The Creation, Male and Female—Calling of Enoch and Noah—God Selected Abraham and His Seed to Be a Chosen People—He Commanded His People to Multiply But Forbade Adultery and Whoredom in Every Form—Plural Marriage Enjoined Upon Abraham and His Seed to Make Them a Great People—The Principle of Life and Eternal Increase is a Spiritual Power—Modern Christendom Opposed to Large Families—Latter-Day Saints Encourage Them—The Edmunds Law Passed With the Pretence of Repressing Immorality Among the Mormons—That Mask of Hypocrisy Now Thrown Off—The Religious Sentiment of the Latter-Day Saints the Real Object of Persecution—Concluding Exhortations

Discourse by Apostle Erastus Snow, delivered in the Tabernacle, Provo, Sunday Morning, May 31st, (Quarterly Conference) 1885.

The speaker commenced by reading from the 1st chapter of Genesis—from the 25th verse to the end of the chapter.

Proceeding, he said: In the writings of Moses we have an account of the creation of this earth and the inhabitants thereof, both man and beast and every living thing, as also vegetation. In the first verse we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

In attempting to communicate intelligence upon any theme, if we attempt to do it by using words and phrases, we are obliged to use such language as the hearers or readers are able to comprehend, and if the language be imperfect the ideas conveyed may be somewhat imperfect or defective, and if the understanding of the persons to whom this language is addressed is limited, and their use and understanding of lan guage is limited, the information sought to be communicated to them will be correspondingly limited and defective. It is only by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost that we are able to see clearly the things of God; but the language employed by the writer of the Book of Genesis and by the translators of that work is perhaps sufficiently clear for our purpose at this time, though the inspired translation rendered by the Prophet Joseph Smith is somewhat clearer and more impressive than the present King James’ translation. In the inspired translation by the Prophet Joseph Smith, it is written that in the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth; that the earth was empty and desolate, and God said unto His Only Begotten, let us do so and so; let us divide the light from the darkness; let us separate the waters and cause the dry land to appear; let there be lights in the firmament in the midst of the heavens to give light to the earth; let us create animals to walk upon the earth, and creeping things, and fowls to fly in the air and fish to swim in the waters, &c.; and let us make man in our own image and after our likeness—that is the Father addressing the Son, taking counsel together. This rendering of this first chapter of Genesis is sustained by the writings of the Apostle Paul, when he says: “For of Him”—speaking of the Only Begotten—“and through Him, and for Him, are all things.” Again, it is written in the New Testament concerning the Savior, that He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.” So that when the Father said unto His Son in the beginning, let us make man in our image and after our likeness, it conveys to us the idea that man was organized in the same form and general appearance of both the Father and the Son. This especially in relation to the man himself; for you will remark the wording of the text which we have read—“in the image of God created He him”—referring to Adam—“male and female created He them.” You will perceive a difference in the language in regard to the creation of females.

Now, it is not said in so many words in the Scriptures, that we have a Mother in heaven as well as a Father. It is left for us to infer this from what we see and know of all living things in the earth including man. The male and female principle is united and both necessary to the accomplishment of the object of their being, and if this be not the case with our Father in heaven after whose image we are created, then it is an anomaly in nature. But to our minds the idea of a Father suggests that of a Mother: As one of our poets says:

“In the heavens are parents single? No; the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me, I’ve a Mother there.”

Hence when it is said that God created our first parents in His likeness—“in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”—it is intimated in language sufficiently plain to my understanding that the male and female principle was present with the Gods as it is with man. It needs only a common understanding of the organism of man and of all living creatures, and the functions of this organism to show the primary object of the Creator, and that is the multiplication of the species, the fulfillment of the commandment given, to multiply and replenish the earth, given to both man and beast. We need only to study the anatomy and construction of the human system, and to understand its powers and capabilities, to comprehend the object and purpose of the Creator, even though the commandment had not been written to multiply and replenish the earth. The ancients who feared God, and kept His commandments, showed that they understood this principle and were willing to obey it. It is written of the first fourteen generations, that each succeeding generation of them lived so many years and begat sons and daughters, and some of them lived well nigh on to a thousand years. They multiplied and increased in the land until wickedness overran the land and it pleased God to check the growth of wickedness by the flood, which swept the wicked off the earth. But before thus destroying the inhabitants of the earth, He caused the righteous to be gathered out from among the wicked by the preaching of the Gospel. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was a powerful instrument in the hands of God, of rebuking the wickedness of the times. He taught righteousness, gathered the people together, and established a Zion. He labored we are told some 365 years, in the which he communed with God, and taught the people and sanctified his people, so that they were translated to heaven. Many others who remained upon the earth, who had accepted the Gospel, but were not sanctified and prepared to be caught up with Enoch and his people, sought diligently to follow; they purified themselves so that angels ministered unto them, and they were caught up unto Zion before the flood; even all who remained and kept the faith, except Noah and his sons and their families, who were especially called and chosen and detailed to build the ark and enter therein with a selection of the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air, to preserve seed through the flood. Thus did the Lord gather a harvest of souls unto Himself, of those who believed and obeyed the Gospel and worked righteousness, while the wicked perished in the flood. Then again, the commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth, was renewed to Noah and his posterity, and soon the desolate places became inhabited. But in the course of a few generations, blindness and darkness and ignorance again began to prevail; wickedness began to raise its head among the children of Noah, and it became necessary that the Lord should select from among the children of Noah the better and nobler seed with whom He would establish His covenant, and upon whom He would confer the keys of the Priesthood, and from among them should be raised up Prophets and Seers and Revelators to teach the people of the nations of the earth, as the oracles of God. These chosen people were Abraham and his seed. Of Abraham it is written that God called him from his father’s house when he dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, and commanded him to go out from his father’s house because his father was given to the ways of the heathen and to the idolatry of the surrounding peoples. He called him to go to another land where he should be separate from the traditions and teachings of his father, and where he would make of him a great nation, and raise up from his seed a holy people. God appeared unto him in Canaan, whither He led him, and swore by Himself—because He could swear by no greater—that in blessing He would bless him, and in multiplying He would multiply him; that his seed should be as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is upon the seashore for multitude. He renewed this promise to his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, who was also named Israel, and from them sprang the house of Israel, and also the children of Arabia, the sons of Ishmael, and the chief tribes of central Asia. It was the seed of Abraham that dwelt in Egypt who were brought into bondage to the Egyptians, and subsequently delivered by the hand of Moses, after wandering forty years in the wilderness, in the land of Canaan. It was from among this people that God raised up prophets from generation to generation to whom He revealed His mind and will. It was this people that was commanded to build first the tabernacle journeying in the wilderness—a sort of moveable temple and subsequently a temple in the land of promise when they should become settled and located there. It was among this people the Savior was born, and labored and taught the Gospel, and was crucified, and rose again from the dead. It was from among this people that He (the Savior) selected and ordained His Apostles to preach the Gospel to all the world. The whole tenor of the Scriptures shows us that those who believed God and were counted His people multiplied and replenished the earth and became numerous as the stars in the heavens and as the sands upon the seashore for multitude, while many of the other unbelieving nations and peoples comparatively dwindled away; and when the history of the generations of Adam shall be revealed and comprehended by the human race, it will be found that in the providence of God He has greatly restricted the more corrupt, while He has enlarged and multiplied the seed of Abraham, who did abide in the covenant; and although many of them have come short in many things and have wandered in darkness and unbelief, yet as a people they have maintained a degree of sexual purity unknown in the Gentile world, and for this reason has God multiplied them in the land. They have great and special promises that in the latter days God would remember them.

Now, while God commanded His people to multiply and replenish the earth, He gave strict laws against promiscuous sexual intercourse. He forbade adultery, fornication, whoredom in every form, and the same doctrine was taught by Paul, the Apostle, namely, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” This law prevailed in all ages among the people of God, encouraging honorable wedlock, and restraining illicit sexual intercourse, and there are many physical as well as theological reasons for this law. It is especially binding upon mankind, because they are organized after the image of God, and are His offspring. I refer now to the spirit; for we understand that man in the nobler sense and the true sense, is that immortal eternal being which has come forth from God, and that the earthly tabernacle is but an outer clothing of that immortal being; that the earthly tabernacle is in the image and likeness of the heavenly or eternal being; in other words the body is in the likeness and form of the soul or the spirit, and that it is made conformable to any for the spirit to dwell in, and to fill every portion and particle thereof, and to direct its energies and powers to develop its capabilities and to guide its actions. Hence that immortal man is held responsible for the deeds of the body, and it is written he shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body; because the body does not control the spirit, but the spirit controls the body. Still the Apostle Paul says that there is a law of the flesh—that wars against the spirit; and, says Paul, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” He further says that this law of the flesh—that is, in our members and the lusts thereof—that wars against the law of the spirit brings our bodies into bondage, even the bondage of sin; but it is made the duty of the spirit to subdue the flesh and the lusts and the desires thereof, and to bring it into subjection to the law of the spirit. This is the warfare and the struggle of our lives. This begins with the development of our physical power and the lusts and desires of the flesh. The spirit of man is capable of receiving from the Spirit of our Father the Holy Spirit, which is in connection with the Father and the Son, and is a minister of God unto men; which lighteth up our minds and giveth us understanding; for “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,” says one of old. This teaches us just as far as we will give heed to it, how to walk in obedience to the law of God, and how to resist and overcome evil with good, and as far as the written word of God is given to us, its object and influence upon us is to restrain the flesh and bring it into subjection to the spirit. The lusts and desires of the flesh are not of themselves unmitigated evils. On the contrary they are implanted in us as a stimulus to noble deeds, rather than low and beastly deeds. These affections and loves that are planted in us are the nobler qualities that emanate from God. They stimulate us to the performance of our duties; to multiplying and replenishing the earth to assume the responsibilities of families, and rear them up for God. They encourage and stimulate the woman to bear her burden and perform the duties of life because of the hope of a glorious future, while it stimulates the husband and father in like manner. Every instinct in us is for a wise purpose in God when properly regulated and restrained, and guided by the Holy Spirit and kept within its proper legitimate bounds. But all these instincts and desires of the flesh are susceptible of perversion, and when perverted result in sin. Whenever the Gospel has been preached on earth, and Prophets and holy men have been sent among the people, the burden of their lives has been to encourage them to the proper exercise of their powers and functions and to regulate them and restrain them within proper limits, such as are prescribed in the written law, and in the law of our being. Excesses of all kinds tend to death and to sickness and misery, physically and spiritually; while temperance and moderation and the proper use of all our functions tends to the glory of God and the welfare of His children. The chief study of man is to comprehend these principles, and to apply them in their lives.

I said there was a time after the flood that the seed of Noah began to corrupt their ways, and God chose out from among them the seed of Abraham, with whom He established His covenant that He might preserve unto himself the Priesthood and its ordinances, and a people who would receive His law, and among whom He would raise up Prophets, and through whom He would send His Son in the meridian of time to become the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Thus Abraham was blessed of the Lord to multiply and increase in the earth greatly. When the Lord determined to bless and multiply Abraham and His seed, He commanded that they should take of the daughters of Eve for wives and multiply and increase in the land. I do not say that plural marriage was not practiced prior to this time, but I say from and after Abraham it was enjoined upon Israel, the seed of Abraham, for a wise and glorious purpose in Him, namely, that of increasing them and giving them the ascendancy among the nations of the earth, as I once heard the Prophet Joseph remark. In speaking of these things, and inquiring wherefore God had enjoined plural marriage upon Abraham and his seed, his answer was, because He had purposed to multiply and increase them in the land and make of them a great people and give them the ascendancy over other peoples of the earth, and that because, as he said of Abraham, He knew that He would serve Him and command his seed after Him.

We are aware that in modern Christendom there are some people who forbid to marry. In one of the Epistles of Paul [1 Timothy iv. 3] he states that in the latter times there would be those who would forbid to marry. We know there are some professing Christians who regard the union of the sexes as an evil, as a sin, as the result of our fallen natures, and as a form of the gratification of fleshly lusts which is offensive before God. Hence we have the Shakers who, acting upon this doctrine, abstain from marriage. If all were to embrace their faith, and carried it out in their lives, the human race would soon be extinct, and the great purpose of Jehovah in their creation would seem to have failed. But fortunately those who embrace this faith, and exemplify it in their lives, are few. Yet there are many who are willing to gratify the lusts of the flesh but strive to avoid its consequences and responsibilities. But those who have received in good faith the commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth and assume the proper responsibilities of the household, and regulate their lives and household by the law of the Lord, have always been blessed and favored of God, and the great difference between the Latter-day Saints at the present time and modern Christendom, is this more extensive comprehension of this first law of God to man. We understand there is a purpose in all these things; that the Supreme Being is working with an object in view and for the accomplishment of an end, and that object and end is worthy of the God who has created us; that in infinite space He may cause to be organized innumerable worlds and glorious orbs to be filled with intelligent beings capable of enlargement, of an expansion of glory and of happiness; for in their enlargement and increase He is glorified, while they in turn are glorified in and through Him in the performance of their labors and duties and the multiplying and increasing of their species, inasmuch as they do it unto the Lord and keep His law, so that they can be sanctified before Him and be endowed with the power of endless lives.

I know it is supposed by some that the power of increase is inherent in us and in all living things, and in all plants, but I do not view it in that light. I view the temporal organism as the instrument and not the creator itself; it is only the instrument by which it is worked out and accomplished; that the principle of life and eternal increase pertains not to the flesh nor to the grosser elements of this earth, but it is the spiritual power that has emanated from a nobler sphere that has come out from God, or that had its existence previously in a first estate. Our Savior Himself is an example of this. We are told He was born of the Virgin Mary, in the meridian of time. Yet we learn He was with the Father from the beginning and was with Him in the morning of creation. While he was here upon the earth 1,800 years ago, He said to the Jews, “You speak of Abraham as your father. Verily I say unto you before Abraham was, I am.” And again in John’s revelations it is written that He was as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is called a lamb of God typically speaking, because the offering of a lamb in sacrifice upon the altar was a type of the crucifixion of the Savior, and the commandment of God given to the children of men in the beginning to build an altar and offer sacrifice with a lamb upon it, was typical of the Savior of the world. Hence came the term that He was the Lamb of God which the Father sent unto the world to be an offering for sin. So also it is written in the Scriptures—speaking of God—that He is the Father of our spirits, and, says Paul, it is necessary to be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live.

In modern Christendom—in these United States especially, and in staid New England more than perhaps any other portion of this American continent—is this commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth nullified. The Latter-day Saints are looked upon with envy, with jealousy and reproach because they do not take the same view as they do, and their numerous families stand out in bold contrast with the New England families, where you will find as you go through the land one, two, or at most three children in a family, and many families with none. In some instances this apparent sterility may have resulted from various abuses, but in most causes the result of devices of wicked men and women to counteract and prevent the fulfilling of the great commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth, and in many instances, feticide, infanticide and child murder are the result of this very general desire to avoid the responsibility of families. It has become a crying evil in the land. Some writers deeply deplore this crying evil, and represent it in its true light; while many other writers and speakers are either silent upon the subject or give their voice and influence in its favor. A few years ago I remembered to have read a discourse of Brooklyn’s great orator, Henry Ward Beecher, in which he took the ground that any considerable increase of the human species would be a positive evil, something to be deplored; and he elaborately attempted to portray the evils that would result from it, and the whole tendency of the discourse was to discourage the multiplication of the human species. Others have followed in the same train of reasoning. They seem to have forgotten the commandment given to our first parents, and never to have comprehended the purposes of Jehovah. Those who adopt these views have seemed to imagine that there would be greater happiness in the gratification of fleshly lusts, and in pandering to pride and worldly pleasures, and the increase of wealth, than to obey the commandment of God. They have resolved to avoid raising large families. The last tour I took through New England (which is my native country), about twelve years ago, I was more deeply impressed with this state of things than I had ever been before. When I was a boy, in Vermont, I knew not the ways of the world, and comprehended not what was going on, in our large cities and more populous parts of the country. I was born of honest parentage, who reverenced the principles of life and salvation, and I understood not what was going on around me, nor do I think those evils existed there to the same extent that they now do. But as I remarked, when I made my last tour through New England, I was more forcibly impressed with this state of society than ever before. I spoke of it to my aged aunt in Rhode Island. I said to her: “Aunt, when you were young, and when my mother was young, rearing large families, it was a source of joy and pleasure to rear offspring. Now as I go through the land, I see the efforts of the people are in an opposite direction. “Oh, yes,” said she, “it is unpopular now, for people to have large families; it is considered vulgar, men and women now seek to avoid these responsibilities.” This is a well known fact. The tendency of the age is to animalism, to the gratification of fleshly lusts and worldly pleasures.

Well, the Latter-day Saints have experienced in their own lives something nobler, and have learned to recognize the wisdom of Jehovah in that order of things which He enjoined upon our first parents. This is the marked difference between the unbelieving world and the Latter-day Saints. I say the unbelieving world, because I regard this doctrine which I have referred to as a doctrine of devils and not the doctrine of Christ; that the tendency of it leads, as I before remarked, to feticide, infanticide, child murder, and to the gratification of fleshly lusts and worldly pleasure without fulfilling the great object and purposes of our Father, and the effect in the end would be the wasting away of the human species if it were generally adopted. It is high time that a voice from heaven should rebuke it. It is high time that the Lord, who wishes to raise up seed unto Himself, should command His people and renew upon them the obligations placed upon our first parents. It is to the Latter-day Saints that this mission has been committed, and the result is the multitude of school children that we find all over this Territory. Over fifty thousand Sabbath school children in the Territory of Utah—nearly one-third of the entire population, as shown in our statistics at our various Conferences—are children under eight years of age. This is a startling fact to that class of the Christian world who are pursuing the opposite course. One of the Sabbath school superintendents of the City of New York, recently expressed himself very pointedly and plainly upon this subject in relation to the wealthy portion of the church-going people of New York. In several thousand families attending the popular churches of New York, there could be mustered only about eighty Sabbath school children, and he attributed it to this prevailing desire for pleasure, wealth, and the shirking of the cares and responsibilities of the household, until the rearing of families was left almost entirely to the poor, to what is termed the vulgar people.

I need not harrow up the feelings of the people with lengthy details such as are found in police reports and statistics from various sources, showing the alarming increase of these crying evils. Suffice it to say that the chief warfare against the Latter-day Saints at the present time is an endeavor to compel us to conform to their new state of things, or to their ideas of social sins and social duties. In other words it is laconically expressed by President Cleveland in the late interview he had with our delegates that were sent to him with the memorial and protest adopted by the Latter-day Saints in mass meeting a few weeks ago. President Cleveland listened with courtesy to what our delegation had to say with regard to the feeling and desires of the people, and expressed himself in this wise: that he would endeavor as far as lay in his power to give us honest men to administer the law, and he concluded with a smile upon his countenance, with this expression: “I wish you people out there could be like the rest of us.” This is a homely phrase, it might not attract any special attention under ordinary circumstances; but when we consider the facts as they exist, and the tendency of the age, and of the Christian world at the present time, and the state of things in the east when compared with us, the remark is very significant. It comes home to us, and we ask ourselves, can we, after the light that we have received, after the experience that we have had, and with the hopes that are placed before us in the Gospel of a glorious future—can we relapse back into that state of things and be like unto them? I would not say aught personal in relation to Mr. Cleveland, believing him to be an honorable man of the world, yet his enemies in the campaign accused him of some irregularities of life that are common in the world, and it is reported that he knows something of sexual relationship, though he has not assumed the responsibility of a family and household; and in this respect, though perhaps among the most honorable, he represents a large and respectable portion of unmarried men. We do not understand that in thus expressing himself to our delegates that he desired us to exactly imitate himself, but that he wished we could confine ourselves at least to one wife. If however, the parallel were carried out more fully, we would not only confine ourselves to one wife as far as owning them in that capacity is concerned, but we would try like others have, to limit our children also and imitate the other vices of the age.

Well, now, the expounders of the federal laws in our midst—the Prosecuting Attorneys, Judges, Marshals, and other federal representatives that have been sent among us to enforce the special laws that have been passed by Congress against the Latter-day Saints, seem to make the line of distinction more marked than has ever before been done. During the great furor which swept over the land four years ago, which resulted in the passage of the Edmunds law, the Christian ministers urged their congregations to send memorials to Congress for the passage of that law on the ground of repressing immorality, licentiousness and crime among the Mormons, and it was this hypocritical mask which they took on at that time that hoodwinked and deceived the great body of the people and lashed the country into a furor and crowded Congressmen to vote for the unconstitutional measure, that wicked and malicious law known as the Edmunds law. I may be accused of treason for speaking in this way, in calling this a wicked and malicious law. I may be counted guilty of treason because I dare to think; but yet, treason has never been defined by the Constitution of our country nor the Courts, to consist in a freedom of speech, much less in the freedom of thought, but has been defined as levying of war against the Government, or aiding and abetting its enemies in time of war.

The great furor in the Christian world, or at least throughout the Christian denominations of America four years ago, urging upon Congress the passage of the Edmunds law, was on the ground of the immorality and licentiousness of the Mormons, and a desire to repress it. But now the federal representatives in their efforts to enforce it in our country, have found themselves under the necessity of throwing the mask off themselves and off the country—off the priests and religious people. I believe some of you in Provo had something to do in bringing this about and rendering it necessary for them to lay off the mask. I believe Commissioner Smoot was called upon to investigate a case of an outsider seducing his wife’s sister, and a child was the result; and he felt called upon under the law to hold him to answer before the grand jury for unlawful cohabitation. The assistant prosecuting attorney unwillingly allowed the thing to go on until the man was committed for this offense; intimating at the same time that he thought this was pushing the Edmunds law a little too far and beyond what was the spirit and intent of the law. If this case should be carried to its legitimate end, and the man should be sent to prison and fined for unlawful cohabitation, then the door would be thrown wide open for many others to follow for the same offense. Hence such a construction was considered an element of danger to themselves, to the representatives of the federal government and their aiders and abettors in this country; that such a construction of the Edmunds law as had been the popular construction and the understanding of the masses, and as was the professed understanding of the Christian world—for they urged its passage to repress immorality and sexual crime—that if this construction was allowed to prevail in Utah and the surrounding Territories, and the District of Columbia, and other places where the United States exercise jurisdiction, it would operate very hard on a great many who would not be so well prepared to bear it as the Latter-day Saints. Hence it seemed very de sirable that their feet should be slipped out of the trap and ours left in. Accordingly their wits were brought to bear in this direction, and on the occasion of the trial of President Angus M. Cannon on the charge of unlawful cohabitation a plan was concocted and carried out, with all the leading attorneys of the land and the Chief Justice upon the bench, to discuss this question and decide upon it. In this connection the representative of the government boldly came to the front and threw off the mask and proclaimed at the outset of this trial that he knew he could not prove sexual intercourse between the parties at bar, and that he should not attempt it. Furthermore he stated that he did not consider sexual intercourse any element of crime; that the Edmunds law, so called, was a blow aimed at the status of the Mormon system of marriage alone, and that the third section of that law relating to unlawful cohabitation had no reference to sexual sins; that it was not designed to repress adultery, fornication, lust, or any term of sexual sin; that that was left to local legislation; that the legislation of Congress in the third section of the Edmunds law, as well as all other legislation upon that subject was aimed directly at the status of the marriage alone. In this regard, therefore, he took precisely the ground that Governor Murray did when he first issued his oath for notaries public, and which was afterwards adopted by the board of Utah Commissioners and incorporated in their test oath for registration, referring to cohabitation with more than one woman in the marriage relation. Mr. Dickson took this view, that Murray was right; that the Utah Commissioners were right; that this was the sense of the country; that this was the design of Congress; that the Edmunds law was a blow aimed at the Mormon system of marriage, or to use Judge Zane’s term, the habit and repute of marriage, or the “holding out,” to use another favorite phrase, of two or more women as wives of one husband—that the whole and only object of the third section of the Edmunds law relating to unlawful cohabitation, as well as all other anti-polygamy acts of Congress was against the institution of marriage. Finding, however, it difficult to prove marriages because of the disinclination of people to testify, and because of the difficulty of reaching any record evidence of these marriages, it was thought necessary to take high grounds and assume this: that the Mormons are known to be a virtuous people, are known to condemn in strong terms and by every influence in their power every form of sexual sin, and that they do not indulge in intercourse with the sexes to any extent only in the marriage relation. This was the well known and established character of the Mormon people, and was the result of their teachings and practice for a generation past. Hence wherever children were found in Mormon families, they are the result of marriage. If a woman is found pregnant, she must be looked upon as a wife, and the officers are justified in seizing her and bringing her before a commissioner, or a jury or judge, and compelling her to give the name of the father of her child, and that is deemed sufficient proof that he is guilty of polygamy, or if two or more women live in close proximity to a man, and he is seen visiting them, and especially if the children call him father, it is sufficient proof on which the jury may indict for polygamy or unlawful cohabitation, as the case may be. Consequently they have taken this high ground that it is no longer necessary to prove even the first or second marriage, nor is it any longer necessary to prove sexual intercourse in order to establish unlawful cohabitation, but the common habit and repute of marriage and the appearance of marriage is all sufficient. Thus the ordinary rules of evidence are set aside, and the mask of hypocrisy which governed the Christian world when they were urging the passage of this Edmunds law through Congress is thrown aside. A bold and important testimony is given to the world through our persecutors to the morality of the Mormon people being so far in excess of the rest of the world of mankind, and to our integrity to the marriage relation. We wish indeed that all that is said in this respect were strictly true, that there were no irregularities among us. We cannot quite say that, but we do rejoice and thank God for the general good testimony which has been given of us in truth in this behalf. Not long since President Smoot and myself and some others were congratulating ourselves, and President Taylor was congratulating himself, and many others of our aged fathers, in having placed themselves in a condition to escape the operation of the third section of the Edmunds law by confining themselves to one woman. I said to some of my brethren in a Priesthood meeting in St. George, one time when they were very badly agitated and not knowing whom the lightning—or the Edmunds act would strike next—I said to them, you old grey-headed men whose wives have grown old with you and are past bearing children, if you choose now to agree among yourselves that you will live within the third section of the Edmunds law and allow the husband and father to confine himself to one wife, while he cares for the balance and cares for and protects his children, I see not but what you may do this with honor to yourselves and without sacrificing any principles of the law of God, or going back upon your covenants, providing this be agreeable among yourselves. I was somewhat with others, congratulating myself in being able to do this without sacrificing any special principle or going back on our families, but it would seem that these noble, aged sires in Israel were not to be let out quite so easily as this, for I am a little inclined to feel it was a little dishonorable, and yet perhaps not altogether before God. The idea was that they might possibly escape, while their sons and others who might have taken wives and raised families, and entered into those sacred relations which are to them dearer than life itself, would have to abide the consequences. But it seems that under Judge Zane’s ruling it is not these who are raising families that are always liable; for you may raise a family by your sister-in-law, if you don’t call her your wife, as you understand from the case I have referred to. No sooner had Judge Zane sustained Prosecuting Attorney Dickson’s view of the case, than this Mr. Aimes was brought before him on habeas corpus and discharged, and he (the Judge) fully announced the doctrine that a man could have as many children by sister-in-laws as he pleased; that no matter how much a man might seduce his neighbor’s wife, or neighbor’s daughter, if he is not in the marriage relation with them, it is no offense against the Edmunds law. But with a Mormon, whether he is raising a family or not, if he is even so unfortunate as to have no chil dren, or if his wives are past bearing children, and he has entirely separated himself so far as bed is concerned, and there is evidence of entire restraint on his part, still, unless he goes back on himself and on his wives and children, he comes under the law. In other words, if he continues to “hold them out” as wives he is guilty of cohabitation. Hence, Brother Smoot and myself, and others, have been congratulating ourselves a little too soon. You will find that the old men and the young men are all coupled together, their feet still in the trap, while the adulterer, fornicator, whoremonger, harlot and libertine, the trap is open just enough to let their feet out. Now they can vote, they can hold office, they can raise children providing they do not do it in the marriage relation, and they hold out this inducement to you and me: “Become like one of us.” “I wish you out there could be like the rest of us.” “I wish you would only disown your wives, then do what you will you are secure—that is, you must only own one wife, for this is the popular idea, the sentiment of the age. This is the voice of fifty millions of people. You must listen to it. Congress has said it. If you hesitate (some go so far as to say), you will be held to answer for treason. Treason against what? Treason against the law. Well, then, of course every thief is guilty of treason. Every man that steals an axe handle shall be tried for treason because he disobeys the law, by the same parity of reasoning. Again, if you try to avoid the law and we can catch you, why you are doing a terribly wicked thing. Yes; if spotters are hunting down some luckless fellow or his wife, and they slip out at the back door, or hide in a haystack, why, you must be held for treason, or some other crime. Now, I have always understood that catching goes before hanging; that it is the duty of the officers to make arrests when indictments are found; and it is equally understood that there is a guarantee in the Constitution of the United States that no man shall be held to answer for any crime except on presentment of an indictment by a grand jury. Furthermore, when indictments are found, the parties against whom they are found are known only to the jury and public prosecutor; the general public are not supposed to know anything about them, and the general maxim of law is that everybody is innocent until they are proven guilty. Consequently, we are not supposed to know that when anybody is going out to the haystack that they are fleeing from an officer, or that every tramp that comes along is a deputy marshal, or if he is that he has a warrant in his pocket for that man, and if he has it is his business to catch him and not ours. Does not the law forbid you to aid in the escape of a criminal? Yes, if he has been found a criminal by a competent jury and under sentence of the law. Then it is public notice to you that he is a criminal, but not otherwise. I merely make mention of this because of the foolish threats that are sometimes made to terrify ignorant people. Because it is well known the world over, so far as anything is known of us, and of the legislation of Congress against us as a religious people, that there is an issue between Congress and the Latter-day Saints, and that issue is of a religious character and relating to the social relations of the Latter-day Saints. The views which we hold are founded upon the revelations of God, both ancient and modern. We have given evidence to the world of our sincerity in this, and yet the world do not seem to accept it. I believe that Mr. Dickson was honest enough to express his conviction of our sincerity in this, and that the Mormon people, as a people, were moral people, and that their teachings and actions showed that they did not indulge in these sexual sins outside of the marriage relation to any great extent; while the great mass of mankind who know us not are not willing to give us this credit. They have raised the hue and cry all over the land for so many years, that we were guilty of gross immorality, that it seems as if the Lord intended in the way now being done to give the world ocular demonstration and a strong testimony of the integrity of this people, of the sincerity of their actions, of the depth and strength of their faith, and their devotion to their religious convictions, and their integrity in carrying them out. It is a source of gratification and thanksgiving that but few, comparatively speaking, among us have felt to go back on themselves and to throw off allegiance to God and to their families and friends, and to violate their consciences; but few have been found to do this in order to escape fine and imprisonment. How far it will become necessary that this testimony should go forth to the world, and how many should suffer so that their testimony should go abroad to mankind to convince the world and to vindicate God and His people, I am not yet able to say, for I am persuaded it will be as the Lord will; that whatsoever is necessary we must submit to with the best grace possible. I do not mean to say that every one who may be thought to come under the third section of the Edmunds law shall go and complain on himself, or if complained of by some spotter that he shall go straightway and confess guilt, or if arraigned for trial on an indictment, that he shall plead guilty without a trial; I do not say this. Every man must be left to choose for himself what course he will pursue in relation to those matters; for pleading guilty or not guilty when arraigned before the Court is a mere technical form and a liberty which every prisoner enjoys, that of pleading guilty or not guilty. The plea of guilty, of course, saves the expense of a trial, while a plea of not guilty, means that the prosecutor must prove the charge made in the indictment. I do not say, therefore, that in submitting as best we can to the operation of the law that we shall not avail ourselves of constitutional privileges and the rights accorded to us. We have the right to be tried by a jury of our peers if we can get one, but we cannot get one under this act. The act was purposely framed to cut off that right. The right of a man to be tried by a jury of his peers—this term originated in Great Britain and was guaranteed in the Magna Charta—means simply a jury of his equals. If a man belonged to the nobility of the land, he was entitled to be tried by a jury of his equals. If he was a plebeian, a common laborer in the humble walks of life, he was entitled to a jury of his equals, his associates, neighbors, those that knew him best and were able to sympathize with him and comprehend his position and circumstances and the motives governing his acts, so that a righteous judgment might be rendered concerning him. This guarantee was incorporated in the American Constitution. The right of a man to be tried by a jury of his peers implied all that was necessary to pro tect the citizens against malicious prosecutions; but in our special case, under the operation of special laws enacted against the Latter-day Saints, we are compelled to go to trial before a jury of our avowed enemies; indeed, none are qualified to sit upon juries in our case unless they are pronounced against us; because, as I said before, it is not a sexual crime that is on trial; it is a religious sentiment of the Mormon people; it is this status of their social relations founded upon their religious convictions that is on trial. Hence it is the pronounced opposition to our convictions that is a qualification for a juryman in our case.

