1

Similarity of Circumstances Surrounding Former and Latter-Day Saints—God is No Respecter of Persons—Revelation to Enoch—Christ Preached to the Spirits in Prison Between the Times of His Crucifixion and Resurrection—All Must Hear the Gospel, and Be Judged Thereby—We Must Progress or Retrograde

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, November 9, 1884.

I will read a portion of the 3rd chapter of the first epistle of St. Peter, and a portion of the 4th chapter; commencing at the 12th verse of the 3rd chapter:

12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.* * * *

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

These words, my brethren and sisters, embody to us today, though written by the Apostle Peter, 1,800 years ago, the Gospel of life and salvation. They are exceedingly appropriate to Latter-day Saints, as doubtless they were when written to former-day Saints. The circumstances which surrounded our brethren and sisters in former days, no doubt were similar in many respects to those which surround us in this one day, probably, with this difference that we are not scattered to the same extent they were; we have been gathered together from the nations where the Gospel was preached to us, and are now living in one community in these mountains. But the same doctrines, the same principles, the same powers of evil, the same powers of good, the same Spirit of God, and the same spirit of evil, were extant then, and were experienced then by the Saints who took upon themselves the name of Christ, as they are by us who now live.

Since I have come into this stand my mind has reverted to a conversation which I had a few days ago with a minister of the Dutch Reform Church, who was passing through this city, and who was introduced to me, and had a good many inquiries to make respecting our doctrines. When I told him how God had revealed Himself in these last days, how He had restored the Everlasting Priesthood, the ordinances of life and salvation, the Gospel in its original purity and power, accompanied with the Holy Ghost and its gifts, and had organized the Church as in ancient days, and related to him what God had said concerning all the churches in Christendom, he had the question to ask, which is so frequently asked of all our Elders when they travel and declare the same message, “Why has God left the Christian world for so long a time without these blessings and these powers and these gifts that you now claim as belonging to your Church and having been restored from heaven? And what has become of those Christians whom you say died in ignorance of the fullness of the Gospel of salvation?”

These are very pertinent questions. They are questions frequently asked of all our Elders. They are questions which suggest themselves to the minds of every thinking man when he is told that God has restored the truth in its original purity, with the power and authority of the Priesthood which have been so long withdrawn. Our ancestors we may have known, at least some of them; we may have known the morality of their lives, the purity of their intentions, the goodness of their motives, their exemplary conduct; and if we do not understand the principles of the Gospel when we are told the message that the Elders have to bear, the inquiry naturally arises, “Is it possible that my grandfather, my grandmother, my uncle, or perchance my father and my mother, have not gone to heaven, that they are not in the presence of God? Why, better people I never knew, and I have always thought,” says the inquirer, “that they really had gone to heaven, and now you tell me that unless I am baptized I shall be damned, and yet they are dead and have not been baptized.”

I expect many feel as the heathen king once felt. He was a king of the Franks, one of the old races that invaded what is now called France. He had surrendered his old convictions sufficiently to consent to receive the rite of baptism. A Catholic Bishop from Rome was to sprinkle him. But before submitting to be sprinkled the thought suggested itself to the king to ask the question what had become of his ancestors. The Bishop, more ready than politic, said, “They have gone to hell.” “Then,” said the king, “I will go to hell with them; I shall not be separated from my ancestors,” and he refused to receive the rite of baptism.

Now, I expect that there are many people in the world who, in the absence, or for the want of knowledge concerning the plan of salvation would almost feel the same when told that if they did not obey the Gospel, they would be damned. But when people are enlightened concerning the plan of Jehovah, the Gospel of the Son of God, they can easily reconcile justice and mercy as being attributes of the Great Being whom we worship. As I remarked to this gentleman, “I might easily answer your question by propounding another question to you. You are a Christian minister; you preach what you believe to be the Gospel; what has become of the millions of heathen who died in ignorance of that Gospel which you profess to obey and accept as the plan of salvation—the millions of heathen who never heard the name of Jesus Christ, the only name given under heaven whereby man can be saved—what has become of them?”

“Oh,” said he, “but they were not Christians.”

Said I, “Do you think that God makes a distinction between the souls or the spirits of men? Is there one class of spirits for whom He has a greater respect than He has for others! Is a Christian soul more valuable, or more precious, in the sight of our Great Creator, than the soul of a heathen? I do not believe it myself. I have no such idea.”

But he could see a wide distinction between those who were Christians and those who were not.

Nevertheless the difficulty still remains, and it will ever remain to those who do not comprehend the plan of salvation as revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ. We must remember that God’s work is not confined to this life; that God’s plan of salvation extends throughout eternity; that according to our belief it began to operate in eternity, if it ever began at all—for it never really in truth began, it always operated, operated from eternity and will operate to eternity, for all the children of men, for every human soul. The plan of salvation devised by our Father and God, is intended to save every human being that will be saved; to reach them all, unless, during this probation, they commit what is termed the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost, and become sons of perdition, in which even salvation ceases (so far as they are concerned) to operate; they put themselves outside of the pale of salvation.

There is a very interesting revelation contained in the new translation by the Prophet Joseph Smith, which is found in the Pearl of Great Price. The revelation says:

“And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying, How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains? And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever; And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it that thou canst weep?

“The Lord said unto Enoch; Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day that I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; And unto thy brethren have I said, and also gave commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection; and they hate their own blood; And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is thy name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren; But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them. And That which I have chosen hath plead before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment; Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.”

A most important revelation, this, to Enoch, showing unto him the fate of the wicked after his city should be translated and taken to heaven. The inhabitants of the earth should grow worse and worse, more abandoned than ever in their wickedness, until the time should come for the Lord to send forth His floods and drown the inhabitants of the earth except Noah, and those who received His testimony. All this was shown unto Enoch; and he was shown that those who had thus acted, or who should thus act, “would be consigned to prison, they would be consigned to a place of torment, and because of their sufferings, because of that which they should have to pass through, the heavens themselves wept over their fate.” Enoch was told that they should remain there until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, or in these words: “And that which I have chosen has plead before my face. Wherefore, He suffereth for their sins, insomuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me.”

That is, after the Savior’s advent in the flesh, after He has suffered for their sins; until then, when He should return unto the Father, they should remain in this prison and in this condition of torment. “Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.”

Those millions of spirits who had thus committed sin and iniquity until it could be borne no longer, until the earth groaned under their wickedness, and cried aloud as with a human voice against the wickedness upon its surface of which those inhabitants had been guilty—those millions of spirits were swept off with a flood, the whole family of man was destroyed, except Noah and those seven souls who received his testimony, a part of his family, and a part only, for there were children that Noah had who rejected his testimony, and who also shared in the destruction that came upon the inhabitants of the earth. But those eight, including Noah, were the sole surviving remnant of the entire family of man. The antediluvian world numbered millions doubtless; millions were swept away from the face of the earth, and consigned to a place of torment, or to a prison. In this prison they were immured, doubtless in utter darkness—in the condition that is so expressly described by the Savior Himself, when upon the earth—in outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, a place of torment, where they were kept until the Savior Himself came in the flesh, and proclaimed unto the children of men the Gospel of life and salvation.

Jesus Himself, on one occasion, went into the synagogue after His baptism by John the Baptist, and there was handed to Him a book containing the prophecy of Isaiah, or as it is written in the New Testament Esaias. He took it and read these words: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He there proclaimed in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, the exact character of the mission that had been assigned Him by His Father in heaven. He was not only commanded to preach good tidings unto the meek, and to bind up the broken hearted, but He was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that were bound. Thus was a part of His mission foretold by the Prophet Isaiah a long time before His birth. He Himself confirmed the correctness of the prediction by reading it in the ears of the people; and when He left the earth, after having established His Gospel upon it, after having commenced the work of salvation here, after having ordained men to the authority of the everlasting Priesthood which He held, the Priesthood of Melchizedek, after having done this and was slain by wicked men, suffered for the sins of humanity in the flesh, He then went, in the words that I have read in your hearing from this epistle of Peter, and preached to the spirits in prison which sometime were disobedient when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah. He went and proclaimed liberty to the captive; He went to open the prison doors to them that were bound. He alone could do this. No Prophet that preceded Him had the authority, for none of the Prophets that had preceded Him had this mission assigned them. It was His duty as the Son of God, as the Redeemer of the world, after, as I have said, committing the Gospel to men in the flesh, after ordaining men to preach that Gospel and administer its ordinances in the power and authority of the everlasting Priesthood, to preach to those spirits in prison. It did not take a great while to commence the work; for He was crucified on Friday, and was resurrected on Sunday; but in the interim, while His body laid in the tomb, His Spirit, as is correctly stated in one catechism—I believe that of the Episcopalians—“descended into hell,” and, according to the mission that had been assigned Him, according to the revelation that God gave to Enoch before the floods descended upon the wicked world, according to the predictions of Isaiah, and according to the power and authority which He exercised as the Son of God He went and opened the prison doors to them that were bound, preached to them the everlasting Gospel, once more, and gave unto them the privilege of receiving it in the spirit even as though they were in the flesh. Therefore says Peter, “by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison which sometime were disobedient when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.” Then he goes on and he says—after telling the Saints how they should live, how the wicked should act, and how they should be treated—he says: “For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Now, say some, “Oh, this means when men are dead in their sins. This is what Peter means—dead in their sins.”

