through which his leprosy was removed. In his case, the order of obtaining a miraculous blessing, viz: to immerse seven times in Jordan, as prescribed by Elijah, was so simple, so plain, and in regard to its divine efficacy so easy of ascertainment, that the great captain at first, was exceedingly wrathy at the idea that God should propose to work upon him through such easy and simple forms; but the order through which he could be healed of his leprosy was prescribed of God, through the Prophet, and finally the Assyrian officer, through the plain, commonsense reasoning of his servant, concluded to waive his objections and comply with the requirements; and having done so received the promised blessing.

The first principles of the Gospel which we offer, and which put men in possession of the revelations of God, and a knowledge of this work, are precisely as simple, plain, and as easy of understanding as the order before alluded to, through which the heavens were opened to Naaman.

The Gospel was brought to our respective locations, far remote from these mountain vales. It found us citizens of various nations, speaking our respective languages, each possessing his peculiar notions and prejudices, with his associations, and a strong attachment to kindred, friends and country. However unpleasant, unkind, unjust, and inconsistent it might appear at first, we clearly foresaw that in receiving the Gospel we should be compelled to break off those associations, and sever those attachments, leaving the lands of our nativity, and go forth with our wives and our children to a distant land of which we had but little knowledge. Yet, a similar requisition was made upon the House of Israel, in the land of Egypt; also upon Noah and his family, and upon Abraham, and the family of Lot in the city of Sodom, and upon the families of Lehi and Ishmael, as mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

But, in the provisions of the Gospel which was offered to us, there were fairness and safety; it proposed to give, through obedience to its requirements, a perfect knowledge of its divine authenticity; so that, in leaving our kindred, breaking up our social relations, and going forth from our native lands, we should first become perfectly assured that it was no human contrivance—something gotten up to effect a political purpose or satisfy some worldly ambition, or to achieve some private end through human cunning or craftiness.

The Gospel was plain and simple in its requirements, and there could be no mistaking the precise nature of its blessings and promises, nor the manner and time in which they were to be secured.

The first feature, in this system, which struck us with surprise and arrested our attention, was its perfect similarity, in all its parts, with the Gospel as recorded in the New Testament. It required repentance, and a forsaking of sins, immersion in water for the remission of sins, with a promise that, through the laying on of hands by those having authority, people should receive the Holy Ghost, by which the knowledge would be obtained of the truth of the doctrine. Another remarkable feature, which called into exercise our most serious consideration, was the solemn testimony of the Elders, that they possessed the right to administer these sacred ordinances, by virtue of the Holy Priesthood committed to Joseph Smith, through the ministration of the Apostles, Peter, James and John. And furthermore, that this solemn and most important fact should be revealed to every man, upon his faithful obedience to the Gospel requirements.

In these propositions, though at first seemingly strange, we saw that everything was plain, fair and honorable. In doing what they required, we should only do, in fact, what, as true-hearted believers in the ancient Gospel, we ought to do; and if we failed to receive the promised blessing, and thereby proved the Elders’ testimony false, our religious condition would, nevertheless, be then as good as other Christians, and a little better, perhaps, because we should have approached a little nearer to the doctrine of the Scriptures, so far as their true forms and ceremonies were concerned. Of course, in this case, having proven to our satisfaction, that there was no Holy Ghost, no supernatural manifestations, no knowledge, no revelations accompanying the Elders’ administrations of the Gospel; no human persuasion, no cunning sophistry could have induced us to leave our homes and friends to embark in a scheme which our common sense taught us would eventuate in bitter disappointment and inevitable ruin; but, like other Christians, we should have continued in the enjoyment of friends and home, still groping our way through religious darkness, expecting nothing, hoping nothing, and receiving nothing.

But the fact that I am now speaking to assembled thousands of intelligent and enlightened people, who received this Gospel with the aforementioned fond considerations and lively expectations, gathered here by their own free will and choice, out of almost every nation, demonstrates most clearly, most forcibly and most solemnly, that this system of life, this Gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith, has been made known to us by the revelations of the Almighty—that it is undeniably His will, His word and His message: not only this, but we find within ourselves a fixed purpose, an unalterable resolution to do, if need be, what many of us have already done, viz: show the sincerity of our convictions of these solemn truths, through sacrificing all we possess—not even holding ourselves so dear to us as this religion.

There was yet another prominent feature embraced in this order of things, viz: where it found the people in poverty, misery, in a condition but a little above starvation; it spoke in positive terms of future relief, and effectual deliverance. It did not simply say: “Be ye warmed, and be ye clothed,” but it declared plainly, and in distinct terms, that the Lord had seen their bondage and oppression, and heard their cries of sorrow and affliction, and now had sent His Gospel for their deliverance, and would lead them into circumstances of independence. There, again, was something consistent, and worthy of admiration, and characteristic of our Great Parent, discoverable in all His dispensations, when in actual working order, as they were in the case of Noah, and in the calling of Israel, making them an independent people; likewise in calling Lehi to establish a people upon this continent, as well as in many other instances.

A religious system is of but little account when it possesses no virtue nor power to better the condition of people, spiritually, intellectually, morally and physically. Enoch’s order of the Gospel, did for his people all this, and it has done the same in every instance when preached in its purity, and obeyed in sincerity. Many thousands of the persons in these beautiful valleys, who formerly were compelled, with their wives and children, to subsist in a half-starved condition—not owning a habitation, or a foot of land, a horse, a cow, pig or chicken—nothing they could call their own; subject at any moment, through the whim of their employer, to be turned into the streets, miserable beggars; now own cabinet shops, factories, mills, flocks and herds, beautiful gardens and orchards, and productive farms, wagons and carriages, dwelling in their own houses, in comfortable and easy circumstances. No one has any apprehension of starvation within the jurisdiction of the Latter-day Saints.

The Gospel proposed these blessings at its announcement, and they have been most miraculously accomplished. No other religious system could have achieved such things, nor dared any other Christian denomination venture to send out its missionaries “without purse or scrip,” and without a college education, to declare to the people that they had authority from God to administer the sacred ordinances of the Gospel, through which should be revealed tangible evidence and knowledge of its divinity and of their authority to administer it; and to take people from a state of poverty, and lead them thousands of miles, and, despite every obstacle, establish them a comparatively independent people in the midst of a wild, desert country. Had they found them poor, friendless, without the means of living, and in servitude little better than Egyptian bondage, as we found many of them; they would have imparted no cheering news of an approaching salvation from the God of heaven; but could only have exhorted them to be contented and reconciled with their unhappy lot, and in no case must they look for any new revelation, or miraculous interposition.

What philanthropists have wished to accomplish, and often attempted, the Lord is now doing on a magnificent scale in this American Desert. Flourishing settlements, towns and cities have sprung into existence, extending over a distance of five hundred miles in length, and hundreds of miles in width, through the untiring energy and perseverance of a people, formerly totally ignorant of such labors. In these cities people live in harmony; and poorhouses, grog shops, gambling hells, houses of ill fame and prostitution are not known in any of our numerous towns and cities, except in some instances, where Christians (so-called), possess a footing and influence.

No one, however prejudiced he may be, can scarcely avoid acknowledging the palpable fact, that this system has conferred miraculous blessings upon thousands and tens of thousands, in the way of putting them in possession of the means for sustaining themselves, after having delivered them from oppression and tyranny, little better than African slavery; and, no doubt, our legislators at Washington, one and all, would give us credit for our indefatigable and successful labors, in establishing an extensive and flourishing colony, on a portion of our Government domain, formerly inhabited by savages and wild beasts; provided we would admit this work to be the work of man, and not of God—that it had been accomplished through the artifice and wisdom of man, and not by the power, wisdom and revelations of God.

Joseph Smith, whom God chose to establish this work, was poor and uneducated, and belonged to no popular denomination of Christians. He was a mere boy, honest, full of integrity, unacquainted with the trickery, cunning and sophistry employed by politicians and religious hypocrites, to accomplish their ends. Like Moses of old, he felt incompetent and unqualified for the task, to stand forth as a religious reformer, in a position the most unpopular—to battle against opinions and creeds which have stood for ages having the sanction and support of men, the most profound in theological lore; but God had called him to deliver the poor and honest-hearted of all nations from their spiritual and temporal thralldom. And God promised him that whosoever should receive and obey His message—be baptized for the remission of sins, with honesty of purpose—might receive divine manifestations, should receive the Holy Ghost, the same Gospel blessings which were promised and obtained through the Gospel, when preached by the ancient apostles. And this message, this promise, was to be in force wherever and to whomsoever it should be carried by the Elders, God’s authorized messengers. So said, Joseph Smith, the uneducated, the unsophisticated, the plain, simple, honest boy.

It is through the virtue and force of this boy’s statement, that I speak this afternoon, to assembled thousands.

In the integrity of my heart, with honesty of purpose to know the truth, I received this message—I obeyed this form of doctrine and I received, in the most tangible and satisfactory manner, a divine manifestation—the promised blessing—a knowledge of this work. Am I the only witness? How is it with the experience of thousands whom I now address? Are you also witnesses? If you are not, I ask you in the name of common sense, why are you here? Why did you leave your homes and country, giving your sanction to the truth of a system which promised you divine manifestations, but which you failed in experiencing? Being honest ourselves, if we cannot bear a truthful testimony of having received divine manifestations that God, Himself, has founded this order of things, then it becomes a serious fact, that we are witnesses, and in truth the only proper witnesses, that this whole plan and pretention of Joseph Smith is a sheer falsehood, a miserable fabrication.

It will be recollected that this Gospel message proposed to give us divine manifestations through our doing certain specified acts; we have performed those acts in precisely the manner indicated. None but ourselves have attempted to conform to this arrangement; consequently, no other people are prepared to be witnesses either for or against this system. * * * * *

When the Gospel, or order of things which we have received, was presented to us, we carefully compared it with the Gospel recorded in the Scriptures, and found it alike in every particular, as regards its forms, ordinances, and the authority to administer them; its promise of the Holy Ghost, and the signs that should follow, together with the promise of a knowledge of its divine origin. In many instances it was brought to us by men with whose character we were familiar, and for whose honesty and integrity we could vouch, who solemnly stated that, through an obedience to its requirements, they had obtained a knowledge of its heaven-born principles.

This was my experience, and after having complied with its demands, and thereupon received a knowledge of its genuineness, and having obtained authority to preach and administer its ordinances, I commenced forthwith to proclaim it to the world; and undoubtedly there are persons in this congregation, out of different nations, to whom I have administered this Gospel, who can witness to its virtue and efficacy. Many years I have been engaged in forwarding the interests of this order of things, and you are the proper judges whether it be of God or of man.

We have the same Gospel the primitive churches had, and the like knowledge and evidence they had of its divine authority; and we have just as brave and honest Elders to preach it; men who have proven their integrity through sacrifice as great as the Elders of the primitive churches ever made. The testimony of our Elders is as valid and worthy of credit as the testimony of their Elders. Our present Apostles are as honest as the Apostles of the New Testament, and our testimony is as worthy of credit, so far as we live and speak according to the Scriptural law and testimony. If this order of things which we have obeyed is not the Gospel—if these evidences, these manifestations, this knowledge, this Holy Ghost, these deliverances from misery and bondage, and being placed in comfortable and happy circumstances, living together in peace and harmony, building beautiful towns and cities, free from demoralizing institutions, be not the legitimate fruits of the working of the pure and holy system established by God, through Joseph Smith, we shall be compelled to question the genuineness of the Gospel of the former-day Saints, as recorded in the New Testament.

By some, it has been argued, that Joseph Smith and the prominent Elders were the most corrupt, wicked and infamous of impostors, but his followers, the Latter-day Saints, in general, though deceived, were very good people, and scrupulously honest in their religious opinions.

From what I have already said in regard to the operations and effects of this work, it may readily be seen that, if it be an imposition, it is not confined exclusively to the leaders of this people, but this whole community are actively, and knowingly engaged in a stupendous scheme of deception and hypocrisy; and, by the way, as I before hinted, if this could be proven to be the case, we should be driven to the belief that the former-day Saints, also, had been engaged in the same disgraceful imposition.

More than one hundred thousand people now dwell in these valleys, many of them having come from distant climes and nations. In this great fact they willingly and understandingly exhibit to the world a powerful testimony more expressive than any language could command, that they did, undeniably and positively receive, through the ordinances of this Gospel, administered unto them by our Elders, a knowledge of this work, through divine manifestations.

But it may be objected that, whereas, members of our community were found by our missionaries in great poverty and distress, therefore, they obeyed the Gospel and migrated here, to better their circumstances financially, without regard to its truth or falsity as a divine system. Although this might be true in isolated instances, it is impossible as regards its application to our people as a community. Those persons who received this work without religious motives, and without an honest conviction of its divine requirements, but solely for the “loaves and fishes” cannot possibly abide the test to which everyone’s faith, sooner or later, must be brought, but will have his dishonesty and hypocrisy exposed, and will sooner or later apostatize.

Hundreds of our Elders, full of Godly zeal, animated with the purest motives, having obtained a knowledge of the will of God, have left their wives and children, whatever the heart holds most dear, and gone forth to the nations without worldly compensation, calling on all to repent and turn their hearts to the Lord—obey the Gospel, with a promise that they should receive the Holy Ghost, which would “lead unto all truth and show things to come,” and would be their guide and monitor—a principle of revelation, remaining with them through life, inasmuch as they preserved their honesty and integrity, continuing faithful in keeping the commandments of God, and devoting their time, their means, their talents, their all in building up the Kingdom of God. These duties were required, these blessings promised by our Elders in the preaching of the Gospel. To obtain light—a knowledge of the will of God, to secure the true religion—divine manifestations regarding the truth of the doctrine as taught by Joseph Smith, was the first, and all-absorbing proposition presented to the people.

Now, whether these Elders and missionaries were base impostors, promulgating sheer falsehoods, or not, is of course a question of grave consideration; yet it is a matter of far greater importance, and of more serious inquiry, whether our people, as a community, having failed to receive those divine testimonies, keep silent as to that most vital and important question, and come here to practice fraud and deception in religion, and thus fasten irresistibly upon the minds of our children and future generations a system of falsehoods, for a divine religion.

Joseph Smith affirmed that Peter, James and John visited him, and conferred on him authority to administer the holy ordinances of the Gospel through which every honest-hearted man and woman was promised the Holy Ghost, and a perfect knowledge of the doctrine.

I had been a member of this Church but a short time when I obtained, by a divine manifestation, a clear, explicit and tangible demonstration of the truth of this work. Thousands and tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints, men and women, in private life, can testify to the same experience; and though I may know many principles in regard to this doctrine, which in their limited experience, they may not understand, yet in that one fact, they are equal to me in knowledge, equal to the messengers who have administered to them this Gospel.

I now wish to examine another prominent feature of our religion. An important item which was prominently held forth wherever this Gospel was proclaimed, was, that its followers should have an abundance of persecutions, and probably, in the progress of this new life, be compelled to suffer the most trying sacrifices, as wife, children, houses and lands, despoiling of goods, and perhaps even, of life itself. No persons are properly prepared to enter upon this new life, until they have formed, within themselves, a fixed resolution to abide this ordeal.

The Savior, the Apostles, Joseph Smith, and the Latter-day Elders, when offering this system to the people, told them clearly and em phatically, that it required sacrifices of the most serious character—that it would bring persecutions, change our warmest friends into bitter and relentless enemies, and that instances would occur when the world in the confused ideas of right and wrong, would even conceive they were doing God’s service in taking our lives. These were dark and forbidding prospects to a rational person in allowing himself to be proselyted to a system whose truths he could not know, but only guess at by what he was told, or of which he had read. Every man and every woman, before receiving a system that called for such sacrifices, would require a positive assurance that submission to its requirements would bring indisputable knowledge of its true divinity, so that, after having obtained a divine witness of its genuineness, they could willingly, cheerfully and with a resolution, inspired by the Almighty, move forward along the pathway of persecution and sacrifice, traversed in all ages by martyred Saints and Prophets.

On this point permit me again to quote what Jesus promised, viz: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Peter had obtained a revelation which Jesus called a Rock, which every man might receive individually for himself to build upon, with perfect assurance and safety—on which he could anchor his hopes and prospects of salvation. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, promised the Holy Ghost to those who would repent and receive baptism. That principle imparts the knowledge or the rock of revelation upon which the Savior declared His people should be established; and we constitute the only religious community which dares assume this Scriptural position; and our realization of the Savior’s promise, “that hell shall not prevail against” a people thus established, affords us peace, tranquility, unshaken confidence, and a cheering and happy assurance of security in the midst of all kinds of threatened ruin and overthrow. It is the people, the masses—not exclusively their leaders, who possess this knowledge, and boldly testify to its possession.

The astronomer may know of many laws and phenomena relating to the sun and its movements through ethereal space; but as regards the simple fact that it exists, and shines upon the earth, millions know as well as himself. President Brigham Young and even Joseph Smith, so far as respects the fact, that this Gospel which we preach as a divine institution, never professed to have a knowledge more convincing and satisfactory than tens of thousands in these valleys who never arose to address a public audience.

This system of religion, in its nature, in the character of its origin, the manner of its operations, and in the purposes for which it was designed, coupled with the fact, that people of honest hearts, can and will appreciate divine truth, is such that it cannot be destroyed. A man who is honest, full of integrity and love for the interest and happiness of mankind, having explored this long untrodden path, and made this glorious discovery, will not and cannot keep silent, but despite of threats and opposition, however fierce and terrific, will boldly declare the glorious fact, spreading and multiplying this divine intelligence, and if so required, seal this testimony with his own life’s blood.

No Prominent Latter-Day Saint Who Lives His Religion Need Expect Justice in the Courts—The Same Sacrifices May Be Required of Modern As of Ancient Apostles—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Established By Divine Revelation—We Will Be Made Perfect By Suffering—Our Character As Latter-Day Saints Must Be Preserved Inviolate—Visit of Jesus to Kirtland Temple—Farewell

Discourse by Apostle Lorenzo Snow, delivered in Brigham City Tabernacle, on Sunday, previous to his sentence by Judge Powers in the First District Court, Jan. 10th, 1886.

I am thankful for the opportunity of addressing this large audience, most of whom, I recognize as my intimate friends and associates, for whose spiritual, moral, and intellectual advancement and temporal prosperity, I have labored diligently through a period of over thirty years, ever since the establishment of its first dwelling or hamlet.

This, I presume, will prove my last opportunity, for some length of time for addressing you, being now under bonds of six thousand dollars, to appear next Saturday, the 16th inst., at Ogden, to receive sentence for cohabiting with my wives—having been pronounced guilty for the same offense, under three indictments. Undoubtedly my sentence will embrace the extreme limit the law allows—eighteen months imprisonment, nine hundred dollars fine, with costs of prosecution added.

I do not now propose to enter into details respecting the three trials under those indictments, re sulting in verdicts of guilty, without one particle of evidence by which to justify such verdicts—the very singular and extraordinary charge to the jury by Judge Powers—the urgent appeal of the Prosecuting Attorney, for the jury to assist in convicting the defendant—the eloquent and forcible arguments of my counsel—the intense anxiety of Judge Powers and the prosecution to impress the jury that it was their imperative duty to convict the defendant, as (in the language of the attorney), “He was a high official in the Mormon Church, and therefore it was expedient in the warfare against that Church, that he should be made a victim.” All these matters and proceedings will be recorded, and published to the world; they will be preserved and handed down as items of history for the consideration and judgment of future generations.

In passing, I will observe, however, that in the progress of my trial, and in the outcome, this FACT was demonstrated—it is needless for a Latter-day Saint, occupying any position of prominence, and living his religion, to expect justice in the tribunals of this once boasted land of civil rights and religious liberty; but now, under the blighting, merciless influence of religious bigotry and sectarian fanaticism of an apostate Christianity. It is even better to look for justice in courts under the ruling powers of a moral and honest infidelity.

I was pronounced guilty of violating the Edmunds law. Previous, however, to its enactment, my wives (except the one with whom I was living) having passed the period of maternity, by mutual consent, we were living in accordance with the requirements of that law, and this, too, without violating any principle or object embraced in the law of celestial marriage.

To “multiply,” was the first commandment given to our first parents. Purity in matrimonial intercourse, I always believed, should accompany that command, and I have always endeavored to observe faithfully its practice. I married because it was commanded of God, and commenced in plural marriage. I contracted marriage with four women about the same time, and with a mutual understanding with each that they were to be equal—neither was to take or assume the status of a first or legal wife. Two of them were united to me in the sacred bonds of matrimony at one and the same time, by the same ceremony. The other two shortly after, also at one and the same time and in like manner.

Of all the witnesses introduced by the prosecution, the testimony of each tended directly to establish my innocence. The Prosecuting Attorney, when addressing the jury, said: “This case of a prominent leader of the Mormon Church is under investigation—he is one of the most scholarly and brightest lights, and we require your encouragement and assistance. The eyes of the nation are now upon you, and as loyal citizens, from you a verdict of guilty will be expected; and if you heed this appeal, I can assure you, and predict emphatically, if the defendant, Mr. Snow, with a few other Mormon leaders can be secured, it will not be long before a new revelation will follow, calling for a change in the law of patriarchal marriage.”

Last year one thousand sectarian ministers petitioned Congress to legislate more severely against the “Mormons,” and punish them with greater cruelty; and this has been the cry and watchword of priest and people throughout the length and breadth of our unhappy country, arousing and fostering a popular feeling and sentiment that it would be right, and doing the will of God, to overthrow and destroy this kingdom which the Prophet Daniel foresaw, and which God has now established.

For many years past, my heart and feelings have been devoted to the promotion of your interests—your welfare and happiness; with what success, you, my friends, are the proper judges. I shall soon depart from your presence, and submit myself to the officers of the law, and whether I may be permitted again to address you from this stand, I cannot say—a matter, however, about which none need have the least anxiety.

I go to prison with the full assurance that I can serve God and His purposes—magnify my calling, and prove to the world, my faith and sincerity in the principles I have taught, during fifty years, among many nations—that Jesus is the Son of God—that He has revealed His Priesthood, and the fulness of the ancient Gospel, and established His Church by revelation.

When I received the Apostleship, I well remember saying to my brethren, who were present, that very possibly the same sacrifices would be required of the modern Apostles as were experienced by the Apostles anciently, including their persecutions and martyrdoms. I said, in receiving this sacred calling, I felt as though it were ascending an altar where, perhaps, life itself would be offered. The Lord 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; for, if ye will not abide in my Covenant, ye are not worthy of me.” Seriously considering all this, I asked myself: Am I willing to accept these conditions—to so deny myself and suffer for the glory of God, and to honor and magnify this Apostleship?

God is now feeling after us, and will disclose our secret thoughts. It would be well to purify and prepare ourselves, and in the language of the Psalmist, call upon God, saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

If we succeed in passing through the approaching fiery ordeals with our fidelity and integrity unimpeached, we may expect at the close of our trials, a great and mighty outpouring of the Spirit and power of God—a great endowment upon all who shall have remained true to their covenants. We must be more eager to cultivate friendly relations with our neighbors, together with love and affection for our wives and children that peace may dwell in our households, and confidence in the midst of the people.

“Fifty millions of people” are said to be calling loudly for the extermination of the “Mormons.” If it be a FACT that our religion is divine, established of God, there is no cause for alarm, nor even anxiety or uneasiness. Tens of thousands, through obedience to the sacred Gospel, know it to be true—a FACT, by immediate revelation to themselves. Therefore, these “Fifty millions of people,” are not fighting the “Mormons,” or their religion, but they are fighting God and His purposes.

Israel, on the banks of the Red Sea, were God’s people—a fact perfectly known to Moses; and he knew, also, what were the purposes of God concerning them. Hence, there was no occasion for alarm or anxiety in view of the overwhelming forces of Pharaoh’s army, threatening immediate annihilation. God’s eye was upon Israel—they were there by His direction—a FACT—a revealed FACT, known to Moses and Aaron, and doubtless to many others, by direct communication from God. It is true, they were placed in a frightful situation—naturally, a hopeless one, from which no human power or ability could extricate them.