Well, we were told by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the United States Government and people would come to this: that they would undermine one principle of the Constitution after another, until its whole fabric would be torn away, and that it would become the duty of the Latter-day Saints and those in sympathy with them to rescue it from destruction, and to maintain and sustain the principles of human freedom for which our fathers fought and bled. We look for these things to come in quick succession. When I first heard of the—what shall I call it? The somersault of Judge Zane and Prosecuting Attorney Dickson, the question was asked, Now that the mask is thrown off, how will this take throughout the country? Will the hireling priests throughout the land sustain this action? Will they consent to have this hypocritical mask thrown off then, and will the Supreme Court of the United States and the people of the United States sustain the ruling? I unhesitatingly answer, yes, they will, and if ever it reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, they will sustain it; the hypocritical hireling priests will sustain it; the people will sustain it and say, “Crucify them, crucify them, they have no friends.”

It becomes us, then, to be better Saints, does it not? Yes. It becomes us to be more united than we have ever been before. It becomes us to put away our foolishness; to cease all sin; to observe the words of wisdom; to walk in all humility before God; to be faithful and earnest in our prayers, and to imitate good old Daniel. Never mind the lion’s den nor the murderer’s Pen, but so live that we can be counted worthy before God, and whatsoever He has designed should come upon us that we may have grace given unto us according to our day, and that the world may record of us in future generations that we were an honest and a noble race, true to our God and to our convictions, and worthy of the high calling of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We should not blame one another for not going to the Penitentiary. We should not find fault with President Taylor, or President Cannon, or President Woodruff, because they do not rush into the Penitentiary, or go into court and plead guilty, and at once go to prison. Nor need we until the Lord requires it, rise up and say, “build a new Penitentiary and let us all go in together.” We are not required to do this, but may claim our rights under the law. We may leave the Government officials to do their duty, and if they will honestly and rightly act according to the rules of evidence within their prescribed jurisdiction, it will take them some time to get us all into the Penitentiary, because under the law we can insist upon a trial and upon a jury. Judge Howard was reported to have said that it took very little law and less evidence to convict a Mormon in Arizona. Nevertheless there are certain forms that they have to go through, all of which takes a certain length of time, and a certain amount of labor on the part of the Prosecuting Attorney, and if he gets but $40 for each indictment, give him the privilege of drawing up the indictment and proving the charge therein. Amen.

God the Source of All Intelligence—Mankind His Offspring and the Instruments of His Will—He Overrules the Results of Men’s Actions—Pre-Existence of Man and Plurality of Worlds—The Gospel One and Unchangeable—Charges of Exclusiveness, Etc., Against the Saints—The Christian World Deny Revelation and Repudiate Bible Doctrine—Their Apostasy Predicted and Fulfilled—The Gospel Restored and the Last Dispensation—The Earth’s Week of History and Millennial Sabbath—What “Mormon” Treason Consists of—The Mission of the American Republic—A Fable and Its Application—A Prophecy—The Peaceable Mission of the Saints

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, April 19, 1885.

I have been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you for a portion of the time which belongs to this meeting, and I assure you that in responding to that call I have no desire in my heart but to be led to say those things which will be pleasing and acceptable to God our Father, and beneficial to ourselves.

I have always been taught to regard our Father in heaven as the source of all intelligence, and that wherever intelligence is manifested throughout the earth, among His creatures, it has its primal origin in Him who is the fountain of life and light; and that if men are qualified to perform any great or good work, it must necessarily be by reason of the power from God which rests upon them. The Latter-day Saints take this view of the relationship of God with mankind; that He is not simply the Father, or creator of a part of the human race, or a portion of earth’s creatures, but He is the creator of all things—the maker of the earth, the maker of heaven, and that the children of men are the sons and daughters of one common parentage; that He feels for them all the day long; that He has their welfare constantly in view, and He makes no movement, so far as His children upon this earth are concerned, but He does it for their salvation and their good here and hereafter.

The Latter-day Saints are said to be exclusive, and are called selfish and presumptuous because they maintain that a certain mission has been given unto them; that they have received revelations from God; that the Maker of the world has deigned to speak in these last days, and raise up men and women whom He knew beforehand would do His will. This unfavorable view arises from the fact that our motives are misunderstood; that our mission, which we continually proclaim to the world is not believed in, and we are looked upon as an assembly of upstarts, enthusiasts and fanatics, who, in our blindness and our narrowness think that God has only regarded us; that we are His favorites, and that He cares nothing at all for the rest of mankind. This is a wrong idea of our position, and it is because our position is thus misconceived—one cause at least—that we are persecuted and abused, derided, oppressed and trampled upon as we are. However, I do not believe that we could escape the common fate of those whom God has chosen for a peculiar work in all ages of the world. For, while we acknowledge that God is the Father of the human race, and interested in the salvation of all, we do maintain that our mission as a part of the human family is peculiar, separate and distinct from the missions which have been given to others. God is the author of many plans and purposes, but all his plans, all his purposes and designs converge to one point, have one focus, whether He uses the Christian world, the heathen world, or even this little handful of Latter-day Saints; no matter whom He uses to accomplish His ends, these purposes blend and have but one grand object. They are like rivers or streams of different kinds and sizes flowing towards one ocean into which they all must empty. And though men deem themselves independent—and it is true that in one sense they are—while they fail, many of them, to take God into consideration, and seem to think they can do about as they please, and accomplish what ends they desire, all their independence, all their freedom, simply amounts to this; that they have the privilege to do right or do wrong, but the results of their actions God will overrule to suit himself. “Man proposes but God disposes,” and the history of this world, or any other world which has passed through a similar probation and been redeemed and glorified by the power of God and obedience to the principles of righteousness, is one vast exemplification of that great truth. While man is left free to propose, to adopt what plans he chooses, to exercise his agency, and to carry, so far as he is permitted, the thoughts and desires of his heart to their conclusion, God has never declared that He would not overrule the results of men’s acts to accomplish His own purposes.

We are placed in this world measurably in the dark. We no longer see our Father face to face. While it is true that we once did; that we once stood in His presence, seeing as we are seen, knowing, according to our intelligence, as we are known; the curtain has dropped, we have changed our abode, we have taken upon ourselves flesh; the veil of forgetfulness intervenes between this life and that, and we are left, as Paul expresses it, to “see through a glass darkly,” to “know in part and to prophesy in part;” to see only to a limited extent, the end from the beginning. We do not comprehend things in their fullness. But we have the promise, if we will receive and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, wisely using the intelligence, the opportunities, the advantages, and the possessions which He continually bestows upon us—the time will come, in the eternal course of events, when our minds will be cleared from every cloud, the past will recur to memory, the future will be an open vision, and we will behold things as they are, and the past, present and future will be one eternal day, as it is in the eyes of God our Father, who knows neither past, present or future; whose course is one eternal round; who creates, who saves, redeems and glorifies the workmanship of His hands, in which He Himself is glorified.

The earth upon which we dwell is only one among the many creations of God. The stars that glitter in the heavens at night and give light unto the earth are His creations, redeemed worlds, perhaps, or worlds that are passing through the course of their redemption, being saved, purified, glorified and exalted by obedience to the principles of truth which we are now struggling to obey. Thus is the work of our Father made perpetual, and as fast as one world and its inhabitants are disposed of, He will roll another into existence, He will create another earth, He will people it with His offspring, the offspring of the Gods in eternity, and they will pass through probations such as we are now passing through, that they may prove their integrity by their works; that they may give an assurance to the Almighty that they are worthy to be exalted through obedience to those principles, that unchangeable plan of salvation which has been revealed to us.

It is one of the grandest attributes of Deity that He saves and exalts the human family upon just and eternal principles; that He gives to no man, or no woman that which they have not been willing to work for, which they have not deserved, which they have not expanded themselves to receive by putting in practice the principles He reveals, against all opposition, facing the wrath and scorn of the world—the world which cannot give a just cause, a reasonable pretext for the opposition it has ever manifested to the truths of heaven. It is a characteristic of our Father, a principle of His divine economy to exact from every soul a fitting proof of its worthiness to attain the exaltation to which it aspires. There are no heights that may not be surmounted, but they must be reached in the way that God has ordained. Man may think to accomplish his salvation by carrying out the selfish desires of his own heart; but when he fails to take God into consideration, his Creator, and the framer of the laws whereby we mount unto exaltation and eternal life, he knocks the ladder from under him whereby he might climb to that glorious state.

The exclusiveness which the Latter-day Saints exhibit is this: they maintain that the Lord has but one way to save the human race; that the term “everlasting gospel” is not a misnomer, but means exactly what it says, and that it is eternal as its maker or framer is eternal. It can no more change than He can change. A man must obey the same principles now that were obeyed two thousand years ago, or six thousand years ago, or millions of ages ago, in order to attain the presence of His Father and God. There is but one way, one plan of life and salvation, and there need be but one; for God, being an economist, does not create that which is superfluous; and there can be, in the very nature of things, only one true plan of eternal life, for if there were two they must necessarily differ, since no two things can be exactly alike, and if one of these two things is perfect that which differs from it, must be imperfect. Of a necessity God is the author of perfection; His works are not deficient in any respect; and what He ordains for the salvation of man is the only way for man to be saved. Thus it is that the Latter-day Saints preach the everlasting Gospel, the unchangeable way of eternal life, and to corroborate it, they point to the Scriptures which are now being fulfilled. Among other things, to the vision of the Prophet John upon the isle of Patmos, who 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.” This is the exclusiveness of the Latter-day Saints; it is as far as it extends. There is but one way to eternal life, and while there are many systems extant called plans of salvation, yet they differ from each other as the stars of heaven differ in magnitude, or as the sands of the seashore, or as the countenances of the children of men; nay, more than this, for most of them are lacking in features which are necessary in order to form a perfect whole. If the Latter-day Saints are in possession of the everlasting Gospel, all sects, creeds and parties that preach a Gospel which differs from it, must be wrong; or vice versa, if the Saints preach any other Gospel than that which was preached in the days of the apostles, which was delivered to them by the Sons of God, then the Latter-day Saints must be wrong also.

The selfishness which this people exhibit is of the same character that might be evinced in the case of a man who was lost and had the right way pointed out to him by another. If a traveler had lost his way and should meet one who professed to know the direction he desired to pursue; or, if the traveler should ask which was the way to such and such a place, and the guide should tell him, and he in his self-will and obstinacy should persist in taking a contrary course, how in the name of consistency could he blame his guide if he did not reach his destination; or how could he charge him with being selfish or presumptuous, when he himself confessed his ignorance and appealed to this man who testified in all earnestness that he knew which was the right way? Yet this is similar to the position of the world in relation to the Latter-day Saints, who solemnly testify that the God of heaven has revealed to them the only way to life and salvation, a claim which no other sect, church or party advance at the present time. They deny revelation; they say the heavens are closed; that God no longer speaks to the human family; that He has left them with a Bible, the record of a people who are dead; which speaks of commandments given to an ancient people, who like ourselves were the children of God. This is the claim of the Christian world—that this book is the canon of scripture, and that it is full, and we need no more revelation, no more light than is contained within the lids of this book. They take that position, and yet say we are exclusive, we are presumptuous, narrow-minded and contracted, because we testify that God does speak, and has revealed a newer revelation than this Bible which I hold.

It is true that our testifying of this does not make it true, in and of itself. Nevertheless, men are responsible if they do not carefully weigh and consider the testimonies of those who claim to have more light than they have. I would hold myself ready, as a seeker after truth, if not certain that I already possessed it, and I hold myself ready now, while believing that my feet are planted upon the rock of truth, and that this is the only Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; to pay due respect to the honest opinions of my fellow creatures, proving all things and holding fast that which is good. If the Christian world shall bring forth something better, if they have it, or ever will have it, than Mormonism, I hope I will not be so bigoted as to turn a deaf ear to their honest testimonies, claiming that I have light already, and that I want no more light. I would at least examine their professions, whatever they were, and try them by “the law and the testimony;” for if men “speak not according to that, it is because there is no light in them.”

The Bible is a blessing; we do not depreciate its value, for it enables us to meet the Christian world upon their own ground, using this Bible as the touchstone of truth, in relation to their doctrines and those that we advance, which are taught and confirmed by this very Book in which Christians profess to believe. There is no doctrine preached or believed by the Latter-day Saints, but they can find confirmatory proof of its authenticity within the lids of the Holy Bible; and when their views are not received, and they are laughed to scorn and derided by the Christian world, it is simply an acknowledgment on the part of those who mistreat them that they do not believe their own Bible, that they have no faith in the record which they claim is all-sufficient—the be-all and the end-all of revelation. They profess great reverence for this good Book, yet they do not believe or practice what it inculcates. It is a prevalent idea in the world, with those who are in possession of the Scriptures, that it is only necessary to believe on the name of the Son of God, and that constitutes salvation, taking I suppose as a basis for it, the Scriptural passage which declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now, we take this position. We hold that belief in God and the Savior of mankind is absolutely essential to salvation. But we do not stop there. We claim that if men believe in Jesus Christ they will keep His commandments; they will live His laws; they will not repudiate any of the doctrines He preached; they will not say baptism is unessential; that Apostles and Prophets are no longer needed; they will not wrest the Scriptures; they will not say the blessings of the Holy Ghost are done away with; they will not say it is not in the province of inspired men bearing the Holy Priesthood to cast out devils, to speak in new tongues, to lay hands upon the sick and administer those spiritual blessings as they are empowered by the Priesthood bestowed upon them for that purpose. The Christian world would not repudiate these things if they believed their own Bible; for I nowhere read within the lids of this sacred volume that the time would ever come, except through transgression and apostasy, when these things would be done away with, and it would be said they were no longer needed.

It is true that the Apostles of old predicted there would come a time when men would wander from the truth, when they would heap to themselves teachers, and have itching ears, desiring to hear simply the things which suited their selfish natures; that the day would come when they would not endure sound doctrine, but would hire teachers to preach for the commandments of God the precepts of men; when the world would be turned upside down and be emptied of its inhabitants, because they had transgressed the law, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant. This was to be the condition of the world when these gifts and blessings would be said to be no longer needed. They could no longer lay claim to them because they would persecute, oppress and put to death those who preached sound doctrine; and having destroyed the temporal Church from the face of the earth, its spiritual counterpart would necessarily depart, just as naturally as the spirit of man will depart when the body ceases to live. The body is but a lump of clay without the enlivening agency of the spirit within it. When the body returns to dust, the spirit is free to soar away. When the body of Christ was dead, the spirit returned to God, passed into the spirit world. So it is with the Church, which is called the body of Christ. Kill the temporal Church, and the spirit Church will take its departure; it will be received into the heavens.

This is our belief; that the Christian Church, established in the days of Christ and His Apostles, apostatized and turned from the truth, it became paganized, mixed up with the religion and traditions of pagan Rome, and that that is the cause of this wide diversity of beliefs and conjectures, these many forms of godliness, denying the power thereof; which are said to be the Church of Christ, yet bear little or no semblance to the Church which He established; all claiming to be one, yet divided innumerably; to have the same Gospel, yet not able to stand the test of comparison with the Gospel preached in former days; claiming the same power, yet repudiating and denying that power and trampling upon those who still maintain that it ought to exist. This is the consistency of the position of the opponents of “Mormonism,” which claims to be the old Gospel brought back again, the old Church resurrected, no new religion, no new plan, but simply the everlasting Gospel revealed anew.

I might occupy your time citing evidences almost innumerable to show how the Christian world have departed from the teachings of this sacred Book. I might appeal to it, also, to confirm the teachings of the Latter-day Saints. It is an old story, many times told, and perhaps I had better not dilate upon it this afternoon. Suffice it that we claim that God has spoken from heaven; that He has reopened the long-closed portals of eternity, and has raised up a people to usher in the dispensation of Gospel grace as He has headed every dispensation which has preceded it; raising up inspired men to do His bidding; to preach to the world the principles of everlasting life; to establish upon the earth a system which will foreshadow and usher in the millennial reign of universal peace and righteousness. We believe that we are living in the last days; that these are the days when God said He would perform a marvelous work and a wonder; that He would set His hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people; that He would gather them from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, and would bring them to Zion, and give them pastors after His own heart, to teach them the law of the Lord, and that the law should go forth from Zion to the inhabitants of the earth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

We believe that we are living in the evening of history, that we are closing the Saturday of the great week, each day of which is a thousand years, the period preordained in which this earth should accomplish the purpose appointed by its creator. We believe that when God spake to Adam and told Him he should die in the day that He partook of the forbidden fruit, that He kept His word, and that Adam did die within the day; but it was not a day of twenty-four hours, one revolution of our little earth; the day of which He spake was based upon a revolution of the planet upon which God dwells, which we are taught revolves once in a thousand years. This world was appointed a probation through which to pass, six working days, before it should have a rest, or sabbath. We believe we are living in the Saturday night of this world’s history, that we are closing the six thousand years of its mortal probation, and that the dawn of the seventh day, or the seventh thousand years, now nearly upon us, will be the millennium, the reign of peace, when Christ the Ruler and Lord of this world, who labored and suffered and died to redeem its inhabitants from death, will be here in His glory to reign upon the earth King over His people and over the human race.

These simple truths, most of which are plainly spoken of in this holy word of God, the Bible, are distorted by the enemies of the Saints to indicate that they are treasonable to the government under which they live. They say we are traitors because we speak of the Kingdom of God; that a kingdom cannot exist within a republic; that it is imperium in imperio; that there is no room in this broad land for the Kingdom of our God. They might as well say there is no room in Christianity for the love of God. Why, this great government was established for the very purpose of introducing this work. Inspired men like Washington and Jefferson were raised up to frame a Constitution liberal in its provisions, extending the utmost freedom to all men, Christian or heathen, who desired to make this glorious land their home; that they might have the unrestricted right to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. We believe that God raised up George Washington, that He raised up Thomas Jefferson, that He raised up Benjamin Franklin and those other patriots who carved out with their swords and with their pens the character and stability of this great government which they hoped would stand forever, an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, where no man’s religion would be questioned, no man would be limited in his honest service to his Maker, so long as he did not infringe upon the rights of his fellow men. We believe those men were inspired to do their work, as we do that Joseph Smith was inspired to begin this work; just as Galileo, Columbus, and other mighty men of old, whom I have no time to mention, were inspired to gradually pave the way leading to this dispensation; sentinels, standing at different periods down the centuries, playing their parts as they were inspired of God; gradually freeing the human mind from error, gradually dispelling the darkness as they were empowered by their Creator so to do, that in culmination of the grand scheme of schemes, this great nation, the Republic of the United States, might be established upon this land as an asylum for the oppressed; a resting place, it might be said, for the Ark of the covenant, where the temple of our God might be built; where the plan of salvation might be introduced and practiced in freedom, and not a dog would wag his tongue in opposition to the purposes of the Almighty. We believe that this was His object in creating the Republic of the United States; the only land where his work could be commenced or the feet of his people find rest. No other land had such liberal institutions, had adopted so broad a platform upon which all men might stand. We give glory to those patriots for the noble work they did; but we give the first glory to God, our Father and their Father, who inspired them. We take them by the hand as brothers. We believe they did nobly their work, even as we would fain do ours, faithfully and well, that we might not be recreant in the eyes of God, for failing to perform the mission to which He has appointed us.

This is the “treason” of the Latter-day Saints. They preach the coming of the King of Kings, whom all Christians ought to worship; whom all Christians ought to welcome; and instead of passing laws to prohibit, and prevent, if possible, the growth of this work, which has as its object the blessing of all mankind, they should join hands with the Latter-day Saints in consummating it; for as sure as there is a God in heaven it is His work, and He will accomplish it. Haling men before magistrates; immuring them in dungeons; driving them from city to city, or shedding their blood, will no more stamp out this work than it will blot out the glory of the sun. They who take up the sword to fight against Zion will perish by the sword before she perishes; they who leave God out of the question in dealing with the “Mormon problem” will find before they get through that it is suicide to run against Jehovah’s buckler.

We, to all appearances are helpless. We make no boast of our own strength. We are only a handful in the midst of millions. But God has given us a mission to perform. We can no more shrink from that mission than the fathers of the revolution could shrink from theirs. That indeed would be treason, treason to God, treason to humanity, and we should justify the charges which are now so utterly false. We might be complimented, “patted upon the back,” if we would play the part of traitors and recreants, but we cannot afford to buy the compliments of the world, the good opinion of mankind, at such a terrible sacrifice. Men who died to found this nation, have their names held in everlasting remembrance, while the name of the traitor, who would have betrayed his country, and deserted it in the hour of peril, is loaded with opprobrium. He lived while many of the patriots died; but who are living today in the true sense of the term? The name of the patriot will live forever, because he had the courage to die for his convictions; but the name of the traitor will go down to oblivion, because to save himself he deserted in the hour of danger the cause of his country, thinking it was of no use to stand up against the great power which had lifted its mighty arm to crush out the colonies. We think of these things, but we do not propose to fight. We are a people who have peace as our object—the ushering in of a reign of peace. We are a people who build temples. We must not imbrue our hands in blood. But it is not through fear of man that the Latter-day Saints take this position. They have shown their bravery; they have proved their courage by coming out of the world and forsaking it, patiently enduring its scorn and opposition; it is a braver part sometimes to live than to die.

There are sacrifices which would try the souls of some men more than to face death in a thousand forms. But the Latter-day Saints have taken a stand; they cannot recede from it with honor. They are prepared to meet the consequences, and leave the result in the hands of God. We do not look to man for our preservation. If there is no God in “Mormonism” then it will fail, then will our minds be undeceived; but if there is a God in it, woe! to those who fight against Him, who fight against their Creator, and suppose that they can trample upon the rights of their fellow men and not endanger their own rights and liberties as well.