It does not mean any such thing. That is not the meaning of it. It means just what it says. It means that the Gospel shall be preached to them that are dead; that the Savior should carry the glad tidings of salvation to them, and not only to those who were disobedient in the days of Noah, but to all the spirit world, to every soul of Adam’s race that had up to that time died who had not received the Gospel in the flesh. He commenced the work there just as He did here. He commenced, as I have said, by preaching the Gospel, by revealing it to His disciples, by giving them the authority to preach it, and then He descended into Hades or hell, and He there, doubtless, chose His ministers, the men who had the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and set them to the same labor that was commenced on the earth, the labor of preaching His everlasting Gospel to all the spirit world, to the millions of spirits who had died either in disobedience to the Gospel of Christ, or in ignorance of that Gospel, never having heard the sound of it. The Gospel was sent to the entire spirit world, except, as I have before stated, to those sons of perdition who had committed the unpardonable sin, or the sin against the Holy Ghost, and the labor has doubtless continued from that day until the present time in the spirit world. In the authority and power of the everlasting Priesthood the servants of God have been calling upon the inhabitants of that world to repent and believe in Jesus: first to repent of their sins and be willing to receive the Gospel of the Son of God in its fullness and in its purity, just as men would receive it in the flesh—that is, be willing to comply as far as possible with all its requirements, and also to have this further willingness, that if they were in the flesh they would submit to and receive every ordinance of the Gospel of life and salvation. They must not only believe in Jesus, as I have said, and repent of their sins; not only be willing to go that far, but be willing to go the full extent of the requirements of the Gospel, be willing to obey every ordinance and every law that is necessary, and say in the spirit, “Oh, if I were in the flesh I would be baptized for the remission of my sins; I would have hands laid upon me for the reception of the Holy Ghost; I would be willing to obey every law of God, my Eternal Father, if I had the opportunity in the flesh of doing so.”

Jesus illustrated this principle and the work which lay before Him very beautifully, in the case of the thief on the cross. One of the thieves reviled Him. The other turned and rebuked his companion for reviling the Savior, and asked the Savior to remember him when He came into His kingdom; for you must understand that the idea had become prevalent then that Jesus was a king, and they had written over His cross in three languages, “Jesus, King of the Jews,” partly in derision, doubtless; but it was the truth. Pilate asked Him if He was not a king, and this robber, doubtless, shared in the feeling that Jesus was a king. Therefore he besought Him to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. Jesus said to him: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” “There I can speak to you,” He might have said, “more fully than I can now. This is our dying hour, and I am not in a position to preach to you or explain to you the plan of salvation that I have; but wait awhile, before this day ends you will be with me in paradise, and there I can make full explanations to you concerning all that you desire to know.”

And this in reality was the case. That day they were in paradise together. Jesus was in a position to preach to him in the spirit as He had done to men in the flesh. And you will remember—although it seems almost unnecessary to repeat it to this congregation who are so well instructed; but there are young people who are not so familiar with these doctrines, and, therefore, for their benefit I quote the Scriptures. You will remember when Mary, after she missed the body from the sepulchre, rushed forward to a man, supposing him to be the gardener, and asked him where he had laid the body. She did not recognize Him at first, but as soon as He made Himself known she essayed to clasp Him in womanly affection. He, however, told her to stand back, not to touch Him. You must not put your hands on me, Mary. Whatever your relations may be to me, you must not touch me now. “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father and to my God and your God.” This was His expression when His body had been resurrected from the tomb. He had not yet been to His Father—that is, directly to the immediate presence of His Father. Therefore it was not fit that any mortal should put hands upon Him. It was not the privilege even of Mary, closely connected as she was with Him—it was not her privilege to put her hand upon her resurrected Lord. He had not yet ascended to the Father.

Thus you see the Scriptures corroborate that which I have said in this respect. His body had lain, as I before remarked, from Friday until Sunday, in the tomb, and then it was resurrected. But during that period His spirit had been engaged preaching to the spirits in prison; they heard the glad tidings of salvation from the Savior. His voice penetrated the depths of hell, the gloom of darkness, and it awakened hope within their hearts. He proclaimed liberty to the captive. He opened the prison doors to those that were bound. He preached unto them the acceptable year of the Lord: for the time had come for them to be redeemed from their prison house in which they had been so long incarcerated for the sins committed in the flesh.

This is the Gospel of salvation that God has revealed. Every human being that has ever been born upon the face of the earth, every human being that ever will be born will hear these glad tidings of salvation proclaimed by those who have authority to administer it unto fallen man, whether they lived before Jesus, whether they lived at the time of or since Jesus, or whether they will live yet in the future. They cannot hear the Gospel. They cannot be judged until they do hear it. Every principle of salvation will be proclaimed to those who have died without the privilege of hearing it in the flesh—they must hear it in the spirit world as well as those who hear it in the flesh. Therefore, we need not be in any anxiety concerning our ancestors; we need not puzzle ourselves with questions as to the fate of the heathen; we need not be disturbed in our feelings to reconcile the justice of God with His mercy, or His mercy with His justice, to the children of men. None of these questions need trouble us, for the reason that by the revelation of these glorious principles God’s mercy is reconcilable in the most perfect manner with His justice. We see by this that God will not consign any soul to endless torment without first giving him an opportunity of receiving or rejecting the Gospel. If he be consigned to torment it will be as a punishment for violating law. Where there is no law there is no transgression of the law. There can be therefore no punishment if a man does not comprehend the law. If it is not made plain to him, its binding force does not operate upon him; but when he understands it, when his mind comprehends it, when it is declared to him, then it begins to operate upon him, and if he reject it, then the penalty begins to operate also, and unless he repents and obeys that law he will receive severe condemnation. Therefore in the spirit world there are grades of punishment just as there are grades of spirits. Some are ignorant. Some men who never heard the name of Jesus have lived according to the light that God gave them; for God has given to every man that is born into the world, according to the revelations we have received, His Spirit. He has given unto every man and woman His Spirit, not the gift of the Holy Ghost, but His Spirit by which they are led and guided. Some call it the light of conscience, the voice of conscience. No man ever committed a wrong that listened to that voice without being chided for it, whether he be Christian or heathen, whether he has lived according to the light of the Gospel or been in entire ignorance of it. Every man has within him a spirit which comes from our Great Creator, and if we grieve it not it leads us, guides us, though we may not know the Gospel, as has been the case with many thousands and millions of human beings. It leads all the children of men when they listen to it; it leads them in the path of peace, in the path of virtue, in the path of happiness; but if they violate that spirit or grieve it, if they go contrary to its monitions, if they harden their hearts against and sin against it, then it departs, and another spirit takes its place, namely, the spirit of the evil One.

Thus it is that the heathen, many of them have lived lives most exemplary, lives which are the admiration of posterity. Men not confined to one race, not to one nationality, but men of every race, men of every clime, men of every language, have received the same spirit and have been enlightened by it and their lives have been noble and admirable, and no doubt have been acceptable to God our eternal Father. Therefore, when you think about your grandparents whom you have known, when you think about your parents or some other relatives whom you have known, who died in ignorance of the Gospel, you have known their lives, you have known how good their desires were, you have known how they conformed to the law so far as they understood it, how moral they were, how exemplary, how correct in their conduct, in their conversation and in their dealings—when you think of these, you need not be afraid that they have lost anything because they died in ignorance of the Son of God. I tell you that God’s providence is over all His children, and He will reward every man and every woman according to his or her works, and He will reward those who have lived exemplary lives, those who have been moral, whether they be heathen or Christian, whether they have known the name of Jesus or not, whether they have the Bible, or the Koran, or some other book, or no book at all; whatever may have been their condition and circumstances, if they have lived according to the light that God has given them, and to laws that they understood, God will reward them, and will eventually bestow every blessing upon them which they are capable of receiving. Yes, those poor people who persecute us, those people who would, in their ignorance destroy us, we can well say to them and concerning them that which Stephen said, when about to give up the ghost. They stoned him. They treated him most cruelly for his belief. He had declared to them the Gospel; but they stoned him to death. Before he died he said—and it’s the spirit which every man of God, who comprehends the purposes of God, and the plan of salvation will cherish and always give utterance to under all circumstances—“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” They were ignorant. He therefore besought the Father to forgive them. They did not know what they were doing. They did it ignorantly. This was proved by the fact that the young man at whose feet lay the clothes of those who committed this bloody deed, afterwards became a flaming light in the Church and Kingdom of God, and ultimately laid down his life for that Gospel which he had witnessed Stephen die for, and which at the time he thought was a righteous judgment upon Stephen.