Israel was there, not from choice, but by the command of God; and He had arranged His own program; yet Pharaoh with his armed hosts, sought to thwart His purposes, and in the end was overthrown and destroyed; and the result of this ignorance and folly stands recorded on the page of history as a lesson to all generations.

God established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by direct revelation; this is a FACT, clearly and distinctly revealed to thousands. The so-called “Mormon” people, in these valleys, are the acknowledged people of God, and are here, not by their own choice, but by immediate command of God. The work and management is the Lord’s—not the people’s—they do His bidding, and He, alone, is responsible for the result.

We have no occasion for fear or cause for trembling—the purpose of God will be accomplished—what He has recommenced will be consummated though the combined armies of the earth should rise up and oppose. It is a FACT that God has spoken, and called latter-day Israel from among the nations, and planted them in these valleys; therefore this work is His, and although He may lead us as He did Israel of old, into seemingly desperate situations, requiring serious sacrifices—the despoiling of homes—incarceration in prison, and even jeopardizing our very existence; and yet, it will be but for a moment, as it were, and then those trials will terminate as did Job’s, in an increase of possessions; and as ancient Israel’s, in a kingdom and country—honor, glory and dominion.

Some of our brethren have queried whether hereafter, they could feel themselves worthy of full fellowship with Prophets and Saints of old, who endured trials and persecutions; and with Saints of our own times who suffered in Kirtland, in Missouri and Illinois. The brethren referred to have expressed regrets that they had not been associated in those scenes of suffering. If any of these are present, I will say, for the consolation of such, you have to wait but a short time and you will have similar opportunities, to your heart’s content. You and I cannot be made perfect except through suffering: Jesus could not. In His prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He foreshadowed the purifying process necessary in the lives of those whose ambition prompts them to secure the glory of a celestial kingdom. None should try to escape by resorting to any compromising measures.

All who journey soon or late, Must come within the garden gate, And kneel alone in darkness there, And battle hard, yet not despair.

It is now proposed to enact laws to govern the “Mormons” in Utah, similar to those passed in Idaho to afflict our people, viz: “Whoever claims membership in a church or organization, teaching or practicing the principles of Patriarchal Marriage, shall be deprived the right to vote or hold office.” Thus we understand the time is at hand when, whosoever admits he is a Latter-day Saint, must feel the oppressive grasp of persecution. How many now here, are ready—having oil in their vessels, and lamps trimmed, and prepared for coming events?

I am not sorry, nor do I regret on account of the near approach of these fiery ordeals; the Church, no doubt, needs purifying—we have hypocrites among us—milk-and-water Saints—those professing to be Saints, but doing nothing to render themselves worthy of membership; and too many of us have been pursuing worldly gains, rather than spiritual improvements—have not sought the things of God with that earnestness which becomes our profession. Trials and afflictions will cause our hearts to turn towards our Father who has so marvelously wrought out our redemption and deliverance from Babylon.

I wish to offer a word of caution to my brethren that you may beware, and commit no grave errors when brought into positions of trial and temptation. Some, unfortunately, have disregarded this injunction, and have imprinted a stain upon their character, and a blot upon their record which cannot be erased in time—perhaps not in eternity. These are fearful mistakes. Better suffer a thousand deaths than succumb to the force of persecution by promising to discard a single principle which God has revealed for our glory and exaltation. Our character, as Latter-day Saints, should be preserved inviolate, at whatever cost or sacrifice. Character approved of God is worth securing, even at the expense of a lifetime of constant self-denial.

While thus living we may look forward far away into the spirit land, with full assurance that when reaching that happy clime, we shall be crowned with the sons and daughters of God, and possess the wealth and glory of a Celestial kingdom.

Apostle Paul in his time, taught the Saints to have the same mind in them as was in Christ Jesus, who, finding Himself in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Apostle John, on the same subject says, “When Jesus appears we shall be like Him.” “Every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as God is pure.”

As man now is, God once was—even the babe of Bethlehem, advancing to childhood—thence to boyhood, manhood, then to the Godhead. This, then, is the “mark of the prize of man’s high calling in Christ Jesus.”

We are the offspring of God, begotten by Him in the spirit world, where we partook of His nature as children here partake of the likeness of their parents. Our trials and sufferings give us experience, and establish within us principles of godliness.

Jesus has, in our day, visited this world, and been seen of men on different occasions. He appeared on the 3rd day of April, 1836, to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, in the Temple at Kirtland, Ohio. This important visitation is described as follows:

“The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.”

“We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.”

“His eyes were a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of rushing waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:”

I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore lift up your heads and rejoice.”

Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.”

I now will bring my remarks to a close. In a few days I must leave family, kind friends and associates with whom I have spent so many pleasant hours in “The City I love so well”—proceed to Ogden—receive my sentence, then retire to private life, within my prison walls, for “The word of God and testimony of Jesus.”

I hope to address you again, many times in this life, though this may be my last—however this will be, I shall expect to meet you in yonder world clothed in robes of celestial beauty, amid the glory of the Sons of God, where grief and suffering shall have ceased—when tears will no longer moisten your cheeks, and sighs and moans no more be heard; but where, peace and joy forever reign, in those realms of glory, honor and immortality.

The Lord is Teaching Us Valuable Lessons in Our Present Experience—He is Teaching Us to Rely Upon Him and to Exercise the Faculties He Has Given Us—Nature of the Government of the United States—the Elements of a Variety of Governments Enter Into It—Physical and Moral Courage—the Judge of the Third District Court not a Christian—a Concubine Was a Wife and It Should not Be a Term of Reproach—the Character of Abraham Vindicated—Sympathy for Our Enemies—When the Saints Learn to Be Strictly Impartial, Judgment and Rule Will Be Given Them—Not All in the United States Are Arrayed Against Us—Weakness of the American Government—Power of Secret Societies—Zion to Be a Place of Refuge and Safety—President Cleveland’s Opportunity to Be Just and Great—We Must Purify Ourselves that Liberty May Come

Discourse by Apostle Moses Thatcher, delivered in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Semi-Annual Conference, Thursday Afternoon, October 8th, 1885.

There have been a great many very excellent things said at this conference, and in attempting to add thereto, I desire the assistance and aid which come through the faith and prayers of the Saints—that I may be inspired by the Spirit of God to utter such things as may tend to our edification and good. It will doubtless be somewhat difficult to make all hear unless a goodly degree of order is maintained. Of course I am aware that it is not an easy task for mothers to keep their nursing babes quiet in a crowded house like this and upon a warm day; but we hope to have as good order as possible under the circumstances.

I have rejoiced very much in the testimonies which have been borne during the meetings of this Conference, and they find in my heart a responsive chord. I do not feel that we are living in unprofitable times, and notwithstanding the trials, temptations and injustice with which we are surrounded, I view the present as times in which the Lord is teaching to His people very valuable lessons. It has often been asserted, by our outside friends, that the union of this people was maintained by reason of the influence which their leaders hold over their minds. If this statement were true, and the influence exercised is unrighteous, the leaders of the people should be removed. But if the influence which they exercise over the minds of the people is for good, it ought to be maintained. As an Elder in Israel, I hold that the influence which binds together this people to be the spirit of God, and that the Almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth, is not dependent upon one man or many men, and that the Lord will demonstrate to all the Christian world, that the religion which is called Mormonism is the religion of the heart for the masses of the people who have espoused its cause; and if, in the experiences of the past few months, and that which is yet in the future, the Latter-day Saints learn to rely on God, learn to receive for themselves heavenly communications for the guidance of their feet, though it may cost the exile of our leaders or the imprisonment of those who have worked as their servants, they will have received that which is of much value; and although it cost much, it will be worth more than the cost. We can see now that a few who have relied upon others, who have sought the counsel of their file lenders and have depended upon that counsel when they can no longer reach those leaders, falter and fall by the wayside. I believe that God intends that every man and every woman in His Church and kingdom shall exercise the faculties which He has given them, that in the exercise of their agency He designs to exalt them in eternal glory. So long therefore as the people rely upon their leaders they are not manifesting that degree of faith, they are not in a position to think and reflect for themselves as they should. I have known the time of the Presidency of the Church and of the Apostles taken up in frivolous matters that ought never to have gone beyond the family circle, at least ought not to have gone beyond the confines of the Ward organization. But times have changed. We approach not now so easily the Presi dency of the Church. We receive not their counsels with that facility that we have done in the past. And although we miss their presence much—for this people love their leaders—in their absence the channel of communication between the heavens and the earth is open to this people as it never could have been under former circumstances. Men and women are now learning that their prayers can be heard, and that if they are not able to receive the counsels of their brethren, they can in all places and under all circumstances, receive the counsels of God, their Heavenly Father.

Men, communities of men, governments, nations, powers, and principalities have never yet been able to build walls so strong, or make iron doors so thick as to prevent the prayers of a righteous man ascending unto his God, hence every man and every woman who keep the commandments of the Lord can have a light and a lamp for their feet, and those who have oil in their lamps will not be uncertain as to the course they should pursue. The revelations of the Lord will inspire them and direct them in the ways of truth and right.

When we reflect on the growth of governments, civilization, the rights of men and the liberties which we so much enjoy, to what source do we look as the one from whence they came? The great government of which we form a part—the most liberal, the broadest and the deepest in its foundation, the greatest government which God has ever smiled upon—except when he has administered according to His own will in the affairs of men—to whom is due its birth and expansion. To men who were willing to bow in obedience to the mandates of kingly governments? No! But rather to men who were inspired by God, their heavenly Father, to reach forward to a higher and a grander civilization and liberty. Had the Pilgrim Fathers and others who were unwilling to bow to the mandates of European powers not fled to the land of America, we should have had no government like this. It was founded as a refuge in which the oppressed of every land and clime should find a resting place. Not Republican altogether, not Democratic wholly, not theocratic, not aristocratic, not monarchical, but a combination of them all. For this government, in the strictest sense, is not a republic, as I understand it. The laws of a republican government are enacted by a central power. Were the United States such a government, the laws which govern the citizens of all the States and Territories would be enacted by Congress, instead of by their several Legislatures. In the purest sense, democracy consists of a government in which the people are governed by laws enacted with their mutual consent and by their direct vote. We cannot consistently call the government of the United States theocratic only in so far as the people acknowledge the rule of God. If we pick up a coin, a $20 gold piece, we can see impressed upon its face the words, “In God we trust;” and insofar as this is true, and expresses the sense and feelings of the people, this government is theocratic, but in no sense beyond that. A Territorial government may be said to be in a large sense monarchial, in that the governor of the Territory has conferred upon him by act of Congress absolute veto power, and the legislators who are chosen by the people, may labor for sixty days, unite their profoundest thought in expressing the wishes and wants of the people, and they may frame laws by which the people might be governed according to their choice, but by a single stroke of the pen the Governor of the Territory of Utah can veto every act of the Territorial Legislature. Is not this, then, monarchial, and is it not in a very strong sense a one-man power? It would seem to be at least autocratic. And in the sense that the people of the Territories have no choice in the governor or in the judges who administer the laws, or in the marshals who enforce the process of the courts and in every other way wherein the government takes upon itself the government of the people, without the consent of the people, is it not an aristocratic government—the government of the many by the few? Thus, if my conclusions are correct, the government of the United States is theocratic insofar as the people trust in and obey the laws of God; it is republican in a partial sense; it is democratic in another sense; and it is certainly, so far as the Territories are concerned, monarchial and aristocratical. Thus we have a combination of the elements of a variety of governments entering into this great Union. But, as was clearly shown this morning by Brother F. D. Richards, in the disposition of the people to have Congress enact certain proscriptive laws, we as a people are being deprived of many of the rights and privileges for which our forefathers contended, for which they pledged their sacred honor, and for which many of them devoted their lives. But, knowing the manner in which public opinion is manufactured in this great land of ours, I have personally a degree of charity and of sympathy, not only for Congress, but for the President, his Cabinet, and for the supreme judiciary of our nation. It is no unusual thing to see men manifest physical courage. You can see it in all nature. Tread upon a worm and it will turn and sting you if it can. Men, for the love of the things of this world, will often face physical danger in every form. They will dig down into the bowels of the earth, navigate the raging seas, and penetrate, as it were, to the North Pole—they will face the cannon’s mouth when it belches forth death and desolation in all its horrid forms; they will face death and destruction in all its horrid forms; they will face death and desolation in every shape; but when you call upon them to manifest moral courage, when you call upon them to stand up and maintain the right because it is right, when that right is unpopular, you appeal to something that gives but weak response. I have seen men that would face danger in almost every conceivable form, shrink and cower before one breath of scorn. They could not bear it, and hence you see them make promises and apologies because of the influences that surround them. Now, this is a popular government, and it would take a very courageous President to do justice to the Latter-day Saints. Why? Because the great majority of the nation are prejudiced against us. Not that they are aware of any harm or wickedness having been done by this people, but because of falsehoods that have been circulated against the Latter-day Saints. Therefore, I say that were Mr. Cleveland to administer, or cause to be administered all the laws in Utah impartially, he would be manifesting a degree of hardihood, a degree of moral courage that certainly has not been exhibited by any recent President of the United States. This country has produced few men like Charles Sumner, who stood up in the Senate of the United States and fought slavery. He stood there singly and alone, but he espoused a righteous cause, and by degrees he made adherents until this nation was converted and the Supreme Court of the United States that declared that a black man had no rights which a white man was bound to respect, was overturned at the point of the bayonet and the sword. Such men as Washington, Jefferson and Adams—such men as Cromwell, Knox, Luther, Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, stand along the shores of time as beacons that have lighted the way to the higher liberty we ought to enjoy in this glorious land today. When I say we, I refer to the nation as a whole, and not to the Latter-day Saints as a community. If we could enjoy our constitutional rights, we would be of all people upon this earth the most happy; because, with all our faults and failings, God smiles upon no people upon the earth as pure as are the Latter-day Saints, and happiness consists in purity—the living of a holy life before the Lord.

I was very forcibly struck, a few days ago, with the remarks made by the Judge of the Third Judicial District. I don’t think him to be a Christian; if he is, he does not understand the Scriptures as I understand them. In referring to remarks which had been made by an individual who had been convicted by the jury, the judge remarked that he did not wish to hear any more hypocritical cant, and in referring to the wives of the Latter-day Saints on one occasion he mentioned them as concubines; and some of our brethren have looked upon that as being a reproach. Well, of course, you can convey contempt in the manner in which a word is uttered. But I do not look upon the word concubine as being a contemptuous term by any means. All concubines, anciently, were considered wives, but all wives were not concubines. A concubine, then, was a maid servant married to a free man; and although her mistress still maintained some jurisdiction over her actions, the fact that she was a wife gave her an honorable position—made her a legal wife in the sight of God.

Again, the judge, in referring to what father Abraham did, said, “Abraham not only lived with his wives, but also with his wife’s handmaids; in other words,” said the judge, “the same as though you were to live with your hired girls. Now, while that might do for Abraham,” said he, “it will not do for this enlightened age.” Now I desire to show by these remarks that the judge of the Third District Court is not a Christian, and that if he has any hopes of eternal life, he does not understand the plan and the promises of the great Jehovah; for Abraham was a friend of God; Abraham talked with God face to face, and although it may be thought that he lived in the dark ages, would to God that the Christian world would walk in such darkness today! If, then, the acts of Abraham would not do for the Chief Justice of the Territory of Utah, neither would the city in which Abraham dwells do for that judge; and when he passes into eternity and behold the names of the twelve apostles written upon the twelve foundations of the Eternal City he may admire their beauty and grandeur, but when his attention is drawn to the twelve pearly gates, he will find engraven thereon the names of the twelve sons of Jacob by his four wives, and their great grandfather Abraham will be within that city. Without its walls shall be sorcerers, adulterers, liars and whoremongers, and those who love to make a lie. Jesus bore testimony to the virtues of Abraham. He proclaimed himself to be a literal descendant from him, tracing back his lineage to the loins of David, another polygamist; and when he, Jesus, spoke of Lazarus, who picked up the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and who was so poor and wretched, whose sores the dogs licked to his ease, delight and comfort—when Jesus spoke of this Lazarus, he spoke of him as being in the bosom of Father Abraham. But the rich man, who perhaps had had control of him, and who had kicked and cuffed him, and looked upon him with scorn as he picked up the crumbs—as we pick up the crumbs of liberty grudgingly dropped from the table which our fathers made in the day of oppression and dread—I say, when that rich man looked upon Lazarus in his degradation, he was then but his serf and slave; but when he looked upon him over that wide gulf that separated them, he saw him in the bosom of Abraham, and he pleaded that Lazarus might be sent to dip his finger in one drop of cold water, that the thirst might be slaked in his throat, and that his burning tongue might be relieved. The answer was, “Lazarus had his ill things while upon the earth and thou hadst thy good things. Now, behold Lazarus has the good things and thou hast thine evil things.” “Well, said the rich man, if he comes not to me send him to tell my friends and my neighbors of the condition of affairs here.” The answer was made, “They have Moses and the prophets, and if they heed not these, neither would they listen to one though he rose from the dead.” If the Judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Utah is a Christian, how will he feel when he comes into the presence of Father Abraham, whom he has sought to cast reflections upon? Will not the blush of shame be upon his cheek? And if there is an eternal God, and if that eternal God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and all our spirits; and is the friend of Abraham, how can that Judge bear his presence? I would rather be the poorest Latter-day Saint on earth and bear chains and fetters upon my limbs until my flesh dropped from my bones than to be in the attitude of the man who must bear, without the spirit of God, the measure of unjust judgment which he has measured to others. For this reason, my brethren and sisters, I say I have the most profound sympathy for all those whom we sometimes denominate our enemies, and I am not able to forget the fact that whatever their condition in this life may be, they fought not on the side of Satan in the eternal worlds when Satan rebelled against God because the Almighty was unwilling to adopt his coercive plan of human redemption. God was determined that every man, woman and child born into the world should be free. I say, because God would not adopt his coercive measures he rebelled against Christ, and one-third part of heaven followed him, and he fought against Michael and the hosts of heaven, and was cast down to earth with the hosts that followed him. But you can find no living man or woman that ever breathed the breath of life that fought on his side; for the condemnation that came upon them was a loss of opportunity to take a body. Therefore, those people who seem to be our enemies are such only by reason of their blindness, and because their eyes are closed against the things of God, and if the judgments of God are to come upon them according to the predictions of the prophets, we can well afford to have charity and sympathy for them, and we do as a people. I tell you that I can pray for my enemies; I can pray that God may lead them away from darkness, that He may touch the eyes of their understanding that they may see, and in their hearts repent.

It is awful to think for a moment of the terrible condemnation that will surely come upon men who endorse the shedding of innocent blood; but we must, at last come to love our enemies and pray for them who despitefully use us. And when we are prepared to do this from the heart, we are prepared to say to this world, “I am not afraid of anything you can do.” The power of the Spirit lifts the body out of the reach of harm, the spirit of Christ has gained the victory, and we can say when under the influence of that spirit, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I can pray for the President of the United States, with a desire in my heart that God will direct him aright, that he may have moral courage sufficient to do that which is just; because, unless the rulers of this nation are actuated by the spirit of justice, they cannot be sustained by the Almighty. And although we may find prejudice on the right hand and on the left, we shall never have given unto us the victory until we learn how to govern upon principle. When men are tested, when they are brought before the courts, cases should be tried, not men. Whenever the Latter-day Saints shall have reached that high degree of excellence in the administration of the laws of God as to judge impartially between the Saint and sinner, when they shall be willing to give Satan his rights as quickly as a Saint or a brother, then will judgment and rule be placed within their reach, and I pray that it will never come before that time.

Whether a man is a heathen or a Christian, when the kingdom of God is established, he will have his rights and liberties extended to him. There will be no bias, no prejudice, everything will be done according to the laws of justice and equity. Have we always, as a people, I may ask, manifested a disposition to act upon the basis of principle? You can answer the question for yourselves. Have you been willing, as Latter-day Saints to extend to the Gentile as readily his rights, under your municipal, your county or your Territorial government as you would extend them to a Latter-day Saint? If you have, then have we administered upon the basis of principle; but if we have not, then have we not come to an understanding of that which the Lord has revealed; for when His kingdom bears sway there will be thousands and millions of people who do not subscribe to our religious views, who will be gladly governed by the laws of God’s kingdom; and the Chinese in the empire of China, the Hindoo in Hindoostan, or the Christian in Europe, may read the laws that govern Zion, and, with mathematical accuracy, figure out the liberties they can enjoy under the laws of the kingdom of God. There will be no prejudice or packed juries in the kingdom of God that will bind the innocent and set the guilty free. God will govern His kingdom as He governs throughout His universe, by the laws of justice and equity.

What I say to the Latter-day Saints is, let us be of good cheer. I never have seen a better day than this. The kingdom will come off victorious, and those who have hated us will see the day when much woe and affliction will come upon them.

We hear talk about 55,000,000 of people being opposed to the Latter-day Saints. I offer to you this afternoon my testimony that this is not true. There are not 55,000,000 in this glorious government of ours who are opposed to the Latter-day Saints; it is a great mistake; there are thousands in the United States today, who are anxiously waiting for the solution of the “Mormon” problem, who are praying for the deliverance of this people. It is a great mistake to suppose that every man, woman and child in this nation are opposed to this people; there are scores that, while they have not courage to come out and speak a word for them, have a warm throbbing in their hearts for the victory of this people and their cause, and they are not blind to their surroundings either. As an American citizen I deplore it, but I tell the Latter-Saints this afternoon that this great government is not strong, and the reason is, they have torn up the foundations of the structure that was built by our fathers. They have tipped up the moorings of the great ship. They have allowed mob rule to get power in this land, and like a dark cloud, secret societies are gathering around. And while it may be smiled at, yet I tell you this nation stands as it were upon a mine. When the Knights of Labor and the different brotherhoods can say in calm language that within thirty minutes they can stop the motion of every car wheel between Omaha, Nebraska, and Butte, Montana, I say to you there is power there. More than five years ago, certain secret societies instituted what were called the Pittsburgh riots. The State militia was called out to quell them, and they were not able to do it. The army of the national government was appealed to, and a United States officer told me that when he led his soldiers to Pittsburgh he feared to give the word of command to fire upon those insurgents, “for,” said he, “I did not know whether they would obey or turn round and fire upon their officers.” I have heard merchants of Chicago and New York declare that they had private arms stacked away in their business houses because they could not trust the municipal, the county, the State, or the national means of protection; will you tell me that a nation is strong thus situated? It is not. The iron heel of the monopolist has long been upon the neck of labor, and the great question which is looming up in this nation today is that of labor and capital. Would to God we had statesmen with eyes clear enough to see! Would to God that they would pull out of their eyes the “Mormon” mote and behold the beam that threatens the nation. The occurrence at Rock Springs, and the mutterings we hear from the Atlantic to the Pacific ought to be a warning that the day is not far distant, unless the Democratic and Republican parties open their eyes to the situation, when desolation and war will be in this government. When men who live in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, have said to me, “Mr. Thatcher, why don’t you renounce this objectionable feature of your religion, the nation is opposed to it, the civilization of the age does not want to permit it—why don’t you renounce it and live in peace?” I have said to them, “I thank you for your kind sentiments; I thank you for the kindly feelings that you entertain,” and as an evidence that I feel it, I will say when this nation, having sown to the wind, reaps the whirlwind; when brother takes up sword against brother; when father contends against son, and son against father; when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety—then I would say to my friends come to Utah; for the judgments of God, commencing at the house of the Lord, will have passed away, and Utah, undisturbed, will be the most delightful place in all the Union. When war and desolation and bloodshed, and the ripping up of society come upon the nation, I have said to such, “Come to Utah and we will divide our morsel of food with you, we will divide our clothing with you, and we will offer you protection.” I will tell you, my brethren and sisters, the day will come, and it is not far distant, when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor, will have to flee to Zion for safety; and it is presupposed in this prediction that Zion will have power to give them protection. We are not going to do it outside of the government, either; we are going to do it inside the government. There is no power in this land to turn this people against the government of the United States. They will maintain the Constitution of this country inviolate, and although it may have been torn to shreds they will tie it together again, and maintain every principle of it, holding it up to the downtrodden of every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and they will do it, too, under the Stars and Stripes. They will stand with their feet firmly upon the backbone of the American continent and maintain the principles which cost their fathers so much, and those principles cannot be taken away by men who violate their oath of office, and betray their trust.