The old fable which Aesop tells of the woodman who went into the forest to get a handle for his axe, describes accurately the position in which we find ourselves. The woodman went and consulted the trees of the forest, asking them to give him a handle for his axe. The other trees, the stronger ones, arrogating to themselves authority and ignoring the rights of others, thought that they could dispose of them as they pleased. They conferred together and decided to grant the request, and they gave to the woodman the ash. The ash fell; but the woodman had no sooner fitted the handle to his axe, than he began upon the other trees. He did not stop with the ash, but he bowed down the oaks and the cedars, and the great and mighty monarchs of the forest who had surrendered in their pride, the rights of the humble ash. An old oak was heard to complain to a neighboring cedar, “if we had not given away the rights of the ash we might have stood forever; but we have surrendered to the destroyer the rights of one, and now we are suffering from the same evil ourselves.”

This nation may think that it is strong enough—powerful enough—to treat the people of Utah as they please. They are; we do not pretend to compare with them so far as that is concerned. But if there is any truth in eternal justice; if there is such a thing as retributions, woe! be unto this forest of States if they surrender into the hands of tyranny the rights of the Utah ash! It cannot be done with safety. If they trample upon the rights of their fellow men, there must come a time in the eternal revolutions of the wheels of justice when their own necks will be beneath the tyrant’s heel. They will suffer themselves from the laws they have passed against the maligned, misunderstood, downtrodden people of Utah. I hope to God, as an American patriot, that this never need come. I hope the eyes of this nation will be opened, that they may see the danger in which they stand from afar; but if I were a prophet I would prophesy in the name of God that if they give away our rights, if they trample upon our liberties, and surrender us as a sacrifice to popular clamor, the day will come when their own necks will feel the galling yoke; the laws they pass now to deprive us of our rights as American citizens, will deprive them of their rights, and they will drink the cup heaped up, pressed down, and running over. I hope this never need be; but I dare predict it on that condition, in all humility, with no spirit of treason, or of ill will to my country; but with a feeling of sorrow that some of our fellowcitizens have it in their hearts to treat us in this cruel manner.

We are a people of peace. We only desire to be let alone to accomplish our mission in peace. God would not permit us to build temples, any more than He permitted David, if we imbrued our hands in blood. David was forbidden to build the temple of God at Jerusalem, because he had been a man of blood. It was reserved for his son Solomon, a man of peace, to build the temple. So it is with us. We will not need to fight, we do not propose to take up arms, we do not desire and will not be compelled to shed the blood of our fellow men. We may have our own blood shed in instances, though the work of God will not be trampled out; but we will let them monopolize that part; they may shed our blood, but we must not shed theirs. We must build temples to the honor of our God, and administer in them for the salvation of the living and the dead; and thus go onward, spreading peace, pouring oil upon the troubled waters; and while there will be wars and rumors of wars, while nation will clash against nation and go down in the whirlpool of fury, the Latter-day Saints must preach peace on earth and good will to men, and be exemplars in all righteousness; seeking to let their light so shine that the glory of God will radiate from them to others.

This is the treason which we preach. We desire to benefit our country; benefit our fellowcitizens; benefit our fellow men. We believe this world is the Lord’s, and that He is coming to reign upon it as it is His right to reign. I care not how soon it is accomplished. The reign of Christ will rob no man of his rights; no righteous government need fear it; neither the United States, nor the nations of Europe, if their consciences are clear, need dread the coming of the King of Kings. They must acknowledge if they are Christian nations, that they owe their allegiance to Him whose right it is to reign. They should be proud to lay their crowns and scepters at His feet, and acknowledge Him to be Lord of Lords, and crown Him King of Kings.

This is a glance at the mission of the Latter-day Saints. These are some of the views we cherish and which we cannot recede from; we would be unworthy of our lineage as the sons and daughters of Abraham, the sons and daughters of Liberty, if we should forsake the things for which our forefathers lived and died, and suffered all manner of persecution. We leave the issue with God. Let the world persecute us, if they desire to assume that responsibility; we will seek to return good for evil. When they come with the sword we will meet them with the olive branch. We will say peace on earth when they have war on earth. We will do our duty as God shall give us strength, and leave the result with Him who overrules the acts of all men and all nations for the ultimate redemption of the human family, of which we are some of the humble representatives.

May God speed the day. May He bless those who are persecuted, who are driven and imprisoned for righteousness’ sake. May He bless the honest, the good, the pure and the patriotic among the American peo ple; the honest and the upright among all nations, who desire to enjoy their own rights and liberties, and are willing that others should enjoy theirs. May God bless all fair-minded people, and may He have mercy upon those who seek to trample upon the rights of their fellow creatures, and oppose the great and glorious purposes which have been foreordained. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Speaker’s Pleasure in Again Meeting With the Saints, and Partaking of the Sacrament—The Companionship of the Holy Ghost is More Precious Than Gold—Future Destiny of the Saints—Their Love for the Mountains—Blessings Only Appreciated By Contrast—Nobility and Scarcity of Moral Courage—Tyranny of Public Opinion—We Cannot Love God and Hate Our Fellow Man—Men and Women Do Wrong When They Yield to the Influence of Satan—What Constitutes a Son of Perdition—Agencies Which Men Use, Compared to Electricity—Truth Has Ever Been Fiercely Opposed—Our Trials Are Agreeable to God’s Purposes—Conclusion

Remarks by Apostle Moses Thatcher, delivered in Logan Tabernacle, Sunday, April 13, 1885.

My brethren and sisters, I have spoken but little in public during the past three months. And without the assistance of your faith and prayers, through the medium of which I may enjoy a portion of the Holy Spirit, to direct my mind and inspire my thoughts, I have no wish to address you this afternoon. I believe, however, that I appreciate the privilege of meeting with, and of enjoying your society once more, and I am especially delighted to hear again the sweet melody of the choir, and rejoice in listening to the testimony of my brethren; but beyond and above all these things, I am grateful for another peaceful opportunity of partaking of the sacrament with the Saints; for as often as we do so worthily, we renew our covenants with our Heavenly Father, and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit through whom comes communion with God. To us such communion is worth more than all earthly things. Men devote their time and talents—the best energy and deepest devotion of their lives in the acquirement of perishable wealth; and of which, when acquired, they often make golden gods to pay homage and soulless worship to, imagining that in these things are found fame, honor, worldly glory and earthly happiness. Gold, when compared with the riches of eternity, becomes almost valueless, and yet it is the creation of God, and no man has ever brought an ounce of it into the world, nor can he take a grain of it out of the world. But notwithstanding this fact known to all, men for its brief possession willingly encounter untold dangers, in traversing deserts, climbing mountains, navigating seas, and battling with angry waves; they willingly endure the heats of torrid and the colds of frigid zones, often sacrificing the endearments of home and friends, and sometimes truth and honor. Created by the Almighty, gold, when honestly acquired, becomes a means of ministering to the comfort and convenience of man; but there is that which the Lord bestows upon the honest, obedient and good, of far higher value. The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, hath the power of peace and bestows salvation upon obedient humanity, regardless of their earthly surroundings. Let us, therefore, secure the Holy Ghost, and in the testimony of the Father and of the Son which He alone bestows, we shall have secured the “pearl of great price,” which the world can neither give nor take away. Let us gain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and the doctrines of the Priesthood will distil upon our minds as the dews of heaven, and the gates that lead to peace and happiness in time and in eternity will, by the power and authority of his keys, stand wide open for us to pass through to exaltation, dominion and glory.

Since the beginning of the new year I have been almost constantly on the move, having, during that time, traveled a distance almost equal to that of half the earth’s circumference; most of it being by rail, but at least a thousand miles was accomplished with teams, on horseback and on foot. I have examined a country never before seen by me, consisting of waterless, timberless plains, and mountains rugged, wild, and uninhabited. During my absence, my reflections have been mainly in reference to the future destiny of the Saints of the Most High. And these reflections have led me to note the striking attachment they have manifested of late years for countries “exalted above the hills.” In our choice of locations we cling to the mountains as naturally as a child to the bosom of its mother. As during our infancy we have clung to them, learning to love their crags, canyons and valleys, so, I believe, we shall continue in them until we grow strong, and be able not only to stand erect, but to walk forth with godlike dignity at least respected, if not honored by all peoples. We are not strong now. We are weak and few in numbers. But there is much in the training we are receiving calculated to make our posterity strong physically and bright intellectually. In illustration of a part of this training I am reminded of some of the remarks of the last speaker, Elder Villet, who recently returned from an Italian mission. On reaching his native land, according to his statement, he found the food offered him exceedingly distasteful, but later he ate it with relish. Hunger changed and improved his appetite. That hunger was the result of de privation. And in like manner, love of liberty and a keen relish for its blessings are intensified by the constant encroachments made upon our rights by those who little dream that, in sowing to the wind they will have to reap the whirlwind, when their rights will, also, not only be invaded, but taken away from them; for the measure which they meet to others, will, in the eternal justice of God, be measured back to them. The Almighty hath decreed it. Who can prevent its fulfillment?

In further illustration, I am reminded of a well known elder in the Church whose name in this connection I feel not at liberty to mention, but who, gathering with others from England to Zion, became, in the course of years, wealthy and cultivated, as many having abundant means do. Luxurious habits of living finally satiated his appetite, and he went back to old England, anticipating among other things to enjoy, when there again, the famous “roast beef” of his native land, the like of which, in his opinion, this country did not, and never could produce. After searching in vain he declared, on coming back here, that there was no beef in England half so good as that raised in Utah. Had the beef of that country deteriorated? No, but our English brother’s appetite, through being pampered, had. Had he eaten it once a week, as was doubtless his former habit, instead of three times a day, as is too frequently the custom here, the difference in quality of English beef had perhaps remained undiscovered by him until this day. In parallel, who shall declare that blessings so abundantly flowing to our nation from blood-bought freedom and human liberty bestowed without stint from heaven, have not pampered the average American’s appetite or relish for blessings that men of other ages have fought to establish and longed to enjoy.

Ponder this matter carefully, deeply, and you will find few truths more apparent. Consult railway, banking and commercial kings; statesmen, philosophers, priests and people, and then note the voice of pulpit and press, and you will find an indifference born of pride that plainly, unmistakably, indicates that the rights and liberties for the securing of which our fathers pledged their fortunes, honor and lives, are now received by their children, in most instances, as inherent blessings flowing as a natural consequence rather than as gifts for which daily gratitude is due.

Not so with the Saints. They of all people on earth are most appreciative, most grateful. And why? The answer is simple: their most sacred rights being daily encroached upon, their conscientious convictions sneered at, their religious privileges trampled under foot, and even the domain of their heaven-inspired thought invaded, they could not if they would fail to regard with intense appreciation and undying love the bequests of the fathers. The very threats, as well as the attempts of the wicked to deprive them of blessings wrung from tyrants by revolutionary sires, will but teach the Saints more accurately to estimate, by the cost, their value; and your high estimate being transmitted to your children, will bud, bloom and ripen into most glorious fruit, as delicious and sweet as that produced when first the tree of liberty was moistened with the blood of patriots. Let others therefore become pampered, gluttons, if they will, but for us and our children, fewer privileges well appreciated, are better than many, without gratitude.

Impress these things upon the minds of our children, and among these mountains will grow up a race of free men whose views will be broad, high, and deep enough to appreciate liberty themselves, and to wish to have all others enjoy its blessings. By contrast, they will learn this and much more. If they taste the bitter, the sweet will be to them all the more agreeable.

You who for years have had peaceful possession of homes with society of families and friends, can greatly increase your estimation of such blessings by going abroad occasionally. I have tried it many times, always, I trust, with profit. And yet wherever I go it has been my good fortune to find friends. There may be present those who may think, “if we have friends abroad, why don’t they speak out in our favor using their influence to stop the persecutions of the wicked against us?” A pertinent query, perhaps, but I am not quite sure that the Lord wants them stopped; indeed I rather incline to think otherwise. And while there are thousands and hundreds of thousands of people in the midst of the Christian world who, if left to their own agency, would be just, generous, and good men worthy of the blessings of the Lord, but who today are surrounded by circumstances which they can neither control, nor have they the moral courage to even combat. And for this reason they dare not publicly express their sympathy for, nor utter a protest against the wrongs heaped upon us. But notwithstanding this condition, which all must concede to be deplorable, let us have charity, remembering that moral courage is heaven-born and so precious that the world has at no period of its history ever been overstocked with it. It is a sentiment than which none is more noble, beautiful or grand, emanating from God it abides not in an ignoble, quaking heart. Demanding what the truly courageous alone can give, self-sacrifice, moral courage numbers in her ranks at no time vast multitudes. It is a sentiment of which, at no time, even among us, have we had too much; but wherever found it shines brightly like a star of the first magnitude, like a diamond of the first water that cannot be successfully imitated.

A man with right convictions and the courage to stand by them in life and death hath moral courage, stamina, and the help of God. Testing its quality we will find it here as elsewhere, good; too good indeed to abide with those whose acts are predicated not on principles of justice, equity and truth. He who possesses moral courage weighs according to equity, unbiased by popular clamor, unswerved by private prejudice. In trying cases he judges cases, not men, and on this principle Satan himself, tried before such a judge, would stand the same chance to get justice as would an angel of God. And, by parity of reason, an angel would stand as good a chance to get justice as would a veritable devil, although a discussion of that kind might innovate modern jurisprudence as practiced in some countries not far distant from here. Now, let me, if I can, bring this matter home to your hearts. Suppose judgment without appeal was irrevocably placed in your hands with none to say, why do you so? Now imagine in your midst a despicable character, a Judas Iscariot, ready to betray for thirty pieces of silver, or to gratify a hatred born of hell, your best friends—the servants of the Lord, or, Benedict Arnold like, sell human liberty, God’s best heritage, for gold. Popular clamor demands punishment, and at the same time brands the accused as traitor, apostate; an assassin of good character, a murderer of peace and good order. Now bring him to judgment without malice, without bias, protecting him from insult while giving him every right, every privilege, every immunity guaranteed by the law of God and man and pass upon his case, not upon him nor his reputation, according to the rules of equity without fear of popular criticism or condemnation, and you have demonstrated in actual practice what a beautiful and heavenly thing moral courage is. Without it God would cease to be God. Without it we cannot be His people. He who habitually sacrifices principle at the shrine of policy or power, cannot be a Saint. Unless those who rule, govern, control and judge under the rules and restrictions of principle, the liberties of those who are subject to them are constantly endangered. And here let me say that public opinion is often the worst tyrant this world has ever known. It crucified Christ, killed His disciples, martyred Joseph and Hyrum, drove the Saints into these mountains and continues to track them as persistently and unrelentingly as bloodhounds ever tracked a fugitive slave. Avoid therefore at home and abroad, the seductive influence of the hateful tyrant, public opinion, which, wrought to frenzy by popular clamor, is always dangerous, often destructive.

Planting your feet firmly on principles of eternal justice, emanating from God, the billows of hate, born of envy, and malice, will beat and foam harmlessly about you. And, when judgment shall be given into your hands, friend and foe, Pagan and Christian, white and black, Saint and sinner, will alike receive evenhanded justice, which here let me say, never has been and never will be bestowed under the pressure and bias of public opinion, or by men claiming to be a law unto themselves. Place moral courage in the judgment seat and the Saint, as to righteousness of judgment, has no advantage over the most wicked apostate sinner on earth, their rights being held equally sacred.

The reason this high moral, godlike plane has not long since been reached, is because of human imperfections and the darkness that clouds and narrows the souls of men. We as the Saints of the Most High God, having received the light, should struggle upward until we reach it; and when we do, then, and not until then will the Almighty give us dominion, rule and government. When we are prepared to exercise judgment in righteousness the Lord will mightily increase our influence and power, and millions will flock to the standard of Zion to avoid oppression and wrong elsewhere.

This being among the greatest of all the great lessons that God has decreed we shall learn, I say speed the means by which we may most readily accomplish the task. If persecutions, unjust judgments, imprisonments and martyrdoms, be the means, let us receive them then not with feelings of delight because of the woes that will surely come upon those who inflict these things upon us, but because the standards of value are established by the cost of things received, and by this rule we know that no good thing has ever come into this world without having cost the equal of its value. Nor has any great thought or noble idea ever been introduced that had not to fight its way inch by inch. Think of what the principles of the everlasting Gospel, that are freely given, has without money, without price, cost? Agony that caused the Son of God to sweat great drops of blood. And that being too little, He must needs be insulted, spat upon, scourged, adjudged to die, and that, too, by a heathen who knew Him to be innocent of crime, and finally He was ignominiously crucified by those whom He came to save. Humiliated, deprived of judgment and sacrificed, the Lamb of God descended beneath all things that He might arise above all things, leading captivity captive and giving gifts to men, while holding the keys of death, hell, and the grave.

Had Christ been unable to accomplish that foreordained work, this world would forever have remained without a Redeemer. Expiring on the cross, amid the taunts and jeers of the wicked, in the agony of death, crying: “Why hast Thou forsaken me,” yet was He, being the spotless Son of God, able to say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

No shadow of hatred, no tinge of revenge, can be found in that inspired sentence. From its utterance, under those terrible circumstances, let us learn what He then taught so clearly, namely: That we cannot hate man, however wicked and cruel he may be, and love God at the same time. As an aid to the comprehension of this great truth, it may be well to remember that man, however low and debased we may find him in this world of trial, is not naturally vicious, nor would he of his own inclinations seek to destroy human agency. God made man, and he is, therefore, naturally good. But, under the influences of him who rebelled in heaven, his judgment warps, his heart hardens, his whole nature changes, and, while hatred misplaces love, envy, malice and jealousy supplant in his heart the nobler sentiments of justice, mercy and charity. The sea captain who unselfishly, and without hope of earthly reward, placed the life boats and as many of the helpless and weak as they would safely hold in charge of his under officer and, with the stranger, remained and nobly went down with his ship, was the natural man. The ignoble, selfish, unnatural man would desire to save his own worthless life, at the expense and sacrifice of untold numbers of others.

The natural woman clings to her husband, keeping sacred the covenants made with him, and loving with undying affection the fruits of the union. The unnatural wife and mother is true to neither. Cain as the murderer of his brother, was an unnatural man whose soul was sold to Satan under the provisions of an unholy alliance. And where men steal, rob, commit whoredom, bear false witness, inflict unlawful, cruel punishments, and kill, they, too, have listed to obey him whom they serve. But, notwithstanding all this we should never forget that all such, however debased, corrupt, wicked and low, kept their first estate by fighting in heaven against him, whom, by reason of darkness and destructive influence, they now willingly serve. Let us remember how the angels’ song of rejoicing when the “accuser of his brethren” was cast out of heaven, was turned into lamentation when they beheld the sorrows and woes he would bring upon the inhabitants of the earth, by reason of his treachery, deceit and cruel murders. When we look upon the dark, sinful works of men ever tearing down and destroying but never building up and saving, when we think of these who rack their brains vainly trying to stop the onward progress of God’s work; when we think of proscriptive, special retroactive laws, and those who enacted them, of mission jurists who condemn with malice, of test-oath commissioners who fetter the innocent and free the guilty, of governors who trample beneath their feet the liberties and rights of a people with whom they have no interest and for whom they have no compassion, of marshals who fraternize with criminals while putting spotters and spies on the track of men good and true, who to save their lives would commit no dishonorable act; of juries packed and pledged to convict, and of Christian ministers who gloat and glory in, and hound all this on, how should we feel?

We should feel, while despising their wicked ways, that they who do them are the children of God upon whom Satan hath laid his hand hoping to ruin both body and soul, and cast them down to hell. Can we behold their wickedness, endure their aggressions, persecutions and malice, without hating them? If so we are Saints. If we cannot, are we not sinners?

Read the vision of the three glories and learn that a compassionate Father has decreed that even these shall not be cast into outer darkness, but shall be saved with a glory beyond, far beyond the comprehension of the finite mind.

There is but one class of human beings whom God hath decreed shall endure eternal punishment, utter and everlasting condemnation, and they are the “sons of perdition.” How few, thank God, will be their numbers and, correspondingly how fruitless and barren after all will be the efforts of Satan to frustrate the designs of the Almighty in his glorious plan of human redemption!

You, my brethren and sisters, know what constitutes a “son of perdition.” To become such, a man, by the testimony of the Holy Ghost, must know that God the Father and Jesus the Son live, and are the authors of salvation. Belief is insufficient, positive knowledge is necessary. I say that this which I hold in my hand is a book. Do I base the statement on belief or knowledge? I do not believe it to be, I know it to be a book. And my testimony to the fact would be taken everywhere, because if required to state how I know this to be a book I could say I see the binding, paper, and imprint of the type. I tap the lids and leaves and hear sounds. I smell the binding, paper and ink. I put them to my lips and tongue and taste them, and with my hands and fingers feel them. Thus all my senses combined furnish evidence that together give indisputable knowledge; and yet the testimony, the turning away from which, and thereafter denying the efficacy of the atoning blood of Jesus, putting him, after having positive knowledge, to an open shame again, is as much stronger than my testimony that this is a book, as God is stronger than man. In the one instance, knowledge is founded on the evidence of the five senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling; in the other, every faculty of the soul, every fiber of the body, receives testimony direct from God, through the Holy Ghost, and he who after having received, denies it, sins against light just as much as Satan did when his ambition and pride led him to rebel against God; and no power in heaven, on earth or in hell can keep such a man out of the realms of the damned, where he has, in the exercise of his own agency, elected to go. People without this knowledge cannot be damned; those with it should be if they turn away and deny it. Those who persecute and hate this people, have it not, and while they may have to dwell without the gates of the holy city, among dogs, liars, thieves and whoremongers, they cannot be damned in the literal sense, as we understand eternal condemnation, forever hid from the face of a merciful but just Father. Think of these things, ye Latter-day Saints, who expect to come up through much tribulation while your garments are being washed white in the blood of the Lamb. Chains and fetters may bind your limbs, and the rack and wheel of the Spanish inquisition may be revived to torture your bodies, but prison walls have never yet been made thick enough, nor iron bars strong enough to keep a good man’s prayers from ascending to his God. And if He wills to let trials and difficulties gather around us, they are but for our good. Offenses must needs come, but woe to those by whom they come. I love my family and the Latter-day Saints with my whole heart, and enjoy their society beyond measure, and yet as a test, God may require the sacrifice of their society temporarily, and that my heart remain unhardened. Let the wicked do what they may, remember we cannot hate man and love God at the same time. Love of God banishes or consumes hatred as electricity consumes iron.

While in the city of San Francisco recently, I witnessed an exhibition of the incandescent electric light, produced from stored electricity previously generated and forced into vats, composed of substances unknown to me. These, though filled with the subtle power, are cold and unresponsive to the touch of the hand; but wishing to give a sample of the destructive agency of the power sleeping in those vats, the professor in charge requested us to note the result when touched with the piece of wire held in his hand. While explaining, the piece of wire turned in his hands accidentally, and fell about midway of its length across one of the vats, and instantly, as quick as lightning, for it was lightning, it became ten thousand flying sparks, and that part in the professor’s hand like molten lead, was burning into the flesh before he could shake off the liquid mass. It is said that electricity once generated, remains electricity until it comes in contact with substances which, consuming, it returns to its original ungenerated condition. Thus it may be seen how man plays, as a child with sharp tools, with agencies that may consume him instantaneously. Subservient to his call he flashes thought around the world by means of electric wires, conveys his voice thousands of miles, and rivals the light of the sun, but when the universe shall roll up like a scroll, the earth melt with fervent heat, and mountains run down like wax, unregenerate man, full of pride, will learn what God hath in reserve for those who hate Him and despise His works. As this earth was cleansed by a literal baptism of water, so will it be purified by a literal baptism of fire, and all the proud and those who love iniquity, will be burned up, even as stubble is consumed by fire. Happy then will ye be if you have been tried as gold in the furnace seven times heated. Better welcome a few trials now, that tend to increase your love of God and of your fellow man, than to go heedlessly like the dumb brute, to the sacrifice. Let us pray only for deliverance from such trials as harden the heart and wither the soul, but not from such as, bearing patiently, testify of integrity. What matters trials, persecutions, scorns, scoffs and contempt so long as we remain true to God, and the covenants we have made with Him and each other? So long as we violate neither these nor our consciences, which should be void of offense, we are safe. But in our struggles to maintain the right in a world filled with strife, we may draw consolation in reflecting upon the fact that every pure thought coming to us from above, meets fierce opposition, and our fallen natures contend against its permanent lodgment in our hearts; and in like manner every heaven-born truth has in every instance, had to fight its way inch by inch before it could bear abundantly the fruits of righteousness. Nothing good has come into this world since the fall of man, that has not met the fierce, concentrated and persistent opposition and hatred of the wicked. Thus we find how true is the inspired saying: “there must needs be an opposition in all things.” Enlightened, inspired thoughts crystallizing into undying truths, have in every age caused great sacrifices, often human life to establish them, but those who have had the moral and physical courage to stand by their convictions in life or death, shine as beacon lights along the shores of time, and their works will bear glorious fruits in eternity.

Let us endeavor to imitate all worthy examples, following as nearly as we can in the footprints of our Master, who, if we are faithful unto death, will give us the crown of life with the keys of death, hell and the grave, by which we may descend down into the depth of darkness and misery into the abode of the damned, and there bid those who have despised, hated and persecuted us, look up, repent, and receive deliverance at the hands of a compassionate Father, whose mercy and salvation extend beyond the grave into eternity. Thus, in becoming mediators, ministers to those who despitefully used us, we shall find the mystery of glory that cometh from doing good for evil and loving those who have hated us.

May God grant that we may speedily and thoroughly learn the great lessons that He is now seeking to teach us, and which are of so much importance we should learn. The trials through which we are now passing are but a part of the great program of the Almighty, long since predicted by His holy prophets. Let us meet them in a proper spirit, trusting in Him always, and our victory will be complete. Amen.

Love of Home—Visit to Friends—Sent to Preside Over the European Mission—Former Ill-Health in England—Extensive System of Tract Distribution Inaugurated—Tribute to the Worth and Efficiency of the Missionaries—Report of the Condition of the Work in Various European Countries—Hatred Manifested Towards Us After the Murder of Our Brethren in Tennessee—America the Haven of Freedom—Truth Has Ever Met With Persecution—Professed Ministers of the Gospel our Greatest Enemies—No One Injured By Our Principles—Plural Marriage—The Social Evil—Conclusion

Discourse by Apostle John Henry Smith, delivered at the Annual Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Monday Morning, April 6th, 1885.

It affords me pleasure to meet again with the Saints in Zion, and to have the privilege of mingling with the people of God in a general conference. It is sometime since I had this privilege, and I can assure you that I appreciate it very much. I do not think it is possible for me to express in proper language my feelings in regard to my mountain home. I never learned but one verse of poetry in my life, and that one I have repeated many times, and I do not know but what it would be well for me to repeat it this morning. The verse to which I allude says:

“There is a magical tie in the land of my home, That the heart cannot break, though the footsteps may roam, Be that land where it may, at the line or the pole, It still holds the magnet that draws back my soul.”

Such is the case this morning in arising to address you for a short time. What the Lord may have for me to say to you I cannot imagine. For a few months past I have not addressed any congregations; I have been visiting; I have been reasoning with my friends upon the principles of the Gospel, and seeking to enlighten them in regard to my position. Having accepted the Gospel, and dedicated my life to the preaching of the same, I was desirous that my kindred should hear it. I have not been idle, but have been laboring with zeal to impress upon them the nature of the latter-day work. I did not go there expecting to make converts but to relieve my friends of prejudice. I have found, so to speak, that my utterances have fallen on stony ground outside of my kindred and that while I was re ceived with kindness, and trust that good may in time come from my labors in certain directions, yet I cannot say, as many have said, that I have accomplished much good, and that I have removed a world of prejudice. I trust, however, that I may have done some good during the past few weeks among my kindred in the Eastern States.