My brethren and sisters, we can of all people be charitable. As the Apostle Peter says: “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” And not only among ourselves, but have charity for an ignorant world who know not what they do in fighting against God, in fighting against His truth, in seeking to destroy His Priesthood from the face of the earth: they know not what they do. We would save them if we could. We would carry the Gospel of salvation to them. We are ready, as we have been, to endure all things for the sake of the souls of our fellow men. We have gone from continent to continent, from land to land, from island to island, wherever there was a door open, to preach the Gospel. We have forsaken home, forsaken wives and children, and all the endearments of home, everything that men love and hold sacred, even to the sacrificing of our lives for the salvation of our fellow men—gone without purse or scrip, gone forth in the midst of shame and ignominy, in the face of persecution of the most cruel and sometimes of the most dreadful character. We have done this, we are still doing it, we shall do it, until every soul under the broad canopy of heaven shall hear the Gospel of the Son of God, this message of life and salvation which has been entrusted to us. Every mortal shall hear the glad tidings of salvation. They shall be judged by this message. They shall receive the blessings of God or His condemnation, according to their willingness to receive or their determination to reject the Gospel; and then when this life is ended, when this mortal is laid aside, we shall go into the spirit world, endowed with the same Priesthood and authority of the Son of God; clothed with that authority; enveloped with it, even the fullness of it; we shall go into the spirit world and continue this glorious labor of warning our brethren and sisters who once were in the flesh, until throughout the spirit world the Gospel of salvation shall be heard from one end of it to the other. It is a never-ending work that which we have taken upon ourselves. It will never terminate until this earth shall be redeemed, until the power of Satan shall be subdued, until wickedness shall be banished from the earth, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Then will this labor cease so far as the family of man is concerned; but it will never cease until all who belong to this earth, whoever were born upon it—no matter in what age, no matter what time, no matter what nationality, shall be redeemed who can be redeemed.

Now, my brethren and sisters, you have some little idea of the character of the work in which we are engaged. Do we set too much value upon our Priesthood—when we talk about Priesthood and authority—when these are the labors that attend the Priesthood and that devolve upon it? No, we cannot value our calling too highly. And I say to you that you have entered upon a pathway that leads back to God. You may dally by the wayside; you may fool away your time; you may be idle, indifferent and careless; but you only lose thereby the progress that you ought to make. Unless you commit the unpardonable sin, you will have to progress. It is written in the eternity of our God that every soul must progress that does not retrograde. Therefore, make good use of the time you have. Now is the time of your probation, now is the time of harvest, now is the summer of your days. Let it not be said, the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved. But let us bear in mind that now is the probation that God has given us. Let us make use of it by doing the works of righteousness, by keeping the commandments of God, by having our eye on the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus; which may God grant in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Priesthood—Its Authority Necessary to Administer in the Ordinances of the Gospel—This Principle Well Illustrated in the Life and Example of the Prophet Joseph—Jesus Officiated By Virtue of the Melchizedek Priesthood—Descent of the Priesthood From Adam—Necessity of Temples in Which the Power of the Priesthood Can Be Exercised for Those Who Died Without the Gospel—Restoration of the Priesthood in These Last Days—The Legitimate Acts of Those Holding the Priesthood Are Acknowledged and Ratified By the Lord—Binding Power of the Holy Priesthood—Opposition of Satan to the Priesthood—Virtues of the Latter-Day Saints—Conclusion

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden, Sunday Morning, October 18th, 1884.

I will read a portion of the 7th chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.

[The speaker read the whole of the 7th chapter.]

Proceeding he said: This chapter that I have read in your hearing is the 7th chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. In this entire book of Hebrews, Paul reasons with the Jews, unto whom the epistle was addressed, to show them that Jesus, the Son of God, whom they had crucified, was a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and that the Priesthood which had been taken away during the days of Moses in the wilderness, had been restored through Him. The Jews entertained the idea that Priesthood necessarily came through the tribe of Levi, and that the power and the authority thereof—that is, to minister in all things pertaining to the Priesthood were confined to that tribe, and that no one had the right outside of that tribe to officiate in the ordinances pertaining to God and to mediation between God and the people or the people and God. But Paul very clearly proved in his reasoning with them that there was a Priesthood higher than that which had been exercised by the descendants of Aaron.

It is well for us, who, as a people, believe in Priesthood, that we should understand the nature and character and power of the Priesthood which God confirms upon man when He calls him to act in His stead in the midst of the people. As a people we differ in our views upon these points from almost every other church. There are one or two sects in existence which attach a great importance to Priesthood, but the most of them which form the so-called Christian world reject the idea of Priesthood, and deny that it is necessary for it to he bestowed upon man. This feeling has doubtless arisen as a consequence of the abuses that have grown up through the maladministration of what is termed the Priesthood. In rebelling against the Catholic Church and its pretensions men have gone to the other extreme, and have discarded the idea of Priesthood entirely, and claimed that all men are alike before God; that all men are equally endowed with authority from God, and to exercise the power and the authority that were originally bestowed upon those who held the truth.

In these last days, in the organization of this Church, God, in His infinite wisdom, impressed upon his servant Joseph Smith the necessity of there being a rebestowal of the Priesthood, in order to give him the authority to officiate in the ordinances of the Kingdom of God. This must have been impressed upon the prophet’s mind at a very early day, from the fact that, notwithstanding he had been brought up among the protestant sects, and had doubtless shared in the views which they entertained respecting the right of all men who were impressed by the spirit, and who were prompted by an inward call to act as ministers of God, he refrained from attempting in the least degree to do anything in the name of God or of Jesus Christ until he had received the power and authority from on high through the bestowal of the Priesthood upon him. The revelations he had received from the Lord, with the ministration of holy angels, did not, he plainly perceived, authorize him to act as a minister of the Lord in the administration of ordinances. He never attempted to do anything in administering ordinances, or anything that a Priest might do, until he had been ordained of God through the administration of John the Baptist. Then, and not till then, did he officiate in the ordinance of baptism. Much as he and his companion desired that ordinance; much as they desired to become participants in the blessings that flow from the reception of an ordinance of that holy character, he never attempted, until he had been thus empowered from on high, to administer it.

Now, the prevalent idea in the world has been that if a man should be so favored as to receive the ministrations or visitations of angels, or to receive any manifestations of what might be termed a supernatural character, he would be completely invested with the power necessary to preach the Gospel unto his fellow men and to administer all the ordinances thereof. But the Prophet Joseph not only received the ministrations of angels, but actually had revelations from God, which are written in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and which are now the word of God to the Church. He received these revelations through the inspiration of the Almighty. He also by means of the Urim and Thummim translated the Book of Mormon; was, in fact, a seer as well as a revelator; had the spirit of prophecy to predict those things that should take place in the future, and many events that have since taken place were prophesied of by him before he was really ordained of God to administer the ordinances of life and salvation. I know that this is an exceptional instance. It may be possible that there is not another like it in the history of our race where a man was so highly favored of God, endowed with such authority, such power and had such manifestations of the mind and will of God as he received without having the Holy Priesthood. But it accords with the ideas so frequently expressed by the brethren respecting the Prophet Joseph and many others, that they were ordained before the foundations of the world were laid to come forth and accomplish the labor and the work that they did. There is no room for doubt in regard to the truth of this statement that is so frequently made. In the early boyhood of the Prophet Joseph, he was moved upon in a mysterious manner to seek unto God. By the exercise of a faith that was uncommon, and in fact it may be said unknown upon the earth, he was able to receive the ministrations of God the Father, and of His Son Jesus Christ; thus showing in the very beginning of his career, that he was a man or a spirit that was highly favored of God—a man to whom God desired to give particular manifestations of his kindness and goodness and power, and this was followed up from that time until his death by continued manifestations of the favor and the will and the power of God unto him. But it is a remarkable fact—and I wish to impress it, I think it is worthy of remembrance by all of us—that notwithstanding the Prophet Joseph had all these manifestations, and was, as I have said, a prophet and seer and revelator, he never attempted—notwithstanding the ideas that were so prevalent among mankind, and especially in the region where he lived and where he received his education—to officiate in any of the ordinances of the house of God, or of the Gospel of salvation, until he received the everlasting Priesthood. When that was bestowed upon him; when he received the Priesthood after the order of Aaron, and was ordained by the angel who alone held the keys, who was a literal descendant of Aaron, and by virtue of that descent entitled to the keys of that Priesthood, having exercised the authority thereof while in the flesh—then and not till then did he administer the ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins. And then he refrained from acting in ordinances belonging to the Melchizedek Priesthood, that higher Priesthood, by the authority of which the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is administered unto the children of men. Having authority to baptize in water given unto him, he did not go any further, until the Lord in His kindness and mercy bestowed upon him, through the administration of those apostles who held the keys after the death of our Savior, the authority to administer in those higher ordinances and to exercise the power and authority of this higher Priesthood. This illustrates most perfectly how careful men ought to be in acting in the name of God, not to overstep the bounds of the authority conferred upon them, but to carefully keep within those limits that are assigned to them in which to exercise authority. It is a lesson unto us as a people. We should be particular ourselves and should impress every man with the great care that he should exercise to confine his acts to the authority which he has received from the Almighty.