I tell you that there are boys growing up in these mountains who have the principles of human liberty grounded deep in their hearts, and they will maintain them, not only for themselves, but for others. God speed the day I say—if the nation pursues its downward course and tears up these fundamental principles of government which have made them strong—when the Constitution may be rescued and all men and women shall be free again. I pray that Grover Cleveland may stand up as the chief executive of the greatest nation that there is on God’s footstool today and say to the waves of public opinion and public pressure that the nation must be ruled upon the principles of righteousness and justice. If he would do that, he would make himself a name that would be embalmed forever upon the pages of history. But if he will not do it—if he is not morally strong enough to do it, and if Congress will not come forward and help him do it, we will say, “O, God, we put our dependence in Thee,” and where Thou leadest we will follow, and we will seek to maintain our rights, until the Almighty grants them unto us. May the spirit of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ be in your hearts, for above all things it is the most precious; and when you come before the judges take no heed of what you shall say or the answers you shall give, but trust in God, and if you go before the judges silent as did your Lord and master, if they choose to nail you upon the cross or stretch you upon the wheel or the rack, or if they thrust you into dungeons or prisons, it is nothing more than was done to your Master before you. Let us trust in God. I tell you nothing of importance has ever been attained in this world without a hard struggle against the opinions and prejudices of men.

God grant that we may soon regain and forever maintain our liberty. But may it not come as long as we have an adulterer, a fornicator, or whoremaster who professes to be a Latter-day Saint. As long as such as these partake of the Holy Sacrament with this people, let bondage continue. But let us purge out these things, let us be pure and holy before God, cherishing the principles of justice in our hearts, and the day of liberty will surely come, which may God grant, is my prayer. Amen.

Parable of the Ten Virgins—Rapid Development of the Arts and Sciences—The Lord Hastening His Work in Its Time—Enmity Between the Church of Christ and the World—The Gathering Together of People From Every Nation After They Have Been Baptized Into One Spirit—The Law of Tithing—Blessings Which Follow Obedience Thereto—Binding Upon All, Rich and Poor Alike—Giving to the Poor—Power of the Principles of the Gospel and Effects of Their Observance—Jehovah—Jesus Christ—His Ministry—His Followers—Their Mission—Preaching to the Spirits in Prison—Baptism for the Dead—Saviors Upon Mount Zion—Responsibility Resting Upon the Saints—a Word of Encouragement to the Missionaries

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the New Stake Tabernacle, Provo, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 30th, 1885.

Occasions of this kind have a very precious significance to those who are interested in the great work of the last dispensation. They awaken the better feelings of our natures to commune together as the people of God, to contemplate His providences towards His people, the experiences through which they have passed, and are passing. It is very pleasant to the Elders who are called to speak to the people in going from place to place, to meet those with whom they associated in earlier times and in far distant countries. In this respect my journey was made pleasant this morning upon finding myself in the carriage with brethren whom I labored with almost thirty-five years ago in the British Isles.

Thirty years ago, in about one month, our brother and friend, Professor Maeser, with several others, in the City of Dresden, the capital of Saxony, strolled away one night, and finding ourselves beyond the surveillance of the police, a mile or more, down to the banks of the river Elbe, we there had the pleasure of seeing him enter into the covenant of the everlasting Gospel with us. This and like circumstances cause me to thank the Lord for His grace that has preserved, helped and sustained us, and kept us in the truth until this present time, while many who have been baptized into the Church have fallen out by the way. When we contemplate the parable of the Savior in reference to the ten virgins—five of whom were wise and five foolish—behold, we are seeing in part the fulfillment of that parable. When we consider how many have turned away at one time and another because the way was too straight or the road was too rough for them, we have reason to be very thankful that the love of the truth has continued and increased in our hearts. It is fitting that we should labor with diligence and faithfulness and with our mights to bring to pass the purposes of God, inasmuch as they are rolling upon us rapidly, and seeing that He has promised that He will cut His work short in righteousness.

Since the Father came forth from the heavens with His Son and spoke to the Prophet Joseph—then a boy only about fourteen years old, and told him that all the people of the earth had gone astray from His ordinances and had broken the everlasting covenant—I say since that time what wonderful progress has been made in developing the arts and sciences. Those were the days of the stage coach instead of the railroad. Then postal facilities were very slow. It required mouths for communications to go from this country to Europe and back again. Now it is done in an instant, steam and electricity enable people to transact business in one day or an hour, perhaps, that used to take months to accomplish. The Lord is in this way fulfilling His promise that He would hasten His work in its time. He has increased facilities during our day and generation for the accomplishing of work and bringing about His purposes which it would take many times as long to accomplish under the old regime—the slow-coach order of things.

Thirty-eight years ago, when we came across the plains, it took us all summer to get from the Missouri River to Salt Lake. We had to walk and toil by the road; our teams gave out and died by the way. A company of us in the year 1848 were from the 18th of February till the 19th of October, coming from Liverpool to this Territory. Now the Saints start from the old country and come here by steam in about three weeks, a journey that formerly took nine months to perform. This is one of the ways in which the Lord is shortening His work—cutting it short in righteousness—and furthermore He has said He will hasten it in its time.

Now, there must necessarily be, as there always has been, the same enmity between the Church of Christ and the world that ever has existed. And what is the great reason why there must be such opposition? I can tell you one reason. It is because that we, by the blessing, power and requirement of God, have been enabled to go forth and preach the Gospel, gather the believers together, organize churches, build cities and temples, and establish a church and kingdom unto God, and that the world cannot do. That is one reason why they feel enmity toward us. This is a great testimony to the whole world—the work of gathering the people of every language under the sun, from the frigid, the temperate and the torrid zones. From Iceland on the North, as well as from New Zealand and the Cape of Good Hope on the South, and all countries intermediate, where the Gospel has been preached.

It is a subject that is an enigma for the greatest statesman of the earth; this gathering together of people of different languages, different education and habits, and harmonizing them all. The great secret is that they are first baptized into the same spirit, one baptism, one faith, and one Lord. They come here and being taught correct principles they govern themselves. That is just what we want; and is what every family needs, that those who become rulers in Israel, or heads of families, shall be men of God, filled with the knowledge, the revelations and power of God.

I am thankful that I live with you to see the great and mighty operations of Jehovah’s purposes going on in the earth. I feel thankful that I am permitted to perform any humble part in this marvelous work. The Saints, even those in the humblest station, should feel thankful that they can contribute one way or another by their efforts or their means to help advance any of the interests of the Church or Kingdom of God.

Former speakers have referred to the principle of tithing. This is one of the very important features of the faith of the everlasting Gospel. It always was when there was a people of God on the earth. Go back to our Father Abraham—whom all professed Christians would like to claim heirship with—and we find that he was very tenacious in paying his tithing, his whole tithing. When he went to war against the thirteen kings, with his company of three hundred and eighteen trained servants, followed them all night, overtook them, and became their victors, he brought home the spoils, and when he reached Jerusalem he found there Melchizedek, the ruler of the country, the minister of the Lord, the king of peace; one of the first things he did was to pay his tithing of the booty, and he received a blessing at Melchizedek’s hands. So it was with Isaac and Jacob. We are informed in the Scriptures that Jacob covenanted with the Lord, saying: “Of all thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee,” which he did. And when in after years the Lord brought Israel back from Egypt to Canaan, where He promised they should live and have an everlasting inheritance if they would keep His law, He gave it them with this reserve, that a tenth of the people’s possessions should be paid to Him:

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, the fruit of the tree, the tithe of the herd or of the flock, is the Lord’s, and shall be holy unto the Lord.” (Lev. xxvii, 30-32.)

If they did not do this they would be robbing the Lord. The fact was, all they possessed was the Lord’s, and when they appropriated all to their own use, paying nothing into the Lord’s storehouse, they did that for which He afterwards, by the Prophet Malachi, charged them with robbing Him, even their whole nation.” (Malachi iii, 9.)

The Lord has said unto us, very emphatically, if we do not sanctify this land and make it holy unto Him by keeping this and all other of His commandments that it shall not be a land of Zion unto us. Let us hearken to it, take it to heart, think of it, study it prayerfully, and learn what it means.

Says one, “Here is a poor widow that does not owe any tithing; there is a poor brother who is lame and cannot work who does not owe any tithing.” Don’t they? Let us see. The paying of tithing, like every other ordinance, has its peculiar blessings, and what are they? In the receipt which the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to me in Nauvoo, signed by himself and the tithing clerk, he stated that having paid my tithing in full to date, I was entitled to the benefits of the baptismal font, which had just been dedicated in the basement of that Temple. Do not this poor widow and that lame, unfortunate brother need the benefits of the baptismal font for their deceased kindred just as much as the rich, the sound and the fortunate? I think they do. How then can they obtain a right and title to their blessings? The Lord has instituted a means by which they may receive their blessings by the payment of their tithing. The first Thursday of every month is a Fast day, for the Saints to gather together in prayer and fasting, and to bring their offerings for the poor, that the afflicted and unfortunate may not lack for food or clothing, and the comforts of life. Now, if a poor man received one hundred pounds of flour or any other gift, it is his privilege to pay one-tenth of it as tithing, and have it credited to him on the book as a tithing payer, and in this way he pays just as much as the man who pays one hundred dollars. The same with the poor sister who receives her aid from the Relief Society. She can pay her tithing in the same way—have her name recorded on the books, and thus acquire the right to be baptized for her dead kindred. These rights and privileges are not confined to the rich. They are for people of all conditions in life, provided they comply with the requirements of the Lord. The Savior said that the widow, with her two mites, paid in more than the rich out of their abundance. Some have been inclined to practice this principle on a kind of sliding scale. If they donate an amount to the building of a Tabernacle or a Temple, they must take that out of their tithing. This is not the correct way.

God has given us commandments concerning the law of tithing. He has also given us instructions in regard to our offerings for the poor, as follows:

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my Gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”—(Doc. & Cov., Section 104, par 18.)

He directs all these things. If we learn His way and walk in it, we shall be abundantly blessed, and those who are too poor to walk in the right way of the Lord, will become so poor that they will perish from the land by and by.

What has brought you here from distant lands? It is the potency of those principles you have embraced. What has inspired you to labor and make this part of the wilderness so beautiful? I recollect, when I first came to Provo on the 4th July, 1849, we had a sort of celebration; some of the authorities of the Church were here, and arrangements were then made and directions given for the location of this city. Since then, see what has been accomplished! See this meetinghouse, court house, bank building, your woolen factory—the greatest one of the Territory, and one that would be a credit to any part of the continent—what has done all this? It is the potency of those principles God has revealed to you. It is this that induced you to leave your native lands and come to this country, strangers in a strange land, as Abraham was when he left his home and went down to Canaan. These principles are known by you, my brethren and sisters. They, however, are principles the world do not know anything about, especially this principle of tithing. They have their own way of making contributions, etc., but they do not understand tithing as a law of God. We, who do comprehend these things, must follow out heaven’s requirements, that the favor and strength of the heavens may be with us.

While we have been in this land what else have we been doing? We have been sending away missionaries by scores and hundreds, year by year, to inform and if possible to convince the people of the truth of the Gospel. They will not, however, receive it. It seems as though mankind now, as in the days of Jesus, have ears to hear, but they will not hear; eyes to see, but they will not see; hearts to understand, but they will not understand. When we tell them that certain principles and views we hold are our religious convictions, or our conscientious understanding of the word of the Lord, we are told at once that there is no religion about it, as if others had a better right to know what our religious convictions should be than ourselves.

We have a great and marvelous work laid upon us, and its more marvelous features are still to be developed and made manifest. We yet see but a small part of it. The Lord has shown us all we can bear; all we can, in our present state of development, comprehend and apply.

The Savior said, when He was upon the earth, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Now, if we can find out sufficiently about our Savior, His views and doings, we shall be able to understand generally the principles of the glorious Gospel, which has been revealed and something of its outcome. We learn that our Savior was born of a woman, and He was named Jesus the Christ. His name when He was a spiritual being, during the first half of the existence of the earth, before He was made flesh and blood, was Jehovah. He was in the beginning of the creation, and He had to do and has had to do continually with the creation and govern ment of this heaven and this earth.

But up to the time that He came and dwelt in the flesh and was born of Mary, His Mother, He dwelt in the spirit life. He was the spirit Being that directed, governed, and gave the law on Mount Sinai, where Moses was permitted to see Him in part. He is the Being that appeared unto the brother of Jared, when he brought the stones that were to be put into the barges, and asked the Lord to touch them with His finger that they might receive and emit light. When the Lord drew near and touched the stones with His finger, the brother of Jared’s eyes were opened, and he saw the finger of the Lord. He was afraid and fell down before the Lord. The Lord asked him, “Why hast thou fallen? Arise!” And he said that he was afraid, for he beheld the finger of the Lord, and he did not know that the Lord had flesh and blood. Jehovah then showed him His whole person, saying, “This is the body of my spirit”—He that should come in the meridian of time and take upon Himself a body of flesh and blood. When that time arrived, and he attained the age of thirty years, He began to officiate in the ministry, after He had been baptized by John the Baptist.

Without stopping to detail as much as I would like, I want to call attention to two or three leading features of His work. The Savior commenced to labor in the ministry, and found men here and there of the right spirit, whom He commanded to follow Him. To one of these he said, “Before Philip called thee, I saw thee.” So He continued to find and select choice spirits whom He knew before the foundation of the world. He ordained twelve of them to be His ministers, and then He sent them abroad. But did He send them all over the world? No. He first told them to go only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and they went. They worked with great success, healing the sick, casting out devils, etc. They neither lacked food nor raiment; freely they received, freely they gave. Thus they reported their mission. The Savior not only sent the Twelve Apostles, but other seventy also, missionary men, sending them forth to teach Israel that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. During His mission and long before He was crucified He taught them that He would be crucified, and on the third day he arose from the dead, but they did not seem to understand it.

After His resurrection He said to them, hitherto you have asked nothing of the Father in my name, but now, said He, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name it shall be granted unto you. Now is all power given into my hands both in heaven and on earth. After His resurrection He called His Apostles together and commissioned them, saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” That was another feature of the work wherein He sends the Gospel—now that Israel had proved themselves unworthy of it—to all the world. We see, then, that the great work of the brethren was to carry the Gospel to the whole human family first. But the Savior told them that if He went away, they should do greater works than He had done, because He went to the Father. What did He do? After He was crucified He went and preached to the spirits in prison, even to that great multitude that were destroyed through disobedience before the flood and by the flood. He unlocked the prison doors to those that were bound. While upon the earth the Savior and His brethren of the Twelve labored to impart the Gospel to those that were living. The Savior set the Priesthood in order and offered the Gospel to the people, but they would not receive it. Still this was the great work that had to be performed. The Gospel had to be preached to mortals first, and next to those in the spirit world.

What are our condition and labor now? In this last dispensation the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the year 1820, first received revelations from the heavens, and it was only until 1844 that he was permitted to live. By 1830, the Book of Mormon was brought forth from the mountain Cumorah, was translated and printed, and fourteen years from that time the Prophet Joseph was taken from us.

When he went away he went with the keys of this last dispensation to the prison house of the dead, who had died in times that were past; and he, his brother Hyrum, the brethren of the Twelve Apostles—for there are now nearly a quorum of the Twelve Apostles with them—constitute a great and mighty church in the spirit world, laboring and preaching the Gospel to the spirits of our fathers who are in prison. They are called upon to do the work Brother Smith has been speaking about this afternoon. The prophet Elijah came and delivered his message on the 6th March, 1836, in the Temple in Kirtland, and he has been at work, ever since then, turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children.

Referring to this work the Apostle Paul makes this declaration: “For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

So it is with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He has gone before with the keys of this dispensation, after having lived and conferred them upon the authorities of the Church, even all that was necessary until he shall come again to build up this kingdom preparatory to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He with others are helping to carry out the great work of the redemption of the dead. And this part of the work we are called upon to perform in the temples. To be baptized for them, to be confirmed for them, and to perform all those holy ordinances for your righteous dead, for your worthy ancestry, which you have done or shall do for yourselves, makes you to become saviors upon Mount Zion. The responsibility resting upon the Saints in regard to these matters is very great. I heard the Prophet Joseph say, in a sermon he preached before he was killed, that no greater responsibility rested upon the Saints than the work of attending to ordinances for their dead. This then, ought to be taken into serious consideration. Brethren who cannot go abroad and preach the Gospel, may labor in the temples, and thus bring to pass the purposes of God.

When we contemplate this great work, shall we wince at persecution? Though we are persecuted, though our enemies are hunting and harassing and breaking up our families, shall we be frightened and be any less wise and discreet, or adopt unworthy measures to keep out of prison? Certainly not. Let us be true to the truth. Let us be true to what God has committed to us, in every iota.

In conclusion I would say a word of encouragement to the brethren who are engaged in the ministry. In the early times of the Church in foreign lands the work of the Lord spread rapidly when the Elders labored with unity of purpose and faith, and a great many were added to the Church. Many were brought to this land. Now we have come to a time when but few come into the Church. Some of the doctrines that have been revealed are a stumbling block to the people. It was so in the days of Jesus and His Apostles. He taught the doctrine of the cross and of the resurrection, which was a great stumbling block to them—a rock of offense, as is the doctrine of eternal and plural marriage. Through the opposition that the Elders have to meet, owing to that doctrine, they sometimes feel that their labors are very trifling when they baptize but few. I want to say to the brethren, that you do a great deal of good, be not discouraged, nor of a doubtful heart. You do a vast deal of good you cannot see. Your testimonies to the world are a savor of life unto life or of death unto death—life unto life to those who receive and render obedience to the Gospel; death unto death to those who reject it. The world is filled with lies concerning God’s people and the truths they teach. The influences of the press and pulpit seem concentrated for the publication of lies in reference to the Latter-day Saints. The world seems inclined to believe lies and be damned rather than receive the truth. A painful thought. Still, there is this good you may do: you should be assiduous in your labors to correct the errors and lies that are circulating among the people; you may soften the people’s susceptibilities and prejudices; and perhaps you may be the means of preventing a great many men and women, who might otherwise be guilty of the shedding of innocent blood, from entering into anything of that kind, or consenting to it in their hearts, and though they may not be willing and ready to receive the Gospel in this life, yet, by not imbruing their hands in blood, maybe they will have the privilege and be willing to receive the Gospel in the spirit world. You know not, therefore, the good that you may do in this respect.

I pray God to bless every interest of this Stake of Zion, temporal and spiritual, present and future, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Speaker’s Dependence Upon the Inspiration of the Holy Ghost—Comprehensive and Exalted Nature of the Plan of Salvation—Satan’s Coercive Scheme—The Sons of Perdition—The Testimony of Jesus—Physical and Moral Courage—True Religion is Practical—One Straight and Narrow Way to Eternal Life—True Religion Compared to Genuine Coin—True Faith is Inseparably Connected With Works—Baptism of Water and of Fire—Apostles, Prophets, Etc., Placed in the Church—God’s Impartiality to His Children—Testimony Obtained By Obedience—All Will Be Saved Except the Sons of Perdition—God Has Prepared a Place for All—Paradise—Salvation Beyond the Grave—The Saints Will Have to Endure Persecution—Patriarchal Marriage—Conclusion

Discourse by Apostle Moses Thatcher, delivered in the Tabernacle, Logan, Sunday, Aug. 28, 1885.

In seeking to address the audience this afternoon I feel a degree of weakness and of dependence upon the Holy Spirit, known to the Elders of Israel; and that I may secure the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost to direct me what to say, I desire an interest in your faith and prayers. Nothing to my mind can be greater sacrilege in the sight of the Almighty than to undertake to speak in His name without the inspiration of His spirit. We may talk upon the branches of human learning and knowledge, speaking after the manner of men with but little of this feeling of timidity, but not when we undertake to speak of the principles of life and salvation, of the plan of human redemption as it has always existed—as it existed before the foundations of the world were laid, as it will continue to exist until every child of God except the sons of perdition shall be brought back and exalted in a degree of glory far beyond the comprehension of the finite mind. It has sometimes been said that Mormonism, so called, is narrow, proscriptive and selfish; yet those who comprehend it, even in part, have never made such an assertion.

God so loved the human family that He gave His only Begotten Son to die for the sins of the world, and in all the dealings of God with the human family, the careful student will find that the deepest, the strongest, the chord that gives forth the sweetest music, is that which vibrates under the touch of this infinite, almost incomprehensible, love of the Almighty. The chief corner stone, the foundation of our faith is built upon the doctrine of vicarious salvation, founded in the deepest philosophy of love. The doing by others the things that we are not able to do for ourselves, is a divine principle the practice of which saps the very foundations of human selfishness, and it exalts, glorifies, and so far as understood and practiced, brings those who obey it into a nearness with God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is in no sense narrow. It is broader than eternity, deeper than earth, higher than the heavens. Note the affection of earthly parents. Their child may stumble and fall, his feet may traverse bye and forbidden paths, he may do ten thousand wrong things, but in the midst of all, the love of father and mother reaches out and yearns for the reclamation and redemption of the wayward one. This love, implanted in the human heart, is of divine origin. It is the mainspring that prompts saving efforts. The plan of salvation being permeated with it, strikes unerringly at human selfishness, and bidding us do unto others as we would have others do unto us, cannot possibly be narrow.

Whatever may have been the efforts of Satan and the hosts that follow, whatever they may do in the future to destroy, a merciful and loving heavenly Father’s plan is broad enough to save and will save, in some degree of glory, every human being that has or ever will breathe the breath of mortal life except the sons of perdition who, sinning against light, put Jesus to an open shame by denying the efficacy of His atoning blood after knowing of its power. Thank God these will be few in number. Whatever may be the views of uninspired sectarians as to the utter condemnation of the heathen, and of the unsprinkled infant who dies before the dawning of reason upon its intellect, none but those mentioned will be consigned to eternal condemnation and to the misery and torments of what is called hell. Men will be judged by the deeds done in the body. If, therefore, a man, in full possession of intellectual faculties sins against light as the son of the morning, Satan, sinned against light, no power on earth or in heaven can save him. For he has deliberately, while freely exercising his own agency, elected to be damned. To such the sealing powers, the keys of which were restored to the Prophet Joseph by Elijah, are of no more avail than were they when Satan, followed by a third part of the hosts of heaven, sought to enforce against the decree of God and His Son Jesus, his coercive scheme of human redemption, which scheme in its very nature was calculated utterly to destroy the agency of man, thus denying him the means of growth and final intelligent exaltation. Satan knew of the existence of God and of His Christ, His firstborn, and he knew of their power, honor, glory and dominion. But being envious and full of ambitious pride was anxious to supplant all for his own advancement. He fell, and was cast down as those will be who follow him and do the works of their master, sinning against knowledge and the light of heaven.

The coercive, agency destroying plan of Satan, having been rejected by the councils of heaven, a better, more noble plan, one founded in unselfish love that distills the mercies of God in the human heart, as the dews of heaven moisten and gladden the parched earth, was adopted. This plan, while holding the keys of the Godhead in the authority of His priesthood, is yet simple and easily understood—so plain is it that a wayfaring man need not err. There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it understanding; the sinful who listen and obey are led to repentance, and, through the doors of baptism of the water and spirit are brought out of wickedness to the enlightenment of pure knowledge, until in obedience to heavenly law they secure the keys of power authorizing them to pass by the angels, inherit glory, become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ; and, having abiding in them eternal lives shall beget, throughout the endless ages of eternity, the souls of the children of men to the honor and glory of God, and create and have dominion over worlds.

Such is the high destiny of obedient man. But Satan was an accuser of his brethren from the beginning, hence the rejoicing of angels when he and his kind were cast down to earth bodiless, estateless and powerless, except for evil. Wandering spirits in the realms of darkness, seeking everywhere and under all circumstances to enter, defile and destroy the souls and bodies of men. Where God is he can never abide, nor can those having received the testimony of Jesus who deny it. Such can never, if they reject the truth, sin against the light and put Jesus again to an open shame, abide the presence of God. When through the atoning blood of Christ their spirits and bodies are brought together in the resurrection of the wicked and are judged according to the deeds done in the body, the second death will pass upon them. The first death resulted in a temporary separation of body and spirit, but the second will result in eternal separation. As the rebellious in heaven lost their first, so these will lose their second estate and become like the first.