As you are aware, in 1882 I was sent by my brethren to preside for a season over the European mission. I proceeded to my field of labor with some dubiety in regard to my own self. My former experience upon the island of Great Britain had been such that I was really fearful in regard to my health. For five years after my first mission to the British Isles, I had never passed a night in sound and perfect sleep. I suffered from a cold contracted on that mission. On my departure in 1882, however, my brethren promised me I should go in peace; that I should enjoy good health; that the blessings of the Lord should be around me; and that I should be enabled to accomplish the object for which I was sent forth. And while I went with some foreboding with regard to myself, still it appears I had to return to Great Britain, to lose that which had seized upon me on a former mission.

I found upon my arrival in that land a corps of very excellent Elders. The mission was in a very good condition, with an earnest and determined lot of missionaries who were willing to do anything that might be required at their hands for the furtherance of the purposes of the Lord. I found, however, upon investigation and mingling with my brethren, that the road seemed to be hedged up in a manner so that they could not accomplish that which their hearts desired. After visiting various conferences, and giving the brethren such instructions and counsel as the spirit suggested as to the best method to reach the people, getting their views and the result of their experience in the field, some of them having been there for a year or two—it was decided, on the suggestion of several, that an effort be made to distribute more of the written word than had heretofore been done. Communications were addressed to the Presidency of the Church, and by their consent a system of tract distribution was inaugurated and has been followed systematically from that day to this. What the result may be in the future we cannot say. Nevertheless, we have done the best we could in our ministrations among the people, and have striven with the power that the Lord has given us to warn our fellow men of the reestablishment of the Kingdom of God. The Elders that have been sent to labor under my watchcare and counsel, have been men of worth. It is a matter of pride to me that those who have been sent to labor under my direction have been good and humble men. Many of them have been young men, reared in these mountains—that were taken from the farm, from the stock range, from the store, and from the work bench. They had received comparatively little training in the ministry; but a few weeks time has developed them, and they have gone forward in faith; the Lord has blessed them in their administrations. I have had much joy and satisfaction in laboring with them, and in all my ministrations and counsels to them I believe they have listened to them and sought to the best of their ability to carry out these counsels, and labor for the advancement of the work of the Lord.

Since I returned home there has nothing afforded me greater pleasure than during this conference to take into my arms and press to my breast the men that have been laboring in the same cause as myself; for I respect and honor them as I would my own brother. These sentiments are from the heart in regard to them, and I trust that their experience with me and our acquaintance, and the friendship that springs up amid adversity and trials, may be as lasting as life itself.

I am pleased to report that in Great Britain we continue to do some baptizing. During my administration in that land a little new ground, or rather ground that had been worked years ago and been abandoned, has been opened up in various places. We have gained a foothold in Finland, and a few have been baptized in that land. Brother Fjelsted sent some native Elders into that section of country. Some men that were inspired with zeal, and who were humble, and who were ready to meet any trial and difficulty that might come in their way, succeeded in opening a little door. Seed has been sown. Away north on the borders of Prussia and Russia, an opening has been made through a native who had been ordained by Brother J. A. Smith, of Cache Valley, and there is a prospect of the Gospel being introduced in that country. We have also made a little effort to introduce the Gospel in Austria. Brother Beisinger has been there and labored some time. Brother Hammer was there also, but was run off by the authorities. Brother Beisinger and Brother Jennings are now, I suppose, in Austria, probably in Bohemia. I felt while in Switzerland, in December, that it would be impossible for me to return home without another effort being made to open up the Gospel to Austria, although the brethren had already suffered considerable in that land. The authorities there do not treat our Elders as they should; but I trust that by wisdom and prudence, the Gospel may be preached, and that the inhabitants thereof—a fine race of people—may sense their position and embrace the truth. We have also made an effort to establish ourselves in Turkey, and I trust that a work will be opened up there. A few baptisms have already been made.

The brethren throughout the British Isles have been making efforts to introduce the Gospel in every corner and place where opportunity presented itself. I would say, however, that the England of a few years ago is not the England of today. While the same spirit of liberty—the love of the rights of man—may exist among the English people, still that spirit of hospitality that characterized them years and years ago, seems to be on the wane. Many people are out of employment, the numbers that are wandering around begging their bread, closes, in a measure the hearts of the people, and they feel that they cannot carry the loads that they have been carrying. Still, among the Latter-day Saints, the same hospitality is to be found. Their hearts are as warm today as they ever were.

We have made recently—through the labors of Brothers Wilson and Marshall, two Irish brethren—an opening in the north of Ireland, and we trust that with care much good will result in that neighborhood. Some very fine people have embraced the Gospel there, people in good circumstances, and who, inspired with zeal, desire to spread the principles of the Gospel. And thus little by little we accomplish the object of our mission, and the world is being warned. When I left England there were three valley Elders in Ireland, and I hope others may be added to their number before long, so that the work may spread at least in the protestant portion of that country. I am inclined to believe that there are hundreds and thousands of people in Ireland who will receive the Gospel. My prejudices in regard to the Irish people have been wiped away in mingling among them. I find them among the purest of the stocks upon the earth. Virtue is held at a high premium among them. The statistics of Great Britain show this fact; that illegitimate births in Ireland constitute 3 percent. In England six, in Scotland nine. I say this speaks volumes for Ireland, and I trust that the Gospel may spread in that land and that thousands may receive its truths.

I have visited nearly all parts of the mission—at least where there are any Saints, and some portions where there are none. I went to Italy in the hope that I might see some chance of making an opening in that country. I came very near having two of the Elders starved by staying there. I was determined, however, to try and introduce the Gospel. There are some sections of the country that are Protestant, and I trust there may be a time come when the Gospel will spread among that people. But I regard Italy as in such a condition that there are but few chances at the present time for any opening to be made. The Italians are bound up in the religious faith that they have been reared in, or they are infidel almost entirely. I noticed in my attendance at the churches, that they are usually well filled with priests and beggars, and that few, comparatively speaking, of the well-to-do classes, or the middle classes, or the better informed classes, were paying any attention whatever to religious observance.

I have also during my administration in the British mission, sought to have the Gospel preached among the French people. Brother Bunot and Brother West made an effort on the Island of Jersey. Brother Bunot was sent to France, and he stayed there just as long as he could possibly live, using his own means, and striving by every means in his power to open some door to his countrymen. Brother Bunot is a man who was educated for the Catholic ministry, a man of intelligence and learning, and a humble man who did everything in his power to warn his countrymen. He was not successful in accomplishing the desires of his heart. On the borders of Switzerland and France a number of the Elders have labored, and while we have not reaped as we could have wished to have done, still there has been satisfaction in the labors we have performed; for we realize that it is not only a day of gleaning and gathering the people, but it is also a day of warning.

I will say here, that about the time our brethren in the southern States were murdered in cold blood, a wave of hatred seemed to have been engendered in the minds of the people in every direction. The press of Europe teemed with the most horrid stories that can be imagined. Everything that had ever been thought of everything that had ever been manufactured for partisan purposes in our own land was scattered broadcast throughout Europe, and the masses of the people were warned in every direction in regard to us. And not only were they warned through the newspapers, but lecturers began to take the field in every direction, and incite the people not to avoid our meetings, but on the contrary to follow us up and to mob us, giving us no chance to explain to them the principles of the Gospel, or represent ourselves as we should. This feeling has been growing in power from that time until the time I left that land. But as heretofore a cool wave will by and by come along and as a result of the heated condition of the people over the Mormon problem, and the efforts that have been made to impede the Lord’s work, people will begin to inquire, thoughtful people will look into the truth, and the work will continue to grow in the future as it has done in the past. It is true that people do not come by hundreds and thousands to hear the good word of life and salvation; but the eyes of the world are directed to this our mountain home. They recognize the force of the utterance of Henry Ward Beecher, when he said: “Gentlemen, say what you will, but yonder in the Rocky Mountains is the phenomenon of the nineteenth century.” It is a living fact that people in every land and clime are turning their eyes towards this region of country, and wondering what will be the upshot of the problem that is being worked out by the Latter-day Saints in their western home. Men of intelligence are traveling; they are mingling among our people; they see their industry; they recognize the perseverance they have manifested; they see the obstacles they have overcome; they recognize in them a growing race that knows no failure, that meets no rebuff, that cannot understand nor sense what defeat means; and they see in the Latter-day Saints the growth and development of a power that will accomplish its object in the earth, and that object Deity has designed it should accomplish—the gathering in of the honest in heart, the establishment of righteousness, the combating of wickedness, the driving back of the forces of evil as they cluster around the hearts of men and that are leading men step by step to inevitable shame and destruction.

It affords me pleasure, my brethren and sisters, to again put my feet on the soil of America. I recognize in it the home of a free man. There may be those who desire to pervert this freedom, who may seek to engender strife and drive us from the soil upon which we live; there may be those who seek to trample upon the rights and liberties of man; but I believe from the bottom of my heart that Deity has stamped it upon this soil, that He has written it throughout the universe, that in this land His work should prosper. That it should go forward and increase until its great destiny shall be accomplished; that this is the spot chosen, that here it will be nourished, here it will grow, here it will go forward, and the nations of the earth will look upon it and recognize it as the great force that will conquer the earth and bring subject to it the powers that exist thereon; and all this will be brought about by the law of righteousness, the law of truth, the law of God given to mankind for their guidance and control, and they will accept it and live in accordance with its principles. You and I may tread a thorny path; it may be strewn with rugged places; we may break the flesh upon our hands, and be bruised in our forward movement; but the work will advance and progress. Deity is our friend, our guide, our protector. All we need do as a people is to keep our eye upon the mark of divine truth; move forward without fear, and ask no favors so far as mankind is concerned; only seek to do right by our fellow creatures. Hate no one. I dare not hate any man upon the face of the earth. No matter how vile, how wicked, how corrupt he may be, if I find him in want of a friend I would extend to him the hand of friendship; I would give him bread if he was hungry; water if he was thirsty; clothing if he was naked; for I would recognize in him the fact that he was a creation of my Father, and I would not dare to hate him, no matter how vile he might be. I might hate the principles he had espoused; the wicked acts of which he was guilty; but I would recognize in him something that I should seek to benefit, bless and save, and I would use all the powers God had bestowed upon me in that direction.

“Brother Smith,” some may say, “don’t you feel uneasy over the condition of things that now exists in our Territory?” I have sometimes wished that things were not as they are. As I have wandered in the earth and stood up in the streets and parks and halls preaching the Gospel, I have said to myself, I wish that my Father had not set me to this work; I wish that these things were not required at my hands. I have sometimes felt timid in being brought in contact with the world, and the efforts that were being made against me and my brethren. I have wished it could be otherwise, and yet when I stop and reflect, when I look over the history of the past, when I read the facts as history brings them to us, I see no other way, I see no other road to travel. Every fiber of my being is convinced of the truth of this Gospel. It is stamped upon every feature, upon every part of my being. I regard it as dearer than life and everything else upon the face of the earth. Why need I be fearful, why need I tremble, why need I be wrought up at the prospect that is before us? No great system has ever been established upon the face of the earth without much labor and perseverance. Look at the inventions that have been brought out and the efforts that have been directed against them, even in those things that were to be utilized for our own clothing, for our own movements from place to place, or for the comfort and convenience of our homes. The men that have invented these things have met with continual persecution. They have struggled against nature itself; and why need we, who have had given to us the great plan of life and salvation, that which will bring us back into the presence of God, that which stamps upon our souls the prospect of eternal union with our wives and our children, and of mingling with our friends and relatives that have gone before—why need we fear the hand of our enemies. Who cannot stand a few weeks of imprisonment, a few months of torture, a few years of difficulty, that they may offer an offering in righteousness to that God that called them forth? Not one of us. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, my brethren and sisters as an individual, I am perfectly happy, just as happy as I can possibly be under the circumstances in which we are placed. I have no worry nor concern. One of my uncles, whose home I left but a few weeks ago warned me that certain things were inevitable; that it was impossible for us to hope to fight longer these things our pronounced enemies were seeking to bring upon us. All I said to him was, “Wait and see.” That is what I propose to do—wait and see, just wait and see. I have been waiting from my childhood, and expect to continue to wait. It is possible that a few men like myself maybe hustled within the prison walls; it is possible that a few “Mormons” may be outraged and banished from their native land; it is possible that men may follow us to the death; but while men die, systems continue to live and grow, and the powers of earth and hell can never check their advancement and development. Such is the case in regard to the work we have embraced. It is a living work. It is one of the active forces in nature. It is backed by the powers of heaven, and ye are its emissaries sent here at this time to aid in its advancement. The Gospel must be preached; the nations of the earth must be warned, and this nation, or any other nation, will fall beneath the judgment of an enraged God if they reject the message of glad tidings, which our Father has offered them for their exaltation in His kingdom. The work of God must conquer every foe, it must overcome every opposing force, and it will accomplish that destiny as sure as there is a God in heaven. Write it upon the page of history; stamp it upon your souls; for deity has designed that it should be the case.

I find in mingling among the people in the east, that the moving force today against the Latter-day Saints is not the politicians of the country. The politicians, so far as they are concerned would care little about us, but there are behind them the people. There are first the ministers of the Gospel. I do not desire to speak harshly of the ministers that live among us, or make charges against them, for I have been away for some time; but this fact is patent to every one—that the fervor against the “Mormons” is worked up right from our own homes, and largely by Christian ministers. Letters are written to the ministers of the country; the ministers work upon their flocks. Go among many of the peoples of the east—among the old Puritan stock, of which my fathers are descendants—and you will find that the tales of the horrors of Mormonism are of the most startling character. This I discovered while visiting among my relatives in New England.

They were all more or less prejudiced against Mormonism; but I trust that the little light I was able to throw upon the question may result in good. The New Englanders as a rule, have but small families, and the evil practices that are resorted to by many to prevent their having children at all, will be the means of carrying them down to the pit.

Now, brethren and sisters, whom have we wronged? Whom have we wronged by peopling this desert land? Nobody. If there was anybody wronged it was the red man, and he has not been wronged but blessed; for we have tried to feed instead of fight him. The first principle of the Gospel is faith. Whom have we hurt if we have faith? Then there is the principle of repentance. Whom have we injured if we have repented? Is anybody hurt? Is the government hurt? Does repentance beget hostility to the government? If we make a covenant with God in the waters of baptism that we will be pure, is anybody wronged? No! Have we plotted for the overthrow and destruction of the government in which we live because the hands of the servants of God have been laid upon our heads and they have bestowed upon us the Holy Ghost, the witness of the Spirit that shall guide us into all truth? No. Have you or I made a contract with our God to wage antagonism to the institutions of the country in which we live, or sign allegiance to any other government upon the earth? I have not. I have sworn allegiance to the government in which I live. My labors as a man are in the interests of humanity—the freedom of man; that his conscience may not be chained up; that his body may not be bowed down with the yoke of tyranny; but that before God he may stand erect, fearless and strong, determined to benefit and bless the human family. Need we be fearful in regard to these things? I think not. There is one that will recompense at the last day; and the man who denies the other his liberties, who binds him in chains, who ties him to the rack, is the man who should tremble when the reckoning of Deity is made with His sons and daughters. We might go through all the principles of the faith we have espoused and then ask who is wronged? We have made grass grow where it did not grow before. If we have built homes, if we pay taxes for the sustenance and government of the cities and towns that are to be found upon this once sterile spot, and which was once the great American desert, who is wronged? No one. Who has raised a standard against the government in which we live? Not one of us. But you believe in the Priesthood. You accept of a system of government that is most perfect on the face of the earth. Who is wronged if we do? You have not changed it. It has not changed you. It has not wronged you; and that which we have accepted we have accepted of our own free will and choice, recognizing the fact that Deity has required it at our hands. Who is injured if my wife makes a sacrifice with me and takes into our home one of her sisters and makes her my wife. If she makes the sacrifice; if I shoulder the additional responsibility, and open the door that will save one of Eve’s fair daughters, who is wronged? Do I plot for the overthrow of the government, the breaking in pieces of the powers that be, because I desire that my sister or my daughter, my aunt or my cousin may be preserved from the evils thrown around them by the systems that man has created? No. God has laid upon every woman the decree placed upon mother Eve—multiply and replenish the earth. In sections of the land in which we live, thousands of women today must become the play things of some vile wretch, if they answer the design of their being. My whole being is convinced of the fact—that it is a decree of God Himself that these women should have a chance to marry, and that He Himself has opened the door. He Himself has established the principle. I want my daughters married as I desired to marry myself; I want them honored wives, whether plural ones or otherwise, no matter who may seek to brand their offspring as infamous. I know—for God has given me the witness, He has stamped it upon this heart that they who come through that lineage are as much honored of God and approved of Him, as any that have ever walked His footstool from the day that this earth was peopled until the day in which we live. This principle was given for a purpose, and that purpose is the salvation of the female sex as well as the male sex. Go to Great Britain, and you will find a million more women than men moving upon the streets of the great cities. Go up the Strand in London; Go up Lime Street, in Liverpool; and the streets in Manchester; go into any of the leading streets of the great cities of the world, and gaze upon as fine specimens of womanhood as our Father ever put breath into. What are their prospects in life? What is written across their brow? Infamy, shame—going to their graves the victims of loathsome disease. It is not one, it is not two or three; but it is millions of them that are going this inevitable road. Who is responsible? Who placed upon them the interdict, preventing them, from fulfilling the object of their creation? Not God; for He made His law so liberal and established principle so correct that there was no necessity for such a thing. It is man that has introduced it; it is man that has overturned the condition of society; it is man that has turned his daughter into the street. I say again and again that the “Mormon” people can wait the result of this thing without fear; they can afford to suffer pains and penalties if that will but open the door by which the fair daughters of Eve can be redeemed from the position in which they are placed and be made honored and respected women of society.

The speaker concluded by reiterating his allegiance to the American government, and exhorting the Saints to be faithful in keeping the commandments of God in all things.

Prosperous Condition of the Latter-Day Saints in the Valleys of the Mountains—The Kingdom of God is One of Peace, While Those of the World Are Kingdoms of War and Oppression—Exhortations to Faithfulness—We Must Trust in God and He Will Preserve Us—The Saints Are Not Using Carnal Weapons to Defend Themselves Against the Indians, Nor Against Their Enemies—If Necessary, We Should be Willing to Give Our Lives for the Cause of Truth—The Blessings of God Invoked Upon the Saints

Remarks by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the General Conference, held in Logan, on the 6th April, 1885.

The Latter-day Saints have very great reason to rejoice and to be exceedingly glad before our Father who is in heaven and before the people here on the earth. If we take a look at our condition, and consider the same carefully—whether it be in temporal matters or in spiritual concerns—we are better and more comfortably situated today than any other people of the same number anywhere on God’s footstool. If we take into consideration our present condition as to the comforts of life, we are better situated today with grain in our granaries and food in our houses, than any other people of the same number upon the face of the earth, or that can be found located together upon the same extent of territory anywhere. If we take into consideration our condition as to homes, there is a greater proportion of this people today who have comfortable homes of their own than can be found anywhere else; more of them have no need to strive for the privilege of earning a living, as a great many of our people had to do before they were gathered when they often found it difficult to obtain employment, and even if successful were obliged to work by the piece or by the day, receiving their pay regularly at the end of the week, and in this way measuring the conditions of their living by the amount of means which they were permitted to earn. In this manner life or existence and its comforts were measured out to them. There was comparatively no room for the exercise of enterprise, of skill, of native wit, and those qualities which God has placed in their nature, and which He designed they should practice and thus become wise and skilled by their own ingenuity.

We sometimes feel that we are oppressed, that we are pinched and persecuted by the people who are intruding upon our rights, and trampling upon our liberties, but as yet we know but little, comparatively speaking about oppression. The people of the countries of Asia and of Europe, with all of the liberty that they enjoy, are under the most severe daily oppression, continued dependence and subordination to those that are over them. In those countries there is a feeling of fear—fear of their rulers, terror in their minds caused by the dread of threatening war which is liable at any time to come upon them with all its horrors. In every national dispute that arises they see and feel at once the liability that their sons, fathers, neighbors and kinsmen may be drafted and sent off to the war, perhaps never to return. And their hearts are filled with fear and anxiety over this and other similar things.

We see in newspapers that in Egypt, China, Central America, and almost everywhere else the air is thick with the mists and clouds of war. Where is the mother or sister, father or son among us that is today away from one of their kindred on account of war? The worst you have to dread is a short imprisonment and a few hundred dollars fine; that is the worst thing you can find to mourn and worry over. Why, bless your dear souls, there is not another community of the same number anywhere on the whole earth in which there is to be found such settled peace as right here among this very people that are before me, and the people that fill this territory all around us. And yet you think the times are terribly hard with your granaries full of wheat that you cannot sell, with large quantities of potatoes and vegetables that you cannot dispose of, with flocks and herds about you; because you cannot sell your products and get as good prices as you would like, some of you think you are in a terribly distressed condition (Laughter).

I wish the Saints would put away these foolish ideas. I want to have you realize that you are in a condition of peace and plenty, with liberty, too, for God has made you free. God has made His people free from the bondage of sin and death; we are at liberty, and there is no power on the earth that has the ability to fasten the shackles of sin and Satan upon us. It all depends upon our own conduct, as to whether we are and shall continue free.

In almost all of the countries from which you came and in the nations that surrounded you in your former homes, people are taxed with a taxation that is oppressive. On the green Isle of Ireland, where the poor and afflicted are numerous there are people who have to pay a rent of five pounds an acre for land, and they must raise sufficient off it to support their families, and raise the money to pay the rent. But here we can buy or take up land, and have it, too, for the taking, but some of us consider it an awful job to fence it (Laughter). No, we don’t know anything about oppression, as compared with the Jews, the Poles and the Irish. In older portions of the United States, we never could have enjoyed the blessings we enjoy here; we never could have located and built up our towns and cities; as it was the mobs plundered us of our homes and drove us out here to this part of the earth. It was like a new world; it looked so entirely new, that it seemed as if the work of creation was scarcely finished. By the blessing of God we brought life with us and life came from heaven; life that animated the soil under our feet; that tempered and controlled the elements over our heads; so that in these high valleys and canyons, where it was thought no grain or fruit could be raised, with snow and frost every month in the year—now we raise good crops and varieties of fruits. A few years ago it was a problem whether an apple or a peach could be raised here in Cache valley; but it is not long since her enterprising fruit growers took the premium in the Territorial Fair for the best collection of apples to be found in the Territory.

Who has done this for us? It is the Lord our God. He brought us to this land as He brought the children of Israel to the land of Judea, which He gave to them and to their children after them, to be their inheritance forever.

I want to have us consider these things; and instead of being anxious and worried, troubled and filled with fear, learn to rely upon the arm of the Lord and trust Him for His goodness; cultivate the peace of heaven and let the love of God dwell in our hearts. Though our enemies may harass, trouble, and disturb us; the trouble that they will bring upon us will be but as a drop in the bucket compared with what will come upon them by and by. They cannot stop the work of God. His decree has established it. We have the promise that it never shall be overthrown or given to another people. Understand it. This form of government which the Lord has given to us, is the strongest form of government that was ever revealed to man. The governments of the world have power to oppress, annoy, make war upon and destroy men from the face of the earth. But this Kingdom that God has given to His people is to be a kingdom of peace, a kingdom of righteousness, and its righteousness is going to exalt His people, to make them become the greatest people on the face of the earth, filled with power, wisdom and intelligence that all the surrounding nations will look up to.

The people that are around us in our midst, and who wish to dictate to us; those who sit in the council chambers to make laws against us and our holy faith, and thereby make us offenders—are themselves filled with fear and anxiety at what is taking place in this and other nations. This spirit of fear will increase upon them. Look at the dread they experienced at the work of the dynamiters in the old country, and that is but a beginning of what is to come. These secret societies will work great mischief and death, with frequent assassinations, and by and by these things will come so thick and fast that people will not know what way to escape. The Lord is gathering His people together that He may deal with them by themselves. The great trouble is, that we have too many among us who are careless and indifferent; that are wicked and sinful; that ought to be dealt with and cut off the Church. There are plenty who are ready to sell their brethren into the hands of their enemies, but the day will come, when they will realize the awful consequence of their acts. We have not much to fear unless we offend the God whom we agreed to serve.

Brethren and sisters, let not your hearts be troubled. Obey the commandments of God, keep your covenants inviolate and learn to live by every word that proceeds from Him and the constituted authorities of His Church—and if you find trials in your pathway you will find help to endure them. Parents, cultivate affection toward each other, toward your children and toward all included in your households; do right by your wives, your husband, your children and your God. You will find that all the rest will come right in its own due time. The Lord will bring it about in so strange and simple a manner that it will be astonishing to us when we find out how He has done it. We cannot go to the Bible, Book of Mormon or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, to be informed how this, that and the other thing will be solved and arranged. We can read how He did anciently according to the circumstances that surrounded His people then; but we cannot find out His methods and plans of today only as He manifests them to us by the spirit of revelation. His ways are past finding out. He tells us that Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. We must remember this. If we would have power with God and with the angels, it must be because of our diligent attention to God, to the work He has called us to do, and we must see that we establish it in the earth. Every man should warn his neighbor; should teach his children and his family, and establish righteousness in his household. Presidents and Bishops should deal with transgressors in the Church, that they may repent, or be cut off. It is that righteousness may be established in the earth that the Lord has commenced His work again, that it may be established not in a little place, but in all the land, and it shall spread until His righteous word and work shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the mighty deep.

Do not let anything divert you from the path of duty; let nothing cause you to commit an overt act. Honor and respect the laws of the land as far as possible, consistent with the laws and commandments of God. Observe and obey every constitutional law. When our enemies place us in violation of a law of the land, it is painful to us, and it is our trial, but the respon sibility of it rests with them. Let us make up our minds to bear this crusade of legal persecution with fortitude as Saints have had to do in all ages of Gospel reform, because they believed in the revelations of Jesus Christ. We have not revolted against any law of the land; we have not contended against any constitutional principle, law or doctrine that could benefit, improve or exalt the human family, nor anything that could promote the pursuit of happiness—we seek after all these things. But, our Congressmen, Governors and Judges, in the supreme wisdom with which they imagine they are endowed, impose penalties upon God’s people for keeping His commandments. Thus we see that when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

We ought to gain by all this experience valuable knowledge. We want to profit by it. Let every man question himself: “Can I stand this or that without getting angry!” Or can we be righteously angry and sin not? If not we should go into our closets and ask God for that measure of His spirit that is necessary to sustain us in a proper frame of mind. This is the kind of experience, the very kind of discipline that is necessary for us, to make us find out whether we will draw near to Him and have fellowship, and communion with Him. These things are all for our experience, for our profit. The Lord has made known to us that the days we live in are dark with threatenings of war. The hour of his judgment is nigh at hand. We have seen one terrible war in our land—and it is well that we should take heed to His counsels. Wars and rumors of wars are spreading abroad upon the face of the earth, and it will come to pass before a great while that people will be so far from having peace that they must either take up the sword to contend against their neighbor, or flee to Zion and gather with God’s people. You will see this come to pass. Mark my words. All kinds and conditions of people will desire to come here and make homes with us. You will see the day when it will be as hard to keep the wicked away from us as it ever has been to get people to join us. Mark that, too. I tell you that a people with full granaries, a people of peace and prosperity, is a people that will be sought after by the peoples of the nations of the earth, and things cannot always go on in the way they are going with us, without bringing down upon our oppressors the retribution of an offended God. We ought to rely upon His promises. These experiences are well calculated to do us good, and teach us to trust in the Lord.