Jesus himself, no doubt, was equally careful in regard to the authority which He held. He was called to be a Priest after the order of Melchizedek—that is, this higher Priesthood. He exercised the authority thereof among the children of men. He still is a Priest after that holy order. It was by virtue of that Priesthood that He officiated in the ordinances that He administered unto men. Though the Son of God, the Savior himself, did not attempt, because of His sonship, because of His high descent, to officiate among the children of men aside from and independent of the authority of the Holy Priesthood, that is, the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. It was by virtue of that Priesthood and authority that he officiated, that he administered the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, which John the Baptist announced unto the people he would do when He came. Jesus in administering that baptism and conferring that blessing, did so by virtue of and in the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. He would not, as I have said, have dared to do this independent of that authority; so in laying His hands upon His Apostles He conferred upon them this power and this authority. He commanded them to go forth and administer unto the children of men by virtue of that power and authority, and the Church that He built up, and this Church of His that is now established in these last days, and the officers of it, derive their authority from that source. It has come down legitimately from the days of Melchizedek; in fact it has come down from our great father Adam. He received the Priesthood of the Son of God; He was ordained to that Priesthood, and it has come down by lineal descent from him unto all his children who have that authority today and who exercise it upon the earth. It can be traced in the same manner as the descent of man can be traced. It can be traced to Father Adam. He received it through angelic administration. It was bestowed upon him and upon his son Abel and upon his son Seth, and from them it has come down through the line of the Priesthood—from Seth to Enos, from Enos to Cainan, from Cainan to Mahalaleel, and so on down until the days of Noah, who received it from his grandfather. These men were ordained in their various generations to this Priesthood, the Priesthood after the holiest order, the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. By virtue of this Priesthood Noah and his sons ministered and labored, as we are told, among the children of men to persuade them to forsake their sins and to turn to righteousness, lest the Lord should overwhelm them with a flood. This flood had been predicted long before it came. Enoch had beheld it in vision, and he went forth, as we are told in the record that has come down to us from him, and labored to the best of his ability among the children of men to avert the dreadful consequences of this threatened flood, which he had been informed by the Lord would overwhelm the inhabitants because of their wickedness. He labored in this Priesthood for 365 years and upwards—that is, he walked with God for that length of time—and by the exercise of that Priesthood he obtained such great power from God that he and his people were translated. Zion was not. It was taken to the bosom of the Lord. The Priesthood, however, was still left. His son Methuselah received it, and he bestowed it upon Lamech, and Noah received it, from Methuselah, and the sons of Noah received and exercised the authority of it in the midst of the children of men in order to save them, but were unsuccessful. Melchizedek received it, and because of his greatness and the power that he attained unto with God, he became so distinguished that the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God has been called after his name from that time until the present, to avoid, as we are told in the revelations, the too frequent repetition of the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Then Abraham received it, and he bestowed it upon his children. Moses, however, received it through a different line, as we are told. He received it from his father-in-law, Jethro, and exercised it among the people. It was the same Priesthood that his ancestor Abraham held, and by it he performed the mighty works that he accomplished.

To return again to Melchizedek. We find here that Paul in speaking about him says that he was “King of peace.” And he goes on to say, as we have it translated, that he was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life,” and the whole Christian world have gone astray over this expression of Paul, not being able to understand it, thinking that that which I read in your hearing referred to Melchizedek himself, when in reality it was the Priesthood he bore. It was after the power of an endless life. It had no beginning; no end. It is eternal as our Father and God, and it extends into the eternities to come, and it is as endless as eternity is endless, and as our God is endless: for it is the power and authority by which our Father and God sits upon His throne and wields the power He does throughout the innumerable worlds over which He exercises dominion. It is the power and authority by which the Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has attained unto that which has been promised unto Him, and by which He has become the Savior and the Redeemer of the world.

This Priesthood, as I have said, came down unto Moses, but the children of Israel would not have it in their midst. We are told very plainly in the revelation that Moses sought diligently to sanctify his people and to lead them into the presence of God by means of this Priesthood, but they would not have it. The ordinances of godliness that were administered by it were not acceptable to that generation; they rejected them, and besought Moses to stand between them and their Father and God, for they could not endure His presence. Hence the Priesthood was taken away, and there was no exercise of the power and the authority of it among the Jews, except occasionally, when Prophets received authority from the Lord, until the days of the Savior, when it was restored once more in its fullness and in the plenitude of its power to the earth, and men began to exercise the authority thereof.

My brethren and sisters, we are building temples at the present time in which we have ordinances administered unto us for those who have died. Why is this necessary? It is because the Priesthood of the Son of God was withdrawn for a long period of time from the earth. The children of men have been born, they have lived, they have died without any of the ordinances being administered unto them by those who held the Priesthood of the Son of God. It is true that many sought after God in a certain manner and according to the light they had, and many obtained some degree of knowledge concerning God. Some of them had a testimony of Him through their faith and died at peace with God. Many of our ancestors lived in this condition, and God bore witness to them by His Holy Spirit that He was pleased with them. But what of that? Is that all that is necessary to place them in a saved condition? By no means. Something more than that is necessary to obtain for them the full remission of their sins and to place them in a condition where they can be saved and exalted in God’s presence. As I said to you in the beginning, something more was necessary for Joseph than that he was a Revelator, a Seer, and a Prophet to constitute him a servant of God empowered to administer the ordinances of life and salvation. A Wesley, a Luther, a Calvin, a Wycliffe, and a host of others who have arisen in the world, imbued with the highest and purest motives, and the highest and most intense desires for the salvation of their fellow men, have labored zealously to turn men to God, and to bring them to a knowledge of the Savior; but they have not had the authority of the Holy Priesthood. They themselves could not usher people into the Church of God. They could not legitimately administer an ordinance pertaining to the salvation of the human family. Yet God, in many instances, accepted of them, where they sought unto Him according to the best light they possessed; He accepted of them and their labors, and He witnessed unto them, by the outpouring of His Spirit upon them, that He was pleased with them and He whispered peace to their souls. In every land, in every nation, and among the people of every creed, men and women of this kind have been found, and according to their faith and diligence their works have been acceptable to our Father. Men have thought that the Christian lands and the Christian people, so called, have been the most favored of God in this respect. No doubt they have, because they have had knowledge concerning the Savior that other lands and other peoples have not had; but in pagan lands, where the name of Jesus has never been heard, where men have sought after God and endeavored to live according to the light that He has given unto them and the Spirit that He has bestowed upon them, and which He bestows upon every man and woman born into the world, He has accepted of them, and in the day of the Lord Jesus, the heathen will have part in the first resurrection. Our ancestors have, in common with others, been destitute of the power and the authority of the Holy Priesthood. Hence we build temples; hence we go into these temples and attend to the ordinances of life and salvation for our kindred who have died in ignorance of this power, or were in a position where they could not have it exercised in their behalf. They could not be baptized for the remission of their sins; they could not have hands laid upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost; they could not have any other ordinance administered unto them, because the authority to administer was not upon the earth, and whatever might be done in the name of God or in the name of Jesus, by those who thought they had the authority, or who assumed to possess it, was of no avail so far as salvation was concerned; so far as acceptance by the Lord our God is concerned it was as though nothing had been done. Hence it is that in these last days, God having in His great kindness and mercy, opened the heavens once more and sent from heaven that authority which has so long been withdrawn—God having done this, we are put in possession of the authority to administer to each other the ordinances of life and salvation, and not only to administer to each other, but to exercise that authority in behalf of those who have lived before us, lived in ages that are past, so that we can connect generation unto generation until we reach back to the time when our ancestors did hold the Holy Priesthood. In this manner the work of salvation will progress, until throughout the millennium, temples will be built, and the servants and handmaidens of God will go into these temples and officiate, until all who have been born upon the face of the earth, who have not become sons of perdition, will be redeemed, and the entire family be reunited, Adam standing at the head.