How many people in this world today are capable of becoming the sons of perdition? And those are the only ones of the human family who will not be saved in some degree of glory. Are there two hundred thousand mature, intelligent human beings throughout the Christian world today who have knowledge enough to enable them to become the sons of perdition? How many in the Christian world have that testimony of Jesus which the Apostle declared was the spirit of prophecy? Such a testimony is stronger than can be the testimony of the existence of any earthly thing as evidenced by the five senses. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is the testimony of Jesus above earthly information for it penetrates every fiber of the human organism. A slight degree of inspiration, without such a testimony enabled the Waldenses about whom Brother Leishman has been speaking, to endure, while singing songs of joy and rejoicing, the horrors of fagot, wheel and rack. A comprehension of the testimony that rewards, in time and eternity, enabled the Apostle Peter to meet undismayed the death of crucifixion. It caused the disciples of Jesus to take gladly the spoiling of their goods and bear patiently the contumely heaped upon them. How few can comprehend it! Physical courage is common enough even in this degenerate age. Exhibitions of brute force can be witnessed on every hand. The crawling worm as it drags its slimy term, will turn and fight for existence, and the lowest of God’s creatures struggle for life. A sensitive, refined human being, made in the image of God, may face physical danger in every form, meeting without fear the wild savage, while the dark messengers of death whistle by his heedless ears. Without a tremor, he may listen to the whir of grape and canister, and the shriek of shell, as they scatter desolation and ruin all around; but a sneer of contempt from the lips of the scornful, or envious hate expressed in fierce sarcasm, may dull the very marrow of his bones, causing him to quake like an aspen leaf. Thus the physically brave may quail, falter and fall under the attack of the scornful egotist, whose sneer to many is like the poison of asps. But he who has the testimony of Jesus springing up in his heart like a well of living water hath that higher courage which tends upwards, step by step, to a comprehension of the inspiration that enabled the Savior while suffering the agonies of death to utter the heaven-born sentiment of divine love expressed in the words, “O, God forgive them for they know not what they do.”

No man without the Holy Ghost can testify that Jesus is the Christ; neither could any men under similar circumstances utter from the heart such sentiments of forgiveness without the direct inspiration of the Almighty. Christians may assimilate, preach about, and praise a love that passeth the comprehension of the finite mind, but no mortal can love his enemies and pray for the forgiveness of those who despitefully use and would kill him, without the testimony of Jesus, and the knowledge accompanying it.

God will forgive whom He will forgive, but for us it is required that we forgive all men. Whether they ask forgiveness or not? Yes, whether they ask it or not! This doctrine is founded in the deepest philosophy and leads up to final victory for all who through obedience to the commandments, have gained for the spirit ascendancy over the passions of the body and are thus enabled to love even their enemies. Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites love each other. The distinguishing characteristic of a Saint is that he can do more. And his ability to do more comes of the knowledge that the love of God abides not in the heart that harbors hatred of a single human being. He who preaches and practices the doctrine of hate knows not God. As we judge of the quality of a tree by the fruit it bears, so also may we judge of the quality of a religion by the fruit it bears and not by the professions of its adherents.

I say to the Latter-day Saints, if the religion you have received fails to prevent you from bearing false witness, it is either untrue and not the religion of Christ, or it is not grounded in your hearts. True religion is bound to be practical religion, teaching the merchant to give sixteen ounces to the pound, thirty-six inches to the yard, and in every way to be honest and truthful. It will teach the laborer to do honest work and the employer to give honest and fair wages for the work. It will unveil hypocrisy and place a premium on the execution of equity and justice; it will supplant malice with charity, hatred with love, distrust with confidence. It will silence the voice of envy and remove the foot of oppression from the neck of the poor. Its church steeples will cast no shadows over the homeless, starving, shivering child of God, left miserably to perish under the very droppings of the sanctuary. True religion will do these and ten thousand kindred deeds of charity, whenever and wherever practiced. The fearful wrongs everywhere seen in the Christian world were not foreordained, nor are they any part of heaven’s economy, but are the fruits of the acts of sinful man, the results of God’s laws broken and trodden under feet of men whose wicked injustice blotch and mar the harmony and peace of the universe.

True religion refreshes the heart as gentle rains the parched and thirsting soil. The law and prophets hang upon perfection—the doing unto others as we would that others should do to us, under the practice of which the grinding monopolies, cruel wrongs and awful sacrifices known throughout the Christian world would melt away as snow before the rays of the sun. Millions may profess to follow the meek and lowly Jesus, but if the misery and sorrow of Christians is the fruit they produce, their religion is lifeless, untrue, or has failed to act upon their hearts. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. Simple, unmistakable, yet how few, how few indeed, seem to understand that unchangeable declaration of Christ.

Ministers claiming to speak in His name daily contradict and seek to nullify its force. Some years since I remember to have read a sermon preached by the Brooklyn divine, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, in which his mighty intellect—he is conceded to be one of the foremost thinkers of the age—seemed to grasp material with which to bridge the gulf separating the various Christian denominations, by comparing the kingdom of heaven to the City of Philadelphia, leading into which were many railways, over each of which many trains, with many cars containing many people, passed daily. All starting from different points, traversing different roads, but all going to Philadelphia—that is, heaven. How generous, how charitable, how humane! But however pleasing the doctrine it lacks one important ingredient, it is not true. Beecher says there are many ways. Christ said, straight is the gate, not gates, and narrow is the way, not ways, etc. As they separate, and disagree, let us leave Beecher and follow Christ. One is an authority, the other is not. Jesus, the Mediator of the Covenant, the Captain of our salvation, through whose atoning blood our sins are washed away, and by whose merits and our faithfulness we shall be brought again into the presence of God the Father, has declared that a man cannot enter the Kingdom of God except he be born of the water and of the Spirit; and yet think of the audacity, the blasphemy of those claiming to act in His name and for Him, while denying His statements and rendering His laws, in the estimation of those whom they teach, nugatory. And yet these same people are quick to brand as nullifiers all who seek to test in a peaceful way the special, proscriptive laws of man. These things indicate that which is genuine and detect that which is spurious. Let us obey the laws of God, the laws of no Christian nation should conflict therewith.

As the value of a coin is largely determined by its purchasing power, so the value of a religion may be partly determined by its cost and largely by the blessings it will bring. Becoming familiar with the coin issues of our country the careful, prudent man is able in many ways to detect counterfeits. Note for instance the authorized issue of gold twenties. Above the eagle, the nation’s emblematic coat of arms, and surrounded by stars and rays of light are the words, “In God we trust;” around the face margin “United States of America” and “Twenty Dollars.” On right and left scroll connecting at top of shield we find the words, “E pluribus Unum;” in its left talon the eagle grasps a bundle of three arrows. On the reverse side we find the impress of the head of the “Goddess of Liberty” surrounded by thirteen stars representing the thirteen original States. Across the diadem on her head, is the word “Liberty,” (on certain silver coins of more modern issue “Liberty” is printed on the shield upon which the Goddess sits). These, with date of issue and a small letter indicating the mint that coined the issue are the distinctive features of the coin alluded to. Now supposing any person, high or low, ignorant or wise, should offer you a coin in exchange for twenty dollars value lacking any of these distinctive features, would not your suspicions be aroused? If so, what would you think of a person offering you a coin as genuine bearing none of the distinctive features named except the words, “In God we trust?” And what would you think of anyone who would receive it, as an authorized coin? Do you think our Government would acknowledge such as genuine? What would be the penalty for issuing and attempting to circulate such an authorized and genuine coin? Let the thoughtful reflect upon these questions.

Now examine the genuine plan of human redemption impressed by the die of inspiration, issued by the Almighty and endorsed by His Son; Faith, a principle of power; Repentance, turning away from sin; Baptism, being buried in the water; and the Gift of the Holy Ghost conferred under the hands of those having the authority of the Holy Priesthood to officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel, are distinctive features of that plan, obedience to which shows its value in signs following, casting out devils, healing the sick, speaking in tongues, testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy, the sealing powers, keys and tokens of endless lives, thrones, dominions, all heights, all depths, heir with God, joint heir with Christ.

Think now of an offer as genuine of a plan having none of these ex cept, “Believe in Christ and you shall be saved.” Accept it, try it, and see if it will purchase those gifts and blessings mentioned, or any of them. Failing in this it would not be genuine though the form, in every particular, corresponded with the authoritative plan. Hence none need be deceived.

Brother Leishman indicated by his remarks that salvation predicated alone on belief was nowhere taught in the Scriptures. This needs qualification for it is written:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This being in the same chapter and in connection with the same subject, it is clearly seen that the belief spoken of contemplated works. Now what is faith or belief? It is a principle of power by the exercise of which worlds were made. Christ Himself declared that he that said he believed in Him and kept not His commandments had not the truth in him. True faith, then, merges into, and is inseparably connected with works. The Apostle James testifies that faith without works is dead. In the sense that true faith leads to true works, we understand the sayings above quoted. And that, I presume, is what Brother Leishman meant. Now I believed that I would come to this Tabernacle today. In this respect I had a living faith and it prompted to the work necessary to bring me here, hence I am in your presence. Had my faith been dead, how long do you suppose I would have remained absent?

If you believe in Jesus you will keep His commandments, and the assertions of man or any number of men can never change this divine decree. Again He said: “Verily, verily I say unto you (speaking to Nicodemus) except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” How forcibly can thousands realize this truth among this people. How true, how potent, and yet how little comprehended is that saying Christ further declared to Nicodemus that, except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit he could not enter the kingdom of heaven.

It would seem that not only man, but other creations of God respond to this law. The earth upon which we dwell had its birth out of the waters. And, when the debasing, corrupting sins of man defiled the face thereof, they were remitted—swept away by immersion. The windows of heaven being opened and the fountains of the deep broken up, the earth was literally baptized in water, as hereafter, abiding the law of its creation it will be literally baptized in fire and the Holy Ghost. Thus, though men may lightly consider the foundation upon which rests the plan of human redemption, heaven and earth testify of it.

God dwells in eternal fire, and no human being who has not been baptized in water and Spirit can abide that which will come, when the earth is immersed in flames, mountains melt with fervent heat and run down like wax. To prepare humanity for the great day of the Lord Almighty, He placed in his Church Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers; that they might do the work of the ministry and bring us to a oneness of faith in Christ Jesus. Any church with less than these should show the command authorizing the change. If the Savior has made such change, or any change, it is important for us to know it. But if He has made no change, He will surely hold us responsible for accepting any that men have made. Can a church not even bearing the name of the Redeemer, and having neither Apostles nor Prophets, bear the fruits enjoyed by the disciples of our Lord in the days of and subsequent to His ministry? Do any of them ever claim to have such fruits? Who among them have the endowments of the Comforter, whose mission it was and is to bring the teachings of Jesus to the memory, show things to come and lead into all truth? God neither changes nor is he a respecter of persons; the causes, therefore, which lie ordained to produce certain results in one age will produce them in another. What would we think of an earthly father who, having bestowed every care in the education, advancement and exaltation of his firstborn; giving instruction, encouragement, sympathy and love, but to children born later only the history of his doings with their older brother? Quick to hear and answer the prayers of the first, deaf to the supplications of others. A living testimony to one, doubt and despair to the rest. The fruits of knowledge to one, dead forms to the others. Could such a father be considered impartial, generous or just? No. And yet men would have us believe that God deals with His children in just this way. I bear my testimony that it is not true. The Apostle James declared that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” Men tell us that He has ceased to communicate with His children. Thus Joseph, the unlettered boy, was confused, perplexed and made most miserable. The Methodist, with good intentions no doubt, said to him, “Lo, here is Christ.” The Presbyterian, with equal sincerity, bade him follow them, while the Baptist called on him to seek Jesus, in their way. In the midst of all this confusion and conflict, obeying the injunction of James, he sought wisdom direct from God, and got it; receiving in time authority to organize the Church of Jesus Christ, perfect in all its parts, as it existed anciently. By the knowledge of the things of God revealed to him, and by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood received from John the Baptist, and of the Melchizedek Priesthood received from Peter, James and John, and not by the learning of man, he did this great work which is genuine—the Gospel of Christ with all its gifts and blessings. And, as Jesus testified, so we testify, if any will do the works of the Father he shall know whether the doctrine be of man or of God.

In the things of this world men are on the testimony of their fellow men, adjudged innocent or guilty; and if the inducements of wealth are offered as a reward for testing the statements of men few refuse, but when eternal life through a knowledge of the plan of human redemption is promised on simple conditions, how few are willing to test it. Thus are the words of the Savior verified, “many are called but few are chosen.”

When less than fifteen years of age an humble, unlearned (in the knowledge of the world) Elder promised me in the name of the Lord that if I would obey the first principles of the Gospel as taught and administered in the days of Jesus, I should know whether the doctrine was of God. I obeyed and proved his words true. I received a testimony and the spirit of prophecy. Not from Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or John Taylor, but from God. Unhappy is the condition of the Saint who has not received it, for in the midst of scorn, hatred, ostracism and persecutions of the world, it is the lamp that shines along the narrow way that leads to the presence of the Creator. It is the well of living water springing up unto eternal life, the inspiration that testifies of a love stronger than death; willing to endure all things while pleading with humanity to receive the message of a merciful, long-suffering and loving Father. For this reason the Elders of Israel gladly take the spoiling of their goods, and, as it were, their lives in their hands and go to the ends of the earth delivering their message while patiently enduring the whips and scorns, derision and insults of those whom to save they would perish. With such love as this in their hearts, how many have wandered without sympathy, friendless and alone save the companionship of the Holy Ghost, in the streets of London, Liverpool, Paris, New York, and other large cities and densely populated regions of the world! And how truly have they verified the words: “If they hated the Master so also will they hate you.”

Read the fierce resolutions and burning expressions of hate issuing from religious and other societies and organizations. Do they inspire you with feelings of bitterness in return, or with profound feelings of sorrow? Can you mourn for those who do these things ignorantly? Can you think of Paul as he persecuted the early Saints in the belief that he was doing God’s service, and pray for these too? Thousands who have been deceived by those who love and make lies, honestly believe that it would be God’s ser vice to drive the “Mormons” from the land.

Let us remember that all these, and those also who judge us wrongfully, harshly, cruelly and with malice aforethought, having knowledge of their injustice, were true to God in heaven when Satan and a third of the hosts there fought against Christ and Michael. They kept their first estate, and whatever in their blind wickedness they may be led by the power of darkness to do here, let us pray for them, and, as far as possible returning good for evil, treat them with kindness, for they are the children of our God. Deceived now and inspired by the Prince of Darkness, but they will be saved hereafter if they sin not against the Holy Ghost in shedding innocent blood. Ignorant, low and wicked, they may be drunken, blasphemous, bearers of false witness whose testimony may lead to the imprisonment of the innocent; defilers of men and women and the workers of all manner of iniquity; if they shed not innocent blood God will save them, though in the fitness of things, many will be outside the walls of the beautiful city among that class in whose society alone they are prepared to go.

When persecuted, driven, and many killed, the Saints implored the President of this great nation for redress: He answered: “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.” Another President ordered, on misrepresentations, an army to Utah. How will the Almighty deal with these? They will be judged as you and I will be judged, according to the deeds done in the body. According to the light they had, will they be held responsible.

To an extent our history as a people is but a repetition of the history of the early Christians. Paulines, Waldenses and Huguenots knew the cost of being true to their convictions. We speak of them now as reformers, brave, valiant, Godfearing men and women. They were not so regarded by those who delighted in killing them.

God has prepared a place for all. Outside the gates will be sorcerers, adulterers, the lover and maker of lies, and those that lay in the gate making men offenders for a word will be there among dogs, but the means of increased knowledge and a power will be within their reach. Thousands of honest men are anxiously watching the issues of our day, and while they have not moral courage to express interest in our sympathy for the Saints in their hearts, they feel both. The Lord will reward such according to their merit, for He is just. But those alone who have obeyed or will hereafter obey the Gospel in its fullness, can pass into the presence of God, and dwell forever in the celestial kingdom.

The doctrine of salvation by faith so extensively taught and believed is founded on a misunderstanding of the sayings of the Savior to the thief who requested Christ to remember him when He came into His kingdom and was answered, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

The expression of the thief brought no promise that he should be saved. Where and what is paradise are important questions. It is not heaven, nor is it where God dwells, for on the third day after the crucifixion, Christ declared to Mary that He had not yet ascended to His God and her God. Where then did He go on that day in which He promised to meet the thief in paradise? The Apostle Peter says that being put to death in the flesh He was quickened in the spirit by which He went and preached to the spirits in prison that were disobedient in the days of Noah. Thus it would seem that paradise is a place where the spirits of the disobedient are imprisoned, and as Christ preached His Gospel to them, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the thief also heard there, the conditions upon which he could be saved, for, says Peter 4:6, “for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. Now in connection with this clear and comprehensive doctrine, which plainly shows that there is salvation beyond the grave, how easily understood is the saying of Paul on the same subject—“If the dead rise not at all, then why are they baptized for the dead.” Thus verifying and testifying to the unmistakable declaration of the Master that no man, whether alive or dead, can enter the kingdom of God without the baptism of water and of the spirit. Baptism of the living for and in behalf of the dead is founded in the doctrine of vicarious salvation—the doing for us that which we cannot, under certain conditions, do for ourselves. So also is the blood of the Lamb, without effort of ours, the vicarious means by which our bodies and spirits shall be reunited after death.

The opinions of men as to where and what paradise is, are of but little value. It is at least the abode of spirits, good and bad. A place of peace and rest for the good, of imprisonment and punishment for the bad. Referring to the Territory we might say we are in Utah, yet those who are here in Logan are not in Salt Lake City, nor are any of you in prison though you are in Utah.

If every human being who has, or ever will live is to be judged by the law of redemption as Christians believe, and there be no repentance beyond the grave, how then shall infants and heathens who never heard of Christ or his law be redeemed? To say nothing about the dead what is to become of the four hundred millions of Chinese now inhabiting the empire of China, who do not, and in all probability will not in this life, know anything about the Gospel? What about the two hundred and eighty million followers of Muhammad, who, like the Chinese, have never heard of water and spirit baptism! Then think of the billions who have died equally or more ignorant of these vital questions, and tell me that God intends to mix them up with infants a span long, who died without being sprinkled by some poor, narrow-minded priest without authority from heaven, and I will tell you that I don’t worship that kind of a God. Christians may do so, and speak of him as bodiless and passionless; he certainly would have no passion either of justice or affection. The God we worship is full of compassion, justice and love. Hence the broad scope of His plan of human redemption, reaching the living and the dead, in time and in eternity. I can comprehend how a demon might want to consign to eternal punishment without a hearing, without law, His creatures, but how men can pretend to worship a God possessed of such attributes is a mystery.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—He who created the heaven and earth and is the father of all spirits, will not thus condemn. He will judge men by the light they have had and by the deeds done in their bodies; and His judgments will be full of mercy for those who have ignorantly erred. As for innocent children Christ has fixed their status: they are of the kingdom of Heaven. Wicked and foolish men may teach to the contrary, but they cannot effect the result. Mortals entrusted with a little brief authority, as they suppose, may exercise unrighteous dominion over the bodies and souls of men, imprisoning many, killing some. Many a saint may hereafter be commanded to worship the golden image or perish in the fiery furnace, deny his faith or be cast down into the lion’s den. You have among you Latter-day Saints some who would, if necessary, give their lives for you and the cause which they have espoused. They are willing to die for the testimony of Jesus. It would seem from prophecy that such an event is foreshadowed. For when the souls of those whom the Revelator John saw under the altar of God, and who had been slain for the testimony which they held, cried: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” they were answered, “until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

If violent death comes to some—and it will—can they meet it as others have, rejoicing in the truth. Can those in whose hands the scales of judgment balance unevenly, change the color of your hair, add one cubit to your height, slow or quicken your pulse? Can they remove pain, rebuke death and increase your years? No. What can you do for them? You can’t change the decrees of God who has written on the archives of heaven that with what judgment we judge others so shall we be judged, and that we shall, receive the measure that we have measured to others, but we may pray Him to defer the day when this shall be, in hopes that men may repent and make restitution here. How little did those who caused the enactment of the special decree that entrapped the Prophet Daniel, think of the consequences! How little did they think of the fasting, sleepless king whom they had deceived and made the instrument of betrayal. How gladly did that king, who dreaded the weight of innocent blood, hear the voice of the Prophet testifying of the temporal salvation which God had wrought in subduing and rendering harmless the lions. How sorrowful, how pitiable on the other hand, the condition of Daniel’s accusers when the decree, the passage of which they had caused, was turned on them. They, their wives and children being cast into the den, the touch of God removed from the fierce beasts, the bones of the hapless victims of their own works, were crushed and broken even before their bodies reached the bottom of the den. So shall it be with all such. God hath decreed it, man cannot change it.

Well, says one, “these doctrines are scriptural and all right, but the Mormon church is nothing but a Polygamic Theocracy, alien to the Government that permits its existence.” Under certain conditions, and regulated by revelation, we believe it is true, in plural marriage, and so far as the word theocracy conveys the idea of the government of God in the affairs of men, we are willing to be called theocratic, and we confess that we prefer the motto, “Vox Dei vox Populi” to “Vox Populi vox Dei,” for we think that the voice of God should be the voice of the people, but we very well know that the voice of the people is very often far from being the voice of God.

As to patriarchal marriage its results are said to be bad and that there are, in consequence, many breaking hearts in Utah. In reply to these assertions I have to say, in reference to results it is not true, for its fruits are good. The mental and physical condition of the issue of such marriages bear this out unmistakably. “If, however, the cry of a single “Mormon” wife in Utah or elsewhere, whether in the monogamic or polygamic relation, falls upon deaf ears and unresponsive hearts, God will hold the responsible parties answerable. Should the day ever come when the cries of the daughters of Zion pass their husbands unheeded and reach the ears of the God of Abraham, it will be a sorrowful day for the elders of Israel. And further let me say, I know of no Mormon husband whose wife’s body or soul is subject to him except in love, as he, in like manner, is bound to be subject to Christ and His laws. Nowhere in the world are women freer than in Utah. As God hates putting away, husbands among this people can put their wives away only for causes mentioned in the holy writ; but wives, on the other hand may claim freedom and support on other and more numerous grounds. Here, man regards his wife as a helpmeet, companion and part of himself, with whose assistance alone he can pass by the angels and inherit eternal, celestial glory. She is not to rule over him nor be trampled upon, or abused by him, but, having been taken out of his side her place is near his heart, to be loved, cherished, protected. Husbands, be ye therefore kind to your wives. When they ask for bread give not a stone, for love give not hate, for as God lives, if you are harsh and cruel to them so shall you, in return, receive harsh and cruel treatment until the utmost farthing be paid.

We were not sent here to manifest the fruits of the flesh but those of the spirit; and if the hearts of any of the wives of the elders of Israel are breaking, by reason of their husbands’ conduct, may God have mercy on such husbands, for knowing better, they sin against light in transgressing their covenants. The allegiance of a wife in this Church is not due to an unfaithful, deceiving or cruel husband. And he who regards his wife as the creature of his sinful pleasure, made and given to gratify his fallen nature is unworthy of a wife or to be the father of children. Were I to seek to find happiness in the marriage relation, I should expect to find it most abundant, perfect and pure in Utah, notwithstanding all that is said to the contrary. And this conclusion is reached after years of observation here and abroad. Nowhere exists so great confidence between husbands and wives as in Utah. Nowhere is sexual impurity regarded with greater disgust, or chastity esteemed more highly. Philosophers, preachers and moralists may insist on the enforcement of Roman instituted monogamy, but its practice throughout the Christian world is fraught with all manner of deceivableness, of iniquity and sexual abomina tions. Better practice what we preach and preach what we practice, leaving no room for distrust; for, as between man and wife, where confidence dies, there you may dig the grave of love. Destroy one and the other cannot exist.