Nor should we forget that when a governor of unsavory memory forbade the use of the militia alike for defense against Indian depredations, as well as for Fourth of July celebrations; that since that date, no single predatory excursion of the red man has been experienced by any one of our settlements. On the contrary it would seem that all use of firearms for any kind of military defense had become entirely obsolete—gone into utter desuetude—so entirely at peace have the Lamanites become, that instead of either noise of war, or even the apprehension thereof, there is given us of God to enjoy the most settled peace from the red man on all our borders round; and now having assisted to build our temples, they are enjoying with us the heavenly blessing bestowed therein. Instead of roaming wild and lawlessly over the plains, numbers have renounced their tribal relations, sworn allegiance to government, have preempted or homesteaded lands of the public domain, are raising crops, cultivating their flocks and herds, are building and occupying comfortable dwellings, as good neighbors among their white brethren, as is evidenced at Washakie in Oneida Stake, and at Indianola in the San Pete Stake. Their schools are turning out scholars in the elementary branches of good common school education.

Not only has the need of firearms been done away as between us and the natives, but we have very great reason to be thankful that in the present unholy crusade against the Church the onslaught has not been with fire and the sword as in former times, but with mind and moral suasion in the application of the law by a perversion of many of its well-settled methods of interpretation, construction and application. These conclusions have been the implements and the tactics of the present warfare.

It is devoutly to be hoped that no one with a zeal which is not according to knowledge shall commit an overt act that shall precipitate a conflict with carnal weapons and give the enemy an occasion or opportunity to shed the blood of the Saints or to increase their unhallowed oppressions upon us.

Since, then, the weapons of our warfare are not powder, lead and fine steel; let us put on the whole armor of God; banish unrighteousness from our midst, and we or our children shall see the governments of this world become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ in His own due time, for which all Saints should ever labor and pray.

We have had a great deal of good instruction during this conference. I have been much edified myself in hearing my brethren talk, and I am sure you all have. The teachings which have been given are of a character to promote good feelings between brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers, parents and children, and it is pleasant to hear of each other’s welfare.

When we go to our respective homes let us go with the determination to stand steadfast in the faith. I am sure that after such a conference as this every honest soul who has met with us, if he wanted a portion of the bread of life, has received that portion, has received something which he can take home for his own use—some words of encouragement, some strengthening exhortation, some good words that will help to put away weakness and enable the feeble to say I am strong in the Lord.

I pray God to bless you, to comfort your hearts; to increase your faith towards Him; to strengthen you that you may not be overcome of sin, and that you may seek in all things to overcome evil with good. Remember and pray for the brethren—our leaders. We do not know what awaits us; we care but little. The main thing devolving upon us is to do our duty acceptably day by day. We will trust in God and go forward. What if it were necessary that some of our lives should be taken? There is no need for fear or worriment about it. It has always been so when God had a people on the earth. Some of the best lives have been taken—taken as witnesses in yonder heavens to testify to facts as they exist here. Do you understand this? It is in accordance with the great principles of eternal justice which rule and regulate in heaven with a great deal more precision and certainty than here on the earth. The Lord has told us how He does business in some of these matters before the councils of the Church, namely by the voice of two or three witnesses every word is to be established, and so it has to be up yonder. Perhaps it is necessary once in a while to have some go in that kind of a way. Well don’t get scared about that. We have all to die some day. It will be all right whether it shall be tomorrow or next week, if we keep the commandments of God in all matters. Choose the wise and the perfect way, and if we are right we will be willing to say, “O Lord, thy will be done.” If when we embraced the Gospel we placed our all upon the altar, it is of very little consequence about all these things. For if we seek to save our lives we may lose them, but if we lose them in the service of God, we shall find life eternal.

I pray that God may bless us all; you who are parents, should bless your children—that they may render more loving obedience to you, that you may be more affectionate to them, remembering the union in which you have been united and in which you have been sealed; that you may be strengthened of the Holy Ghost, and be enabled to go into the holy temples and set yourselves in order before the Lord; that you may obtain those eternal gifts that shall bring an eternal weight of glory to your household, families, friends and kindred; that you may have the full assurance of the promises of God, and have joy to animate, stimulate and sustain you through every trying circumstance in life, and bring you safely back into the presence of our heavenly Father. Amen.

Present Conditions—The Hatred of the World Toward the Saints—Why the Leaders of the Church Are Attacked—The Purpose of Persecution—The Saints Need not Be Afflicted or Worried About the Present State of Affairs—The Sifting Process—The Epistle of the First Presidency—Work of God Always Met With Opposition—The Gospel Revealed in this Day Was the Gospel that Was Revealed to Adam—More Revelation to Be Given—Saints Must not Borrow Trouble—When a Nation Perverts Justice, Then Commences Its Downfall—The Constitution of the United States—Saints Must Commit No Overt Act—Exhortation to Faithfulness—Conclusion

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the Annual Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th, 1885.

It is very pleasing and it is also an occasion of heartfelt gratitude to be permitted to meet, so many of us, this morning and under such favorable circumstances as those which surround us; even the elements conspire to make our coming together convenient and agreeable. Circumstances are such as prevent our brethren of the First Presidency and several of the Twelve Apostles from being with us, and perhaps others from among the people, who would be glad to be with us at this General Conference, but who deem it advisable, or are so situated that they cannot consistently attend. Let us that have come together seek unto the Lord for His Spirit and His guidance, that we may receive that measure of grace and blessing at His hand which we need under the present conditions which attend upon us.

If any evidence were wanting to indicate to the doubtful, the unbelieving, or the half-hearted, as to whether we are of the world or the world of us, we are obtaining daily evidence of the fact that we are not of the world. The Savior told the brethren that sojourned with Him: “If ye were of the world, the world would love you: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The same reason essentially exists today that existed then. But the Lord has made very gracious and precious promises to His people—that where only two or three are agreed as touching matters pertaining to the interest of His Kingdom and the honor of His name, their prayers shall be heard. There never was a day since the Church has been organized in these last days that the Saints had better reasons, or more of them, to be strong and confident in God their living Head, than they have this morning. We need to know and realize that our trust is in Him and not in man, for woe! to him that putteth his trust in man and maketh flesh his arm. God has undertaken to perform a work in the earth which is going to astonish the world, and which will give to His name honor, and glory, power and dominion. Now, all these things that occur—I need not go into any enumeration of them, because in all of your different settlements circumstances and conditions are more or less varied—it has been the studied plan of our adversaries to spread snares for our feet throughout the land; and it need not be wondered at, of course, that they who stand highest in authority should be the objects more particularly of their wicked designs.

Take a look at this thing rationally and in a commonsense view for a moment. The forest trees that are shaken with the wind sometimes almost seem as if they would be uprooted by it, and blown over. By this operation the soil is wonderfully loosened about the roots. By this storm the strength of a tree is tested, and the trunk and the branches of it, as to whether they bear proper relation to each other and derive that support that sustains every part in its natural position. It is also very natural that in that grove, as the wind passes over it, the tallest trees are really the most tried part of it, for the wind and storm will dash and blow upon them, while the smaller ones that are protected by each other, scarcely feel it, perhaps. Then you need not wonder if some of the tallest trees do not happen to be here today. We will, however, remember our brethren who are absent, and pray for them; we will ask the Lord to bless and protect them, to strengthen and fill them with the wisdom of the Holy Ghost continually, that the joy and comfort of the truth and of the holy Gospel shall be theirs, and that they shall be preserved from the hands of their enemies.

We who are gathered together, instead of entertaining ill feeling of cultivating malicious designs towards our enemies, will ask the Lord to strengthen us and to qualify us not only for what is upon us now, but for what is before us; for we do not know what there may be for us in the purposes of Jehovah. All this may be necessary and profitable to give us an experience that we should pass through trials, that may tend to our improvement and qualification, enable us in our different positions to better magnify our callings, and to bear off His Kingdom in the last days as He requires.

There are times and seasons when the hoary frosts of winter not only prevent the trees from showing forth their foliage, from developing any bloom, but cause them to cast their fruit to the earth, scarcely giving indications of life. It may not be wondered at then, if through the storms and blasts of adversity which come upon the Church from time to time that its members are not spreading forth and reaching out their branches, or that the foliage shows no such immediate prospects of fruit, as we might, under more favorable sunshine and with more beautiful weather, expect. While this adverse season is on and the leaves perhaps have blown to the ground, and all presents the appearance of barrenness and death itself, the sap is at work down in the roots. Do you understand this? Gardeners and nurserymen especially will understand that at the close of the adverse season, when the winds and storms have loosened the soil, the roots have extended themselves deeper into the earth, when the sun shines and the gentle rain falls and the pleasant spring appears, those roots, now greatly enlarged, will cause the trees to put forth larger leaves, with more abundant bud and bloom, and with larger and more luscious fruit than before. So it is and will be with the great tree of Life which God has planted in the earth, and which is bringing forth and will yield more abundantly the fruits of Everlasting Life.

Well, then, we have nothing that we need be afflicted or worried about, except our own unrighteousness. I know how the Saints feel about many things which are menacing and intimidating them at the present time; but brethren and sisters, now is the best of all times to go often into your closets, for secret prayer, and there find that grace and help of God which is able to buoy you up in every time of need. Men that are the heads of families need now to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be Prophets, Seers and Revelators to their families, to their kindred and to those that are around them. You need to have your roots strike deep into the soil of Heaven and stronger into the soil of eternity, that you may derive that nourishment and that strength that shall bring to you greater, more abundant and more glorious blessings than ever you have yet realized.

Among other benefits that will be produced by the strange conditions that attend us is this: that while there are those among us who have not known whether they were following for the loaves and fishes, or whether they were following for the truth’s sake—many who are ready to dabble in spirituous liquors and in those intoxicating drinks which inflame the passions, which madden the soul, daze their intellects, destroy the faculties of man, drowning their souls in the perdition of the ungodly; many who have never sought to dig deep and lay their foundation upon the rock of revelation which is the only foundation of eternal truth. It is absolutely important that we and they should know which side of the fence they dwell on; that they make up their minds either to serve God or the devil; and this is a time that calls all people professing to be Saints to make up their minds determinedly whom it is best to serve, and if the Lord is their God, to get some oil in their vessels that they be not always in darkness.

Again, there are conditions which pertain to all animated nature, and which are incident to the great body of the Church as well, and they are these: Notwithstanding it may be the choicest food we may eat, notwithstanding the most healthful or precious drinks we may use—there are operations going on in the system whereby those elements that are not found of use are cast off as waste by the various avenues provided by nature for the expulsion of that which is not useful to the system. Just so this principle of life exists with God’s people. They who will not in their due time and place become articles of nutriment and health to the Church and the Saints will become refuse and will be cast off. These are principles in nature and in life which all are conversant with; we know and understand them. In this dispensation of Providence, wherein it seems as though all the powers of darkness were arrayed against us, we need to understand that it is to God and to God alone that we must look. We need to understand the laws of all things well. The Lord has borne us off in troubles and in tribulations while in Ohio, in Missouri, and in Illinois, and the God that has been with us through these troubles will not forsake us at the present time. The great thing for us to do is to feel after Him, and repent of our sins, our waywardness, and of our weaknesses and sinfulness, and put away everything that is unrighteous and that which is displeasing in the sight of God and of angels and good men. If we do this His favor and His power will rest upon us, and He will allow nothing to come upon us but what He will sanctify to our greatest good and to His own eternal honor and glory, and we shall see by and by His infinite wisdom in all His providences towards us.

I appreciate with you the many precious sentiments that have been uttered in our hearing since we have come together at this conference, and also appreciate with you the consideration which our absent brethren of the First Presidency have felt concerning us, and the work in which we are engaged.

There is something about our labor that is strangely peculiar, but not more so, perhaps, in our day than has existed in former ages of the world when the Gospel has been revealed to man. It has always seemed to be the case that whatever period of time we take up to read concerning the work of God and its effects among the inhabitants of the earth—we always find that the people of God and the people of the world have been in direct antagonism; and when we get back to the most remote items of history—or items of information which history is permitted to furnish us—we find that even in the spiritual state of man’s existence, before the family of Adam came to dwell in the flesh, that there was antagonism there between truth and error, between those that embraced truth and those that embraced error, and following down through the ages that same antagonism has existed and been made manifest in one form or in another, so that the people of the earth have never been in a position to see and understand the principles of the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, in the same light, and to understand it together and correctly. The principles of the Gospel which have been revealed of God have been admitted by the greatest moral philosophers who have lived—aside from religious professors—to be the most noble principles, the most calculated to exalt mankind, in the belief, in the exercise, and in the obedience of them, of any doctrines or principles of ethics that have ever been given to the human family; great moralists, great scientists have been willing to give this credit to the principles and doctrines of our Savior. Philosophers of this world have done this; and all they of the Saints who have rendered obedience to these principles know, truly, how a faith in them exalts those that embrace them, until it has come to be a truism among the people of God, “that righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Therefore, let it be known to all the world that it is one of the first principles of the Gospel of Christ that men should repent of their sins, that they should be washed in the waters of regeneration for the remission of their sins, that then, in pursuance thereof, they may receive the Holy Ghost from heaven, which is promised unto obedient believers.

This is not only the doctrine of the Gospel of this dispensation, and the doctrine of the Gospel in the dispensation when Jesus and the Apostles of His day were upon the earth, but this is the very principle and doctrine that was revealed to Father Adam, after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, when the angel of the Lord came to him and asked him why he offered sacrifices. He replied that he knew not, only that the Lord had told him to do so. Then the angel of the Lord proceeded to explain the matter to him—told him that the object of his offering sacrifices was to keep before his mind the great sacrifice that must be offered up in the meridian of time. This was the only symbol and type given to men to cause them to look forward through an ordinance they practiced to the Savior, who was to come as a sacrifice for sin and to become the Savior of the world. Thus early did God place this principle before the mind of the great father of the human family when in that terrible dilemma, he having consented to partake of the fruit and go out of the garden with mother Eve. It was then that our first parents began to be taught this principle. Adam was taught that he must be born of the water and of the spirit, and in demonstration of this he was caught up by the Spirit and placed in the water and brought forth out of the water, as the revelation of God to Joseph declares. Then he was baptized by the Holy Ghost and with fire. And the Lord told him to teach those things to his children that they might look forward with him to the time when the Only Begotten should come in the flesh and should be made an offering for the sins of the world. Adam was further told that if he taught these things to his children he and they should have in this life the words of eternal life, and in the life to come eternal life itself. Mark the careful distinction; that if they would keep the commandments they should in this life have the words of eternal life given to them, and in the life to come they should have eternal life itself, and, added the Lord to this great promise, “thus may all become my sons.”

Thus the plan of salvation was in brief laid out in plainness to our Father Adam, that he and all his children might be thought meet to enter into the favor of God, receive the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be born of water and of the Spirit, and thus come to a knowledge of the principles of eternal life.

We see from this that the first step to be taken in those days, when the works of Cain had gone forth, and when the people had become exceedingly wicked—so bad that the Scriptures say the thoughts of their hearts were only evil and that continually—the very first thing to consider was how to deprive sinfulness of its power and make righteousness to take hold of the children of men so that they might find favor with the Gods, and with all the righteous both in heaven and on the earth.

This was the principle, this was the doctrine, and this was the way by which the Patriarch Enoch—that great and ancient worthy of whom we know so little—went forth and by the power of God reasoned with those wicked people and preached the Gospel to them, and baptized all who would receive it and gathered them together into a place which he called Zion. It was a very great and mighty work he had to perform; for the people had become terribly wicked, filled with the spirit of murder and every manner of abomination that the human heart can conceive of.

This, then, is the foundation that all men have to lay in their hearts and lives before they begin to receive the principles of eternal life as they are revealed. You my brethren and sisters that are from Scandinavia, from the northern countries, from the Cape of Good Hope, New Zealand, Australia, and from the islands of the sea, including the frozen regions of Iceland—every one of you were taught and embraced those first principles in the primitive part of your faith and belief in the Gospel. It was the beginning; it was the step which every son and daughter of Adam has had to take, from the days of Adam until now, in order to cleanse themselves before God, so as to receive the blessings of eternal life. It was by carrying out these principles and preaching that Adam was saved. It was by an obedience to the same principles that Enoch succeeded in gathering out the honest in heart unto the city of Zion. He was 365 years in building up that Zion and in gathering into it a people on the same principles that have been revealed to us in these latter days. We are preaching the same Gospel that was given to those ancient worthies. You can trace the Priesthood by referring to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—the holy, high Priesthood that has come down from Adam to Noah, and down through Enoch, Methuselah and the different men of God who lived in ancient times—you can trace it clear back to Adam who was ordained under the hands of God, who told him that that Priesthood should abide in his generations and that it should be on the earth at the end of time. What is the Priesthood that you grey-headed fathers are bearing before us today in the midst of Israel? It is the holy, high Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God, and which is after the power of an endless life. Then, brethren and sisters, understand it. It is not a new Gospel revealed now for the first time—these first principles are not new, because they have been revealed from the beginning. They are the same principles that Christ commenced to preach when He was upon the earth. They were the first principles that John the Baptist taught when he came to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man; they were the very first principles that Joseph and Oliver taught in this dispensation when they began to preach the Gospel. They were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. This is the beginning of the work of righteousness.

There are revelations and doctrines given unto us in our day, however, which were not given in former ages, because the people were not prepared and were not in a suitable condition to receive such. Do not let us think that we have got all the revelation there is. In the last great revelation which the Lord gave to Joseph, He told him that He had not revealed all to him, but that there were many laws pertaining to His Priesthood which He would reveal hereafter. Do you remember it? But if the world is going to get scared and terrified and ready to lay waste and destroy the Latter-day Saints before we have got so far advanced in the civilization of heaven as to understand the marriage laws and some of the marital relations of the sexes—if they go crazy over this what will happen to them when something more comes along?

Now, I hope that none of the Saints will grow weak in the knees; do not let them hang down their heads, nor allow their hearts to be troubled; do not let the sisters lie awake at nights brooding over this and that that is going to happen, and getting a great deal of borrowed trouble. There is no promise of grace to sustain them in such trouble; but the Lord has promised that His grace shall be sufficient for our day, sufficient for the troubles we have to bear; but we have no promise of grace to sustain us in borrowed trouble. Do not be alarmed though the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things. While they are in confusion and strife of every kind, you will multiply upon the earth and establish lasting peace upon the face thereof. The Latter-day Saints who are the object of all observation from the four quarters of the earth, are the only people that have pure and settled peace in their hearts and in their midst. Do you realize this? Our missionaries go to the Southern States, and the North Western States; they go to Europe, to Asia, Africa, and every point of the compass, and when they return they tell us that in no place do they find as true, settled and substantial peace, as there is right here in Utah, where one would think, from all that is going on and all that is threatened, that the waves of the sea were going to roll over us. Our peace is that which the Gospel brings. The fruit of the Spirit which the wicked can neither give nor take away. There is no use being worried over these things. It is part of our heritage. They who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; we have every reason to expect it. It is our duty to seek wisdom of the Lord in all matters; seek for the Holy Spirit, and attend to our own business.

In regard to the principles of the Gospel which the Lord has revealed to us beyond what He has to other people, we should remember that we shall be called to account for the use we make of them; remember that we use them, live them, and administer them in all righteousness in our lives and conduct, and while there are no two families whose conditions and circumstances are just alike, still the same general principles will have their general effect in all households. We must cultivate righteousness. We are learning the principles of the Gospel one after another; how to observe and obey them. We want to know how to hold them in righteousness, because we cannot hold these precious eternal treasures in unrighteousness; if we think we can we shall be deceived and will some day find out that they are not to be held in unrighteousness, for they only take effect with the pure in heart, they that are willing to keep the commandments of God, and walk in the way of His counsels.

Sin is a reproach to any people. It is better for us right here in this life that we keep the commandments of God, even if we did not look for any future reward of glory. Don’t you know it is? Why? Because we feel happy and strong within ourselves when we lie down at night and rise up in the morning; when we go out and when we come in; we feel the sustaining influence and approval of an honest heart, of a pure conscience, and of all just people—a conscience void of offense towards God and His people. This is the greatest treasure that a person can possess in this life. And do you know that go where you will—among those ignorant tribes that surround us, or to the highest civilized, and most cultivated portions of the European or American na tions—the man that is obedient to the holy principles of the everlasting Gospel—if they do not know he is called a Mormon—is respected above all men who disregard the principles of righteousness and truth. If some of our brethren who work in the mining camps behave themselves and live their religion, the very men around them respect and honor them. Why? Because they are reliable; because the principles they have embraced and put into practice render them substantial and trustworthy. You go into the classes of the university or of the colleges where young men have gone in quest of an education, and you will find that the man who is pure and virtuous in his feelings, in his thoughts and in his ways, who does not delight in folly, in sin and the secret works of darkness, but is at home attending to his lessons and his duty—it is he that makes his way to the head of the class, and gets the highest honor among his fellows. It is he that they look up to because of his upright conduct and all that is excellent in man. That is the kind of men that go forth and make their way and mark among their neighbors and their countrymen. True virtue and righteousness exalt individuals, and it therefore must exalt a nation composed of such individuals. When a nation disregards the principles of justice, equity, righteousness and truth—so far as to fail or refuse the administration of its laws equitably to any portion or class of its citizens, then the people have reason to fear the dreadful consequences that must follow, unless a reformation is effected; then the noble, the honorable, the virtuous and the pure should be willing to make sacrifice for that which is ennobling, exalting, upright and praiseworthy.

Go back in the history of the world and you will see that the greatest nations that ever existed, as soon as they commenced to pervert justice, crush truth and right, persecute God’s people and exalt iniquity, then commenced their downfall, and their way was down, down, down, to demolition and destruction, until more substantial and better elements were found in their ruins with which to raise up and create something new. It was that excellence and purity which God saw in the Puritan fathers that came over to this country for the love of the truth, and to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences—it was that excellence that preserved them and established them here, and as long as they maintained the principles of liberty, allowed others to enjoy the same rights that they themselves enjoyed, just so long did they prosper. They were powerful in that they had influence and faith to receive inspiration from God, to draw up and establish the greatest Constitution that has ever been known on the earth—the grandest combination of loyal principles and fundamental truths that has been established by man, since the days of Noah, and that is the Constitution with which politicians have become so reckless, in construing its provisions, and have gone outside of its limitations to rule and regulate the people of this great nation as they please. That glorious Constitution was made to regulate rulers as well as the ruled. It was so constructed that those who should be appointed to rule over the people should not be their masters, but their servants. How comes it now, that the whole polity has been perverted to another way; the rulers have come to be masters of the people, and are undertaking now to lord it over God’s heritage. We ought to understand these things. It is our duty to do so.

I desire now to refer to a particular expression in the epistle which has just been read, wherein the brethren of the First Presidency have exhorted the Saints not to allow themselves to commit any overt act. No matter how much you are worried, no matter how much you are aggravated by the acts of the ungodly, do not do a thing that you could afterwards be sorry for. Do nothing that could let blood stick to one of you. Bear with every impious insult. Put up with it as Christ did when he was hanging upon the cross and his life’s blood oozing out from his heart, and his spirit ready to depart, and say “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is the way we want to look as far as we can upon those who are oppressing and injuring us, breaking up our homes, and scattering our women and children to the four winds. It is something that could not be allowed in the old monarchial countries, which are looked upon as being measurably beneath the United States in the matter of a constitutional government, and yet we see men among us who are ready to demolish the very sanctity of home, lay waste and destroy that which lies at the very foundation of all law, natural and governmental. It is painful; it is sorrowful. Let us pity while they are so blind, so ignorant, so ill-natured, and so willing to depart from good government, even to enact laws to prevent their fellowcitizens from worshipping God according to the dictates of their own conscience. But, for my own part, I feel like the First Presidency in this matter. Let us commit no overt act, which in any event we could be sorry for.

We never saw a time when we had reason to feel more thankful and lifted up in our hearts before the living God than the present. Why? Because the Savior said: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” But says He, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”

I wish to exhort the Saints to frequent their closets more than they do; to neglect not their prayers night and morning, and in the season thereof fail not to bow the knee and call your sons and daughters around you. If you do this, by and by your sons and daughters will rise up and call you blessed; if you do not they will get cold and depart from truth and the faith of the living God, and that will bring the greatest sorrow you can conceive of. This is a time when we are called upon to bring our practical religion into use, to put on the whole armor of God, and to trust in Him. The Savior said He could call to His help more than twelve legions of angels; more than the Roman hosts; but He knowing the great purposes of Jehovah could go like a lamb to the slaughter. He understood those purposes, could curb His powers, control His feelings, and could make a manly fight for righteousness and truth, and carry out the decrees of heaven. Can we do so? Can you and I do so? If we cannot, can we be counted worthy to be called His brethren, and Saviors upon Mount Zion? We have got to be considerably more like him than we are before we attain unto all those excellencies that are promised.

Inasmuch as the work of God spreads, and its influence and potency are felt among the nations of the earth, so long will this opposition and this antagonism exist, and we must expect it; it cannot be avoided. It is an eternal consequence of our faith. If we reckoned upon anything else, we reckoned wrongly. Every true Saint, when he embraced this Gospel, felt to lay down his good name, his earthly substance, and life itself—all was laid upon the altar. We need not think, however, that although the Lord permits certain things to come upon us, that He will not soften the hearts of the wicked and ungodly. He has told us with a firm decree, that from a time when the Saints commenced to be more faithful they should begin to prevail against their enemies, and they have proved this in the deliverances that have been wrought out in their behalf from time to time. Have we any reason to doubt or lack confidence in the promises of God for the future? Not a particle. Every step of the way affords a greater, a more powerful confirmation and assurance that He is true to His promises, and will carry them out in our behalf.

Do you know, says one, how far these things will go? Just so far as the Lord will allow them. When it comes to the right time He will put a stop to them. He knows how to do it, just at His good pleasure.

We should go to work and put transgression from our midst, cultivate righteousness and put away all sin, and by keeping His commandments and living by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of His servants the work of sanctification will go on in our hearts, our homes, and our habitations will be holy in His sight. He will not allow the acts of the wicked to come against us any longer than will be for His own glory and our greatest good. Let us feel that we are in the hands of the Lord, that He is our Father and friend. Let us draw near to Him; find Him out, and walk with Him here in the flesh, then we shall know that it will be well with us hereafter.

I pray that the good Spirit of God may dwell in our hearts; may write His law on the tablets of our hearts; may impress the principles of truth upon our minds, so that we may live them and make them profitable to us in the future. That God may grant these blessings unto us, I humbly ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Work of the Lord in the Sandwich Islands and in New Zealand—The Inhabitants of These Islands Probably Offshoots of the Nephites and Lamanites, and Consequently of the Blood of Israel—The Gentile Nations Have Measurably Rejected the Gospel, Hence Their Disunion and Skepticism—We Can Only Be United on the Principle of Righteousness—In God is Our Only Trust—We Cannot Compromise With Evil—Our Mission is to Do Good—Causes of Opposition to the Gospel—Education Can Only Modify, But the Holy Ghost Changes the Nature of Man—The Principle of Revelation Distinguishes Us From the Rest of the World—The Path of Duty is the Path of Safety and Blessing

Remarks by Elder George Reynolds, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 29th, 1885.

I stand before you this afternoon, my brethren and sisters, with the desire in my heart that while I do so I may speak to the strengthening of the faith of the Saints of God, and, therefore, I crave an interest in your faith and prayers, that whatever time I occupy I may do so in a way and manner that shall tend to the building up of God’s kingdom here upon the earth.