You can see, my brethren and sisters, the importance there is in our having the Priesthood of the Son of God in our midst. You see how necessary it is that it should be exercised and exercised properly. You can see how necessary it is that the ordinances of life and salvation should be administered by those who are legitimately ordained to this authority. When a man lays his hands upon the head of his fellow man and professes to bestow authority, the mere profession of that authority will avail nothing unless he has indeed the authority and has it legitimately. A man who may profess to have the authority; a man who may say I have ordained this person or the other person, unless he has the authority to do so is a mere pretender, and his acts cannot be recognized nor acknowledged of God. I believe the time will come when it will be necessary for every man to trace the line in which he has received the Priesthood that he exercises. It is therefore of great importance in our Church that records should be kept, and that every man should know whence he derives his authority—from what source, through what channel he has received the Holy Priesthood, and by what right he exercises that authority and administers the ordinances thereof. I believe this is of extreme importance, and that where there are doubts as to a man’s legitimately exercising that authority, that doubt should be removed. Every man should be careful on this point, to know where he gets his Priesthood; that it has come to him clean and undefiled, legitimately; and when men are cut off from that Priesthood by the voice of the servants of God, there is an authority on the earth which God recognizes in the heavens, and that man is cut off from the Priesthood. He said in ancient days in speaking to His Apostles:

“Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain; they are retained.”

“Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In these last days God has, in like manner, restored this same authority of the Holy Priesthood. He has restored to man the power to bind on earth and it shall be bound in heaven. He has restored the authority to remit sins on earth, and He, the Great Eternal, our Father in heaven, says that when these sins are remitted they shall be remitted, but when they are not remitted they shall stand against those who commit the sins.

Therefore, there is this authority in the Church, and you can witness the exercise of it, and the power of it, in your own experience. When ever the voice of the people of God, and the authorities that God has placed in His Church, whom He has ordained—whenever they lift up their hands against a man to cut him off from the Church, to withdraw from him the authority of the Priesthood that he has exercised, in every instance without a single exception, from the beginning of this Church until today, God has most signally and wonderfully manifested His approval of their acts and has withdrawn from that man (whosoever he may be, however great and mighty he may have been in the Church), His power and His blessing. It was so with Oliver Cowdery, the companion of Joseph, the man who received with him the Priesthood, upon whose head John the Baptist laid his hands, and upon whose head, also, the Apostles Peter, James and John laid their hands. These glorious blessings and favors that God gave to him did not prevent his falling into sin. When he did fall into sin and the Church and the Priesthood united in lifting their hands to cut him off from the Church, and take from him the Priesthood and the authority that he had so powerfully exercised and which God had favored him with so much, God recognized the action. Other men fell, also. Six of the original twelve fell into transgression. They were men of ability, men of talent. Some of them were greatly favored. Lyman Johnson had wonderful manifestations given unto him; but when he fell into transgression and the Church with the Priesthood united in lifting up their hands against him the power and authority that had distinguished him before was withdrawn and he became as other men. And so with all of them. So with Sidney Rigdon, that mighty man, that eloquent man, that spokesman for the Prophet Joseph, of whom the Book of Mormon had spoken for hundreds, yes, it may be said for thousands of years before his birth. He also, when the Priesthood and Church in Nauvoo lifted up their hands against him, fell like Lucifer, who once was a mighty angel in the presence of God, and exercised great authority; like Lucifer he fell, and the authority and power that had attended him were withdrawn, and he became like unto other men. This has been the case in every instance. Can you point out an exception? Look at them wherever you see them, the men that have held the Priesthood, who were bright and influential and powerful, whom God blessed, whose administrations God sealed when they were in the possession of that authority, exercising it in purity and in singleness of purpose—when this was the case He was with them; but when they went into transgression and fell and the Priesthood was taken from them, they became weak, and their strength was gone. They are marked among the people wherever you see them. Thus showing that God in these last days confirms the promise that He made unto His servants, that whatsoever they bound on earth should be bound in heaven, and that whatsoever they loosed on earth should be loosed in heaven.

It is by the exercise of this power in our midst that we are preserved. God has given it unto us. It is true He has placed this authority and power, it may be said, in earthen vessels. He has chosen weak men, fallible men, men who are subject to all the failings and weaknesses of human nature. But, nevertheless, it is the authority of God. It is the authority by which He has built up His Church in all ages. It is the authority, the only authority upon the earth that can act in His name. When a man has this authority and goes forth and confines himself to its legitimate exercise and keeps within the bounds of his authority, God is with him; God confirms that which he does; God places His seal and His blessing and approval upon his acts; and though all the earth should endeavor to undo them and to say they are of no effect, they will stand, nevertheless, and in the Courts of heaven will be recorded and confirmed. There is no power among men that can disannul these acts, that can revoke or invalidate them in any manner. It is this that raises this Church beyond the power and reach of man. Courts cannot affect in any manner the decisions or the acts or the ordinances that are administered by the servants of God. That which is done in the name of the Holy Priesthood will stand and will be fulfilled both in the world and out of the world, both in time and in eternity. Hence it is that when an Elder goes forth in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and baptizes a candidate who has repented of his sins, God confirms that ordinance; God remits the sins of that individual; God by bestowing His Holy Spirit witnesses unto that soul that his sins or her sins are remitted. In like manner when an Elder lays his hands upon the head of a man or a woman who has been thus baptized and says unto that individual, “receive ye the Holy Ghost,” God in heaven, bound by the oath and the covenant that He has made, bound by all the conditions that pertain to the everlasting Priesthood, will cause the Holy Ghost to descend upon that soul, and he or she will be filled therewith. He receives the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and it stands on the earth and it stands in heaven recorded in favor of that soul if he continues to observe the conditions under which that baptism and confirmation are administered. There is no human power that can deprive that individual of the fruits of that blessing which has been thus sealed upon him by authority of the Holy Priesthood.

So with other ordinances. When men go forward and attend to other ordinances, such as receiving their endowments, their washings, their anointings, receiving the promises connected therewith, these promises will be fulfilled to the very letter in time and in eternity—that is, if they themselves are true to the conditions upon which the blessings are promised. And so it is when persons go to the altar and are married for time and eternity. When the man who officiates says: “I seal upon you the power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives,” just as sure as that promise is made, and the persons united (to whom the promise is made) conform with the conditions thereof, just so sure will it be fulfilled. There is no power anywhere in existence that can invalidate the force, the efficacy, or that can prevent the fulfillment of that promise when it is pronounced upon a man and woman by the authority of the Holy Priesthood—that is, there is no power but that which they themselves can exercise. It is a remarkable fact, that there is no blessing that God has promised unto us that any human being, that any angel, or any devil can take from us. There is no power of that kind that can take it from us. But a man himself, by sinning, can rob himself of his blessing; he can prevent its fulfillment; but no human being can do it beside himself. Remember this, Latter-day Saints; remember it, and treasure it up in your hearts, that you have salvation within your own keeping. If you are damned, you damn yourselves; you will be the instrument of your own damnation. It will not be because God will damn you; it will not be because Satan has such power that he can take away every blessing from you; it will not be because of anything of that kind. How will it come about? It will come to every soul by wrongdoing on the part of that soul. He or she alone can bring condemnation on himself or herself. There is no other power can do it. Hence if we are damned we shall have no one to blame but ourselves; we shall have no one to condemn but ourselves; it will be the result of our own agency, the exercise of that power which God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when he said, “of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat.” He gave them their agency. He said to them: “You can eat of every tree but one, and you can eat that also; but I forbid you to eat of it, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; if you do eat of that tree you will have to endure the penalty.”

In the exercise of their agency they did eat of that tree, and the result was expulsion from the garden of Eden and death. And so it has been with all the rest of the human family from that time unto the present. Every one of us will bring upon ourselves either salvation or condemnation as the case may be, according to the manner in which we exercise our agency before God. It is by this Priesthood and the exercise of it, that the blessings of God will flow unto us. It is by this Priesthood that we are bound together. God has surrounded us by bonds that are indissoluble. They cannot be separated. Time cannot wear them out. They will endure throughout eternity. It is a most wonderful tie, the binding tie of the Holy Priesthood. Never were a people upon the face of the earth since the Priesthood was among men, so bound together as we are being bound; and this is the glorious feature of the tie that binds us together; it can only operate upon those who are righteous; it can only have effect when righteousness prevails and where people live in such a manner as to receive the promises of God. A man who practices wrong may have all these blessings pronounced upon him; he may have been baptized and have had hands laid upon him; he may go through the Temple and have wives sealed to him and have every blessing promised unto him that is promised to the most faithful of the children of God, and yet if he does not live so as to be worthy of these blessings he will not receive them; he will, sooner or later, be bereft of them and left destitute. This is the glorious feature of this great tie that God has restored to the earth. It only binds the righteous. It does not bind the wicked to the righteous. It does not bind the wicked to the wicked. Its power and saving force can only be exercised or enjoyed where righteousness prevails. Hence when the people of God come forth in the resurrection, they will come forth pure. There will then be a separation of the wicked from the righteous. The righteous will enjoy their own society. In this probation it seems to be designed in providence of our God that we should all be mixed up together—no thorough separation. When we came to these valleys we thought we had left the world behind us. We thought that because these mighty mountains, which reared themselves on every hand as an impassable barrier between us and the rest of the world, Babylon was left behind. We thought we could live comparatively pure lives, and that we would be comparatively free from the associations of the world. But such ideas have been dispelled—very rudely dispelled—by that which has occurred. Babylon followed us. We find that these mountains are not sufficient to divide us from the rest of the world; that we must share with the rest of mankind the evils and the blessings that pertain to this mortal condition of existence. We have these circumstances to contend with. We are mixed with the wicked. The tares and the wheat grow together, and will grow until the harvest. This seems to be designed in the providence of our Father. But the time will come when there will be a separation, a final separation, of the righteous from the wicked, and that separation will be brought about by the exercise of the Priesthood which God has bestowed. That Priesthood will draw up from the earth the pure, the holy, the worthy. It will draw them up to the society of God. Everything that is not pure will be left behind. Then we will feel and know the value of that tie. By it the man will draw his wives to him; by it the father and mother will draw their children to them; by it generation will be linked to generation, until all will be united clear back to our father Adam, the father of the human race on the earth. All this will be accomplished by the power and authority of the Priesthood.