In conclusion, let us be considerate of others, kind and courteous to all. By your fruits shall ye be known. A number belonging to different Christian organizations have, I understand, been and are holding conference meetings in Logan. Every facility for their peaceful enjoyment while here, should be extended, and those having an inclination to hear should hear them, conforming, in a respectful manner to the rules that govern their gatherings. Whatever truth they have is of God, and belongs to the Gospel, which is a perfect law of liberty.

Note carefully the predictions of the Prophets, watch the signs of the times, remembering that the end will not come until the Gospel is preached as a witness to every nation and people. Without apprehensions as to the final result, let us not forget that while God will forgive whom He will forgive of us, He has required that we shall forgive all men. In the knowledge of the use of this key, there is happiness here, and exaltation hereafter. May a full comprehension of its meaning be granted to every honest heart, is my prayer. Amen.

Devotion to God—How It is Made Manifest—Divers Opinions—Liberty to Worship God—Jesus Christ the Savior of the World—His Apostles Were Unlearned Men—They Were Rejected By the Masses—Writings of the Prophets—Persecution for Righteousness’ Sake—Selfishness—Love of Darkness Rather Than Light—Compromise of Principle—Infamy of Sacrificing Truth to Gain Place—God Must Be Obeyed Rather Than Man

Discourse by George G. Bywater, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 2, 1885.

Brethren and sisters and friends: We have met this afternoon to commemorate the death and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ in His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross as an atonement for the sins of the world. We have met here to worship God. The spectacle of a worshiping congregation is not new either in Utah or throughout Christendom at large. A country or a people who are devoid of the sensibilities of the obligations which they owe to the Supreme Ruler of the universe, to the creator of the world and all things that in it are, would be considered pagan, would be considered an uncivilized people. In speaking of civilization Emerson once said that a nation without a well-defined language, without clothing, without a system of marriage we call heathen, we call barbarous, and he might have added with propriety and like truthfulness, that a people who assemble not to pay their devotion to the Great God, the architect of the universe, and the common Fa ther of the human race, are an uncivilized people. While we admit this to be true there are other facts associated with and belonging to this subject of the worship of the Deity, that present themselves very forcibly to our view, and I may enumerate a few of them.

As I have already said, the assembling together of a people in a congregational capacity to pay their adorations to God their Heavenly Father is not a strange or an exceptional spectacle, but is common throughout the world. Nevertheless there is great diversity of opinion regarding divine worship; there are varied methods of paying those adorations to the Supreme Being. The worship that they offer to Deity is presented in ritualistic forms and described methods, in systematic modes; in the form of homilies, in the exercise of prayer, of singing of psalms, of the administration of sacraments, that differ very widely the one from the other. But who on account of this diversity of opinion, who on account of this presented variety of modes of bowing before, or of lifting up unto the Supreme Being our hands in adoration and praise, or in the discharge of our devotional obligations would say, that, but one, two, three, or any restricted number should be guaranteed the liberty, the freedom, the religious toleration, the political and moral right of bowing the knee before God, and of lifting up their voices in praise and prayer to Him who made the sun, the moon and the stars, and who created all things that live and move and have a being? Show me a people, cite to me a nation or a family of nations that have come to the conclusion, that have made a predetermined decree that none shall worship the God of Daniel, or none shall worship the Dianah of the Ephesians, or none shall worship the golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar—you show me a people, a community, or a nation, or family of nations, that are fettered and bound by this proscriptive spirit and the dogmatic institutions and traditions of their times, and I will show you a people that are fettered with chains forged in the fires of bigotry and superstition and that will prove to them a barrier to national and universal progress.

The subject that we have had presented before us by my respected brother who preceded me is a very interesting one, interesting from more sides than one, interesting from every side, interesting from center to circumference, in part and in entirety. It is the subject of the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of a people’s own conscience, unrestricted and unrestrained by arbitrary or compulsory measures. He has referred to historical instances related in sacred history to circumstances under which and by the development of which the spirit of persecution, the spirit of intolerance, the spirit of tyranny and oppression has manifested itself. It is a well known and universally recognized fact throughout all Christendom today, that, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world; that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the redeemer of the human race, is the captain of our salvation, and that there is no other name given under heaven whereby man can be saved but the name of Jesus. This will be readily and clamorously conceded, persistently avowed, and zealously declared, by every church that lays any claim to the name of Christian throughout the whole world; that he was the founder and finisher of that faith which can alone save the family of man; that through His life, death and resurrection, in connection with the principles of immortality and eternal life which He brought forth to the knowledge of the world, in His own person, fulfilling very many of the prophecies relative to the dispensation of the fullness of times—that through Him, and through Him alone, should salvation come unto Israel, and a fallen world be redeemed. The Apostles he was pleased to select from among the unlettered, the uncultivated and the undistinguished among His fellow men, were called to be ministers of his word, to be ambassadors of the message of salvation, to be His heralds of peace—peace on earth and good will to all men. It is true He selected them from among the humble fishermen that were following their occupation of fishing on the sea of Galilee. It is true He did not select them from the learned doctors of the law. It is also true that they were men that had not attained to any high repute, or had been elevated to any dignified or scholastic position in the land, either ecclesiastical or political. They were graded as the offscourings and dregs of the human race. They were, so to speak, the dregs of human society. Yet today, in this age of boasted Christian enlightenment, in this age of boasted Christian freedom—pardon me for the remark—they claim that these men were the servants of the Lord, men that bore in their possession the principles of life and salvation unto all the world, and these men were in their day bold to make affirmations such as fell very unwelcomely, very unacceptably upon the ears of the elite, of the educated, of the refined, of the professional classes of Jewish and of Roman society, and also upon those who were cultivated in Greek literature, and constituted the most refined element of human society. Yet they were bold to declare, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” What do our Christian friends say? What do our pulpit declaimers announce to their congregations when they select such positive declarations, such strong doctrinal enunciations as the one I have quoted and many more like unto them—what do they say? Oh, they tell their Christian friends that they lament the darkness, the moral blindness, the intellectual and doctrinal opaqueness of that age; that had they lived in the days when Jesus sojourned among men, when He went about speaking words of kindness, uttering sentences of love and mercy, expressing His good will to the whole human family, and seeking to promulgate the principles of peace in a distracted age; say they, “Oh that we had lived in the days of Jesus; oh that we had had the privilege of bowing down at His feet like Mary and Martha; oh that we had had the opportunity of surrounding Him when the precious words of life fell from His hallowed lips—the lips of Him who spake as never man spake; oh that we had had this privilege.” And the tears of penitence for the sins of the dead who had gone centuries before them trickle down their face and stain the pages of the sacred scriptures from which they select their texts when they refer to the blindness and hardness of heart of the people who treated with ignominy and contempt the world’s greatest reformer, the world’s universal redeemer, the Son of God Himself. What do they say of them? “Oh,” say they, “how strange it is, how remarkable it is that those people with the writings of the blessed Prophets—with the writings of Hosea, of Jeremiah, of Amos, of Joel, of Habakkuk, of Zechariah, of Malachi, and of all the prophets in their possession, wherein are found so many prophecies relating to the coming of the Messiah, relating to the ushering in of a new dispensation, relating to the inauguration of a reign of peace such as the world had never seen, such as God had not promised unto the children of men, until the period of the world’s history when Shiloh should come—how remarkable with all this that they did not receive the Son of God. “If we had lived in these days,” say they, “we believe that we would have been able to see the hand of God; we would have marked His divine footprints among the people; we would have recognized by our ears the voice of the Good Shepherd; we would have listened with hearts subdued with humility, with minds illuminated by inspiration, to the marvelous and inimitable truths uttered by the Savior of the world. Oh, how wicked it was for those people to be so hardhearted; how wicked it was not only for the common people but for the rulers of the Jews, for the members of the Senate, for the doctors of the law, for the lights of the generation, the leading men of the period in which they lived that they should be guilty of such inhuman, such unnatural, such unjust conduct as to persecute men against whom no charge in truth and in verity could be found except it was that they were pleased to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to announce unto the world of mankind that a dispensation of divine providence had been ushered in, wherein a change should take place over the minds of the people; wherein a new order of things should be developed, and wherein the Mosaic law with all its sacerdotal rites and ceremonies were to be consummated and brought to a termination in the fulfillment of the prophecies, and in the introduction of a higher and a purer law.” These are their feelings; the ministers preach to the people after this fashion, and read to them such passages as these:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

This language, my beloved friends, is of a very forcible character. Probably a few reflections upon the sentiments incorporated in these declarations of uninspired men may not be altogether uninstructive or unprofitable unto us at this time.

We learn from these declarations that Jesus Christ and his followers had their names cast out as evil. If these historians record veritable facts—and we have no right to question the historical verity of these statements, because they are established and verified by secular history: if then, they are true it becomes every thinking student of history, every earnest and avowed student of natural theology or sectarian lore, to understand what it was that constituted the essence of the disagreement, what constituted the gist, the kernel, if you please, the special reason why the existing spirit, faith and teachings of the Jewish people, and of the Roman people, in the commencement of the Christian era, were so opposed to the doctrines of Jesus Christ and His apostles. I have already referred to the general recognition by the Christian world of the doctrines of Christ and His apostles as being the foundation of the hope of all enlightened nations for salvation before God; for salvation in eternity, for the redemption of the human race. What, then, was it that was the cause of the opposition which was so pronounced, so persistent and so prolonged against Jesus Christ and His followers. This opposition was not confined to a narrow region. It was an opposition that was not limited within any special circle; for we read of one inquirer who appears to be a man of very general information addressing himself, in the term of an inquiry in his own behalf, and in behalf of those whom he represented, to the Apostles, saying:

“We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

It was not a matter of conjecture with him. It was a matter of conjecture with him as to what the Apostle Paul thought: for Paul was a man of letters, a man of a very extended range of experience and observation; so much so that one of the learned rabbis of his time told him that much learning had made him mad. But he was inquiring respecting his (Paul’s) information concerning the Church of Christ, a body of religious worshipers with whom he was identified, and in the midst of whom he was an authorized Apostle.

“We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest; for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

“We know!” “What do you know, sir?” “We know that it is spoken against.” “Where is it spoken against, sir?” “It is everywhere spoken against.” Hence we see the universality, the general character of the opposition that was raised against the doctrines of the humble and despised Nazarene. Why was it, my friends, that they were opposed to Him? Why was it that His cause was so much misrepresented; that he was charged with keeping company with publicans and sinners, and considered worthy of death? Simply because he introduced an organized system of principles, of ordinances and divine institutions that were antagonistic, not in their essential nature to the welfare of mankind, but antagonistic to the existing dogmas, theologies and schools of philosophy that were then in existence. They were, moreover, systems of theology, and schools of philosophy and organized methods of procedure—in matters theological as well as matters doctrinal and political—that were becoming exhausted. They had reached the period of their decrepitude. They had attained unto the period of old age. They had manifested within them the elements of social, moral and organic decay. Their deteriorating effects were becoming painfully apparent. They were becoming ill-adapted to the newly developing condition of things; inapplicable to the unfolding environments of those times; and God, who sits enthroned in the realms of purity and of truth, had given these systems for the sake of His people. Whatever there was of a regenerating progressive nature in these systems, God sustained. He sustained them until the day star had dawned for a brighter and more glorious epoch in the world’s history, when the shepherds were visited by messengers of light from the realms of the Eternal Gods, crying, “Peace, peace on earth and good will toward all men.”

But my brother who preceded me spoke of selfishness. He touched a chord that seems to me to be unbroken and of a very extended length. I think it reaches over all the ages. I think it has come down from the border times of prehistoric history. I think it is found right through human nature, crude and cultivated, civilized and uncivilized.

The doctrine which the Savior taught touched this feeling of selfishness. It touched the personal vanity of many. The supporters of the systems that I have alluded to—I have no time to name them; there may be many of you who are historically well informed and know all about them; you know there were a number of philosophical schools in existence in Athens and elsewhere at that time; you are acquainted, no doubt, with the dogmas of the period. Suffice it to say that the most violent and determined opposi tion that Jesus of Nazareth met with in His day and generation was from the very class of men that the Christian world today have supposed and thought He ought to have derived the greatest possible support. Our Christian preachers and ministers tell their congregations that the learned doctors of the law who had little else to do but study the technicalities of the laws, to familiarize themselves with the genius of their construction, with the wisdom that promulgated them, with the necessities underlying the need for their legislation; these ministers tell us that they of all other men ought to have discovered the signs of the times, ought to have been able to read them, and in reading them to have discovered that the set time had come for God to bring forth His Son Jesus Christ, and to usher in a reign of peace. But it was from this class of people that Jesus met with the most violent and persistent persecution.

And how is it today, my friends? How is it today with the Latter-day Saints? I want to propound a few questions to my friends, as well as to those who have no desire to be considered our friends. I have one word to say to them. I would say, as my brother before me has said, would to God that they could be inspired by the same divine intelligence, by the same supreme wisdom and enlightened by the same heavenly understanding that chased away the darkness of ages, cleared up the obscurity in which the human mind was enveloped in the days of Jesus; would to God they were sincere and devout and honest, consistent believers in the Bible, the word of God. Then we would not have so much trouble in reasoning with our friends. We have no trouble today in obtaining an intelligent reply from our Christian friends when we ask them, Why did Jesus and His Apostles receive persecution at the hands of the Jews and of the Romans in their day, both as religious and political communities? Why did they do it? The answer would be freely given. Because they loved darkness rather than light; because they would not purify their lives by the regenerating principles of Christianity; because they would not deny themselves of those forbidden fruits and of those unrestrained passions which ran riot, and which the adherents of the Christian religion pronounce against; because Jesus upbraided them for sin and iniquity. It was because he told them the truth against themselves that they were opposed to Him. What were the principles He taught? “Oh,” says our Christian friend, “they are to be found in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and in the epistles of the Apostles. You will find there the teachings that Jesus and His Apostles taught, and there, too, are found the reasons for all the opposition and persecution which they endured even unto death, even to the ignominious death of crucifixion.

Well, suppose we were to ask the question now, what is the reason that the Latter-day Saints are everywhere spoken against? What is the answer? Well, we would be answered variously, but all in harmony with one certain note of disapproval. The answer would be: “You are unlike us. You choose to profess a religion and a polity different to us. The constitution of your social structure is at variance with our ideas of morality. We are enthusiastically, frantically, and mercilessly incensed against your social system. We cannot endure it. You must believe as we do. You must think as we do, and if you don’t choose to think and believe as we do, you must act as we do, or you cannot be in fellowship with us.” Now, my friends, this is the spirit of the age in which we live, and I am respectfully at the whole world’s defiance to present to me or any other intelligent Latter-day Saint a solid, logical or truthful argument of a contradictory nature. There never has been and there never will be an opponent whose acumen is equal to the task of formulating reasons rational and sufficiently cogent to overthrow the doctrines of the religion of the Latter-day Saints.

Now, then, if the people in the days of Jesus and His Apostles were as consistent—or, pardon me, rather inconsistent—as the people of our day are, they would persist in maintaining that these doctrines should not be taught in Judea, nor in the regions round about, nor in Pamphilia, nor in Rome, nor in Galatia, nor anywhere. You must renounce these doctrines they said. But they did not renounce, and they put them to death. Ah! That is the secret. Do you, then, Christians—the professed promulgators of Bible Christianity—do you choose to repeat the deeds of your forefathers? Do you choose to imitate the examples of the persecutors of the humble and despised Nazarene by persecuting, imprisoning and putting to death men and women who profess precisely the same theology, who worship the same God, who bow at the same sacred altar as Jesus and His Apostles did, who advocate the same doctrines, who administer in the same ordinances, and who in every doctrinal particular are following their divine Master and fellow laborers, the Apostles of old? “Ah!” says one, “it is not that exactly. If you would only promise that you would remove from your religion every objectionable feature that it now presents to the Christian world we would hail you as brethren, as fellow Christians.” What did the Jewish people do? What did the Roman people do? They told Jesus of Nazareth in effect that if he would strike out of the constitution of the new faith every principle and doctrine that was uncongenial, if not with the prophecies which they professed to believe in, at all events, with their construction of them; if they would only put these away, then they could live with them. What would our divines today think of Jesus and His Apostles if they had permitted to be handed down to history that in consequence of the opposition which the revelations of God had evoked in the human mind, and had caused the public pulse to beat high, to arise to feverish temperature, until they came to this conclusion: if we let these men alone they will take away our name and nation; we cannot stand it; crucify him! crucify him! release unto us the thieves—Barabbas, anybody except Jesus of Nazareth; crucify him! crucify him!—His blood be upon us and upon our children forever; this was the cry of the populace; and had He made this affirmation, that in consequence of the determined opposition, of the broad and deep-seated enmity that was engendered in the hearts of the people against the revealed will of God, it was best to cease to proclaim His glorious principles, it was best to stop the administration of His ordinances, it was best to surrender their allegiance to Almighty God, and bow in crouching servility to their fellow men, in deference to them and rebellion to the God of heaven. What would our Christian ministers think of such a body of men as that of Jesus and His Apostles assuming a position of that kind before them? How well they have declaimed in favor of the martyrs of Christianity. With what burning eloquence they have extolled the heroism, the stoutheartedness of the men and women who were willing to go as lambs to the slaughter, like their divine Master, rather than prove recreant to the sacred obligations they had assumed. What would they say of such a Christianity? They would say, Fie! upon such miserable stuff; fie! upon such men and women who should attempt to lay hold of such glorious and benignant principles as those of Christianity. They would say, the touch of such men and women upon such principles was a contaminating touch; it would have been an upas breath that they would have breathed when vindicating Christianity; while they themselves were so inadequate to the responsibilities—being devoid of the inspiration pertaining to the truth—and so indisposed to live a life of purity which those principles required at their hands.

If you would so judge of the former-day Saints, how would you judge of the Latter-day Saints? What would you think of us if we were to tell you that we would cease to believe in the religion of Jesus Christ? It is true you do not know what it means, and hence we pity you. It is true that we know we are of God: we know that these principles and revelations are divine; we know that they have emanated from Him who cannot lie; we know these things, and if you knew them would you ask us to deny our faith, to prove recreant to our trust, to become unworthy the confidence of our families and of honest men around us on every hand. A gentle man in this city was known to say—and he said it in language more forcible than eloquent, and you will excuse me for not repeating it, because it might be considered sacrilege in a sacred desk to do so—he was known to say: “If I knew what you say to be true, I would go to prison—I would not deny it for anybody.” Well, what would you think of a man who would deny that which he knew to be true, or say no when the truth required him to say yes? Could you trust him as a Free Mason or an Odd Fellow, or in any other capacity where true heartedness and genuine human worth is to be appreciated and sought? Certainly not.

Well, now, my friends, we have made some very plain remarks this afternoon. Permit me in conclusion to say that I am very sorry that we are forced into this uninviting situation; but being forced into it, pushed into it, if you please, driven into it, legislated into it, what can we do? What would you advise us to do? Your advice would be this possibly: “We believe that you people only say that you know this work in which you are engaged is of God. We do not believe you do know. We think you are like the rest of the Christian world, and that your knowledge is no more divine, or that you have any closer communion with God than the rest of the sects of the Christian world, and they don’t profess to know, only to believe. Therefore you are very presumptuous to say you know these things. You ought to know better. You had therefore better place yourselves in accord with us, come a little nearer to us, and just say you don’t believe certain principles in your religion, and we will tolerate the other portion.”

My friends, if we were placed in this position of our own doing, we would gladly come to terms, we would gladly settle this question before the setting of another day’s sun. But when we know that God has spoken from heaven; when we know as well as we know that we live that the revelations which we have received—against which the world are now fighting—are of God, born of heaven, of heavenly descent, we can but say in conclusion that we will do all we can, we will keep every law that it is possible for us to keep, we will honor our government to the best of our ability; but if we are asked to choose this day whom we will serve, God or Belial, what do you take us for? Hypocrites, knaves, fools, asinine actors in the drama of life, or what? No, my friends, I will say as one of old said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” We know the principles are right; we know they are eternal, no matter what may be the consequences. Suppose some of us are put to death, what of that? By putting us to death they simply place us be yond their power—they can do nothing more. As Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Now, if we are philosophers, if we are men of wisdom, if we are students of the principles of intelligence and of truth, why certainly we will make a wise selection, we will elect to serve Him who created us, and we trust that God our heavenly Father when He has so far matured His purposes, which are essential to the consummation of the end for which He has permitted this crusade to be waged against us, will be pleased to soften the hearts of those around us as He did in former dispensations, and as He has done with our own nation in our own day—that He will mold and temper the dispositions of men, and that He will make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the residue He will restrain. May God grant this is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Value of Liberty—Persecution Expected—Morse and Others Were at First Despised—God Overrules for Good—Faith and Works—Repentance and Baptism—Revelation—Witness of the Spirit—Mission of Joseph Smith—the Wheat Will Remain—No Malice to Men, But Hatred of Their Wicked Acts—Plural Marriage

Remarks by Apostle J. H. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, July 27th, 1885.

If there is any one thing in this world above another that I prize it is my liberty—liberty to speak, liberty to act, liberty to move among my fellows, discharging the duties and obligations of life without regard to the frowns or favors of anybody in the world. I rejoice in the fact that, so far as I am individually concerned, my faith in God and in His promise to us, His people, was never better than it is today. And although the dark cloud may hang over us, and the storm of opposition beat against us, I am as confident as I am that I stand before you that God will vindicate the righteousness of His Saints and bring them off conquerors in the end. So far as I am concerned I see but little cause for mourning. It is true that some of our brethren are serving out terms of imprisonment, but it is also true that they are thus afflicted not for wrongdoing but for conscience sake; and they do not mourn, so why should we. If they or we should put on the garb of mourning, it would not be because of any inflictions we may have to endure in consequence of our religious convictions, for such things we may expect, and have expected; our cause of mourning would be and is in man’s inhumanity to man, in the tearing away of the barriers of civil and religious liberty, the results of which none may be able to divine.

I have preached in many lands and to many peoples that the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands would cause a commotion in the earth, exciting the jealousy of the people, not only of our own land, but eventually of all lands; but that while this would be the case, we would be able at all times to give tangible reasons for the peculiar position we occupy, and for the hope and faith we have in the God of heaven, who has called us to it.

I did not design at all to refer to the persecutions of the Saints; they are no cause of surprise or wonderment to me; I have expected such things, having been taught in my youth that such a condition of things would come. But while we may expect to be persecuted and hated of all men, we have consolation in the promise of the Lord that He would from time to time soften the hearts of our enemies, and that nothing should intervene to destroy this work, or to frustrate the purposes that it is designed to accomplish.

The doctrines which we believe in and practice should not, in my opinion, create the feelings against us which now exist. When it is borne in mind that we believe in faith as the primary and fundamental principle of the Gospel: that we believe in working out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, through keeping His commandments and observing the laws and ordinances which He has made known to us for our guidance, and which when carried out, produce the fruits of righteousness, it does seem singularly strange that men professing Christianity should be found among our most bitter opponents.

Brother Moyle, who has just addressed you, referred to some of the famous characters of earth, among them our own Morse, and his struggles to make men believe in the inspiration with which he was possessed. Although he has since demonstrated to the whole world that he was most wonderfully wrought upon in producing marvelous results from the workings of electricity, yet when he appealed for assistance he was regarded as and even called mad. He, however, was not daunted, but persevered in his work, a work that has since brought blessings and benefit to mankind generally. The experience of Morse has been the common lot of men who have been the means of introducing new truths into the world; and who is able to say, that history will not yet record the fact that the sons and daughters of our most bitter opponents have recognized the Latter-day Saints as benefactors to the human family.

The principle of faith has been the great motive power by which all reformers have been actuated; it was faith that impelled us to gather to this land, and it is faith, in connection with the knowledge we now possess, that inspires us to steadfastly and firmly move on in our work of redeeming the land and building up towns and cities, and bringing order out of chaos. Thus, so far as the principle of faith is concerned, we do not differ from Christians generally, except in being more practical, believing, as we do, that faith without works is dead. There are no doubt many people who are as practical in their views as the Latter-day Saints, and cling to their views as tenaciously as we, and perhaps, so far as that goes are similarly treated, but their faith is centered in other matters than religion or spiritual things, as was the case with Morse.