We have been interested in hearing the report of Brother Edward Partridge, who has just returned from a mission to the Sandwich Islands, where the work of the Lord has been received for many years, in a very gratifying manner by the remnant of the house of Israel who dwell thereon. It is also noticeable that the Maoris, a people of a kindred race to the Hawaiian, who in habit the islands of New Zealand, many hundred miles to the southward in the Pacific Ocean, are also receiving the glad tidings of the Gospel of Christ with joy, and that hundreds are there being added to the Church at the present time. It has long been the belief of the Latter-day Saints that these races are offshoots of the great people who once flourished upon this continent; who were brought out of the land of Jerusalem under Lehi, Mulek and others, and who have inhabited this land from about 600 years before Christ; that people whose remnants are now found scattered far and wide over the North and South American continents. There appears to be a great similarity in the habits, customs, manners and language of the natives of those two groups of islands; which similarity, in many respects, extends to some of the races that inhabit this continent. And for these and other reasons we believe that in these islanders flows the blood of Israel to a great extent; and where it does, those who are thus blessed by being the children of the fathers to whom the promises were made, as races receive the truths of the Gospel much more readily and apparently, notwithstanding their many weaknesses, cleave unto them much more devotedly than do very many of those who embrace its saving principles among the Gentile nations. It would seem as though at the present time the Gentile nations of the earth were turning from the truths of the Everlasting Gospel; they have measurably rejected them; and the consequence is we find today that there is an increase of skepticism, that there is an increase of a spirit opposed to good order, to obedience, to faith, and to many other admirable characteristics of generations gone by. The present is an age of unrest, of turmoil, of contention, of a lack of faith, not only in religious matters, but in almost everything else. We may be said to be living in a period of transition, and that transition does not always appear to be in the most desirable direction. But this spirit of doubt and incredulity, of uncertainty and unrest is more manifest regarding religious subjects than any other questions that attract the attention of mankind; and is perhaps more manifest in those nations to whom the Gospel has been preached for many years than in any other parts of the world. This is the natural result of the course the people of those countries have taken. Having rejected the principles that God in His kindness has caused to be revealed, His Spirit, which is the Spirit of life, light, intelligence and truth, is of necessity measurably withdrawn from them, and they are left to themselves to serve God as best they may when they will not serve Him as He requires. The consequence is division and subdivision in the churches; for every man’s opinion is as good as that of his neighbor; and there remains no trustworthy, much less infallible, standard by which to gauge the beliefs of mankind; consequently every man walks in his own way and professes such a belief as best suits his fancy. But with us it is different. And the very fact that we are united with regard to that which God requires at our hands in all things is a rock of offense to many; it is regarded as an evil by those who do not love us; by those who make it their business to bring evil accusations against us. Our union is an opposite condition of affairs to that which exists among the sects in the Christian world, and being contrary they imagine ought to be stigmatized, decried and derided. But in our union lies our strength; because we cannot be united on any other principle than obedience to the law of the Lord. There is no spirit but the Spirit of the Most High God that will make this people one. They can trust in no one but in God our Father who has revealed His mind and will to them, and has established in their midst the principles that will make them wise unto salvation, if they will but give heed to them. It is useless, worse than useless, for us to attempt to be united on any principle but the principle of righteousness and godliness. We can find no union in doing that which is displeasing in the sight of God; we can find no union in following any course other than that which God has marked out. We cannot be united in anything but the truth. The truth will not only make us free, but it will make us united, and we cannot be united, however much we may strive, on the principles of error, because there is no bond of union in them. There is only one path that leads to exaltation; one path by which we can become like unto our Father and our God, and if we ever attain to that which we are seeking—eternal life in His presence—we must walk in the path which He has marked out, and in no other, for no other will lead us back into His presence. We must every one walk in that path, and as we must all walk in it, therefore we must be united. Our union must be in God, our trust must be in Him. We are, I presume, from present circumstances, learning that lesson very rapidly. I have noticed on the coins of this nation the inscription, “In God we trust.” Perhaps that motto may have been applicable at the time it was first placed on the money of the United States, but at present it does not appear to be so; for this nation and other nations seem to be rapidly losing all trust in God. They are willing to trust in themselves, in their own strength, in their own wisdom, in their own ways, in their own methods and their own plans, rather than trust in the word of the Lord, for that the great majority of their peoples will not have. But we, the Latter-day Saints, are learning rapidly that we can trust no one, save God our Father, and those whom He appoints to be His representatives upon the earth. Let us look around in the world. What do we find today? Is there any power upon earth to which we can look for succor or aid, for guidance or inspiration under the circumstances through which the Church of Jesus Christ is now passing? If there is where is it? Where on the face of this wide world can we look for sympathy, for help, for support? We cannot outside of ourselves. As has ever been the case those that are not for us are against us. But we are learning the lesson that God is with us; that He will deliver us; that this is His kingdom; and the nearer we live to Him the greater will be the deliverances that He will bring to pass in our favor.

I have met a few in our midst who seemed to have an idea that there was a Gospel of compromise, if I may so use the term, that might be advocated. In all the history of this world, from its creation to the present, I have never read of, never heard of the time when God Almighty compromised with the Evil One; when he was willing that evil should have a place in the midst of His people; when He was willing that any of the principles of eternal truth should be relinquished by those of His sons and daughters, to whom He had revealed them. No. The word of instruction, the word of revelation, the word of counsel has always been for man to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; to keep inviolate the ordinances of God; to preserve the principles of truth and righteousness intact, and never to consider for one moment that man can gain his salvation by giving up or resigning any principle or law that God has said is necessary for the accomplishment of His purposes, which purposes we understand to be the salvation of mankind and the redemption of the world. Any plan less than the one devised by Him is imperfect; anything else will not save the first one of us. It is God’s law and God’s law alone that will deliver Israel from his enemies. It is by perfect confidence in the word of the Lord, and by willing, humble obedience to all His requirements, accepting all His providences as for our best good, that we shall be delivered. Do you ever recollect? Have you ever heard of a time in any age or dispensation since this earth first rolled forth from the presence of God, that men professing to be His servants have gained anything in this life or for the next by faltering in their obedience to the requirements of heaven, by laying aside the armor of faith, by turning from that which they had espoused, and which they realized to be of God? If you have ever heard of such a people, if you have ever known such a time, your reading and your experience have been different to mine. Judging by the experience of the Saints in the past, and judging by our own experience in this dispensation—as far as I know it has all gone to prove that the closer we cleave to the Lord, the nearer He will draw unto us, the greater will be the manifestations of His power in our behalf, and the sooner will be our triumph over those who seek to injure us.

We have no conflict with the world only as they may bring it upon us. We are the friends of all mankind. We are sent forth to preach life and salvation to every soul who will hearken and obey. Our mission is one of good will to all men the wide world over. We seek the hurt or injury of no people upon the face of the earth. The principles that we proclaim are those which the Savior Himself taught to the sons and daughters of mankind when He was here upon the earth, and which His disciples in after years taught also. They are peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Does any man ever injure his brother or his sister—be they members of the Church of Jesus Christ, or of any church, or of no church whatever—be they Christian, Mahommedan, heathen or Jew—by following the teachings which God has given through His servants in this age in which we are living? I say emphatically, no; under no circumstances whatever. The Gospel that we preach will do all men good. There are no exceptions to this rule. It will teach us all to be loving, to be virtuous, to be temperate; it will teach us to seek to live near unto God, that we may become godlike; it will teach us to treat all men aright, to infringe upon the privileges or rights of none, but to teach to them those principles that will make them better and happier here on the earth, and bring to them eternal salvation in the world to come.

Then why are we maligned, as Brother Partridge has spoken of! Why are we hated? Why are we misrepresented? For surely there never were people who were more misrepresented than the Latter-day Saints. I will tell you, it is because the day approaches when Satan’s reign upon the earth will be brought to a close. He knows and realizes this fact and fills the hearts of those over whom he has power on the earth with hatred towards the principles that the servants of God teach. This is the great secret. This is the originating cause of the trouble. But then, some will ask why Christians, believers in the divine mission of the Son of God, act in this way towards us? Why should they attempt to overthrow that which we claim to be the Gospel of Christ? For the simple reason that the same causes produce the same effects. Whenever the Gospel of the Son of God has been preached upon the earth, in every generation, it has brought forth antagonism from the great majority of mankind, no matter whether they professed to worship the true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, or whether they did not. It is no more remarkable that those who call themselves Christians should oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this age than it was that the Jews, who claimed to be the children of Abraham, should oppose those same principles, in that which is commonly called the Gospel dispensation, when Christ the Son of God Himself was here. The causes are the same; the results are the same; men’s natures are the same; and though the civilization of today may be somewhat different from the civilization of former ages, it has not changed the nature of mankind. Men today as in ancient times are governed by the same loves and the same hatreds; by the same antipathies and the same prejudices; they are influenced by the same spirit; that spirit of evil which reared its head in the heavens and was cast down upon the earth, by which overthrow the warfare was transferred from heaven to earth—that same spirit has instigated and carried on and continues to carry on the same warfare against the truth and against the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ to the present day. Civilization and education are no doubt potent factors in the present history of the world; but mere education and mere civilization do not cause men to love the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, any better than they did in former times. They may learn philosophical truths; they may learn scientific truths; they may be educated to a very great fineness, and to a very great extent be versed in the learning of the world; but it is only by the Spirit of God, as we are told in the Scriptures, that man can understand the things of God, and the best educated in the things of the world alone, appear to be no better able to understand the things pertaining to the Gospel of Jesus Christ than the most uneducated who are equally honest in their efforts to serve God, or equally dishonest, as the case may be. Education does not change the nature of men; it simply develops and polishes that which is in them; it makes the best of that which there is. As the limestone when it is polished is not changed into a diamond, but remains limestone still, though it is more beautiful and can be used for more varied purposes, so it is with the man who is educated in the learning of the schools only; his nature remains the same but the most is made of him; but when a man receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is then that his nature is changed. He learns to love the truth; he learns to seek after it, he understands it. He sees things in a light so different to that which he did previously, that it is difficult for him to comprehend how it was possible that he could have been so ignorant and so blind before times. The reception of the Spirit of God is, as we understand it, a new birth. We are born to things eternal when we receive it. It purifies our hearts, it enlightens our minds in regard to the things of God, and gives us that knowledge, that testimony, which comes to all those who listen to and follow its dictates. Herein is the great difference between us, the people of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the people and the churches of the world. We have this testimony, this knowledge given us of God, through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, that none others possess. And this goes behind all argument, all assertion, all attempts to convince us that we are wrong. However wise, however strong, however potent the arguments of the world may be in their own estimation, they cannot go behind the God given testimony that we possess. We may say unto them, you appear to be very wise in your own conceit with regard to these things, but we can go beyond and behind all your arguments, for we most assuredly know that that which we have received is of God, and your arguments amount to nothing when directed against that which we are satisfied is God’s word. And the reason is because we have each of us the word of the Lord for ourselves; it is a constant revelation to our own hearts and minds. The word of the Lord is the end of all controversy as far as we are concerned. “We know that we are of God”—to use the expression of the Apostle John—“and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” We wish to God it were not so. We wish they could see as we see. We wish they could know as we know. We wish they could understand as we understand that this is the work of God, and that He has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but desires the salvation of all His children. But all mankind will have to learn as we have had to learn that these things can be attained only by an observance of the word and will of God; by walking in that straight and narrow path of obedience to which I referred a short time ago. That is the only way by which they can obtain this knowledge; it is the only way that we obtained it; and all men must obey the truth, for the love of the truth, or the testimony of Jesus Christ will not have a place within their bosoms. Other motives will not stand the test of God’s scrutiny. In this testimony, as I have said, lies the great difference between the doctrine, the principles and faith of the Latter-day Saints, and the rest of the world. God is to us a God of revelation; of constant and continued revelation, of revelation today as much as in any other age of this world’s history since Adam saw its prime. In this we can and do rejoice. In this we receive strength. In this we have a power that surprises the votaries of uninspired creeds, that astonishes unbelievers, that causes the world to wonder how in the midst of all the varied circumstances of an untoward nature we have to pass through, we can remain firm in our faith, firm in our reliance upon the beneficent power and goodness of God. It is because we know that this is His work; it is because we are not dependent on the testimony or say so of any man or woman—we have the knowledge in ourselves that He will deliver us, that He will cause the wrath of man to praise Him, that He will restrain the rest, and that He will accomplish all His purposes in His own good time and according to His own methods. Whatever He permits, be it little or much, will be for the best good of those who put their trust in Him, of those who are willing to abide by His laws, and who are desirous of doing His will and not their own.

This principle of continuous revelation is one which finds great opposition from the wicked whenever it is taught. We find there are many ways in which they strive to cut off the voice of heaven. Some stop at the Hebrew Scriptures; some bring revelation to an end with the New Testament; others will admit that Joseph Smith was inspired of God, but say that with him it ended—that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants contain all the word of the Lord that we shall receive. Well, no matter where it ends, it is all of the same spirit. The object is to shut out the voice of God from man today, to close the heavens against us, to prevent us who are now living from receiving the word and will of God for ourselves in this year of God’s grace. But the truth is that God will continue to speak to His people through His servants and in such ways as may seem to Him good, as long as His Church is on the earth, and that will be forever; for He has said that His Kingdom shall never be given to another people, but it shall reign and rule forever, and the greatness of that Kingdom shall be given to the Saints of the Most High God, and they shall possess it without end. Therefore with these unchangeable assurances we have all cause to feel confidence in God. Our dependence should be in the great I Am continually. We need not fear the arm of man; we need not fear what the world will do. If we will but trust in God and rely upon His arm continually, He will bear us off more than conquerors. He will bring to pass all His righteous purposes and save us in His Kingdom. But the path of duty is the only path of safety. It is the only path wherein we can walk and have the assurance of God’s continued blessing, of His continued deliverances. Any other course does not carry with it this assurance. Any other path leads to darkness, to contention, to evils of many kinds; for it leads away from the truth and the right. But if we continue in the path that is marked out for us by divine instruction, trusting implicitly in God, then shall we be delivered from all impending evils that are sought to be brought upon us, no matter what they may be; and the nearer we live to God the greater will be the blessings showered upon us, and seeming evils will be changed to blessings of untold worth. Of this I am assured, not only by the testimony of the Spirit of God in me, not only by the testimony of the Spirit of God that is in my brethren, but by the experience of the people of God in all past ages, and the promises of God for the future.

May God bless us and enable us to be firm, true and faithful, relying upon His arm at all times, trusting in Him for succor, for guidance and inspiration continually, that we may be His people and He our God, is my prayer through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Communities Are Made Up of Family Organizations—The Marriage Relationship Instituted By the Almighty—Descent of the Human Family From God—Plural Marriage System of Ancient Israel—Potency of Love—Eternity of Marriage Necessarily Leads to Plural Marriage—Polygamic Form of Marriage Most Prevalent in the World—From Whence Monogamy is Derived—Monogamy Sometimes Necessary—Fruits of Monogamy and Plural Marriage Compared—The Marriage Covenant Changed From a Religious Rite to a Civil Contract—Marriage Requires the Sanction of the Holy Priesthood—The Saints Should not Marry Outside the Church

Discourse by Elder H. W. Naisbitt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 8, 1885.

My brethren, sisters and friends: The congregation is large, and I hope to be so directed by the Spirit, that all present who so desire may be enabled to hear and understand.

The Sabbath is the day provided expressly for the reception of spiritual food. The speakers, or those who may be called upon to teach, need all the resources that are within their reach in order to satisfy a congregation of hungry souls, they need particularly the faith and prayers of the Saints, the influence and power of the Holy Ghost, the manifestation of the authority of the Holy Priesthood, so that there may be instruction upon the important topics and principles of the Gospel, not the theoretical ones alone, but those that are interwoven with our daily life.

There is a vast amount of experience in the aggregate among the people. Individual experience forms one of the treasure houses from whence a speaker can draw the supplies that are necessary and advantageous for a sympathetic audience. There is a great deal implied in a congregation like the present one; there is much more implied in the aggregation of congregations forming a community, from communities to nations, from nations to mankind at large. The most narrow as well as most dense communities are made up of the family organization. There is found circle within circle, or as the Prophet had it, “wheel within wheel;” and the homes of a community should be the outgrowth, not of theories alone, but of the faith, knowledge, and understanding of those relationships which exist there. When these family organizations are based upon knowledge they are likely to be more permanent. If they are only thoughtless or theoretical, or if they exist without information, circumstances, pressure, opportunities are very likely to disintegrate them, to break them up, to dissolve them, and so through indifference for each other substitute an anomalous condition of selfishness amongst those members who otherwise should form connected and interwoven circles.

In Christendom the marriage covenant is the foundation of the home. The ideas which men hold concerning it, lay at the foundation of all social order, all unity and all government, and even the welfare of future ages depends upon the theories cherished in regard to home and family associations. The thoughts held and the practice growing out of these, are surely higher than could be possible in the families of a community where the sexual relations remain undetermined, where they are without restraint and without order, there will inevitably be chaos, disruption and contention, and the body politic would speedily and inevitably under loose conditions, degenerate and pass away. But this marriage organization and institution has existed from the beginning. It has been the binding and sealing power of the family; it has perpetuated those families from the time that Eve was given to Adam to the last marriage that took place in our own immediate neighborhood. The Lord said that it was not good that man should be alone. He gave to him as a helpmate one of His daughters by the name of Eve. This relationship was then, instituted by the Almighty, and therefore a man and his wife should really become one; their interests, their labors should be blended; their responsi bilities should be mutual; and in thus helping and aiding each other they should train the posterity that God might give them in His fear and in the practice of righteousness, so that His rule and Kingdom might exist and prevail upon the earth.

In all nations, from the highest civilized to the lowest tribal relation, among the wanderers of the earth, there is more or less semblance of this organization, this family compact, this united responsibility; garnished in many lands with pomp and ceremony, and with all the appliances and sanctities of religion. In others with less, and still less of this, until we come to where with but little ceremony the dusky Indian captures the maiden of his choice, and takes her to the tent which he has erected for himself.

The Scriptures give an account simply of the woman Eve; declaring that this name was given her of Adam, because she was “the mother of all living;” but outside of biblical record there has been handed down from time immemorial the idea that Adam had two wives, the narrators go so far, or rather so near perfecting the tradition so as to give their names, Lilith being said to be the name of one as Eve was the name of the other, and while it may be difficult to harmonize all the Rabbinical and Talmudic versions of this matter, it is said that Joseph Smith the Prophet taught that Adam had two wives. Without however, assuming or basing anything upon this theory, or upon this tradition—which may be mythical in its character—it is nevertheless, very evident that marriage was ordained of God; and when we take into our hands the record of the Holy Scriptures that have been handed down to us by our fathers, that have been cherished in parts by the ancient people of God, and in latter times consolidated; passing through various channels under peculiar circumstances, and with an apparent special providence continuing and protecting the same—we find throughout the pages thereof that marriage everywhere for four thousand years, at all events, was recognized as of divine origin. One of the latest assertions in regard to it, as addressed to the early Saints by Paul, was, that marriage was honorable in all, and further that it was typical of that union and headship held by Jesus to the Church, and from this comes an added force to the Savior’s words, who, when speaking on this topic said: “what God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”

The sanctity of the marriage relation had another feature in ancient Israel: that great family of promise were divided into tribal relations, and by these their genealogical tables were kept perfect. Any marital connection or alliance, outside of that order was visited with indignation, condemnation and punishment. Those who were guilty of violating the order of marriage were looked upon as guilty of something which destroyed the root and foundations of society. They were held to be guilty of introducing things and practices which vitiated the value of genealogical record, and which made the perpetuity of families a comparative impossibility and had it not been for tribal carefulness in this direction, for this supervision which controlled and regulated the people of God, it would have been impossible in the days of the Savior for the Apostles to have traced His genealogy back to the early Prophets and Patriarchs. That which men now apply only as a rule, in regard to stock, or to some of the most ancient families of mankind, by the people of God, was looked upon as the one perfect chain to demonstrate hereditary descent.

We are told in tracing one of the genealogies from father to son—or from son to father, in a backward direction to Adam—that finally Adam was said to be the son of God, and by a close application of the principles of logic, it may be assumed that all the posterity of Adam are by direct descent the sons and daughters of the living God. It will also be found in the prophecies of Isaiah regarding the Savior, that He should be called the “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” When we come to His own conversation, where His Apostles asked Him if He would show unto them the Father, He said: “Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known me? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” This statement is reiterated time and again in the Book of Mormon, and in the sacred writings that we have received. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, was not the Son only, but the prophetic declaration was fulfilled in Him—He was verily and indeed the Everlasting Father. So by the same application of logic and inferential evidence from holy writ, wherever you find a man he is the son of somebody, and his existence is perpetual and eternal. Every Father becomes, by virtue of his position, an everlasting father. He in this respect represents the same characteristic as that occupied by the Great Father of us all. And throughout the countless ages of eternity, any man who has ever assumed or occupied the position and continues faithful to its respon sibilities, will forever remain to his posterity “the Everlasting Father.”

As far as we can glean from the sacred records, we find that this relationship was established for the bringing upon this sphere of action a posterity. The powers and functions which had been conferred upon man and woman were exemplified in this direction, and when a man’s wife was barren, when any of these daughters of Israel in ancient times were childless, it was considered to be a reproach to them, yet in the exercise of faith and by the blessing of the Almighty, and by obedience to the patriarchal order, many of these ancient sisters, the progenitors of the Israel of the latter days, were delivered from barrenness, and became the mothers of a vast and ever increasing host of posterity. Those who are familiar with the sacred Scriptures will remember one of the wives of Jacob; they will remember the case of Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet, and there are others which are familiar to our minds which need not be quoted. The desire for offspring among the wives of Israel was a prevailing feeling, because it was understood that from that lineage should come the Messiah of the latter days, and every daughter of Israel was anxious that in a direct line she might be the honored of God, in being the medium through which should come the Redeemer, the promised Immanuel.

It ought also to be remarked in connection with this question, that marriage was at times polygamic as well as monogamic—that is, right away in the early history of the world there were men who had more wives than one. Lamech was the first who is mentioned in Scripture. And here it might be observed, although probably all understand it, that the Bible does not profess to give a perfect history in detail of the habits and practices of the ancient people of God, for these are only secondary to the ever present assertions of divine interest in and regulation of the human family. There are only revealings or incidental glimpses here and there in regard to the principles of social and domestic life, and hintings of some which have been kept hid from then to now; but that marriage was the heritage of man is certain, and that while under many circumstances it was monogamic, there were also many cases in which it was of a polygamic character, and in both instances it was given by command and then received the approbation of the heavens. It was regulated and sustained by the great lawgivers of ancient Israel, who were inspired to point out in detail the limits of consanguinity, the times and seasons of privilege, and what should be the method of securing posterity under such and such circumstances; until the time came when Israel as a nation enjoyed its highest glory, and then we find that this principle (polygamy) formed one of the leading features of the household extension in the kings of that time. David is a noted illustration. Solomon was another, and in the comments of the Scriptures regarding these two men, notwithstanding their multiplicity of wives, we find no condemnation save in the fact that they in other respects violated the fundamental law of ancient Israel. David, we are told, captured the wife of another man by stratagem and because he did this he fell under condemnation. The son that was born to him of that connection died a premature death; but afterwards when he repented, he married and still retained that self same woman, Bathsheba; the Lord blessed and acknowledged David’s repentance and her position by giving her for a son the great Jedediah, or Solomon, and finally in a direct line through her, came also the Redeemer of Israel. The Scriptures in commenting upon David’s practice say that in “none of these things did he violate the commandments, save in the case of the wife of Uriah” [1st. Kings, 15, 5.] We are also told that Solomon multiplied wives and families unto himself, yet his reign formed an era in the national life of Israel. It was during his administration as King and Priest under the order of God, that that wonderful temple was built and dedicated which received the sanction and approbation of the heavens; of the resting upon it of the cloud by day so that the Priests could not minister at the altar, and the descent of fire from heaven, which consumed the sacrifice presented, were both tokens of divine acceptance and recognition, and we have not found in reading the history of Solomon that his conduct was condemned save in the fact that he took unto himself wives of the outside nations contrary to the law, which declared that the marriages of Israel should be within their own immediate families (Deut. 7th, 3rd), and as a result the record declares that it was these heathen wives which he took, those women that were captured in war or those that he had from choice or were given to him for conciliatory alliance from surrounding nations who led away his heart from the worship of the God of Israel, and turned him to the practices of idolatry. With this exception the presumption is from the evidence that his other marriages were approved, and in them was his posterity perpetuated. It was the direct result of the blessing of the Almighty, and through him, as he stood in a representative position, we may surely assume what the feelings of Israel were in regard to polygamy or the plurality of wives.

It is more than inferential evidence in favor of this principle which grows from the consideration of the practice of Solomon and David, and Abraham and Jacob, and Moses and Gideon, and Jehoiada and Abdon, and Rehoboam and Abijah, and Esau and Lamech, and Jerubbaal and Jair, though some of these men were not examples in every act of their lives, yet the facts are no more in favor of monogamists as to this than in the day and age in which we live.

Unfair advantage has been taken by opponents of this practice, because of the Adamic era, but the Rabbinical tradition already mentioned, while not conclusive, shows that no repulsion existed in the minds of the honored priesthood of Israel; and, as the Rev. Dr. Newman quoted the words of Lamech, so we may also have our opinion and that is that his declaration possessed no reference whatever to his plurality of wives.

However, in the Christian dispensation it has been assumed that this practice had become almost obsolete; some have said that it died away because it was deprecated by the Savior and by His Apostles, but there appears to have been thoughts in the minds of the latter concerning marriage which open to our minds many things in regard to that institution. For instance we are told that man is not without the woman in the Lord, neither the woman without the man. [1 Cor., 11, 11.] It takes the two, at least, to make a complete and rounded man. When the first pair were created the Bible expressly declares, “male and female created he them,” and called their name Adam. [Gen. 5, 2.] It included the two; it included the man and wife; and the theory of the Gospel in Apostolic times was, that a man was an imperfect being without the woman, and that a woman was also an imperfect being without the man, and this perfect state could not be realized or wrought out without the institution of marriage.

It is, then, by this marriage relation that men and women were in the Lord according to the divine order, carrying out the examples of their great predecessors, and of their Father in heaven. It may safely be assumed that marriage with them was an eternal principle; that it was not meant for time only, but for eternity; that it was a relationship that was perpetuated, and that this not only included the man and wife, but of necessity the entire family organization. For our God is not the God of the dead but of the living, “and what he hath joined together no man shall put asunder.” To the older people here, who are familiar with the facts made manifest in the human organization, it may be said that there are certain elements of attraction which lead the one sex towards the other. This attraction is designated by the name of love. We are sometimes afraid to exhibit this characteristic; we think it is unworthy of men or women; and that when a man is said to be in love, or a woman, it is something that should be veiled from the eyes and knowledge and understanding of everybody but themselves. But insomuch as love is one of the great attributes of Deity, this idea does not recommend itself. It is not only a great attribute of Deity, but it is the greatest and most potent attribute to be found in man’s and woman’s organization. To those who have been allured by its power; to those who understand its force; to those who realize that it is the parent of all action almost in life; how it leads men to sacrifice, to labor, to effort, no argument is needed to show that it is the greatest power of the human heart. For it men will endure any amount of sacrifice; for it women will endure and submit to almost any indignity. The fact is, it is the only element that will bind together in its original purity the family circle: it is that which leads a man to go forth in the battle of life to earn the bread that perisheth: it is that which enables him to look upon his wife as paramount to all else: it is that which enables her to watch by her infant children, and in the moment of sickness, with sleepless nights and days of vigilance, await until there is a restoration to health; it is this that glorifies the family circle and makes it a little heaven upon earth; and every man and every woman is cognizant of the fact, that where love has died out from the altar of home, that home has lost its greatest attraction. A man does not go there and look upon it as his little resting place from the care and anxiety of the world when that feeling has died out. No. He finds his pleasure in the club room, on the race course, at the gaming table, in political life, in business, or in many other directions, rather than in the little heaven called home. Ah! Sad indeed is the fate of those families where this beautiful, this beneficent, this almighty, this glorifying principle has failed, or finds no resting place therein.