Do you understand, then, why the Priesthood of the Son of God is hated; why the lives of the servants of God are sought after; why it is that they are sought to be imprisoned and ensnared in various forms? It is because the adversary of souls knows full well that if this Priesthood remains on the earth, then farewell to his authority, farewell to his kingdom, farewell to the dominion that he has exercised over the children of men. It cannot continue its existence. He knows that as well as we do. He understands it perfectly. Hence he has ever sought to destroy from the face of the earth the men who have held the Priesthood of the Son of God. He was not satisfied until the earth drank the precious blood of the Savior of the world, and the life of every man who has held the Priesthood, and has exercised it from the days of righteous Abel down to the present time, has been sought for to a greater or less extent by they adversary of souls. He has used men as his agents to accomplish this. He cannot himself come here and exercise his power in his own person, because it was forbidden him, and his angels who rebelled with him, in consequence of their great transgression, that they should have tabernacles of flesh. This was their punishment, that they should not have tabernacles of flesh. But from the day he entered into the serpent in the garden of Eden to the present he has sought, through the agency of man or beast, the lives of those who have held the Priesthood. In this way he has sought to exercise his power and authority among men. He did so with Cain. Read in the Pearl of Great Price what he did with him; how he tempted him, and how Cain succumbed to his temptation. He said to Cain, “believe it not,” and he has been using the same words to all the children of men from that time to the present. “Believe it not!” When the servants of God have proclaimed the truth Satan has ever been ready to say, “believe it not!” He has instilled into the minds of the children of men hatred for the truth—that is, every one that has been willing to listen to him. He has entered into them, taken possession of their souls, and has used them to accomplish his wicked purposes. He has done this through man. He could not do it without he had some tabernacle to operate through. He could not deceive Eve—or did not deceive her—except through the means of the serpent. He entered into the serpent. The serpent was willing, doubtless, to let him enter, and he spoke through the serpent. It was the mouth of the serpent, but it was the voice of Satan that beguiled the woman. He was determined that God’s work should not prosper in the earth. He has determined that the children of men shall do as he wishes. He has been angry from the beginning because his plan was not adopted; because the Father did not see proper to select him to save man without the exercise of man’s agency; because of this he has determined that he will destroy the work. He has drenched the earth with innocent blood to accomplish his purpose. He is still engaged in that work. He would destroy us if he could. See what is being done all over the Territory. See the agencies that are at work. See how many men are being used by the adversary of souls to accomplish his purposes in regard to this people—a people unexampled for sobriety, for temperance, for industry, for frugality, for kindness, for good order, for all the virtues that men revere. Where can you find a people like them? There is no place upon the face of the earth where these virtues are better exemplified in the lives of the people than they are in Utah Territory. What woman cries aloud in our streets because of being defiled? What woman cries in vain for protection in all our land, from east to west, from north to south? Has the cry of distress gone up? Has the cry of the poor and the oppressed ascended from these valleys unto God unheard by the people? Do orphans and widows mourn and weep because of the circumstances which surround them? No, not in any part of our land. Not a beggar to be seen throughout all our settlements. No cry of distress either from man or beast. Virtue is upheld. Women are shielded as safely as they were when they were infants in their mother’s bosoms—shielded from harm, shielded from the seducer, from those who would wreck their happiness. This is the case throughout all our society. Do drunkards flourish among us? Are they encouraged? We know they are not. Are persons encouraged in litigation and quarrelling? No; nowhere in the land is there anything of this kind. Peace prevails; good order prevails; quarrellings are seldom heard; virtue is protected and encouraged. Marriage is encouraged everywhere. Yet on this land we are threatened as a people because of these things. Our liberty is jeopardized. All kinds of machinery are put into operation to destroy us, or to entrap and ensnare us, and deprive us of liberty.

Thank God, my brethren and sisters, for the restoration of the Priesthood. Thank God for the blessings we receive every day. Thank God for the persecutions we are called upon to endure. As the Savior said, let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad because the wicked array themselves against us in this manner. It is a testimony to us that we are not in harmony with the wicked; that we are not taking the course that Belial would like us to take; that we are pursuing the path that God has marked out for us. We can do this with perfect safety, and with the perfect assurance that it will all come out right. As I have said, there is no power that can separate a virtuous man and woman who have been united by the power of the Holy Priesthood; no power can do it; they must do it themselves if done at all. These ties that bind us together will endure through time and eternity. Let us so live that we shall never forfeit our claim upon the promises of our God, and that we may ever be faithful from this time forward, until we receive the fulfillment of all those promises in the presence of God and the Lamb, I ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.




Blessings Follow Certain Ordinances

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, October 5th, 1884.

[Being the portion omitted in last volume.]

The whole tenor of God’s dealings and instructions to His people have been enriched and adorned with affectionate remembrance, instruction and illustration of the youth of His people. They are the redeemed of Christ from before the foundation of the world. Jesus said their angels or spirits do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. He has promised that they shall come forth in the first resurrection, that they “shall grow up until they become old,” and when he would demonstrate who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven—He took a little child and placed him in their midst, saying, “Except ye repent and become as this little child, ye can in no wise enter therein; but whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

In relation to all these matters, there is a great deal of importance attached to them, not only in the matter of our children—which seems to be of primary importance to us—but in the preaching of the Gospel. We that have ministered in the Gospel have learned of the truth of that Gospel, and are able to compre hend by the Spirit in some degree the revelations and commandments which have been given for the guidance of the Church. It is by virtue of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins that men’s sins are remitted. It is by attending to certain ordinances that the blessings of eternity are sealed upon us, and by which in the plain language of the Scriptures, our calling and election are made sure. But we must obey those ordinances in faith or their efficacy will not avail. Our Elders go abroad and preach to the world, and their hearts are filled with charity and loving kindness towards their fellow creatures. They administer to the sick among the Saints, and they are often called upon to administer to those who do not belong to the Church, to whom they administer according to their faith, and thus the power of faith through the ordinance of God is made manifest among the children of men.

But there is one ordinance that the Elders may have perhaps neglected and I do not know but I have myself—and that is, that if we enter a house and the people thereof receive us, there our peace should abide. This was the instruction of the Savior in His day; and if we enter a house and the people receive us not, then we should go away and return not again to that house, and wash our feet with pure water, as a testimony against them in the day of judgment, and thus bear witness unto the Lord that we have offered them salvation, that we have sought to preach to them the principles of everlasting life, that we have offered to them the Gospel of peace and desired to administer unto them a blessing. The same is applicable to a town, village or city that rejects you. In this way you do your duty and leave them in the hands of the Lord. You are not called upon to contend with anybody in public congregations, or to do anything that would stir up wrath and indignation. The Savior simply told his disciples to wash their feet as a testimony against such people. But the generous, charitable feeling of our Elders prompts them not to do a thing against anybody; they would rather pour out a blessing upon the whole people. Consequently, it is a very rare thing that this ordinance is attended to by the Elders of this last dispensation—speaking from my own experience, and conversation had with the brethren. But when it comes to this, that we are persecuted and our lives taken, it would seem as if this was a duty depending upon those Elders who are thrust out, and warned away from their fields of labor. These things have happened of late, and it seems a duty devolving upon the Elders to do that which the law requires and leave the responsibility of its reception or rejection with the people and their God. We have no quarrel with anybody. We simply preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. If they receive it, well and good; if they will not, then it is a matter between them and their God; but the Lord requires this duty at the hands of his servants.

Again, we go abroad and gather in many people to this place, and they desire to find work. One of the brethren has referred to this matter and likened it unto a man going into a field and working diligently to plow the field, sow the grain, harrow it in, harvest it, and then leave it to waste. It is too much so in bringing home our brethren and our sisters to this country and not furnishing them labor. It is a very pleasing thought that occasionally companies of 400 or 500 people, or even 1,000, are delivered here from abroad. Why is it pleasing? Because it shows the work of God is progressing; it shows that God is gathering home His Saints, and soon after their arrival, the newcomers are taken home by their friends and relatives, and provided for, made comfortable until another spring, or until they look around and find or make a home. And it is a blessed thought that, notwithstanding hundreds and thousands of people are brought here yearly and cared for, so great a proportion of them live in their own homes, raise their own cows, pigs, chickens, etc.