We turn to the principle of repentance, that principle that prompts men to cease doing wrong and to mend their ways. In this we are in harmony with active Christians generally, although we may not place this principle in the same relative position in the category of tenets, as others do. We also accept and regard as essential, the ordinance of baptism, and could furnish ample testimony to show that this, as well as the other ordinances, principles and laws of the Gospel, as believed in and practiced by us are Scriptural; that it is ordained of the Lord; that He has declared that except a man is born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

One of the most striking points of difference between the religion of the Latter-day Saints and that of other people is our belief in revelation. We not only believe that the Lord did in ancient days reveal Himself to man, but we accept the doctrine of revelation as necessary for the guidance of the Church today; that the same Lord who so signally blessed and sustained His people anciently can bestow similar blessings in our day; and our faith is just as firmly fixed in the goodness and power of the Almighty to move in our behalf as in that of any other people. If it were not for the fact that our heavenly Father has spoken and revealed to us certain fundamental truths, and that He does, through His servant, to the Church as a body, and through His spirit to the people individually, we would be as others are—without any living distinctive faith. To do away with revelation would be to refuse to recognize the Author of our faith as our guide and teacher. Who can find out the things of God except he is taught either of the Almighty Himself, or those who are taught of Him? It is a matter of utter impossibility for man through his own wisdom to either find out God, or to act in the things of God, without first having been taught and authorized so to do.

Thus might we compare these principles and reason upon them. We have done this abroad whenever opportunity has been afforded. But when we have declared the fact that present revelation was and is essential for the guidance of man, and that the Church of Christ never did or could exist without it, and that the Lord had again revealed Himself to man, our hearers would generally either turn aside or perhaps show some sign of pity for “the poor deluded Mormons,” for this is the light in which we are held for believing in such things. It is a singular thing to me that men and women can take their Bible and sit down with the Elders of our Church and compare the doctrines of the scriptures with those taught by our Elders, and fail to sense their truth. It does seem singular to me—and yet I should not regard it as strange for this reason: whenever there has been a Gospel dispensation a man having the Holy Spirit could bear witness of the correctness of these things. When that spirit of testimony rests down upon a man it begets conviction in his heart, whether he is willing to acknowledge it or not. Nicodemus could find his way by night to Jesus, and acknowledge that there was a power with him that other men were not possessed of. Others received the witness of the Spirit, and were able to abide by its dictates, renounce their former ways, and take up the cross unpopular though it was. Others again treated the whole thing with ridicule, not being able to see anything in it. Such doubtless would be the case were the same persons to teach the same things now.

To me it has always appeared singular that there should be any reflecting honest-hearted person unable to believe in the mission of Joseph Smith. We may take such men as Luther, Calvin and Wesley, and others equally learned, who are recognized by all Christians as beacon lights, and yet notwithstanding their education and ability to act in the roles they so nobly played, not one of them nor any other orthodox Christian has been able to evolve a perfect system of Church government. Their productions are as a rope of sand, void of strength or spiritual force. The spiritual desires of men are not gratified to satiety, their souls are not fed; it is the letter without the spirit, the body without the soul. I do not say this by way of disparagement to the names of these illustrious heroes; they did their work and did it nobly, but it was not for them to reveal to man a perfect system of church government. In later times, however, we find a boy without experience or education, presenting to the world a system of government pronounced by statesmen of eminence to be superior to anything known among men. Our organization is admitted to be without a parallel; and this through a mere boy. But the fact is, he was not the author, neither did he ever claim its authorship; he was merely the honored instrument under God to reveal it to and institute it among men. And although the press and the pulpit unite in denouncing him as a crazy fanatic and a vile impostor, his work challenges the admiration of the best thinkers of the age. The principles that he unfolded are in harmony with the scriptures and with reason; they are in harmony with true science and with the laws of the universe; and he has presented them clearly and distinctly so that none need misunderstand them. It is most singular that the intelligence of the 19th century can look upon this boy and mark him as being so infamous a being as they say he was, when the fruits of his labors are before the world and none can gainsay them. This is the work of the Divine Master, and Joseph Smith was His servant. The Lord God stands at the helm. We need not feel concerned about what is termed “Mormonism;” He decreed it, and He is carrying it out. It is true, it may take us through persecution and tribulation, but it is true all the same; this I know as well as I know that I live. Having received the witness of the Holy Spirit, neither you nor I need entertain any doubts or fears as to the result. And I bear witness before you and before my Father in heaven, whom I expect to meet at the latter day, that we possess the fullness of the new and everlasting Gospel, and that God revealed it unto us; and I further testify that it will remain firm as the rock of ages, that its course will continue onward and upward, gathering strength as it goes, until it shall at last fill the whole earth, as Daniel foresaw that it would.

It seems that the people of the Lord in every age have had to pass through certain ordeals in order to accomplish certain results; they would become careless and negligent of duty and worldly-minded and, in many instances, forgetful of their sacred covenants; and we, it would seem, need to pass through the same purifying process as they before us. And, in order to develop a better state of things for Zion, some will pass through the prison house, and others may suffer death, as some have already; but whatever the infliction, the wheat will yet remain and the chaff will be blown away.

One may ask. Have you any feelings of hatred in your heart toward those who delight in persecuting and oppressing you? If they were hungry, and it was in my power, I would feed them; I desire not to bear malice or hatred towards any of the children of my heavenly Father. We must fight the battles of truth, with a desire for the ascendancy of truth, and not personal gratification, remembering that those who oppose us are of the same family, hereafter to be rewarded for the good or evil which they may do while in the flesh. I hate the misdeeds of men, especially when they are aimed at the liberty of their fellows; but I hate none of the sons and daughters of God. I would bless them and do anything in my power for their good; but I would not yield my soul into their keeping, or turn traitor to the principles of my faith for the satisfaction of any living being.

I have been reared among the Latter-day Saints. My father and mother were as old in citizenship of the United States and as honorable in their ancestry as any that call be found in the land. I love my religion, I love my country, and I have no other desire than to honor my God, and do good to my fellow man.

There is no necessity for us to be concerned or worried in the least. It is true we may have difficulties to meet; but with patient forbearance, pursuing an earnest determined course, time will prove to the truly loyal citizens of this great nation, that we are the friends of liberty; that to be free, free from the power of wicked men, and free from the power of the destroyer of men’s souls is the aim and object of our lives. There is no necessity for overt acts of any kind, or indulging the spirit of revenge; our course is one of peace and good will to man, blessing all with whom we come in contact. And as long as we observe strictly the principles of our religion, the way will open up before us, for God is our Father and friend. He has been our guide in the past; and He in His own way has cast down every man, from the commencement of this work until the present time, who has raised his hand against us, and their lives have ended in disgrace or been clouded by some misdeed.

While in distant lands I have had joy in gazing upon the stars and stripes as they have floated on the breeze from the mast heads of American vessels, or wherever my eye has happened to see the flag of our country. I have honored and revered my parents who, in harmony with their convictions, taught me to obey the laws of the land; and I trust ever to be found true to my country, and true to my religion and my God. The laws of Heaven, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, are grounded in my heart, and I can acknowledge the power of no man, however great, to stand between me and my God.

Referring for one moment to the question of plural marriage, I will here say that it is my candid opinion, freely expressed, that if fifty million of the people of the United States believed in patriarchal marriage and only twenty in monogamic marriage, that the judges placed in power by the majority would decide in favor of the plural form of marriage, being religion. That prejudice and political influence affect to a great extent the judgment of men in deciding such questions, no person can deny. Amen.

Refusal of So-Called Christians to Receive the Gospel of Christ—The Latter-day Saints Desire Investigation of Their Principles—The Truth Cannot Be Destroyed—We Have Every Requisite for Self-Government—We Must Maintain Our Fidelity to the Truth—Rarity of Crime Among the “Mormons”—Purity of “Mormon” Homes—Character of the Latter-day Saints

Remarks by Junius F. Wells, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 12th, 1885.

It is with pleasure that I arise to speak to you for a few moments, and to bear my testimony to the truth of the work in which we are engaged. I desire while I am before you that I may have the support of your faith and prayers, that what I may say may be dictated by the spirit of truth.

I rejoice in assembling with the Latter-day Saints, in looking upon their faces, in mingling with them in the exercises of devotion which we are accustomed to pay our Father and God. I rejoice in the society of Latter-day Saints, because in their society I recognize a spirit of purity, of holiness and virtue, that in contrast with the state of things that predominates in the world is as the heavens to the earth. I love to be with our people in times when the wicked assail them, for I feel among them a sense of safety, a feeling of security, of contentment, of happiness that I do not believe can be realized to so great an extent among other people.

We have among us our differences and evils. We have causes to mourn; occasions that make us feel sad; but I know of nothing that produces this feeling to so great a degree among the Saints as the growing consciousness among them that what is called the Christian world has concluded not to receive Christianity as it was revealed in the ministry of Jesus Christ. We know that God has revealed in the day in which we live the principles of truth as they were in the beginning, as they ever have been, as they ever must be in time and all eternity. We know that that which He has revealed in our day and generation is identical with the truths that fell from the lips of our Savior in the meridian of time, and challenge the world to a comparison of the doctrines to convince themselves. This challenge has been sent abroad to almost every nation, and kindred and tongue and people, of the whole earth. It is open today. We ask the investigation of mankind. We ask our fellow men, brethren and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God, to listen to the truths of heaven, eternal truths that God has revealed. But mankind prefers, apparently, even in this enlightened age, the truth that men by their own wisdom are enabled to discover to the truths which God by His infinite wisdom reveals. This is true to so great an extent that the foremost thinkers even among what is called the religious world, have concluded to lay aside the old truths of Christianity—the old doctrines of Christianity—as unfitted to the age in which we live. I had the pleasure, I think eight weeks ago today, to listen to the first of a series of sermons by perhaps the foremost clergyman of this age, certainly of the country, in which, in his inimitable manner, he said he had concluded, after the profoundest thought and research, that people should wipe out many of the old ideas of religion that have prevailed in Christendom for 1,800 years, so as to maintain harmony with the modern discoveries of science—with the Darwinian theory and philosophy. He has also sacrificed the book upon which their faiths and beliefs are founded, and as the surest possible evidence that faith in that sacred record, the Holy Bible, is a thing of the past, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher declares that if it is true then “Mormonism” is true! We are exactly of the same opinion as Rev. Beecher in that respect. But it does not prove altogether the falsity of that which has been accepted in the world as Christianity. The Bible contains the doctrines that the Latter-day Saints preach, that the Latter-day Saints have the courage in the face of all the world to practice. They are doctrines of truth, of holiness, of progress and advancement, designed to save men, to build them up, to develop the best thoughts in them, and prepare them for greater light and greater knowledge and understanding than dawned upon mankind in ages past; to prepare a people by their intelligence, by their fully developed characters, for that glorious day when the Son of God shall come among them and dwell with them. It is true that it is impossible for the Christian world to harmonize many of the doctrines that are growing in favor with them today with the holy Scriptures, and for that reason the Latter-day Saints mourn that their brethren and sisters of the world, though professing Christianity, should be averse to receiving the principles of Christianity as they were revealed by the Savior Himself. Today with all the Christianity that prevails in the world, where do you find men who are willing to receive the very first, the fundamental principles of the doctrine of Christ? Where are those who will receive the ministry of such as conveyed Christian principles in the meridian of time to the understanding of men? What! The administration of angels in our day and age of the world? A greater absurdity could not be proposed. What! Faith as the first principle of salvation? No, reason is the first principle of salvation in the day and age in which we live. But it is not so written in the doctrine of Christ. “Believe and thou shalt be saved” is the doctrine of the Savior. It is belief, it is faith, that underlies that knowledge which secures mankind an entrance into the Kingdom of God. We teach and have been taught that we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: that we must believe in the words of truth that have been revealed from Him; that we must put our trust in God who has delivered His people in times that are past and gone; that we must rely upon His direction and walk in the path that He shall lead us in, fearing only Him, fearing not man who can destroy the body but fearing God who can destroy both body and soul. In our endeavor to keep the commandments of God, to practice them, to heed the teachings of angels sent from the throne of grace, to put away our sins, to live pure lives, holy and righteous in the sight of God and our fellow men, to enter into sacred places and administer the ordinances of everlasting life for ourselves and for our dead—in endeavoring to do these things we have incurred the displeasure of an unbelieving world, of those who have substituted something else as the first principles of life and salvation for those which were given 1,800 years ago by the Savior of the world. The world has assumed to sit in judgment upon us for this belief. The world has assumed to say that we have done wrong in accepting these truths and living according to the law which God has revealed for our guidance and our government. Now, for one I do not believe that the judgment, in this respect, of the world will materially affect us in practicing and carrying out the purposes of Jehovah. Certainly it cannot change the truth. If Mormonism is truth the adverse criticism and judgment of mankind cannot materially affect its practice. They certainly cannot stand against that power which ever accompanies the promulgation of truth. Because of this Latter-day Saints have no fears of the future. We are dauntless in our advocacy of these principles because we know that they are true and must therefore prevail.

There is very little endeavor, I may here remark, on the part of those who seek to abuse, and misrepresent us and to bring down upon us evils—there is among them very little disposition to examine the principles that we profess and teach; there is very little disposition among them or desire to ascertain if these things are not true, or to find anything in the way of argument against that which we teach and practice before the world. They have sent up the strong religious men of the nation to show us the error of our ways. We have gladly met them. We have met them in this building in discussion for the purpose of having them bring forth their reasons to show that we are in error and that the judgment of the world is right. What has been the result? The faith of the Latter-day Saints has been increased; they have been confirmed and strengthened in their belief; and we have heard very little boasting of the success of those who were sent to show us the error of our ways. I imagine that if there had been success we would never have heard the last of it.

This judgment of the world against us, assuming that we are wrong, assuming that there is something up here in Utah that is not right, that is not consistent with Christianity, or the enlightenment of the age, has caused, perhaps, some distress, caused us to witness scenes that have a tendency to try the faith of the Latter-day Saints, to prove their integrity. For one, viewing the matter in that light, I thank God for it. I thank God that we are permitted to live in a day and age of the world when He has not forgotten His people, and has demonstrated to them and to mankind as well, that they are in possession of the truth. If we were of the world the world would love its own; but we have come out of the world, therefore the world hate us. They have in various ways manifested their evil disposition towards us, since the commencement of the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth in this generation. Since the day that Joseph Smith received the revelations of God through the administration of angels from heaven, there has been a hue and cry raised against our people—an endeavor to blot out the work that the Saints have been engaged in. But let me tell you, my faith and belief and testimony is that the world has lost its opportunity to destroy that which is called “Mormonism;” that God’s eternal truth, as received and practiced by the Latter-day Saints in these mountains, is rooted and grounded so deeply and firmly that it will never, while time and eternity lasts, be uprooted or destroyed. I cannot conceive, my brethren and sisters, of the destruction of a truth. If mankind will assume that there is an error here that needs to be rooted out—if their assumption were correct—I would not deny their power to succeed in the effort. They have said—that which they say most is—that our homes are not pure, that our homes are not constructed upon the right plan. They forget that the homes that God most honored in ages that are gone by, were constructed upon the plan that the Latter-day Saints advocate and hold out to the world as the plan of God. They forget that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, delighted in tracing His earthly lineage through the homes of polygamists. They have undertaken to destroy such homes. I feel in my heart sorry for the man who conceives that he has the power to succeed in such an unholy work. But they say fifty millions have declared against us. I do not take any stock in this assumption on the part of a few that fifty millions have condemned us—have said that we are wrong, and that we must go. There are those who have been throwing dust in the eyes of the fifty millions who say so. But let me tell you how it can very readily be discovered whether we are wrong or not. We have petitioned, we have plead with the powers of this government to send among us a commission of honorable men to investigate the situation here, and to let all the world know what the great error and crime is that we are accused of.

The kind of commission we want is this: We want the government—if it is possible in all this land of enlightenment, among all these people that are offended at the immorality of the “Mormons”—to select a commission of men who are perfectly true to their marital relations, who are virtuous, and we challenge the commission of men to prove us an immoral people. Let them go into our homes and what will we show them there? We will show them respect of husbands for wives, wives for husbands, parents for children, children for parents and for each other. We will show them faith; we will show them virtue, and we challenge them to deny the truth of our showing to the American people. Then if we are not immoral, why this hue and cry raised against us? Can you answer who have passed laws to send men, whose lives are above reproach, into prison, and to scatter their families? Can you who have passed such wicked laws answer if we prove that we are a moral people?

They may say that we are independent. Well, I thank God for one that I trace my lineage back through a race of independent men, who had the courage over 200 years ago to stand up in the face of inimical laws against their religion and say, “My conscience is my own. If need be I will leave my native land that I may serve my God.” And they did so, and helped to form a government upon this land that God in His infinite mercy and wisdom had held in reserve for many ages for a people that would accord to his sons and daughters the right to worship and honor Him according to the light that was in them. We do not see, unless “there is something rotten in Denmark,” why the American people should fear the independence of the “Mormons.” I do not see why there should be any dread at giving us our equal rights—the privilege to elect our officers and administer the laws according to the wisdom that is in us. God knows, our fellow men know, these hypocrites and liars who are misrepresenting us to the world know we are capable of self-government, and of instituting and preserving the securest and safest government, and the most economical of any people in this land. I say that without boasting. But we would not have that reputation if we elected our vilifiers to the offices, and I do not think we will do it. I cannot see, my heart cannot conceive, my understanding is not broad enough to fathom the reason why we should not, because of our religion, be accorded equal rights with our fellowcitizens of this country. We have the stability of commerce and society; we have the wealth; we have the population; we have every requisite qualification for self-government, and in the light of freedom I have yet to hear a reason assigned for withholding from us our rights. The nearest thing to a reason I have heard is that we are an unpopular people with the rest of the citizens of this country, and then the next reason is—and that which I really believe is deeply felt—the jealousy of the east with respect to the west—the feeling that the great commercial interests of the east should have greater representation in the halls of Congress than the sparsely-settled regions of the west.

But I look forward, my brethren and sisters, to the time when the truth will dawn upon this nation with respect to this people. I look forward to the day when they will discover that there has been “a great bugaboo” raised over this question of “Mormonism,” which they will be ashamed to think they have paid much attention to, or taken much notice of. I may say in a word that I look forward to the time when the powers that be in Washington, having raked and scraped the country as with a fine tooth comb, will perhaps find half-a-dozen men of the character I have referred to, who will look into this question out here in the mountains. And when that time shall come perhaps we shall be vindicated in the eyes of our fellow men; perhaps there will be a blush of shame mantle the cheeks of some; and perhaps they will discover some slight improprieties nearer home that it will be well to regulate before mending all creation up here to set as right.

There is one thing and only one thing for us to do that I can see, and that is to maintain our fidelity, to be true to that which we know is true. We ought not to be threatened or put in jeopardy for that. We ought to be protected in that. All the strength, all the power, all the influence of the land, of the government, of Christian sentiment, of enlightenment, of civilization—all these ought to sustain us in maintaining our fidelity to that which our conscience teaches us is truth. If we quail, if we vary one iota from that which we know to be true, we should be undeserving of support; but if we maintain our integrity in the opposition we may meet, God will not forsake us, and the better sentiment, the genuine and true civilization that is to be found in the world—for the world is full of truth, notwithstanding there are errors and wickedness alongside of it—will aid us in maintaining our integrity. I have yet failed to meet the man of honor, the man of sense, the man of discernment, the man of good judgment who would condemn me for maintaining the position that in my heart I feel to take respecting this question, even in these times. I have but recently returned from visiting among men in various classes of society in the east, and I have talked over this question of “Mormonism” in various forms. I have put the question in this manner to a great many, and the reply I have received, I must confess, has been one of encouragement, and one that has been gratifying to me.

There have been gross errors committed in regard to Utah. For some cause the nation has received the idea that the “Mormons” are a wicked people. Their record disproves it. There has been a law passed which makes a crime of a principle of the Latter-day Saints’ religion, but there is no people in this land who have so free a record in the criminal courts. What was the percentage, as shown by the crime records in this territory, before the operation of this law against the “Mormons?” I believe, as nearly as I remember, while five-sixths of the population of this territory are “Mormons,” and one-sixth non-“Mormons,” eighty-five percent of the criminals were from the ranks of the one-sixth, and fifteen percent of the criminals were from the ranks of the five-sixths, who are “Mormons.” Now it is intended, it appears to me, to change that by making a feature of the “Mormon” religion a crime, and sending just as many as possible into the ranks of the criminals, so-called, for practicing that principle. I maintain that it is a mistake to say that the Latter-day Saints are criminals, and have asked men everywhere to carefully, candidly, and honestly examine the situation for themselves. I would undertake to show that in our homes there is not the element of crime or sin or wrong, but that they will compare favorably with the homes of any. But to call that which I owe my being to, a crime—to take that position, when I know it is God’s eternal truth, I would be a coward and a poltroon, I would be undeserving the respect of any man if I should thus reflect upon the holy institution to which I owe my being. I know there is virtue in it; I know there is purity in it; that it is right in the sight of my God and my conscience, and when I deny that, put a stone round my neck and cast me into the sea. I would have no courage to live and meet face to face any honorable man; I would slink and cower as a miserable lying hypocrite. So I consider those who deny “Mormonism.” The homes of the “Mormon” people are homes constructed upon the principles of purity and virtue. Those men who are abusing us and sending lies broadcast through the land concerning us know that I speak the truth. Of course the facilities are not so good today for them to enter our homes as they were before they showed the cloven hoof, before they proved themselves ravening wolves in sheeps’ clothing, going about seeking whom they may devour. Their aim, purpose and ambition is to bring reproach upon this people; to see if they cannot in their insidious efforts introduce sin in the midst of our pure homes and society. Think you they would hesitate to lead the women of “Mormondom” astray? No, not they. Think you they would hesitate to destroy the virtue of the sons of “Mormondom?” No, not they. They have the effrontery, they have the shamelessness to advocate lechery, to advocate prostitution as a remedy for “Mormonism,” as a corrective of “Mormon” society, as a means of liberation from “Mormon” influence. Oh, freedom at such a price! Give me the thralldom that the world thinks the “Mormons” are subjected to, and let such freedom be embraced by those poor slaves to passion and to sin. God has given us the truth, and the truth has made us free. And we are indeed free if we have that freedom which comes through obedience to the will of God. If we are pure men; if we are virtuous women, though chains should bind us, or prison walls hold us, yet we are free in the sight of God, and are better prepared to judge our persecutors than they us. I know that is the prevailing condition among the Saints; I know that we are a pure people in the main. We have those among us who sin; we all have our imperfections and weaknesses; but God knows we are pure in our intentions and desires. He knows that this people, gathered from the four quarters of the earth, have been brought out from Babylon through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, entering into holy and sacred covenants not to repeat them; a people gathered here for the purpose of honoring and serving God, and not for committing sin of any form, shape, or description. That is our character. The world, so far as they will judge us candidly, gives us the reputation for sobriety, temperance, industry, frugality, virtue; but still we are called the most immoral people that the sun ever shone upon. What absurdity!

Brethren and sisters, I look to see the day when the refuge of lies shall be swept away, and we as a people, clothed upon with the power and favor of Almighty God, shall go forth in the world promulgating the principles of peace, preaching true holiness as it comes from the Eternal Father; and the honest, the pure, the upright among men shall lift up their hearts and rejoice, and shall say, Welcome, welcome, thrice welcome are those who come to us in the name of the Lord. May He bless and preserve us that we may be among that valiant throng is my prayer and desire in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Prophecy of John the Revelator—Mission of the Ancient Apostles—Their Reception and Fate—The Great Apostasy—Preservation of the Apostle John—His Revelation—Restoration of the Gospel—The Earth to Be Baptized By Fire As It Was Once Baptized By Water—We Are Sent to the World With a Warning Message—They Can Receive or Reject It—Testimony to the Truth of “Mormonism.”

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 21, 1885.