Now, this is the key to marriage in the abstract. It is its foundation. It constitutes the glories of its architecture. It brings upon it its capstone, and finishes the edifice that God Almighty hath ordained. Yet this element which lays at the foundation and runs through the whole fabric of married life, in and of itself is not sufficient to produce and perpetuate that perfect happiness which men and women desire in this relationship. Man is a compound being. Woman is a compound being. There are other feelings of the heart beside affection and love, although these will cover a multitude of sins. But it is necessary for the best interests of the family relation that the tastes and habits, feelings and thoughts of the high contracting parties should run pretty much in the same direction—that is, so far as intelligence is received. Hence we have the apostolic injunction given to the early Christians which said: “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers.” This was one of the commands given to the early Christians; because it was realized that though the fire of love may burn fiercely in the early years of wedded life, yet unless there is unity of sentiment, of thought and of action in regard to the religion that married couples should possess, and that should be imposed upon the children there will ever be a probability of disintegration and disruption, and this rule had its counterpart, or had its origin, in ancient Israel. It was not intended, as already stated, that the sons of any of the tribes of Israel should take to themselves wives of the nations that were round about them; they were commanded strictly to keep with that family, and where they failed in this, whether as individuals or in a national capacity, it brought down upon them the blighting curse of the Almighty, and led them finally to bondage, and to be carried away to the ends of the earth, and so many families in our Israel, after years of suffering of counsel and commandment, have become in a measure lost through the influence of misdirected and disobedient love.

We all realize the influence that a woman exerts over a man. A man, to be sure, exerts a good deal of influence over a woman. But I think the bulk of experience will show that if even a good, devoted Latter-day Saint woman should be foolishly guilty of marrying outside of the Church, or marrying a man in the Church who is half-hearted, that her children will retain more of her individual impress than they will of the father’s. I think observation will establish this fact: that where there is a devoted father, and an indifferent, unbelieving mother, the probabilities are that disintegration will set into that family, and that the majority of them will pass away from the influence of the Church and from the institutions of the Gospel. Not that either of these conditions is good—that is, they are not the best conditions. The best conditions are where there is a devoted man and a devoted woman, or women, all laboring in the interests of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, and impressing their own individuality, by the powers of an educational character upon the posterity that God may give them.

But in regard to this objectionable form of marriage called polygamic, if this marriage is an eternal principle, it follows almost of necessity that there will be a period in the experience of thousands when it must be essentially and eternally polygamic. How many young wives are there who leave this stage of action sometimes without children, and sometimes leaving a little fam ily? And under these circumstances a man marries again; he takes another wife and raises up another family, and for two or three times or more this may be the experience of some. Now, if marriage is not for time only, but for eternity; if the marriage relation is continued, there is a condition of things which demonstrates that in the life to come at all events, marriage must be in many cases polygamic—that is, a man must be possessed of several wives.

Now, our theories of heaven are, that there is nothing there save that which is pure, save that which is ennobling, save that which is progressive, save that which is according to the order of God. If, He, then, in the eternities that are beyond the veil can admit of this relationship by virtue of the fact that marriage is eternal, does it not appear strange that such an order is decried by His children upon the face of the earth.

Nor need it be urged, that in some experiences there is a reversal of this order, that a woman may be the wife of several men while in the flesh, and that as a consequence, this arrangement must also be eternal. It has already been said that woman is subordinate to man, she was given to be his helpmeet, he was to rule over her, to be the head, as Christ is the head of the Church, that the man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man. [See 1st Cor., 1 to 12.]

Besides in the keeping of genealogical record, in the tracing of family or tribal relations, it is evident that a woman must be the acknowledged wife of some one man, and that to him alone pertains the eternity of the marriage covenant by the authority of the Holy Priesthood. This query is however old in history, it is precisely the one addressed to the Savior by the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection. He, however, without condescending to explain the sealing power to them declared that “when they rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage,” and the darkened inference of Christendom has been, that all family organizations, all characteristics of sex, all procreation of the species would be obliterated as something pertaining only to the shores of time.

This polygamic form of marriage, however, when we come to consider humanity, is far in excess of the monogamic. Its influence and power and practice are felt around the globe, and we can judge of its nature by that which we have seen and heard of in our own experience. Ishmael, the son of Abraham, was of polygamic lineage. It was prophesied of him that he should become the father of many nations, and in the eastern lands of the earth he has multiplied exceedingly; and today we find that the gigantic power of England with all its wealth, with all its appliances of science and civilization, is held in check by this selfsame Ishmael, the son of Abraham, the friend of God, so that assumed degeneracy consequent on this system is not established by facts.

In this land of ours, we find that monogamy is the rule; that there are laws preventing a departure from this order, and that any departure from that is visited with a good deal of criticism, with some legislation, with some pains and penalties, and is made to the nation a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. Yet we might here pertinently ask the American nation—“From whence did you derive your monogamy? We might ask Old England the same question. I would like to ask if it has been accepted as the result of an intelligent understanding of the two modes of marriage? Rather has it not been inherited without investigation, without thought, without reflection, without understanding the marriage covenant? We all know it is the outgrowth of tradition; that it has been received from the fathers; and so far from having been an intellectual reception of a principle, fundamental and eternal, it possesses nothing of that character whatever. Monogamy was practiced by the fathers, the same as the religions of mankind were practiced by them, it was received and accepted unhesitatingly without comment or consideration, without understanding as to whether it was conclusively the best, or whether it was the worst, or whether it was of God, or whether it was of man, or whether anything different today might or might not be of Him.

Now, here is a little community called Latter-day Saints, who believe in both orders. They have accepted marriage in the abstract. They do not believe that society should run at loose ends in its sexual relations. They believe that a violation of those laws is as much a wrong today as it was in the days of ancient Israel, and they believe further that all sexual irregularities should be visited by penalties of divine sanction and appointment; and still more, that that which was right, that which was commanded, that which was encouraged, that which was practiced, that which was regulated among ancient Israel, and that which will be practiced and is inevitable behind the veil, cannot be an offense in the sight of God, in the day and age in which we live.

But it may be said, why speak of this matter when there is so much excitement in regard to it? For the best of all reasons, that this is a free country, that free speech has never been forbidden, has never been checked, has never been curtailed. It is the heritage we have received from our fathers, and we are at liberty to speak of the institutions that lay at the foundation of society, and to analyze and understand them. There are thousands of our youth growing up that are not familiar with the fundamental principles pertaining to marriage; with the ideas and theories and practices of the nations that have grown out of this relationship; and it needs that they should understand why this turmoil exists, and whether there is a good foundation for the position that men take everywhere in regard to that principle, and which leads to the persecution of their fathers, and the ostracism of their community.

When we come to the sacred books that have been received by the Church we find that, in regard to this dual idea of marriage—marriage in the monogamic form, and marriage in the polygamic form—the Book of Mormon expressly declares that it was necessary in the first colonization of this country that marriage should be monogamic, because the sexes were equal, and the people realized that marriage was an indispensable thing to both man and woman; but there is also indication that necessity would give final enlargement to this practical question.

So it was when Noah came out of the ark, and there are other periods in the history of mankind when nothing but monogamic marriage could prevail without doing an injustice to those round about them. But where there is no chance of this injustice; where every man is free; where every woman is free; where there are thousands of mankind that never marry at all, and thousands of women who by law cannot marry, there is room for the exercise of the polygamic form thereof; so that, in argument, the sacred books of old Israel, the sacred books of Christendom, the sacred books of the Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, all tend to substantiate the idea that marriage in the abstract is of God; and that it is or has been of Him, both in the monogamic and polygamic form. Still further, these written revelations are not the only evidence of the fact that monogamic marriage and polygamic marriage are both susceptible of practice by the human family. Who is there that is acquainted with himself or herself—where is the man and where is the woman who does not realize, if they have attained to mature years and experience, that all the functions of manhood and womanhood can be subserved in both forms of marriage, and often better in the polygamic. If in this ever present revelation of the Almighty, of the finger of God in man’s organization, and in woman’s, it had been decreed that polygamy was an immoral thing, and that it did violence to either, then that would be evidence to go against the sacred books that we have received from the past, and from those of the present; and if Joseph Smith had come forth claiming to be a Prophet of God, and had given a revelation testifying to the necessity and advantage of polygamic marriage, and this revelation had come in contact with the revelation of man’s experience, with the revelation written in his own organization, then it would have nullified itself; but it is in harmony with such a revelation, and shows the possibility and susceptibility and natural character of marriage in the polygamic relation. During a certain debate held in this house in regard to this very question, Doctor Newman asserted that there were evidences against this practice in the Bible. I consider that the Bible has been read by the Latter-day Saints as much as ever it was read by Dr. Newman, although they may not have done so in the original tongue—they may not have Leviticus 18:18—as he had it—but yet they have that great gift of God which is called common sense, to say nothing of the inspiration of His Spirit, and they are just as well able to understand the revelations of the past as Doctor Newman with all his knowledge of the original rendition and meaning of the Hebrew character.

And if a tree is to be judged by its fruits, what of the whoredoms, the adultery, the fornication, the prostitution of women in monogamic nations? What of sexual diseases, of blighted lives, of martyred women, of little graves dotting every hillside and the resting places of the dead? What of feticide, infanticide and abortion? What of the decimated power and numbers of the best society, what of their liaisons and their divorce courts, and other damning features which cling closely to the skirts of modern Sodoms, the paragons and promoters of monogamic marriage?

Dr. Newman also made another remark something like this: that polygamy was not intended for the poor man, that it was intended for the kings of the earth, overlooking the fact, however, that Israel is a nation of kings and priests; so that when he said that polygamy or the practice of a plurality of wives was intended only for kings, it brought home a truth pregnant with thought; for God decreed that he would gather His Israel from the poor of all nations, and so in Rev. 5, 10, they are represented as singing a new song, “Thou hast made us Kings and Priests to God, and we shall reign on the earth;” and this principle was to extend not through time only, but through the countless ages of eternity, so that His people might occupy the position of eternal fathers and eternal mothers, and be indeed Kings and Priests forever and forever.

There are also other avenues of information besides those sacred records, and besides those revelations written in the organization of man and woman at large, and that is the revelation of individual experience. There are many men and women who have practiced this principle in the midst of Israel for thirty years and upwards. I have heard their testimonies time and time again, and they declare that their experience corroborated the exhortation, commandments and practices of Holy Writ, and the revelations written in their own organization; and they tell me that in this relation they have been blessed, they have been prospered, they have had around them the influence of the Spirit of the Almighty; that peace has been upon their household and habitation, and that they have been enabled through that principle to multiply their posterity upon the earth. Where are these? They are everywhere throughout this Territory, and their experience, corroborating those other revelations which I have mentioned, forms a threefold cord that cannot by any process or by any power be broken. I will say as the result of my own experience—for I have lived in that relationship—that to me and to mine it was productive of good, although it came in contact with our tradition. Although it came in contact with the practices of the fathers, and with our feelings, yet, in its experience it demonstrated itself to be of God, and no better time have I had in thirty years of married life than when I had three wives given me of God, and occupying but one habitation. The power of God was in that home; the spirit of peace was there, the spirit of intelligence was there; and we had our ever present testimony that God recognized the patriarchal order, that which had been practiced by His servants ages and ages ago and revealed to us in the dispensation of the fullness of times; and although two of these have gone behind the veil, they went there with a consciousness of having done their duty in this life, and that they would meet in the life beyond those who agreed with them in practice and in faith; from this condition came the discipline of life, the power of self-restraint, a tender regard for each others feelings, and a sort of jealousy for each others’ rights, all tempered by the consideration that relations meant to be enduring claimed more love and interest and soul than did monogamy under its best conditions.

Here, then, are some of the evidences in regard to this married relation that forms the foundation of civilization and of human life, and that lays at the foundation of the Government of God upon the earth; according to our ideas concerning this relationship so will our society and this community become. If we treat the marriage relation with levity; if we should believe that it was but a civil contract, and for time only, we should be weak as others and should not excel: if it is not part of our religion and of God, then it is not of value to us. In my experience—and that is not a very lengthy one—I have marked the change in feeling that has come over the nations in regard to this marriage question. When I was a lad it was very unusual for a man to take to himself a wife without the sanction of religion. All the marriages of Old England had to be celebrated in the Established Church, and a record was kept of them there, and of the posterity issuing from that marriage, and when these died, their death also was recorded, so that there was an unbroken chain of genealogical evidence in that respect often of immense value for legitimacy and other purposes. But by and by the spirit of religious liberty, as it was called, began to spread. It is but a hundred years ago, or a little over, since Methodism was established—the now dominant, or next to dominant religious organization of Christendom. It began in a small way; but it increased and spread abroad; it multiplied its converts, its ministers and its chapels; it became a potent factor, in a political sense, in the nation, and it was necessary that political parties should conciliate and cater to this increasingly wealthy religious organization; and when the Methodists wanted marriages performed in their own, instead of going to the Established Churches, their power and influence, the influence of wealth and numbers, their power as a political factor of the nation, gave them favor in the eyes of the ministry and the legislature. By and by they were allowed the privilege of marrying in their own churches and chapels, and by their own ministers. And as it was with this body, so it was with the smaller bodies, the satellites thrown off and revolving around the great planets of religious organization in that country. And then as this so-called religious liberty increased in spirit, skepticism began to grow in the minds of many in regard to religious doctrines. There were thousands of people that had no more faith in Methodism than in the Established Church, or in Catholicism. They had more faith in Tom Paine, and Voltaire, and Rosseau, and such men as Ingersoll, and their liberty made it appear plausible to them that there was no necessity to go to any church, or seek the aid of any minister, or have any religious ceremony in connection with their own marriage or the marriage of their families. So provision was made for this ever increasing host of skeptics, and finally it was decreed that marriage was nothing but a civil contract, not needing the service of a minister, or the sanction of religion, but requiring simply that it could be entered into after due notion was given, in a public place and not before a worshiping assembly. In such cases marriage was entered into as “a civil contract,” and when this stage was reached, inasmuch as it was but a civil contract, “only this and nothing more,” the next step of necessity was, that it could be dissolved. Where is there a contract of this nature that cannot be dissolved? If I am engaged by an employer we can dissolve the engagement whenever either of us is dissatisfied. And so this feature was applied to marriage; the laws of divorce were introduced, and that which was once considered discreditable, difficult and expensive, and would have been sounded from one end of the land to the other as such, became common and unworthy of remark.

Thus the bonds of society are loosened; the sanctity of the marriage relation is destroyed; and the world is filled with entanglements that are the product of this civil contract business, and even where this contract remains intact, there is a spirit made manifest to avoid the responsibilities of marriage as to offspring, and to live together in numberless cases without any marriage at all; so that when the connection is broken it may be swept to the wind with no results traceable or injurious to any of those concerned.

Now, for the safety of society, for the welfare of the human family, for the love of order and responsibility upon the earth, for faith in the revelations of God, and for high regard to the practices of His anointed, I am in favor of the marriage relation. The Latter-day Saints are in favor of the marriage relation, and they are utterly opposed to sexual intercourse outside of that. And they do not believe that marriage is a civil contract alone. Whatever power there may be in the courts to enforce the claim of a wife against a husband, or the husband against the wife as a matter of protection, in the main, marriage is of God, is of divine origin. Marriage requires the sanction of the authority of the Holy Priesthood in order to give it force, in order to make it valid in this life and the life to come, and marriage—polygamic or monogamic, according to the necessities of the case and the condition of those who enter therein—is in harmony with all the laws of life; and despite what the world may say, those that are of polygamic descent without knowing it are to be found among the rulers of today—the most exalted and the most prominent in a national sense—even in repudiating Christendom.

In the carrying out of this relationship the Latter-day Saints are numerous everywhere throughout this Territory: and it is incumbent upon the rising generation that they should hold to those sacred views that are held by their fathers; that they should marry within the confines of the Church; that they should seek for their husbands or wives, as the case may be, among those who have been obedient to the principles of the everlasting Gospel, and who comprehend something of the nature of the marriage covenant. Those of our posterity should not depart from the ways of our Father; they should not be willing to take up with the practices of Christendom. They should be under proper restraint, proper control and direction in all the relationships of life, because this parental relation among the faithful is an eternal authority. Those children of ours, they never can get away from their father and mother in this life, nor in the life to come. If they should form connection with those outside of the Church and become aliens to the Gospel, after a long day of repentance they will have to return and bow the knee if they would have access within that organization, if they would enjoy all that belongs to that relationship, if they would inherit the glory with which that relationship is identified; they will have to repent, as it were, in dust and ashes and come back to the family circle, compact and covenant, wherein the Almighty gave them a being. And in this respect it may be well to drop a hint in regard to the practices of some of our sons and daughters in this city—where they step outside of what some call priestly authority. When they come to get up amusements of their own, they should see that that only which pertains to good order and good government are introduced, for those inevitably tend to consolidation and unity. It would be well if our boys would listen to their fathers’ counsel; would respect the authority of their fathers and mothers who are good Latter-day Saints; and when they want enjoyment they should seek to keep within the circumscribed limits of all reputable authority.

There are a great many thoughts arise in my mind, but I presume that I have occupied all the time desirable and I do not wish to weary the congregation. The subject I have touched upon, however, is a very important one. It lies at the foundation of things, and, as I said before, as it is comprehended by the human family, by us as Latter-day Saints, so will be their position among the nations, so will be their power in renovating society, and so will be their measure of approbation by the heavens.

May God give us wisdom to so maintain ourselves in this relation whether it be polygamic or monogamic—that we may gain His smile and approbation, that we may feel His Spirit in our families, in our hearts, in our going out and coming in, and may we realize that we have the approbation of heaven, and the sanction of all the powers of the eternities past, present and to come, as well as the example of the Patriarchs and Prophets. And when this life shall come to its end with us, may we be privileged to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of our Father and God, and make part of a family there, a great nation of Kings and Priests, associating with those who have passed through much tribulation and washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb through the ordinances of the Gospel; which I ask may be the case, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Visit to the South—Persecution in Arizona—An American Siberia—Persecutions in Missouri and Illinois not the Result of Polygamy—Affecting Reference to the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum—Judgment Begins at the House of God—No Man Has a Right to Attempt to Control Another’s Belief or Conscience—Ex Post Facto Application of the Edmunds Law—Attempts of the Speaker to Conform to the Law As Far As Possible—Outrages Heaped Upon the Latter-Day Saints—No One Ever Punished, According to Law, for Killing a Mormon—The Saints Counseled to Endure Their Afflictions, Take Care of Themselves, and Serve God—Conclusion

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Feb. 1, 1885.

I have been very much interested in the remarks made by Brother Erastus Snow, who has addressed us.

These are precious principles which only the Saints know how to comprehend and appreciate. We are told “that the natural man perceiveth not the things of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned,” and therefore those outside of that influence and spirit which is communicated to the Saints of the Most High, through obedience to the Gospel of the Son of God, find it very difficult to understand them. But we comprehend them, because God has given unto us His Spirit, which takes of the things of God, and shows them unto us.

I and a few others have been away from here for some time, visiting among our southern brethren; Brother Snow, who has just spoken to you, was one of the party. It appears rather an inclement season of the year to go on a journey of that kind; but circumstances seemed to make it necessary that we should go and look after the interests of the people, socially and politically; for notwithstanding our religious ideas, we still have certain rights, privileges and immunities, which belong to us as individuals and as citizens of the United States, in common with others. And seeing that things were quite loose in those far-off settlements, and that men and their families were being subjected to various kinds of outrage, usurpation and imposition, in many instances under the form of law, it seemed necessary that somebody should attend to these matters, and I thought it best for me to go, in company with others of our brethren, to ascertain what was the true position of affairs, and to give such counsel as the circumstances might demand. We found that a great many outrages had been perpetrated upon many of our brethren; that they had been dealt with contrary to law, and in violation, as has been referred to, of the rules of jurisprudence governing such matters; that a vindictive and persecuting spirit had been manifested, and that several of the brethren had been sent off to a distant land from their own. I did not know but that they were without a prison in Arizona, when I heard of these things, and that therefore they had sent a number of honorable men who differed from them in their religious sentiments off to Detroit. I had these things inquired into and found they had a good Penitentiary in Arizona, and that there was no necessity for any such outrage as this to be perpetrated upon decent men. I was sorry to find that things had been conducted in this unusual and vindictive manner, and without any ostensible reason for such extra-judicial acts. Not only because injustice had been heaped upon honorable men, but also because of the position in which it places the nation which was once the pride and glory of all lovers of freedom and equal rights, and boasted of as being “the land of the free, the home of the brave, and an asylum for the oppressed.” These foolish men are now seeking to carry out the enormities that existed among what was called the civilization and intelligence of ancient barbarism, then, as now, under the name of Christianity, and other euphonious appellations which are common to us, and that we are well acquainted with. I was in hopes that things were not so bad as they were represented to be, but I found that I was mistaken in that matter, and I was sorry to find myself so mistaken.

In relation to this anomalous form of proceeding they are now copying the example of Russia, which is generally considered an arbitrary government, and where despotism has been supposed to reign supreme; they have in that nation a place called Siberia, to which they banish men, under a despotic rule, without much formality of trial. I was hardly prepared today to suppose that we needed an American Siberia under the form and in the name of liberty and the rights of men. But this is the fact. We have herein America today an American Siberia in Detroit, to which place, upwards of two thousand miles from their homes, men are banished for a term of years; and what for? Because they have the temerity to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and cannot fall down and worship before the Moloch of an effete Christianity.

These extraordinary proceedings that have been going on in this Territory, in Arizona and in other places, simply exhibit the very principle that Brother Snow has been speaking of. I need not tell you about affairs that have transpired here. You are quite as well acquainted with them as I am, and ought to be better: for I have been away from here for about four weeks visiting the Saints in our southern settlements, and we have had a most pleasant visit. Outside of these extraordinary proceedings, we found the people prospering very well, with pleasant homes and bright prospects before them. We had with us several of our best brethren, and we visited many of our settlements in that district of country, the residents of which were very much gratified at our appearance in their midst, and for the counsels they received. But I found that such had been the outrages committed that it was impossible almost for any man standing in an honorable position to maintain his position unless he broke the law by resisting the officers, and they thought it not prudent to do so, and so did I. It may suit others to violate the law, to trample upon human rights, and desecrate the sacred term of liberty, and this is frequently done by the arbiters and minions of the law in the name of justice; but we profess to be governed by higher, by nobler and more exalted principles, and to move on a higher plane; and if Jesus could afford to endure the attacks of sinners against Himself, we, if we have the Gospel that we profess to have, ought to be able to endure a little of the same thing. There is nothing new in these affairs, nothing strange in this at all. Many of you have had much to do with these matters. Some of these grey-headed men that I see before me know a little more about those matters than some of the younger portion do. Many of you have been driven from your homes, robbed of your property, dispossessed of your possessions and had to flee from your homes to these mountain valleys, and seek an asylum among the red savages which was denied you by your so-called Christian brethren. Before you came here you were banished from the State of Missouri into the State of Illinois. What for? Because you had the audacity to worship God according to the dictates of your own consciences. I have had to flee from bloodthirsty bandits time and time again. Brother Snow had to do it, and many of you grey-headed men and women have had to do it. What for? Because of polygamy? No, there was no such thing then alleged. What for? Because you had the hardihood, in this land of freedom, to worship God according to the dictates of your own consciences. For this crime you had to leave your homes, and you were despoiled and robbed and plundered, and had to flee as exiles into another land. I had to do it, you have had to do it. You fled from Missouri to Illinois, and then from Illinois to this land, and why? Why did you leave Illinois and come here? Did you injure anybody? No. They killed your Prophets, and I saw them martyred, and was shot most unmercifully myself, under the pledge of protection from the Governor, and they thought they had killed me; but I am alive yet by the grace of God (sensation). Why had you to leave? Because they murdered your Prophets, and wanted to possess themselves of your property; murder and spoliation generally go together. And because they killed them, they accused you of doing some wrong, said you must leave your homes, and there was nobody found in all that wide land to check the outrages of those red-handed assassins, to administer justice and to preserve you in your rights. I do not know any other reason; I never did know any other, and never expect to be informed of any other.