Frequently when we go to the Seventies and ask some of them if they are willing to go on a mission to preach the Gospel, one replies: “I am no preacher at all; I could not preach a sermon if I were to try:” and wind up by saying: “If I can’t go out myself and preach, I am willing to help support the families of missionaries while they are gone.” Many have said this, and many more of them have thought it.

The Seventies are a numerous concourse of men who are called in connection with the Twelve to see that the Gospel is carried to the nations of the earth. Many of them are aged—some having been in the Church almost from the days of its first organization in Ohio, and many since the days of Nauvoo—too aged to be called to go upon missions—yet they could help their brethren coming in to find employment, and as do the Twelve after having labored in the vineyard to help gather the harvest, labor together in the threshing floor to help garner the wheat, clean it, and assist to make it fit for the Master’s use. The younger men, after having secured homes for their families, feel free to go on missions, knowing that their interests at home are not being neglected.

If the aged Seventies and all men of experience would interest themselves in the different parts of the Territory, and find or make work for the newcomers, they might do a vast deal of good. They might help their brethren who come in from the old country so obtain a living. When we first came here every man had to be a farmer, had to cultivate the land in order to obtain a living. Today many of the brethren who come from the old country have no idea of farming, and have never, perhaps raised a chicken, a pig or a cow. The brethren should take hold, therefore, and assist each other in these things. Let us help to build each other up more earnestly and more extensively than we have done. Let us not cultivate feelings of covetousness to the crowding out of those ennobling and generous sentiments which should fill the bosom of every Latter-day Saint.

My brethren, you are Elders in Israel, and the blessing and power of the Priesthood are upon you. Therefore we should do all the good we can, that those of our brethren who are constantly coming in here may obtain work, that they may not be led away, through idleness, into sin, and their hearts be turned away from the Gospel which they have embraced.




The Latter-day Saints Attract Much Attention—They Are the Victims of Scandal and Falsehood, But Have Been Sustained By the Spirit of Peace—God Has Revealed to Us the Purposes of Our Existence—God is the Father of Our Spirits—He Has Given Us An Agency—God Foreseeing that Adam Would Fall Prepared a Redeemer—We Are Here on the Earth to Prove Our Integrity and to Obtain a Knowledge of Good and Evil—The Conscience of Man is the Spirit of God Prompting Us to Do Right—God in His Wisdom Hides From Us the Glories Beyond the Veil—Conclusion

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, September 28th, 1884.

We are living in a very peculiar age, and as a people we are doing a work which attracts the attention of mankind. Our name is known for good and evil in all lands. At no time in the history of mankind that we have any account of, has there been a people of our number who have attracted as much attention and created as great an interest in the minds of the public as these have who live in these mountains and are known as “Mormons” or Latter-day Saints.

The age in which we live is one in which intelligence travels with great rapidity. Knowledge is communicated with ease, and by means of the newspaper, the telegraph wire, and other facilities which the age affords, everything connected with us as a people is heralded from one end of the earth to the other in common with all the acts of the children of men. Unfortunately, however, with these facilities for the transmission of true knowledge, there are also equal facilities for the transmission of falsehood and misrepresentation. We have been the victims of falsehood and slander. Herculean efforts have been made to create false impressions concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church which our Father in heaven has established. It is well for us, however, that we have been prepared for this. In the commencement of this work of our God they who received it were warned of the character of the warfare that would be instituted against them. The Lord revealed in great plainness that it might cost them everything they held dear upon the earth, and that the warfare that would be waged against them would be one of unceasing hatred. These difficulties and trials, therefore, have not come upon the people without some degree of preparation for them. The Lord gave the spirit of prophecy and revelation unto His servants and unto His people to prepare them for these events, and there is nothing that has yet taken place connected with this work of our God that has not been made manifest through the revelations which He has given. This has been a great cause of strength to the people and has prepared them to bear with some degree of equanimity and fortitude, the trials and the afflictions to which they have been subjected. It is well for us that this has been the case. It is well for us, also, that accompanying the work of our God, there has been a spirit of peace bestowed upon those who have espoused that work. If this had not been the case how unfortunate our lot would have been! How unbearable! We could never have endured that which we have been called to pass through had there not been this spirit of peace that God promised in the beginning to bestow upon us. I doubt myself whether there can be found anywhere within the confines of the globe another people living in greater peace, in the enjoyment of more happiness, pure happiness, than can be found in these valleys from north to south. While all manner of evil has been spoken against the Latter-day Saints, while our names have been everywhere cast out as evil, God has given compensation to us by bestowing upon us these blessings to which I have referred.

It is well for us to look at the circumstances which surround us and to take a proper survey of all the events that lie before us, that are likely to take place in the future connected with us. God has given unto us the truth. This we have received accompanied by abundant testimonies. Those who have entered into covenants with God, who have gone down into the waters of baptism in obedience to His requirements, submitting to the ordinances that He has instituted for salvation, and have done this in sincerity and with purity of purpose, have received for themselves testimonies from God respecting the divinity of the work with which they have become identified. It is of the utmost importance that we should cherish this spirit and feeling, that it should be with us constantly in our movements, in every act of our lives, and that we should so live that the Holy Ghost will rest down in power and in testimony upon us. It is not only necessary that those who stand at the head should know for themselves concerning this work, its divinity and the purposes of God connected with it, but that every member, however humble and obscure, should in like manner receive of that spirit and enjoy its presence and its power, have its gifts resting down upon him or her. Each member should stand as a living witness of the truth that the Father has revealed, and which each of us who have complied with His requirements have received.

God has placed us here upon the earth to accomplish important purposes. These purposes have been in part revealed unto us. Probably it is not possible for men and women in this mortal state of existence to comprehend all the designs of God connected with man’s existence upon the earth: but much has been revealed upon this subject to us as a people. In this respect, if in no other, the Latter-day Saints should be the happiest, the most contented, the most joyous of all people that live; for not only has the knowledge of the past been communicated to us, but the present, that which is connected with our probation here, and also much knowledge concerning the future.

Now, if a man can only know whence he came, why he is here, and that which awaits him after this life, it seems to me that he has abundant causes of happiness within his grasp. Much of the unhappiness and uncertainty that prevail today in the minds of mankind arise from ignorance upon these points. Hence, we see the course that many of the children of men are taking. If a man knew exactly why God sent him here, the object that He had in giving unto him a mortal existence, do you think that men or women who had this knowledge would be guilty of suicide, would have any disposition to cut off their own existence and to destroy that gift which God in His mercy has given unto us? I do not believe that any human being who properly comprehends the object that God has had in placing man here upon the earth, and who has a desire to carry out that purpose, would ever attempt self-destruction. He would shrink from such an act with horror, and would never dare to destroy the earthly tabernacle given him by God. In these respects, as I have said, we possess rare advantages. It is a great favor from God to have this light. There is no unwillingness on His part to communicate it; but there is an unwillingness on the part of the children of men to receive it when it is communicated.

The Bible tells us we came from God. The Bible tells us He is the Father of our spirits. How is He the Father of our spirits? This is an important question, and one that each of us should endeavor to understand. I think it is of the utmost importance that the Latter-day Saints should understand and be able to comprehend this question thoroughly; because upon the proper understanding of this, must, to a great extent, depend their actions in this life.

It has been argued that because we have no recollection of any previous state of being, our existence must, therefore, have commenced at our birth—that that was the inception of existence so far as we are concerned. This is the general belief throughout Christendom. No body of worshippers who call themselves Christians, that we have any account of, have any belief in a pre-existent state for man. They consider his birth into mortality as the beginning of life for him. Yet the belief is universal among them that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Redeemer of the world, had a pre-existence. It is the cornerstone of their faith. If Jesus did not have life till He appeared in mortality, then their faith in Him is vain, for He would not be God. But they profess to believe that He is God, the Son; that He dwelt in the heavens and was the Creator of all things before He took upon Himself humanity. In believing this they are correct. But why they should be willing to believe this concerning our elder brother Jesus, and at the same time be unwilling to believe that the whole family of man also existed in the heavens with the Father before they came here, is not clear. Those who saw the Savior while in mortality saw nothing in Him to distinguish Him particularly from other mortals. Doubtless those who were enlightened by the Spirit of God could perceive evidences of His superiority over ordinary men, and of His divinity. But did Pilate? Did the Pharisees and Scribes? In the eyes of the latter classes He was a common man and a vulgar impostor who deserved an ignominious death. His divine glory was veiled from mortal eyes. Would anyone have suspected from the appearance of the Savior, from His teachings, from His treatment of His disciples, that He differed so widely from them as to be of an entirely distinct species? Certainly not. He taught to them and to others the great doctrine of equality. If they would obey certain laws, conform to certain requirements, they were to be His equals, that is, be one with Him, as He would be one with the Father. In this teaching He offended the Jews. Their dislike to these ideas of His, found expression in the words: “that thou being a man, makest thyself God.” His disciples had the right to think from all that He taught, that if He had been with the Father before coming into this mortal life, they also had been there. If they were to be so closely associated with Him in the great future what was there to suggest to them that they had not been intimately connected with Him in the past? If He had been chosen from before the foundation of the earth to do the work which He was then doing, what inconsistency would there be in their being chosen also, as His ministers and associates, at the same time? To look at them as they traveled and labored together throughout Jewry, there was nothing unreasonable in the idea of their common origin.