Having been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you this afternoon, I feel as though I would like to read a portion of the word of God. I will therefore read to you a part of the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation, from the Bible known as King James’ translation.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

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

“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

It has been charged to the Latter-day Saints that they set but little value upon the Christian Bible; that they criticize its translation and the revisions through which it has passed, and that it is our endeavor to belittle the importance of this holy book. The words which I have read are a portion of that sacred record which we are charged with undervaluing, and I choose them as a basis for my remarks, in order to show how groundless is that charge, with many others, which are made falsely against this people. The words you have heard include a prophecy uttered some 1,800 years ago by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Twelve whom He chose in the days of His personal ministry upon the earth. He had delivered unto them the keys of the kingdom of heaven, promising them that whatsoever they bound on earth should be bound in heaven; whatsoever they loosed upon earth should be loosed in heaven; whosesoever sins they should remit should be remitted, and whosesoever sins they should retain should be retained. He gave them power to go forth to all nations and preach the Gospel of life and salvation, telling them among the last things He said that, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned;” and that certain signs should follow them that believed. The Apostles went forth baptizing in the name of the Lord, and confirmed His word by signs, following.

On a certain occasion, towards the close of the career of the Son of God in the flesh, His disciples asked Him if He would at that time restore the Kingdom to Israel, and what would be the signs of His second coming and of the end of the world. Among other things He told them that this Gospel of the Kingdom should be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations and then should the end come. The Apostles set out upon the mission which had been given them, and we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and in their Epistles contained within the lids of this holy book, of the adventures which befell them, and the persecutions which they endured. It had been said of them by their Lord and Master, that they should be hated of all men for His name’s sake; but “blessed are ye,” said He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” And the day would come, He said, when they that put His disciples to death would think they were doing God’s service.

Thus were the minds of the Apostles prepared for the fate which afterwards befell them. They embraced the truth, knowing that it might cost them their lives; for they had been told that if a man loved his life, or loved earthly possessions of any kind more than he did his God, more than he loved the work of that God, he was in no wise fit for His kingdom. They went into it with their eyes open; they knew what would befall them; but being men of integrity, men who loved truth, who based themselves upon principle, and thought more of doing the will of Him who sent them than they did of doing their own, they embraced their glorious mission and were willing even to lay down their lives for the sake of that Kingdom for which they were laboring. Their expectations were fulfilled. The truth was not popular. Although devils were subject to these men; although they performed mighty miracles in the name of Jesus, yet they were despised, persecuted or ignored by the great mass of humanity. A few believed in their words; a few rejoiced exceedingly that the Church of God was established on the earth; that the Savior who had been promised as a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, had at last come in fulfillment of the prophecies of old. Their minds were prepared to receive Him, and they rejoiced in the work of God. Churches were formed in different lands. The Apostles went forth from Jerusalem, after they had been “endued with power from on high,” and built up churches in many of the surrounding nations, perhaps in all the nations that then existed. But although they were successful in planting the tree of life upon the soil of a fallen world, it seems that the time had not come for it to remain there and bear fruit throughout the ages of eternity. It was destined to be uprooted, and there was to come another time when the truth should be transplanted once more, and should bear the fruits of righteousness forever. The glory of God was not destined in that day to cover the earth, as He has said it would in the latter days, “as the waters cover the mighty deep.” The Apostles labored faithfully; they went forth baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but the power of sin, the power of the evil one was so great that it did not please the Almighty to establish upon the earth in that day a work which should endure forever. He permitted it for a wise purpose to be thrown down, and of this fact we are well assured by the prophecies of the Apostles which they have left on record. Paul, one of the most faithful laborers in the vineyard of our Lord in that day, said the time would come when the people would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts should heap unto themselves teachers, and having itching ears, should turn away their ears from the truth, and should be turned unto fables.

If we follow the history of the Apostles, we will see how their words were fulfilled. Nearly every one of the Twelve whom Jesus chose, met with a tragic death in defense of the principles which they proclaimed. Some were dragged to death, some beheaded, one was crucified with his head downward, others were thrown into cauldrons of boiling oil and others to wild beasts; so that at the end of the second century after Christ, the Church of God in its purity no longer existed upon the face of the earth. It had been torn asunder; it had apostatized from the truth; they who were faithful had been put to death, and in their place sprang up a race of compromisers, who were willing to barter away to the world the principles of truth, being too weak and cowardly to stand and die for their convictions as their fellow laborers had done. They were willing to give up this principle, and concede that point, to amalgamate for the purpose of making them popular and palatable the doctrines of the pure Christian faith with the pagan ideas of ancient Rome. So that the temporal body of Christ, the Church, became corrupt, deformed by this departure from first principles. Apostles, Prophets, were done away with; spiritual gifts became extinct and were said to be no longer needed; Bishops were put into the places of Apostles, and a multitude of new offices, unknown to the original church, were created. Finally two Bishops appeared, the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople, contending as to which was the greatest, and striving, in a Church professing to regard unity and brotherly love, to divide the dominions of the Christian world between them. More attention was paid to outward forms, to grand and imposing ceremonies, than to the simple beautiful principles of the Gospel, and, in course of time were fulfilled the words of Isaiah, who said that they would “transgress the law, change the ordinances, and break the everlasting covenant.” The result of this widespread departure, this apostasy from the primitive faith, was the withdrawal of the power of the Priesthood, typified by the “manchild” of the Apocalypse, which was taken into the heavens to preserve it from the mouth of the Dragon which sought its life; there to remain until a more auspicious time should arrive for the establishment of the work of God, and the winding up of the great plan of human redemption.

But one of these original Apostles was left. The Latter-day Saints are taught that Jesus, on a certain occasion, speaking to the Twelve, wished to bestow upon them each a gift, to grant the desire of their hearts, and He asked them what they would He should do for them. They all but one requested to be taken home to Him in heaven when they should have filled the allotted age of man. But one turned away sorrowful, feeling that the wish he cherished in his heart was too great to be granted. Peter asked the Savior, “What shall this man do?” and received the reply, “If I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee?” “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that that disciple should not die.” It is vaguely given, I admit, in the Bible from which I have quoted, but modern revelation has made it plainer, and shown us that the Apostle John obtained a promise from the Savior that he should remain upon the earth to witness the downfall and the rise of nations, that he should live to perform a mighty mission in the midst of the children of men; that he should prophesy before kings and rulers, and should tarry upon the earth until the Son of God came in His glory. This Apostle was the only one who escaped the tragic fate of his fellows. He was the only one of the original Twelve who was not put to death. An attempt was made upon his life by throwing him into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he escaped miraculously, and his enemies, not having the power to put him to death, banished him to the desert island of Patmos. It was during his exile upon this lonely spot, that God condescended to reveal to him what should come to pass in the last days, and the book which is called the Apocalypse is a record which the Apostle left of the great things that were shown him, and which he should remain upon the earth to see. An angel appeared unto him; John mistook him, it seems, for the Lord, and fell down at his feet to worship him, his person was so glorious. But the angel reproved him and said, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren the prophets.” Here was one of the prophets who had been slain for the testimony of Jesus, who was so glorious when he appeared that John, who perhaps had labored with him, did not recognize him. He had been sent unto him to show him what should come to pass thereafter.

But not only was John shown what should occur after the time in which he was living, but he was shown what had already taken place; not as the imperfect records of profane history have given it to us, but he saw it typified in its fullness. The events of the seven thousand years of the world’s temporal existence passed before him, like the scenes of a mighty panorama. If you will read the book which he left, you will there find portrayed symbolically each of the seven thousand years. He saw the events which had followed the creation down until one period had passed; he then saw the events of the second thousand years or until two periods had passed, and then the third and the fourth periods at the end of which Jesus came as the Savior of mankind, to perform a personal work in the flesh. John saw, further, the events of the fifth thousand years. He saw the great apostasy that was to take place in the Christian church, when they put to death every inspired man; when they did away with the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost; when they said they were no longer necessary; when they engrafted upon the olive tree of the Christian faith the wild branches of paganism. He saw all this taking place down to the sixth thousand years, and after the world had wandered in darkness for centuries, he says:

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

“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Showing conclusively, as well as language can show, that this was to be an event of the last days—the hour of God’s judgment, which Christianity itself, in its perverted state, will admit is at the end of the world. John saw the angel restoring the Gospel shortly before the hour of God’s judgment, saying with a loud voice to all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples—not only to the heathen nations, but to those who professed to have the true Christian faith—“Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” This to us is another proof of the apostasy of the Christian world; for if they had the truth, as they claim, by apostolic succession, from St. Peter down to the present day—what need of restoring the Gospel in its fullness to preach to them? It would be superfluous, unnecessary, a work of supererogation, to preach to those who were living in the full blaze of Gospel light, and call upon them to repent of their sins.

I never like to wound people’s feelings in regard to religious matters. I never like to have my own feelings wounded. I try to have charity for the sincere sentiments of all men; but it is needful that the truth be spoken in plainness. It is no act of friendship to flatter, to deceive and to gloss over error, when by exposing it the souls of some honest people may be saved. The Latter-day Saints erect a nobler structure before they tear down that which is old. They do not wish to ridicule the opinions of their fellow creatures, it should never be done except where good will be the result. All men have the right to believe as they please. They have a right to worship where, how and what they please. God has made us free. We are in bondage to no man, to no power. His children, from the rising to the setting of the sun have been made free. Therefore I do not feel to ridicule the religion of my Christian friends; but I desire to lay before them and before this congregation the religion of the Latter-day Saints. We claim that the Christian world is in a state of apostasy, and though thousands and millions of them are perfectly sincere—just as sincere in their belief as we are in ours—still, it devolves upon me as a servant of God to preach what I know to be the truth, and you can take your choice whether you accept or reject it. The responsibility ends with me here; it is assumed by those who listen, who can act as they feel led; they will be accountable whether they give heed to the warning message, or whether they ignore and reject it.

At any rate John saw the time when an angel would come and restore the everlasting Gospel—not another Gospel, not various kinds of gospels, not the precepts and fables of men, but the good, old, “sound doctrine” of ancient times. The Gospel of Christ in its fullness was to be preached to all the nations of the earth. What for? To fulfill the prediction of the son of God, who said that “this Gospel of the kingdom”—that Gospel which had Apostles to preach it and Prophets; which had gifts and miracles and signs following; a gospel of faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and other principles to be revealed one after another as fast as the people were able to receive them—that this old original Gospel of the kingdom should come back to the earth to be preached as a witness unto all nations, and then should the end come.

That these are the last days very few people will deny. The earth has almost fulfilled its mortal probation, its working time. It is closing the six thousand years of its temporal history. It has worked nearly six days; for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” When God said to Adam, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” He did not mean a short day of twenty-four hours, a day made by one little revolution of the little earth upon which we dwell, but it was a day of a thousand years, corresponding to one revolution of the great and mighty planet upon which God our Father dwells. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam lived to the age of 930 years, so that he died within the day that God had reference to. The earth has labored nearly six days—six days of one thousand years each. It is yet to have its sabbath, its millennium of peace, when the Savior of the world will come to take the reins of government, to reign upon the earth King of kings as He now reigns king of Saints; the seventh period, whose dawn is almost upon us, is the sabbath, the day of rest which God has ordained for the planet upon which we live, and He will celebrate that sabbath by coming in person to reign upon the earth over all nations. It is for this that the Latter-day Saints are preparing; having fulfilled, as the instruments of God, the prediction of John the Revelator; an angel in this day having restored the Gospel, which is now being preached as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.

It is a merciful characteristic of our Heavenly Father that He brings to pass upon the human family no event affecting their eternal welfare, but He first sends Prophets to prepare the way, to give the people a warning that such and such things are coming to pass, that they may be prepared for them and not be caught napping by the suddenness of their coming, even as a thief in the night. We read that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. What was done in the days of Noah? A prophet—Noah himself—was raised up and sent forth to preach a warning message to the children of men. What was his warning? That the world was about to be deluged. Its sins had cried unto heaven, and God had remembered its iniquities. He was about to baptize the earth in water, to wash away its sins, that they should no longer smoke to heaven, an offering of wrath to an offended God. Noah preached this warning, and, as usual, was met with ridicule and scorn. Never did a prophet come forth that was not ridiculed and persecuted, and the message that he proclaimed considered foolishness by the wisdom of the world. But how did it result? Did the superior (?) wisdom of the world in that day save them from the truth of the words of Noah? Or did God stand by that prophet? Did He make good His words? Did He drown the world? Did He sweep the wicked from its surface? History will tell you what took place. It sees that Noah and the few souls that clung to him were right, and the world at large were in the wrong. Noah had really received a revelation from God. He was pointed at, despised and derided, doubtless called visionary and fanatic, an old fool, or anything else; but he had received a revelation and God made good the words which he proclaimed.

The earth underwent a baptism by being immersed in water, for the remission of its sins, the washing away of its iniquities. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” Is the world to be deluged in water again? No; because God gave a promise to Noah and set his bow in the clouds as a sign that the world should never again be drowned in water; but in the day of the coming of the Son of Man it will receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist said: “There cometh one mightier than I, after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Not only man, but the earth itself, which is a living creature, must undergo this ordinance—this dual baptism, and Jesus, when He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to take vengeance upon those who know not God, who have not sought to know Him, who have persecuted His people, and set aside the Gospel as a thing of naught, will deluge the earth with fire and the Holy Ghost. Then will the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that the glory of God shall radiate from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

Nor is this all. The earth and its elements will melt, as Peter the Apostle said, “with fervent heat, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.” These things are coming to pass. God only has to turn upon this world the glory of His presence to consume it from before His face and cause it to vanish like chaff in a flame. We are not prepared for the glory of His coming. But this work which has been established in our day, is one that will prepare us for His glorious advent. All who believe and are baptized into this Church have been promised the gift of the Holy Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost? It is the Spirit of God. God dwells in the pure element of fire; it is the atmosphere which the holy angels, the spirits of the just, the Gods in eternity breathe and live within, but which would consume us if we came too suddenly upon it, or it upon us. We must needs approach it gradually. We read that in the days of Moses, when God wished to commune with him, He called him up into a high mountain, and filled him with the Holy Ghost. Moses, therefore, could endure His presence; but when he came down from the Mount his face shone like an angel’s, and he had to put a veil upon it lest the children of Israel should be consumed before him. This shows what we may expect when God comes in the clouds of heaven, if we do not rid ourselves of iniquity and prepare our souls to meet Him. But ere that day comes there shall be wars and rumors of wars, thunders and lightnings, famines and pestilences; the sea shall heave itself beyond its bounds, and all things shall be in commotion; the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall be turned to blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven like figs from off a fig tree. The judgments of God shall stalk through the earth, decimating the human race, before the great day of the Lord shall come.

Are we to suppose that in a day like this, when such mighty and terrible things are coming upon the earth, God would leave the world in darkness; that he would shut the heavens, as our Christian friends say He has done; and send forth no more prophets to prepare us for these great events which are at our doors? I for one would have a very poor opinion of a God who would leave His children in that cruel manner. But the God we worship is just and merciful. He never brings upon the earth any judgment but He sends first a warning message to prepare the people for its coming.

This is our warning today—that the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached unto all nations as a witness, and then the hour of God’s judgment, or the predicted end of the world shall come. It is a message of mercy, not one of anger, not one of cruelty. It is not cruel to tell men the truth. If we see a man on the brink of a precipice and tell him that if he takes another step forward he will be dashed to pieces, is that cruelty, or is it charity of the truest kind? It may humiliate him to be told of his danger; it may cast reflection upon his eyesight; he may not see the precipice; men do not always see things which are immediately near them; they who are at a distance sometimes observe the danger first and give warning. It is not uncharitable, it is not intolerant to tell men the truth; we must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind; and hurt men’s feelings if necessary in order to save their souls. I do not mean the saving of their souls by the killing of their bodies. Heretics used to be punished on that theory. The object of “Mormonism” is to save the body and the spirit, which together constitute the soul.

This is the message we bring, the olive branch that we extend to the world, and for so doing we are despised and persecuted and trampled upon. But we know that we need expect no different fate from that which our predecessors have experienced. They laid down their lives in preaching this same Gospel. We must be willing to lay down ours, if need be, to establish these truths upon the earth.

God does not punish except to save, He never chastens except to purify. In sweeping the antediluvian races from the earth, it was an act of mercy to them, that they might not add sin to sin and heap up iniquity until they could not have been pardoned. He swept them off when their cup was full, and imprisoned their spirits while their bodies moldered in the grave. Jesus, however, while His body was lying in the tomb, went and preached to the spirits in prison; those who rejected the message that was offered to them by Noah, and were swept away by the flood. So it will be in this day, if this message is rejected; God will bring judgments upon the world until He has humbled the people to a state where they will be glad to receive it. He says to His Elders: Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; and after your testimony, comes the testimony of earthquakes and tempests, of thunders and lightnings, of the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, of wars and rumors of wars, of famine and pestilence. Says He, the time shall come when he that will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety, for there shall be gathered to it of every nation under heaven, and they shall be the only people who are not at war one with another.

It is that the world may escape these terrible judgments and plagues that will desolate the wicked, that we put our lives and liberties in jeopardy in preaching that which is unpopular, and which brings upon us the wrath and hatred of the world. We desire, as much as men can desire, the salvation of our fellow men. Our mission is to save, not to condemn. This is the Gospel of salvation, not a Gospel of damnation. Damnation follows as a necessary alternative of the rejection of the truth. Men who reject the truth damn themselves. The man who will shut the door in his own face keeps himself out from the Kingdom: it is nobody’s fault but his own. The waters of life are free; come and partake of them, without money and without price! If you will not partake of them, how can you blame anyone but yourself if you die of thirst in the desert? If you put out the light by persecuting the Saints of God, how can you blame anybody but yourself if you are left in darkness? Could the ancients blame God for taking His Church from the earth, when they took every pains to exterminate it? They destroyed the body of the Church, and the spirit departed, just as naturally as when the body of a man is killed; his spirit has no longer any business upon the earth. It returns to God who gave it, to come again at a more auspicious time, with the Son of God in clouds of glory, provided it be one of the 144,000 faithful ones who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

If condemnation follows the rejection of the Gospel, God cannot help it, His servants cannot help it. If we invite men to come out into the sunlight and they prefer to stay in the shade, who is to blame but themselves? They prefer darkness to light. They have their choice. Light has burst forth in the midst of darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. If, however, we extend the message of mercy and of peace, our responsibility ends. Men will be judged by the light they possess. The heathen nations will be redeemed and will obtain a higher exaltation than those who receive the truth and turn away from it, or refuse to accept it when it is offered to them. God is merciful to ignorance and lack of opportunity; but responsibility rests like a mountain upon those who hear the truth and then reject it.

My testimony to this congregation is that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the living God; that Brigham Young was a Prophet of God; that John Taylor is their legally ordained successor; that there are Prophets and Apostles in this Church today; that we preach the same Gospel that was preached in the days of Paul, for if we preached any other we should be accursed. My testimony is that “Mormonism” stigmatized and hated as it is, is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only plan of life and salvation, the only one that will exalt man in the presence of God; and the world reject it to their condemnation. I pray God to bless this congregation, and grant that the words I have spoken may sink into some honest hearts, like good seed upon fertile soil, to spring forth and bear fruit for their salvation to the honor and glory of God. Amen.

Ignorance of the World Regarding the Latter-day Saints—Our Doctrines Are Christian and Are Substantiated By the Scriptures—Necessity of Present Revelation—First Principles of the Gospel—Faith, Repentance, Baptism for the Remission of Sins and Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost—Organization of the Church of Christ—“Mormonism” is a Restoration of Ancient Christianity—Joseph Smith a True Prophet—Plural Marriage Practiced By Men of God in Miss-Called Dark Ages—Conclusion

Discourse by Elder Henry W. Naisbitt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 7, 1885.

My brethren and sisters and friends: I arise to speak with a little embarrassment, but I look to the Saints, asking for their faith so that I may overcome.

There is nothing that interests the Latter-day Saints so much as the enunciation of the principles which they profess and literally accept; but it would seem as if there was in the outside world, less comprehension and understanding in regard to the principles that the Saints believe in, than there is in regard to any other subject which has acquired the same prominence.

The Church of Jesus Christ for a great many years has kept a large number of missionaries in the field; they have traversed the whole of Christendom, in a greater or less degree, visited also the heathen nations and lands that are afar off; but yet a traveler would find that but little impression has been made among the masses of mankind. Even among those which are most ad vanced, and whose citizens are presumed to be intelligent, and to comprehend the questions which agitate the public mind, there is an amount of ignorance which is, to say the least, discreditable. It has been my lot individually, to come in contact with many who have visited this Territory and city, and to hear their expressions of surprise in regard to the religious faith of the Latter-day Saints. To tell a stranger that the people of Utah believe in the Bible, appears to be something altogether unlooked for. The assertion of their faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, appears to be received with more or less incredulity, and there are others who believe that the marriage customs of the Latter-day Saints are the beginning and the end, and all there was and is or will be, to give them distinction and peculiarity among the people of this nation. And yet if you were to sweep your eye over this congregation—which is pro bably an average one of the people of this Territory, you would instantly say, that there does not appear to be much difference in the appearance of the people here and the average congregations of worshippers elsewhere. The facts are that the people here—the older ones at all events—have been called and gathered from among mankind, and from Christendom, as a rule. There are in this Church many native-born citizens, who have come from every State of the American Union, and are fully acquainted with all its religious sects and creeds. There are those who have come from the different nations of Europe, and they have been familiar with the institutions which exist there; they have attended the services and been identified with the same organizations that you find today. They know all about the churches and the ministers and the Sabbath schools and the literature of the religious world. They have analyzed and compared and contrasted these until they understand not only the differences that exist between the several churches, individually, as they are known in Christendom, but they understand also the vast differences between those churches and that record called the Bible. They have been familiar with that, including the New Testament, from their childhood. They were taught it of their mothers and their fathers. They read it in the Sabbath school. They listened to the exposition of its truths and doctrines in the churches to which they belonged, and it was personal mental analysis and comparison that gave conviction to their souls and induced them to receive that order which the world has designated “Mormonism.” As a rule the people of Utah are “Mormons,” from conviction and from choice. They have left the institutions of their fathers because of the defects which were discovered therein, because of the inconsistencies which prevailed there, and in thousands of instances have reached conclusions because of the teachings that many of them received in the religious organizations of the world. The Latter-day Saints, to the surprise of many, call themselves Christians. Notwithstanding the opposition that they have encountered; notwithstanding the prejudice with which they have had to contend; notwithstanding the ignorance that is everywhere manifest in regard to them and to their institutions, they claim to be Christians—or followers of Christ; and in assuming this title, they accept it with all that it implies. They defend with as much devotion and persistence the character and institutions and teachings that were given of their Lord and Savior as recorded in the Books that have been handed down from the fathers as do the disciples of any system, either secular or religious, who follow out the dictates, theories and ideas of those whom they have accepted as their leaders. The followers of John Wesley are no more tenacious of the teachings of their illustrious predecessor, the founder of their church, than are the Latter-day Saints in regard to the teachings of the Savior, and of His servant the Prophet Joseph Smith. Those who revere the name of Washington and of the fathers of this republic, and because of that reverence, cherish the fundamental truths of the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, are no more tenacious of the truths uttered by those whom they accept as leaders, than are the Latter-day Saints in regard to the teachings and ordinances as established by Christ. They have accepted Him as their authority; they have accepted Him as their example; they have accepted Him as their leader; and while their claims to Christianity, or the epithet of Christians, may be ignored, disputed, or repudiated by others, still they are abundantly able to prove that their position is correct. To those who would dispute this let it be said that they can find (if they so desire it) testimony in abundance in the publications which have been issued by this Church; they can find testimony in abundance if they will visit our Sunday schools; they can find testimony in abundance if they will inquire of those who are “Mormons” or Latter-day Saints by faith and profession. It is not usual, however, for inquirers to address themselves to this class. It is well known that of the thousands who travel this Territory, and who visit the people in the capacity of tourists every summer, that there are but few, very few, who ever seek an interview with those who are believers in and receivers of, that which they designate “Mormonism.” They as a rule are more willing to receive all the flying rumors and reports, and to listen to all who buttonhole them, and believe anyone they come in contact with, in regard to the character of this community, in regard to their faith and practice, their social theories, and the results of these, than they are to inquire of Latter-day Saints; and yet there is not a man or woman within the confines of this Territory or elsewhere, who is a believer in the Gospel, but who is more than willing to impart what information they possess and to give a reason for the hope that is within them, though they might do it conscious of their own weakness and with a measure of fear—not fear as to the truth of that which they might repeat—not fear because they have any doubt as to the character of the truths they have received, but with that trembling which inevitably grows in the feelings of those who are ostracized by society and who are vilified and repudiated by the world.