The history of these things is quite familiar to you as Latter-day Saints, and you do not think it anything strange. Some of our young people think that the present proceedings are very remarkable. But many of us, grey-headed folks, have seen plenty of such proceedings, and have had many experiences of this kind; they are nothing new to us at all. And did we ever expect them to get better? We have not so understood it. We are told in the Scriptures, and we have kept teaching it all the while, that “the wicked would grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” That is doctrine which I have believed in for the last 50 years and I have had a good deal of testimony and practical confirmation on that point. We expect that these things will tran spire. We have been told about secret organizations that should exist, and they are beginning to permeate these United States, and are laying the foundation for disruption, disintegration and destruction. It is not necessary that Congress and the Judiciary should set examples of tyranny and violation of Constitutional law, and attack the fundamental principles of free government and the rights of man; for there is plenty of that kind of spirit abroad; yet men who profess to be the conservators of the peace and the maintainers of law join in these nefarious, unholy, tyrannical and oppressive measures. There are any number who are ready to follow in their footsteps, and the whole nation today is standing on a volcano; but they do not seem to comprehend it. Well, are we surprised? I am not. It is strictly in accordance with my faith: it is strictly in accordance with the Old Testament Scriptures; and it is strictly in accordance with the Book of Mormon; it is strictly in accordance with the revelations given to us by Joseph Smith, and all these events that have been predicted will most assuredly transpire. But I suppose it is necessary that “judgment should first begin at the house of God,” and if it does, “where will the wicked and the ungodly appear,” when it comes upon them? We are told that the wicked shall slay the wicked. We need not trouble ourselves about the affairs of the nations, the Lord will manipulate them in His own way. I feel full of sympathy for the nation in which we live, and for other nations, in consequence of the troubles with which they are beset and which are now threatening them; yet they do not seem to comprehend the position. I know a little of some of the things that will transpire among them, and I feel sorry. Do you feel sorry for yourself? Not at all, not at all. Do you feel sorry for your people? Not at all, not at all. The Lord God has revealed unto us great and eternal principles which reach beyond this earth into the eternal heavens, and which have put us in possession of light and truth and intelligence, and promises and blessings that the world are ignorant of and do not and cannot comprehend. I feel every day to bless the name of the God of Israel, and feel like shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!! Hosanna!!! to the God of Israel, Amen and Amen,” who will rule among the nations of the earth, and manipulate things according to the counsel of His own will. These are my feelings in regard to these matters. But then I feel interested in the welfare of my brethren and sisters, and when I see their rights interfered with and trampled ruthlessly under foot, I feel that there is something at work that ought not to be, and yet that is quite necessary to teach us some of the principles of human nature, that we may be able to discern between the good, the virtuous, the upright and the holy; and the impure, the foolish, the vindictive, the corrupt, the lascivious, and those who are trampling under foot the laws and principles of eternal truth. God has revealed unto us certain principles pertaining to the future which men may take objection to. He has revealed unto us certain principles pertaining to the perpetuity of man and of woman; pertaining to the sacred rights and obligations which existed from the beginning; and He has told us to obey these laws. The nation tells us, “If you do we will persecute you and proscribe you.” Which shall we obey? I would like to obey and place myself in subjection to every law of man. What then? Am I to disobey the law of God? Has any man a right to control my conscience, or your conscience, or to tell me I shall believe this or believe the other, or reject this or reject the other? No man has a right to do it. These principles are sacred, and the forefathers of this nation felt so and so proclaimed it in the Constitution of the United States, and said “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Now, I believe they have violated that, and have violated their oaths, those that have engaged in these things and passed that law, and those that are seeking to carry it out. Congress and the President of the United States and the Judiciary, and all administrators of the law are as much bound by that instrument as I am and as you are, and have sworn to maintain it inviolate. It is for them to settle these matters between themselves and their God. That is my faith in relation to this matter. Yet by their action they are interfering with my rights, my liberty and my religion, and with those sacred principles that bind me to my God, to my family, to my wives and my children; and shall I be recreant to all these noble principles that ought to guide and govern men? No, Never! No, NEVER! NO, NEVER! I can endure more than I have done, and all that God will enable me to endure, I can die for the truth; but I cannot as an honorable man disobey my God at their behest, forsake my wives and my children, and trample these holy and eternal obligations under foot, that God has given me to keep, and which reach into the eternities that are to come. I won’t do it, so help me, God. [Here the speaker vigorously struck the book on the desk, and the large audience responded with a loud “Amen.”] The Constitution expressly says that no law shall be passed impairing the obligation of contracts. But we have entered into covenants and contracts in our most sacred places, and that, too, in many instances, before there was any law prohibiting the same, and yet the attempt is now being made to give the Edmunds law an ex post facto application and to punish us for these contracts which were not criminal, even from the standpoint of our enemies, at the time they were formed. I myself married my wives long before there was any law upon the subject, and many of you did the same, yet by an ex post facto application of laws since enacted the attempt is now made to punish us as criminals. I have never broken any law of these United States, and I presume that some of you, whom our enemies now seek to criminate and drag into court as violators of law, can say the same. Under the present system of things in this Territory, harlotry and adultery are vindicated, sustained and unblushingly protected, and honorable and virtuous wedlock is trampled upon, condemned and punished. Well, what will you do? I will obey every Constitutional law so far as God gives me ability. What else will you do? I will meet these men as far as I can without violating principle, and I have done it. When this infamous Edmunds law was passed, I saw that there were features in that which were contrary to law, violative of the Constitution, contrary to justice and the rights and the freedom of men. But I said to myself I will let that law take its course; I will place myself in accordance with it, so far as I can. Did I do it? I did. I remember talking to Mr. Pierrepont, who was Attorney-General under President Grant’s administration. He with his son called upon me. They dined with me, and perhaps I can explain my views on this subject by repeating our conversation as well as any other way. I have a sister keeping my house for me—the Gardo House. When Mr. Pierrepont came in, I said:

“Mr. Pierrepont, permit me to introduce you to my sister, who is my housekeeper. It is not lawful for us to have wives now. And when the Edmunds law was passed I looked carefully over the document, and saw that if I was to continue to live in the same house with my wives that I should render myself liable to that law. I did not wish—although I considered the law infamous—to be an obstructionist, or act the part of a Fenian, or of a Nihilist, or of a Kuklux, or communist, or Molly Maguire, or any of those secret societies that are set on foot to produce the disintegration of society and disturb the relations that ought to exist between man and man, between man and woman, or man and his God. I desired to place myself in obedience or in as close conformity as practicable to the law, and thought I would wait and see what the result would be; and that if the nation can stand these things I can or we can. These are my feelings. Men and nations and legislators often act foolishly, and do things that are unwise, and it is not proper that a nation should be condemned for the unwise actions of some few men. Therefore I have sought to place myself in accord with that law. I said to my wives: “We are living in this building together. We were quite comfortably situated, and we might so have continued, but I said to them that under the circumstances it will be better for me or for you to leave this place; you can take your choice. They had their homes down here which they now inhabit; which were quite comfortable. So I said to them, you can go there and I will stay here, or you can stay at the Gardo House and I will go there or somewhere else; for I wish to conform to this Edmunds law as much as I can.”

I am always desirous to let everything have its perfect working. We talk sometimes about patience having its perfect work. If we have laws passed against us I like to see them have a fair opportunity to develop and see what the result will be. These were my feelings then, and they are my feelings today.

Well, do you think, then, that the people have been outraged? I most certainly do. The usage has been in all legal trials among all civilized nations to presume that all men are innocent until proven guilty; but we now have test oaths introduced, which is another violation of the Constitution and by which an attempt is being made to hold all men guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Again: there is a usage which has existed among the civilized nations, and in this nation also, that a man must be tried by a jury of his peers, selected from the vicinage, but the juries selected for our courts are composed today of our bitter persecutors and our most relentless enemies, and in many instances selected from the lowest and most debased men who can be found or picked up from the gutters. We also have another class of courts improvised for the occasion in the shape of “U. S. Commissioners’ courts,” which are operated and run after the order of the ancient notorious “Star Chamber.” Such institutions provoke the contempt of all honorable men, and the parties assuming such offices place themselves in a position to be despised of their fellows. I might enumerate many other outrages, but time will not permit on this occasion. No man’s liberties are safe under such administration. What will be the result? The result will be that those that sow the wind will reap the whirlwind. When men begin to tear down the barriers and tamper with the fundamental principles and institutions of our country, they are playing a very dangerous game, and are severing the bonds which hold society together, and the beginning of these irregularities is like the letting out of water. The next step that followed the Edmunds Act, was the introduction of a test oath. The legislation already provided was not good enough for some of our officials here and another portion of the Constitution must be broken to introduce a test oath without any authority. I think this was introduced by our Governor. Then comes another class of men called Commissioners, rather a new idea in American Government. Yet it was thought necessary that extraordinary operations should be entered into in relation to the Mormons. Why? Because it is necessary that they should be dealt with differently from anybody else.

Now, I have seen some of my brethren shot to pieces in cold blood and under the protection of the State Government, and the promise of the Governor made to myself and Dr. John M. Bernhisel, who is sometime ago dead. In Missouri a great deal of that thing was done. In Georgia lately, and in Tennessee acts of the same kind have been perpetrated. Now, I want to know if anybody can tell me—here is a large congregation, and many thousands of you acquainted with our history—I want to know if anyone of you can tell me of any individual that was ever punished according to law for killing a Mormon. Speak it out, if you know it. I do not know of any such thing. Brother Snow says there is not an instance on record. Well, I would rather be on the side of the Mormons in that case than on the side of those who are their persecutors and murderers, for they have got something to atone for yet, which we have not under those circumstances. We have got through with our part of it. The other is not through with yet. There are eternal principles of justice and equity that exist in the bosom of God, and He, in His own time, will manipulate these things according to the counsel of His own will; and with what measure men mete, as sure as God lives, it will be measured to them again, pressed down and running over.

Very well, what would you advise us to do? Are we suffering any wrongs? Yes. Well, what would you do? I would do as I said some time ago. If you were out in a storm, pull up the collar of your coat and button yourself up, and keep the cold out until the storm blows past. This storm will blow past as others have done; and you will see that many of the miserable sneaks who are active in those measures, and who are crawling about your doors, and trying to spy into your houses, etc., will be glad to crawl into their holes by-and-by. Well, what will you do? Get angry? No, not at all. Let these men have their day and pursue their own course; we will protect ourselves from them as well as we can. Why, some of our folks in the South were actually try ing to seek an asylum in another land away from the persecutions of free America, and I do not know but that we shall have a lot of pilgrim Fathers again here in this country, fleeing, not from England by way of Holland, nor from France, nor from any of those countries where they used to persecute people and proscribe them for their religion, but from America, “The land of the free, the home of the brave, and the asylum for the oppressed”—fleeing from there because of their religious sentiments. What an idea! Who could have thought of it? People say that history repeats itself. It is so doing in our day. Well, what would you do? Observe the laws as much as you can. Bear with these indignities as much as you can. But it would not be well for these men to perform their antics anywhere else than among the Saints, or they would dangle to the poles, lots of them, by the neck, if they attempted any such acts. No people would endure these things as the Latter-day Saints do. Will you endure them? Yes, a little longer. Wait a little longer. And after you have borne with a good deal, then endure “as seeing Him that is invisible,” and cultivate those principles that Brother Snow has so beautifully set before us, and feel, “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.” Well, what would you do? Would you resent these outrages and break the heads of the men engaged in them, and spill their blood? No. Avoid them as much as you possibly can—just as you would wolves, or hyenas, or crocodiles, or snakes, or any of these beasts or reptiles; avoid them as much as you can, and take care they do not bite you. [Laughter.] And get out of the way as much as you can. What? Won’t you submit to the dignity of the law? Well, I would if the law would only be a little dignified. But when we see the ermine bedraggled in the mud and mire, and every principle of justice violated, it behooves men to take care of themselves as best they may. That is what I have told people while I have been in the south—to take care of their liberties, to put their trust in the living God, to obey every constitutional law, and to adhere to all correct principles. But when men tamper with your rights and with your liberties, when the cities are full of spies and the lowest and meanest of men are set to watch and dog your footsteps; when little children are set in array against their fathers and mothers, and women and children are badgered before courts, and made to submit, unprotected, to the gibes of libertines and corrupt men; when wives and husbands are pitted against each other and threatened with pains, penalties and imprisonment, if they will not disclose that which among all decent people is considered sacred, and which no man of delicacy, whose sensibilities had not been blunted by low associations, would ever ask; when such a condition of affairs exists, it is no longer a land of liberty, and it is certainly no longer a land of equal rights, and we must take care of ourselves as best we may, and avoid being caught in any of their snares. I cannot think that this crusade is aimed entirely at us; from many circumstances that have transpired, I have been led to believe that whilst we are made the victims, these proceedings are introduced as a political ruse, for the purpose of embarrassing the incoming administration. What would you do? Would you fight them? No. I would take care of myself as best I can, and I would advise my brethren to do the same. Would you resist law? No. As I said before, I can stand it if they can. It is for us to do what is right, to fear God, to observe His laws, and keep His commandments, and the Lord will manage all the rest. But no breaking of heads, no bloodshed, no rendering evil for evil. Let us try and cultivate the spirit of the Gospel, and adhere to the principles of truth. Let us honor our God, and be true to those eternal principles which God has given us to hold sacred. Keep them as sacredly as you would the apple of your eye. And while other men are seeking to trample the Constitution under foot, we will try to maintain it. We have prophecies something like this somewhere; that the time would come when this nation would do as they are now doing—that is, they would trample under foot the Constitution and institutions of the nation, and the Elders of this Church would rally around the standard and maintain those principles which were introduced for the freedom and protection of men. We expect to do that, and to maintain all correct principle. I will tell you what you will see by and by. You will see trouble, trouble, trouble enough in these United States. And as I have said before I say today, I tell you in the name of God, Woe! to them that fight against Zion, for God will fight against them. But let us be on the side of human liberty and human rights, and the protection of all correct principles and laws and government, and maintain every principle that is upright and virtuous and honorable, and let the world take the balance if they want, we don’t want it. We will cleave to the truth, God being our helper, and try to introduce principles whereby the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And we will obey every institution of man for the Lord’s sake so far as we can without violating our consciences and doing things that are wrong and improper.

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

Our Labors Are Interesting and Peculiar—Character of the Latter-Day Saints—The Blessing and Privilege of Priesthood—The Primary Associations—Our Warfare is One of Faith—We Must Importune for Our Rights—Necessity for Good Lawyers—The Gift of Wisdom—Persecution Will Tend to Unite Us—We Should Be Pure

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden, Sunday Afternoon, January 18th, 1885.

It is always a pleasure to meet with the Saints, and I always find substantial pleasure in bearing that portion of the labor of the ministry which devolves upon me. Of course there are times when human nature is physically incapacitated from labors. Nevertheless I rejoice exceedingly in the contemplation of the work that we are engaged in. Certainly the review of our immense subject, our great calling, our vast labor, and the wonderful results that follow them—when they are reviewed as they were this morning, and called up before our minds, must awaken deeply interesting and I should hope broadly expanded views and reflections in the minds of the Saints.

We are, as a people, and also our labors as well as the results of them, a great outstanding witness to the world of the divine character of the work we are performing—the high order of our calling to perform that work, as well as pointing significantly to the grand and glorious results which must inevitably follow the labor and toil that are now upon the Latter-day Saints. Any person whose bosom is warmed and whose intellect is lit up by the Holy Spirit must rejoice greatly in the contemplation of the great last dispensation which is now fairly before the world, fairly upon the Saints, like the harness that is upon those that are appointed to labor, to pull, to lift, and to toil.

Where is there any people upon the face of the earth, except the Latter-day Saints, who have from their religious convictions—or from any system of ethics or morals that they possess, gone forth upon the face of the earth, and, from honest, conscientious convictions, and, from their most heartfelt appeals, taken hold of the honest in heart, or of the vicious in heart; anywhere upon the face of the earth, and gathered together a people comprising twenty to thirty different languages and nations, and brought them together to any place, located them, and established a system of government that has been for their improvement, for their benefit, for the increase of their influence, their peace, or their happiness in any sense, either spiritual or temporal?

You can look abroad upon the earth in vain to find any other example that has any kind of relationship, or bears any kind of analogy or appearance like unto the work that is being performed by the Latter-day Saints in the days in which we live.

Who is it that is doing this work? What is the character of this people? Are they those that have been through the schools and been educated to appear in the most plausible and convincing manner in all classes of society? Are they those that have been brought up in affluence and comfort; that can present everything that is pleasing and engaging to the eyes, the ears and the minds of those they address? Not at all. Not many learned or noble. It is often the inexperienced boys that are picked up from the plow, from the workshop, to the humblest of laboring men, toiling, struggling, and many a time when they have not been able, from persecution and oppressive circumstances in which they have been placed, to make a comfortable livelihood, yet they have left the bosoms of their families and gone forth in faith carrying the principles of eternal truth and administering them, with an honest heart and clean hands and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood from heaven to the children of men. And what have they done? What has this simple, humble plan accomplished? Without money in their pockets, without letters of recommendation even to the people, without means oft times to make them comfortable, abnegating themselves, deficient in the comforts and necessities of life, they have gone forth with their hearts full of love and blessing to the human family to find other bosoms kindred to their own, though strangers in appearance, ready to receive the glad testimony of these servants of God. It is not the learned and the noble, nor the wealthy of the earth that have brought their hundreds, their thousands and their tens of thousands to this country.

It has been the potency of those principles that have been taught by the simple and many times silent testimony of the Holy Ghost, by the still small voice, that has carried conviction to the honest, the humble, laboring poor, and has brought them home here to Zion—they that want to know more of God, they that come from the crowded cities and other portions of the earth—find here a piece of a new world; they take hold and make to themselves homes, all in the name of Israel’s God, and by the calling of the voice of the Good Shepherd. Oh, how beneficent and how munificent has the Lord our God been unto us! Behold! as I look abroad this afternoon in this house, I contemplate the great mass of this congregation that are partakers of the Holy Priesthood. It is not a few that are partakers of the holy calling, the authority to administer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the echo of that saying that is written in the Scriptures where the Lord has said that He would take of Israel and make of them a nation of kings and priests unto Himself. Behold ye, my brethren and sisters, here they are.

Here is Israel gathering together, being taught of the Lord, to learn of His ways and walk in His paths, that they may receive the blessing and be clothed upon with power, as the Prophet said: “Awake, awake; put, on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.” What are these beautiful garments? These beautiful garments are the clothing upon with the authority and power of the Holy Priesthood. It is that which makes people beautiful; it is that which makes people useful; it is that which causes the Saints to sing: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” It is that excellence of the knowledge of God that makes men and women beautiful, and makes their acts delightful when they are performed in righteousness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I rejoice when I look around and contemplate this precious privilege—that there is scarcely an individual that has come to years of judgment and understanding but is a partaker of some measure of the Priesthood, if no more than the office of a Deacon that can administer blessing by attending to the door, wait upon the tables, and also by attending to other temporal duties from time to time as they may occur.

Here let me say, that every officer in the Church, from the Deacon up to the Apostle, should realize that it is his duty to endeavor to administer blessings by the virtue of the calling of God which is upon him; he ought to feel thus, and every sister that is the wife of such an husband should feel, if she has received with him her blessings in the house of the Lord, that it is her privilege and duty to administer blessings, comfort and happiness to her husband, to her children, to her family and household. Every one in all the Church should be filled with a spirit of blessing. The authority of the Priesthood should cause a gushing forth from the fountain of the heart, a bubbling forth of streams of blessing, of consolation, of comfort and of rejoicing, each should try to help and benefit the other in every possible way.

Contemplate the immense army, I may say of Seventies and Elders we have among us; and what a work are they doing in the nations, and what a work are they doing and ought they to do at home in preaching the Gospel to each other, in encouraging and strengthening those whose hands sometimes hang down, and whose knees tremble; speaking comforting words to the Saints, saying, “Dear brother, thy God reigneth, trust in him.” Notwithstanding all that we see on the right hand and on the left, and all that we hear, the Lord God has not forgotten His people, nor has He forgotten to educate and instruct them, in all that He knows is for their greatest good, so that by and by He may come and find a nation of kings and priests who shall reign with Him on the earth a thousand years. We ought never to forget that we are in a school of experience. Every brother and every sister should feel that they exert an influence that will tend for good or for evil.

We ought to feel concerned for our little ones. How precious they are! Sometimes I hear the brethren testify how much good is being done by the Relief Society and the Associations. I want to hear them talk about the Primaries, and tell us how the little children are getting along. It seems hard to get it into the heads of some of the parents as well as some of the Bishops to realize the importance of teaching and instructing these youngsters, some seem to consider it the sole duty of the Primary Associations, while others think it the duty of the parents only to see after them. Now, I think we miss it in trying to thus shirk the responsibility. I think we should all try to understand more perfectly the worth of souls. Oh, if the sisters and brethren that have the charge of these little Primary Associations could only realize that every little child is a gem that they are called upon to polish, to cut, to refine, to shapen, to burnish, to fit and prepare to stand in the diadem of its father’s crown. This is the way in which we ought to look at these small but precious jewels. We should assist the little ones to grow up to be mighty men of Zion, that shall come up to teach Senators wisdom, rebuke strong nations, though they may be far off and become a wholesome terror to the ungodly.

As Apostles, as Bishops, as High Priests, as Elders, as well as fathers and mothers, we need to get more of the spirit of this great work in all its different branches, and keep it with us; always have a blessing to dispense; everywhere a word of comfort and consolation to bestow. We should seek for the Spirit of God and get that measure of it that will bear us up, that they will make us feel the cares of life are trivial; that will sustain us under every circumstance. We can bear wonderful trials; we can live though and outgrow them and look back on them and wonder how we passed through them, realizing that we never could have done so but for the help of God that sustained us in it. Then give Him the glory.

Every officer, then, in the Church should be full of blessing to his fellow man. Only think how many patriarchs there are. They should feel to bless all around. No doubt they do, sealing upon those to whom they administer the blessing of eternal life in perpetuity.

The school that we are being educated in is a strange one. You cannot pick up the Bible and find anything that is like it. In ancient days, when there was a warfare, it was a warfare of carnal weapons, many times. Not so, in our days; and as if the Lord were determined to put carnal weapons far away from us, He even permitted the Gubernatorial order preventing us carrying firearms with which to celebrate the 4th of July, and then, on the top of that, He has given us the abundant testimony of peace all around, even with the hostile natives. Is not this an overwhelming testimony that the Lord wants us to work with the other class of weapons—the sword of His Holy Spirit, the power of eternal truth—the ammunition that wants to be kept alive, active and burning in our hearts.

When we come to contemplate this matter, our warfare is entirely in another direction, it has to be carried on and accomplished by the power of faith. We have to contend for our liberties and the rights of the people before the courts, wherein we strive to maintain the Constitutional rights to which we are entitled, both civilly and politically. We have not gone to the authorities that are over us in the nation and supplicated them saying: “Will you please give us some extraordinary liberties or privileges—we contend for the rights of every American citizen, which are our rights.” We have not cut ourselves off from the rights of citizenship. Our fathers fought to help obtain and bled to help establish the blessings and privileges, the liberties and powers of this glorious government to all its loyal citizens; and when this Church was established, it went on for more than thirty-two years—no law of the Church conflicted with the laws of the land, until it became necessary in the opinion of some politicians that the Saints should be made offenders in the eyes of the nation and of the world. Then it was that Congress passed a law—the law of 1862—prohibiting plurality of wives, polygamy, or bigamy, as they choose to call it. Now, then, we have not risen up against the laws of the land; it is the laws of the land and the men of the land that have risen up against the people of God, and have brought their offensive warfare in this matter, and we are thereby placed on the defensive. The nation have been pleased to say that we shall not worship God according to the dictates of our consciences, as required by some of the laws and ordinances of His Church; and have made laws to prevent us from so doing, if possible. Hence it is that, while we go before the courts we do not go as suppliants for something extraordinary, or for something that other people have not got. We ask to be preserved our rights, the rights that belong to every American citizen. It is for this that we go through the courts, appealing from the District Court to the Supreme Court of the Territory, and then to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Now, is not this a great and an important lesson of experience and instruction, and yet there is occasion, for all this is required in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord has said through the Prophet Joseph to us, that we must importune at the feet of the judges—do you remember it?—and at the feet of Governors—do you recollect that—and at the feet of the President, and then, says He, if your importuning does not prevail, and you do not obtain all things which you have a right to, He will come out of His hiding place and take the matter into His own hands. So you see we have some importuning to do before, or at the feet of Judges, Governors, and Presidents, in order to maintain the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of our country.

Right here I want to say a word or two especially in regard to the way we have to do our importuning. I refer to a discourse by President Young, in which he said he wished he had five hundred young lawyers full of the spirit of the Gospel who would rise up and help to maintain and defend our rights before the courts of our country. The discourse was published in the Deseret News and republished in the Journal of Discourses. It is public matter for anybody to read that wishes to. But a few days ago, however, a Bishop remarked that it looked very singular for one of the Apostles to raise up a lawyer, and thought there must be a screw loose somewhere. It happens, however, once in a while that some Bishop wants my son or someone else’s son to help defend them before the courts. (Laughter.) I wonder if there is any screw loose there. Excuse me, brethren, for this reference; but I wish we could have a goodly number of substantial young men growing up in our midst who would become skilled and mighty in the law, and who could go into any of the courts and set forth the true principles of justice and equity in all cases. We need more of such men. We do not want men to become lawyers, turn infidels, and live for nothing but the little money they can make. We want to raise up a corps of young men armed with the Spirit of the Gospel, clothed with the Holy Priesthood, who can tell the judges in high places what the law is, and what equity is, and can plead for the cause of Zion, and help maintain the rights of God’s people. Hence you see we have got to carry on these matters. Our rights are infringed, and we have got to defend ourselves as best we can. We are told that we must plead with the dignitaries of the earth; plead with them until their position on our question is known; they have got to declare themselves.

There are different branches of the government, which are considered coordinate. For instance—there is the legislative branch, namely, Congress. Then there is the President, who represents the executive branch. Then there is the army and navy, which is the arm of power to carry out and maintain physical defenses. And then there is the Supreme Court, the legal tribunal that stands at the very head, if you please, and pronounces upon the constitutionality of the acts which Congress passes. Hence we see our case has not only to be brought before and had cognizance of in the Congress of the United States to ascertain if they will make laws to oppress us, but these laws can be taken to higher courts, to see whether they will maintain the rights of God’s people in the land. And does it seem a terrible thing that one or two should get cast into prison? As President Cannon contemplated this morning, half a dozen would cover all such cases within the last twenty-two years, and the persons connected with the most notable cases have come in and furnished the evidence for their own crimination, under the promise that punishment would not be inflicted. But like the Governor of Illinois, who pledged his honor and the honor of the state to protect our Prophet and Patriarch, all such promises were broken. Nevertheless, in this manner we have got to test the purity or impurity, the integrity or otherwise, of the different branches of the government under which we live.

God is going to make His people a great people. He has designed them to be the means not only of revealing among themselves, what they are, and what they are here for, but of making them a standing testimony of the truth before the whole world. The great knowledge of which we have become possessed cannot be hid under a bushel, cannot be hid up in a dark place. Here we are in the heights of the continent, calling Israel home, ready to impart the light that is within us, to all of Adam’s children who will receive it. Let us seek to be wise. The Lord has told us of certain classes of defense which are better even than the employment of weapons of war. And what is it? It is the gift of wisdom. “Wisdom is better than strength or weapons of war,” said the ancient man, who tested the matter and found it out. Now, let us understand that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and a good understanding have all they who keep His commandments.

My brethren and sisters: let us not be discouraged in the least. Remember that no great revolution was ever achieved without some fighting. Some battles have had to be fought, some victories had to be achieved. It is while the war is going on that some get wounded, and other contingencies arise, and some things necessarily happen that are unpleasant. But after the war is over, and the new government is instituted, the grand improvement is then felt, as it has been felt in this nation ever since the thirteen colonies fought and maintained their independence from the mother country. It is true we have been oppressed a little. But our enemies do not make very much at it. We live and thrive notwithstanding, do we not? How singularly the Lord works with men. The people of the Southern States through the war and since, have been limited or deprived of some of their rights. And some few men—Senator Brown for one—are not afraid to rise up from their seat and defend the right whether in behalf of Mormon or non-Mormon, and expose the doings of self-righteous men in New England, exposing the fruits of their monogamous marriage relations as compared with our marriage institution. The Lord has raised up men sometimes to maintain the rights of His people. He will allow us to be pinched from time to time as it may be necessary to unite us together, to make a wife love her husband a little better, to make a husband love his wives and children a little better, and to strengthen the bond of union in every heart. For my part I rejoice in this work, and seek continually to gather knowledge. I rejoice that I have lived to see the work of God established on the earth. Let me tell you, my brethren and sisters, the greatest affliction some of us have: it is some great fearful apprehension that something is going to happen. We naturally borrow trouble. We should not do that. Just consider that the work is the Lord’s. Be certain you do your duty every day. And when you lay down at night do so with a clear conscience, and enjoy slumber and be refreshed, and rise up in the morning, in the likeness of the resurrection, prepared to renew the contest of life. Thus we should go on step by step, adding faith to faith, keeping the commandments of God, and purifying ourselves all we can. The Lord will bless us in proportion to the degree that we endeavor to purify ourselves, and keep His commandments. That is the great secret of our full acceptance with God. We must purify ourselves as He is pure.

I do not consider it proper for me to occupy more of your time this afternoon. I feel to say I rejoice in this work. And I say unto every brother and sister that keeps the commandments of God, be joyful and rejoice in Him. He has called us to the work in which we are engaged, and He is educating us, as I said before, in order that by and by He may have a nation of kings and priests, judges and rulers to help Him bear government and rule over this earth in righteousness, when the curse shall be taken from it, and when truth shall prevail from one end of the earth to the other. May it be our happy lot to be there and rejoice with father Abraham and all his family, is my humble prayer, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.