It may be asked, what then as “Mormons” are your views in a religious sense? What are your peculiarities? Where do you get the doctrines that you teach?

I am of the opinion that the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints can be easily proved and established from the sacred Scriptures, and I can further say that the missionaries who have gone from Utah—the Elders who have labored in the midst of the nations of the earth—have always been able to substantiate their testimony by the word of God. They have never asked the world to receive a doctrine that they could not read in their own Bible, in their own study and in their own homes. They have never asked mankind to accept any dogma, doctrine or principle which they believed would be calculated to work them injury, but they have believed that the nature of man everywhere was of such a uniform character, and the purposes of his creation were of such divine intent, that those truths which in their essential nature would bless one man, were equally calculated to bless all mankind.

I presume that it is everywhere comprehended that man is a religious being; that he has within him aspirations, feelings and thoughts in regard to the Supreme, which unitedly declare that he needs some assistance from outside sources if he is to possess knowledge and understanding of the nature of his existence. Knowledge in regard to the purpose of that existence, in re gard to its past, and in regard to the present and future of that existence. All the facts of a man’s organization bear testimony to the necessity (and where there is necessity there is advantage) of religious training, culture and education. The soarings of his spirit, the dissatisfaction with earthly things, with its failures, and lack of recompense, the consequent reaching out into the future for an assurance of compensation, are all so many evidences that there is somewhere the material to satisfy these aspirations; the same as the feeling of hunger and thirst is abundant testimony that somewhere there are elements to minister to the gratification of that hunger and thirst. And when this conclusion is reached it is very easy to advance another step in religious science, and to understand that if there is that material, that intelligence calculated to minister to his religious aspirations, its faith and hope, it must come from a source outside of himself—in other words it must proceed from that Being who is the originator, the Creator, the Lord of man, that in Him alone there must be that fountain of inspiration, revelation and intelligence which is essential in developing in man the purposes of his creation. This argument appears to me to be philosophical, to be sound, to be suited to every man’s condition, and there is implied in that conclusion the inevitable necessity and advantages of inspiration and revelation. The Christian world have accepted this idea, and they will tell you that the fountain of inspiration was open to man some 1,800 years ago. The religious world hold to the theory that there was a period in the history and experience of mankind when this spirit of inspiration existed among men, but that it was some two or three or four thousand years ago. The Christian—I might emphasize that and say the CHRISTIAN world—have professed to have faith in the Savior of mankind as occupying an intermediate position between the Creator and his children, They will take up the Scriptures and point us to illustrations which establish his character in that respect. They will tell us in quoting the same that “He was a teacher sent from God;” that “He sought not His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him; that He declared that He spoke not of Himself, but of His Father who sent Him; that He did nothing of Himself, but as my Father hath taught me. I speak these things, for I do always those things that please Him!” They will tell us that even his enemies said, “He spoke like one having authority, and not as one of the Scribes.” In all the churches of Christendom they will repeat the marvelous parables that He gave to His disciples; they will read to us the sermon on the mount; they will tell us of His miracles; they will endeavor ostensibly to carry out the institutions which He established, all of which substantiates the idea that they have at least some faith in the mission which He claimed upon the earth. But if you ask whether that spirit of inspiration and revelation which He promised His disciples was to be continuous, or whether it has been continuous, or whether it is now necessary, the whole religious world, both priests and people have reached the conclusion that it belongs to an era of the past; yet if ever the religious world needed teachers it is now. If ever mankind needed revelation it is today. If ever there was a necessity for inspiration, we feel and know that it is in the midst of the nineteenth cen tury. If ever there was a time when confusion, contention and strife, when inconsistency and skepticism prevailed it is surely now, among the most advanced nations of civilization and of Christendom; there men are to be found laying the axe at the foundation of religious faith, endeavoring to popularize their own doctrines, and to bring into disrepute and into contempt the teachings of the Book that for ages has been held sacred. This is being done with that force of rhetoric, with that glow of imagination, and with that wealth of illustration which belongs to men of the type of Ingersoll, and congregations everywhere, hang with breathless suspense upon the words they utter, and thousands are grateful in their iniquity that the myth of religion, the fear of God, the certainty of punishment, the future life, have been swept away by so ruthless and so untiring a hand. Ministers are paralyzed and stand aghast in presence of the enemy, and before a sin-sick world, and now if there is one medicine needed more than another in this age, it is that medicine which will minister to faith, to peace, to order, to confidence, which will bring assurance, and will give men that trust and satisfaction with and in the doctrines that they teach and practice, such as was possessed by the Apostles and Teachers and Saints of olden time. Where in the Churches of the world can you find men ready to say as Paul said to his converts, “The Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and the Holy Ghost, and much assurance?” 1 Thes. 1:5. Where are those who have the same authority to say, “though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accused.” “I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither receive it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal. 1 and 12. This assurance is not to be found. It is not known. The spirit of authority, the confidence which grows from the possession of truth is not in connection with the churches, or enjoyed among the intelligent of Christendom. To be sure the world go to a great expense in order that they may secure religious instruction. Colleges are erected. Men of certain temperament spend years and years in order that they may be fitted for the ministerial profession. The people delight to pour out of their wealth for the spiritual food that they receive of their teachers; but with it all, that uniformity, that beauty, that simplicity, that consistency, that force, that assurance which pertained to the primitive days of Christianity is not to be found in the religious world of today.

Now, I might ask what was the order of things in the primitive church as established by the Savior? There are certain first principles which pertain to all branches of science—chemical science, agricultural science, astronomical science, or any other branch—there is implied in connection with all these a possession and use of primary or fundamental principles upon which the superstructure is built, and it is the same in regard to the science of religion. There are certain fundamental and foundation principles upon which the superstructure is built, and it is the same in regard to the science of religion. There are certain fundamental and foundation principles upon which the edifice is to be built, and upon which it must forever stand, and these principles did not originate in any school in connection with any college, or really in connection with any organization or body of men. They are divine. They were revealed. They came through chosen messengers who tabernacled in the flesh, who taught and then transmitted them to their fellows, who in turn taught others, and thus made them powerful by final dissemination among nations. This idea, I think, is invulnerable. What, then, are the primary or foundation principles of religion? Faith in God, growing out of the necessities of man’s nature, growing out of the nature of his spirit, the origin of his being, the history and memory of the past, the outlook into the future—these all foreshadowing the necessity and advantages and blessings of faith in God. Hence every man who is a religionist has sought unto a Being of some kind; whatever his conception of that Being may be, he looks upon it as fundamental that there is a God, and there are none but those that David speaks of, namely, the fool, who has said in his heart that “there is no God.” Having established this faith in God, we want to know what position we occupy towards Him. He is our benefactor. He is our friend. We are His children. The Scriptures tell us that we are created in His image and likeness. They tell us that the Savior was “the express image of His Father’s person.” We, then, are like our Father. We are His posterity. We are His sons and daughters dwelling and tabernacling in the flesh. What is the position that a man’s children occupy toward him as their parent? Every parent expects obedience. Every parent expects respect to his wishes. Every parent expects that when he makes a law that that law will be carried out in his household; that there shall be order, rule and authority there. This is the idea which prevails between God and man upon the earth, and that again implies the principle to which I have already alluded, the spirit of inspiration and revelation; for in our present condition the Almighty cannot communicate directly, probably, but He has selected certain mediums of communication. Who are they? His servants who—like His servants of Biblical note—teach in His name. He promised, and gave unto mankind a witness of Himself, even when there was no law, by His Holy Spirit, and He has sent that true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, while to every baptized believer is given “the manifestation of the Spirit, to profit withal.” 1 Cor. 12:7. And this Spirit will bear testimony to the truths, or laws, that are revealed by His Son, and taught by His appointed servants.

Well, now, how shall we ascertain these truths? Why, through this channel. Jesus Christ was the lawgiver. He established that system of things calculated to bring man back into the presence of His Father, and He commanded men everywhere that they should seek after Him, that they should pray unto Him, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” and He communicated that will unto those who listened to His teaching. What was that will? He continuously advocated and enforced the spirit of repentance. Why? Because men—all men, had wandered from the path of rectitude. They lived in violation of those laws which are divine; they failed to carry out that which would lead them on toward perfection. Hence as a natural and philosophical conclusion men are called upon to repent. What! Does this generation need to repent? There are many who think they need no repentance; that they occupy positions in society too elevated; that they belong to the upper crust, the great “upper ten,” who are leaders in science, in art, and in literature, and who are among the cultured of our nation and in other nations of mankind. They think they have no occasion to repent; they “thank God that they are not as other men, not even as this publican,” or as this “Mormon.” But, brethren and sisters and friends, there is no royal road to salvation in the economy of God. There are no principles in the science of religion that can be repudiated, or neglected, or disobeyed by man, without his subjection to the penalty, repentance of all evil and a return to that which is right is one of the primary elements and evidences of true manhood and womanhood, and it is also an essential part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When man has thus accepted and manifested his faith in God by his repentance, having believed on and in the word of His servants, and acquired active faith in them, he has made an advance. When I say His servants, I mean the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in a primary sense, and those whom He has delegated and appointed in a secondary sense; for we read that the Apostles were commanded to teach that which He had taught them; they were sent out to “teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;” they were not to teach their own ideas, their own theories, their own conclusions, but that they should teach the principles taught by Him, when they were asked the question, What is necessary for us “to do to be saved.”

It is almost an insult to a great many people now, to tell them that they need salvation, but yet in the innermost recesses of every man’s heart and every woman’s soul, in the depths that no plummet hath sounded, not even the one made by themselves—there rests the feeling that they need be sorry for many of the things that they have done in life, and if not for those that they have done, at least for the thousand and one things that they have left undone, for there are sins of omission as fatal as those of commission.

Faith in God and repentance, then, and faith in His servants, rests upon a philosophical as well as upon a scriptural basis. It is rational and reasonable, it is easy to be comprehended, these things are true, in and of themselves!

What shall we do after we have thus repented? What say the Scriptures? What said the Apostles? Why, when asked the question, “What shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” “Why,” say the religious world, “we don’t believe in that?” I know it. I cannot help that. If you choose to repudiate the authority that you at other times profess to accept, I do not know that it is much of my business. If Americans choose to apostatize from the political principles of the fathers of the Republic, I do not know that I can help that. If any man belonging to any religious or social organization chooses to neglect or repudiate the principle of that organization, I do not know that I can help it. I do not know that any community can help it, we can only state the facts as they are, premising, however, that apostasy admissible from the institutions of men in no way justifies the same action in regard to that which is divine. Jesus as an example went and was baptized of John in Jordan, and there is abundant proof in the New Testament, if I had time to quote it, to show that all the early Christians were baptized. Have you any record that all the early christians were baptized? No. But we have a record that many were baptized, and the fact that one or more were baptized is evidence presumptive that the whole were, for we read of only “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” “Well,” says one, “I do not attach any importance to baptism.” Probably not. I was amused just before I came to meeting in reading an account in the newspaper of a circumstance that occurred lately in the experience of General Grant. We have all sympathized with General Grant in his affliction. We have honored him for the position that he occupied in the nation, and many of us have hoped that he would live long to do good among the people. But at one period of his sickness the doctors asserted that the disease was likely to prove fatal at any moment, and Mrs. Grant was called into the room where he was. Dr. Newman, and two or three of the General’s medical advisers were present, and Dr. Newman in the excess of his religion, or of his soul, and probably with some faith in the ceremony, got a little water and baptized the General—that is, sprinkled the water upon him—in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. General Grant was at the time unconscious and not expected to rally. But one of the doctors went out to an attendant and asked if he had a little brandy? Yes. After procuring the brandy he injected a little into the General’s veins, which speedily restored him to conscious ness. Dr. Newman on this recovery immediately said, “Oh! our faith and prayers have saved the General again. “No,” says the doctor.” This incident I only mention to show that there are theories in the Christian churches and among its most noted ministers in regard to the ordinance of baptism, and probably the great majority of Americans at some period of their lives have been baptized—as it is called, some having been sprinkled in childhood, some in more mature years, others by immersion, having been raised among the persuasion called Baptists, whether or no, there is some little importance attached to this ordinance of baptism, and this ordinance of baptism, the Latter-day Saints accept in common with their fellow Christians, or with other so-called Christians. They believe in being baptized as a necessary consequence of their faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ!

Now, how were the early Christians baptized? I do not think that there is a shadow of evidence in the New Testament that they were any of them baptized by sprinkling, or in any other way save by that of immersion. We read of some that were baptized in a certain place “because there was much water there.” We read of others who were converted in the night time, and who went straightway and were baptized. We read that the Savior told Nicodemus that, “except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” We read that Paul in writing to the Romans said that they were buried with Christ in baptism, and that their being raised from the water was an illustration of the rising of the Savior from the tomb, and we are further told by Peter that as the ark saved Noah, so also doth “baptism now save us.” Baptism, indeed, was a divine ordinance. It was one of the steps in the science of religion having its own special position of power and blessing in the economy of God—one of the ordinances established for securing a certain measure or portion of salvation.

And after the disciples had thus been baptized they received the Holy Ghost by the “laying on of hands.” Numerous illustrations of this fact might be pointed out; but as we are not speaking to heathens, as we are not speaking to skeptics, but to those who profess to believe the Bible, they can at their leisure refer to these illustrations, where the early converts had hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And they can also look at the practice of the churches in our day, where in some denominations there is practiced the ordinances of confirmation and where the minister says unto those of his flock, “receive ye the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This was also one of the principles of the Gospel. This gift of the Holy Ghost was the source of life, the source of intelligence, the source of knowledge and understanding: it was the power of inspiration and revelation resting upon the baptized—the men and women who had accepted the Savior as their leader and guide.

I might multiply these illustrations of the science of religion. I might go on to show that there were other important elements in the teachings of those who were converted in early times to Christianity. The world today is full of organizations. It knows the weakness of individual effort. It is when men and women are aggregated that they wield large influence over mankind, and the early Christians were no strangers to the advantages of organization. They formed themselves into little groups called churches. In some places in the New Testament they are called the “church,” in other places “the Church of God,” in others “the Church of Christ.” In these organizations there were officers. There were men appointed to fill certain positions in these organizations. This implied rule, authority; their power and authority to teach are everywhere exemplified in the Acts and Epistles of the New Testament. So much so that one of the apostles tells us that God had set in His Church Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, etc., for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. These were the officers, the most active members of the church—those who had charge of its interests—those who had charge of the spiritual and temporal education of these early converts in the Church. There was a Christian church, then, in the early history of Christianity. Men were organized into groups—into churches and belonged to the true church of which Christ was the head! So there are organizations called churches in our day, and in the age in which we live. But there is one great difference between our age and that one. And what is that? Why, there is diversity in our time. The Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of the former-day Saints, was an unit. There was no rebellion within its ranks, no division in its councils, no clashing theories taught by its apostles. There was no rival or other organization ostensibly Christian that could stand up and presume to dispute or deny that authority which the Church of God maintained. Yet in our time we have every variety of Church organization—the Mother Church; the Episcopal Church; Methodism in all its forms and phases; Presbyterians, Baptists, and a host of others. These are diverse from each other in doctrine and sentiment and organization and theory and practice, and consequently unlike the primitive church as established by Christ and His Apostles. Now, can they with these differences, with these divergences, and with this variety of teaching—can they accomplish that designed by the founder of the original church? I hardly think so. Common sense says this is impossible. If the first church was divine in its order, divine in its ordinances, divine in its officers, divine in its institutions, if it was to accomplish a divine purpose, nothing short of that divine order could accomplish that purpose in this or any other age of the world. That is why Sectarianism has failed to bring the people to a unity of the faith. That is why it has not accomplished so much good as it might have done upon the earth. It is like a rope of sand. Every minister fighting, and every congregation quarrelling for the ascendancy of their own special and peculiar sect and faith. You go into any little village of a few scattered hundreds and you will find four or five churches there, each one endeavoring to perpetuate its own special idea, partly irrespective of the salvation of the masses. In fact they have become money making institutions. Ministers have become professionals.” They preach for money and divine for hire.” They are more content to ask the congregation what they shall preach than to stand valiantly for the truth as preached by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and as recorded in the book which from first to last they profess to reverence and sustain.

This is the criticism of the Latter day Saints upon the religious world, and because of this criticism, because of this understanding, thousands and tens of thousands have been led to embrace that which is known to the world as “Mormonism.”

What is “Mormonism?” It is a restoration, a re-revealment of the same principles that were practiced by the early Christians. They had not a doctrine, they had not an ordinance, they had not an officer, but what is taught and found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now, the world have no idea we have got away with them that far. Has it come about by our own wisdom? No, sir. Where did you get it? Right in the State of New York, through a chosen man—a boy, rather—by the name of Joseph Smith. Who was Joseph Smith? A man like you and I. Who were the old prophets? Who was Elijah? He was a man with all the failings of his fellow men; subject to like passions with his brethren. Who were the Savior’s Apostles? Men like ourselves! Who was Joseph Smith? A young man with many weaknesses and follies, it may be, of his own, and some akin to the failings of those by whom he was surrounded. How did he acquire this knowledge and information? It was communicated from on high. The spirit of inspiration and revelation rested upon him. He held communion with God and with His Son Jesus Christ. He received the ministration of Angels, and the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood from those who once exercised that authority in the flesh and he was ordained and dedicated to introduce this order again among mankind. Do you believe that? We Latter-day Saints believe it. Nay, more, we know it for ourselves. We have had testimony for year upon year in our experience that God was with him in manhood; that He enabled him to establish His Church, and that He gave him power to ordain others to go forth to the nations of the earth and gather the obedient and the good from the masses of mankind. The good I said. “Well,” says one, “do you mean that you Latter-day Saints are any better than we are.” I do not know that I do in this sense of the word. I mean that there was found scattered among the nations a people prepared of God for the reception of the truth. Individuals were looking for the salvation of Israel. They had been suffering under the inconsistencies, traditions and superstitions of the churches to which they belonged, and they were waiting for the coming of the man sent of God. And when he came or sent his representatives, there were thousands everywhere that heard the word gladly. Where? In enlightened America, in the land of Bibles, in the land of churches, in the land of culture, in the land of religious liberty, where every one is supposed to have the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and with none to molest him or make him afraid. They accepted the teachings of this lad. Was he an educated person? No, not in the sense that the world would call education. He had not been raised in any college of our great country; he had not studied the classics; he was not born in Boston, or anywhere in its immediate vicinity; but he was taught of the heavens, he was inspired of God, and he went forth in the strength of that education, and Utah Territory spreading from the north to the south, from the east to the west is the product of his labors and the labors of the Elders that have followed in his wake. “And,” says one, “you believe this, that he was a prophet of God.” Yes, we do. We will apply the same test that was applied in former days, the days of the Savior. Jesus said: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself, and as was said of the Savior “we know that thou art a teacher sent from God, for no man can do the things that thou doest except God be with him,” so we can say of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Though he was called in poverty and raised in ignorance, yet the Lord made him mighty, and no man unless he had been thus sent of God, could have accomplished the work that he has performed. You can find in this Territory people of every nationality almost. You can find them from every state of this Union. You can find people that have been identified with every religious organization. You can find people that are well up in the doctrines of the religious world, and who comprehend the truths that are taught to them from time to time. These have been gathered from the nations by the power of truth, by the influence that the Elders carried, and they have colonized and spread abroad until the population is numerous in all the valleys of this mountain country. Strangers come here very curious to know what kind of people these “Mormons” are. They come filled with prejudice and with hatred, with contention and strife. Many envy our prosperity, and some say, “If we let this people alone they will take away our place and nation.” Well, as I have said, this has been done by the power of truth, by the preaching of the simple principles that you can find in the Bible, and that can never, no never, be overthrown. The Elders of Israel have never been met successfully by the combined learning of the ministers in Christendom. The Elders have gone for them like giants, while conscious of personal weakness; like little David, they have taken the sling and the stone gathered from the brook, until the heads of many Goliaths of our day have reeled and fallen beneath the blow.

This is what “Mormonism” is. It is nothing more, nothing less, than the restoration of the old Gospel under the sanction and approbation of the heavens. The Elders of Israel hold the authority of the Holy Priesthood to induct men into the Kingdom of God; to baptize in water for the remission of sins, and to lay hands upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and as in olden times, the signs have followed the believer.

With this knowledge don’t you think we can stand a good deal of this persecution to which we are subject? Do you think that bonds or imprisonment or death affects so sublime and decided a faith? “But,” say some, “you are not persecuted for these things: you are persecuted for other things. Here is that offensive practice that you call polygamy, this is the great trouble between you and the fifty-five million of the nation.” Well, who of that fifty-five million have we robbed in that? Have we taken any man’s wife who may have passed through this Territory against his consent? What law have we violated in regard to this thing? Any law in this book (holding up the Bible) against it? Can you find it, you ministers, you religious professors, you widespread organizations? Have we done violence to the laws of God, or have we not honored the practice of the patriarchs? Have we not accepted that which was approved of God in the ages that are past, and which gave men prestige as the favored of our race. Men whom we are told were the friends of God. “Ah, well,” says one, “that was in the dark ages.” Just so. But it was when God made Himself manifest among His children; when angels communed with those that dwelt upon the earth; when the spirit of revelation was felt among mankind; when the institutions of God’s house and the ordinances thereof prevailed among the chosen people of God! And you call that a day of darkness! Boston was not known then, it is true. The great cities of this day had no existence in their present form. Civilization with all its concomitants were not then in existence, or like Sodom and Gomorrah under the hail of brimstone and almighty wrath, its cities might only have been found today, as great, dead, saline seas. The dark ages! The age of Abraham! The age of Jacob and the founding of the tribes of Israel. The ages of Samuel! The age of the Judges of Israel! The ages when God made Himself manifest among that great people in delivering them from the hand of the iron rule of Pharaoh, and gave unto them a goodly land. The ages that gave David and Solomon and the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem. Dark ages, that brought on to this stage of action the Savior of mankind! Dark ages, when the church which He established, flourished in the midst of persecution, when its leaders suffered martyrdom. Dark indeed, if they had not had the light of the Gospel; if they had not had this sunshine of inspiration; if they had not known of the power of God; if they had not had a testimony within themselves that they had received that which would enhance their welfare not only in this life, but the life to come. Would to God we had again a renewal—nay, a glimpse of the dark ages of the past, and that the same benignant light was now spreading throughout this our land with its Christian churches, schools and colleges, that its corruptions and evils might hide their head and be banished from the midst of sorrowing mankind.

This, then, as I have intimated to you, is “Mormonism.” It is the power of God unto salvation to all those who shall obey. And the promise is not unto us only, but unto our children, and our children’s children, down to the latest generation. And if men and women anywhere, want that salvation which comes of God, which comes of the Gospel, which comes of the acceptance of Jesus as the Savior of mankind, they will have to find it in “Mormonism” as the world call it, or in other words in the restoration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and if they want men to induct them into that Kingdom, to baptize them in water for the remission of sins, to lay hands on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, they will have to find them in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the poor, despised, derided, and as men believe everywhere, ignorant people in the valleys of the mountains, called “Mormons;” whose faith and institutions are now sought to be overthrown by their enemies, by legislation of Congress, by proclamations of Governors and the action of the Courts, they will find salvation with that people just as assuredly as in primitive Christian times the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and other sectarians, found salvation at the hands of the fishermen of Galilee.

I presume I have taken up all the time that is necessary; but I pray that the power of God may rest upon this congregation; that strangers may lay aside their prejudices and preconceived notions in regard to the Latter-day Saints; that they may be willing to believe that some good may come out of Nazareth, even from here; that every man and woman professing to be a Saint of God, may be able to give “a reason for the hope that is in them,” in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.