The Lord Jesus was undoubtedly selected for the great mission of redeeming the world, because of His great qualities and His peculiar fitness as one of the Godhead. It is written of Him: “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Who were his fellows? Were not all the distinguished of heav en’s sons there—they who afterwards made their appearance on the earth as Prophets, Apostles and righteous men? If He was chosen above all His fellows, and anointed with the oil of gladness, is it not consistent and reasonable to suppose that His faithful Apostles were also chosen and anointed to perform their part in the great drama of human existence for the enactment of which the earth was to be prepared? If He had companions in the heavens, or to use the language of the Scriptures—“fellows,” is it reasonable to suppose that He left them there while He came down here and took upon Himself mortality? Does it violate in the least any idea that we derive from the sacred records, to think that His “fellows” also came here, and, as He did, also obtained mortal tabernacles?

If we grant that His “fellows” in the heavens came here, as He did, and obtained mortal bodies, what shall we say of the undistinguished millions who have crowded their way forward into mortal life from the beginning? Shall we divide humanity into classes, and say one class had a heavenly existence before coming here, while another class sprung into existence at mortal conception or birth? If we are not justified, by either Scripture or reason, in placing the Redeemer of the world in a class by Himself, so far as pre-existence is concerned and in separating Him in this respect from His “fellows,” how can we find warrant for dividing the rest of the family of God, into two classes—one as having a pre-existence, and another as not having any life till they arrive here?

If it were possible for the Lord Jesus to descend from the mansions of glory and take possession of a mortal tabernacle, and be born of a woman in the shape of an infant, is it not equally possible that we all did the same? Everything that we know concerning the mysteries of this life justifies us in thus believing. But we are not left to speculation upon this point. God has revealed this in great plainness. The Bible proves to us that Jesus existed with the Father, and that He descended from His high estate in the regions of glory to become a mortal man; for He speaks Himself in praying to the Father, of the glory he had with the Father before He came here, that glory having been revealed to Him. Now, is there anything difficult or incomprehensible in the thought, that we all in like manner, existed with the Father, and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, before we came here? The Lord in speaking to Jeremiah, reveals to him in great plainness, that he had a pre-existence. In the first chapter of Jeremiah, He tells him that before he was formed in the womb He knew him, that He chose him to be a Prophet, that he had been designated for the work that he had to accomplish; and thousands of others among mankind have felt—though they knew nothing by recollection of their previous existence—that they were called and designated and destined to accomplish great works upon the earth.

The revelations that have been given unto us as a people have communicated this doctrine unto us. We are taught in the record of Abraham, which has been translated and given unto us, that prior to man’s coming upon the earth, he had an existence with the Father, and that we all, all the inhabitants of the earth, every man and woman and child that has ever been born upon the earth, or that ever will be born on the earth—have had an existence with the Father, before coming here.

With these views that I have endeavored to set before you we can have some understanding concerning the object of man being placed upon the earth. If we are the children of our God, then God our Eternal Father has had an object, a great object to accomplish in placing us here on the earth. Jesus had a mission to perform. He came and took upon Himself mortality. A mortal probation was assigned Him. It was a part of the plan of salvation, not only connected with His exaltation, but with the redemption of the human family. There has been a purpose in all this. This earth has been created for a purpose. Man is here for a purpose. Death is in the world for a purpose, just as much as life, and all these are a part of the Divine plan connected with man’s existence in the past, at the present and for the future.

A great many have stumbled and have questioned the justice of our God, and have also gone so far as to question the very existence of God, because of the earthly circumstances which surround the children of men. It has been said by those who have taken this view that if there were an all-powerful Being, such as God is described to be, He would interpose in behalf of the children of men, and deliver them from the trying scenes and circumstances which they frequently have to pass through. The fact that man is in such a condition and is surrounded by such circumstances is frequently urged as an evidence that there is no God, that there can be no God, possessing such attributes as are ascribed to Him by those who believe in Him. Many people have been deluded by this kind of reasoning; they have be come infidels, and rejected all belief in God and in any providence connected with man and with man’s existence upon the earth. They have abandoned themselves to complete unbelief upon this point. But those who have sought after God, those who have humbled themselves before Him, and obtained knowledge from Him in the way that He has appointed—though to them all may not be perfectly plain—do perceive and acknowledge the providence of God in all the circumstances which surround them. They perceive His hand and acknowledge it in all the events connected with their mortal existence, and with the mortal existence of their fellows.

God has had a purpose in withdrawing himself from man; it has not been a part of His purpose to reveal Himself in His fullness, in His glory, in His power, unto His children upon the earth. Many, not understanding why this should be, and unable to comprehend any purpose in it, have stumbled and yielded to doubts and been ready, because of this, to deny His existence. Now, it has been a part of the plan of salvation, as revealed in all the records that have come down to us from the beginning—from the days of our Father Adam until now—it is a part of the plan of salvation, I say, connected with man’s existence upon the earth that God should thus withdraw himself, as it were, from man, and that a veil should be drawn between himself and man, and that if knowledge of Him be obtained, it should be obtained by the exercise of great faith and continued labor on the part of His children. But why, it may be asked, is this necessary? Why is it that God has not revealed himself with great fullness and power unto all the inhabitants of the earth, and left them in complete possession of all the knowledge necessary to prove to them that He is God? Questions of this kind are frequently propounded by men. They ask: Why does He not reveal Himself fully to His creatures? Why should He leave them a prey to doubt? Why should He leave them in darkness? Why should He give opportunities to the adversary of their souls to assail them as He does for want of that knowledge which He might communicate so easily. These are important questions, and they are questions which as Latter-day Saints we should understand.

We must remember, to begin with, that God our Eternal Father has given unto each of us our agency. There is no human being born on the earth from whom God has withheld his or her agency. We have as much right to exercise our agency in our sphere as God the Eternal Father has to exercise His agency in His sphere; just as much. It is not sacrilege, it is not any infringement upon the power of Our God to indulge in this thought or to have this belief. It does not detract in the least from His glory, from His power, nor from our dependence upon Him as an infinite and almighty Being to entertain this view of ourselves. Jesus said when He was upon the earth: “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” How could we be if man did not have the power within him, through the agency which God has given him, to be thus perfect. Everywhere throughout the divine record where God has communicated His mind and His will to men, this principle is plainly manifest: that man has had given unto him, in the greatest freedom and without limit, the power to exercise his own agency. It was so in the beginning—in the very commencement of the work of our God upon the earth when He placed Adam in the garden and gave Eve unto him for a wife. He set before them the principle of knowledge—that is, He told them what they should do; He told them what they should refrain from doing. He told them that if they did certain things, certain penalties should follow. Had such a thing been possible and consistent with the purposes of Heaven, He might, at the very beginning, have prevented Adam from exercising His agency. Instead of saying to him, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat except the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” and leaving him free to eat of the fruit of that tree, He might have put it out of his power to touch or taste it. But not so; He gave him the opportunity of exercising his agency; He told him he could eat of every tree freely, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but that he should not eat of it, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” There was no attempt on the part of our Father to interfere with the agency of Adam in this respect. He left him perfectly free and in the exercise of that freedom Adam did partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. His wife, Eve, was deceived in eating of the fruit; she partook of it, being beguiled, yet in the perfect exercise of her agency, and after she had partaken of it, and become subject to the penalty that God had pronounced—the penalty of death and expulsion from the garden—then she came and told Adam what she had done. Adam was fully conscious of all the consequences that had attended this act. He knew perfectly well that the penalty would be executed—that that Eve had become mortal, that death had entered into her tabernacle, and the penalty that God had pronounced would be fully executed; that she would be thrown out of the garden and that they would be separated forever—that is, so far as this life was concerned. He knew this, and, fully conscious of all the consequences which should follow his partaking of the fruit, he partook of it. In doing so he was not deceived. He partook of it because of his desire to fulfill the commandments of God. God had given unto him this woman for a wife; they were bound together by immortal ties; but because of this act of hers there must necessarily have been a separation that would have endured as long as her mortal life endured. Adam understanding this, partook of the fruit, and as is said by the Prophet Lehi, “Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they may have joy.” If he had not fallen; if he had not partaken of that fruit, there would have been no human race on the earth. He understood this, therefore he partook of it and accompanied his wife. It was a part of the plan that was understood in the heavens before Adam was placed in the garden. God by His foreknowledge understood perfectly that Adam, in the exercise of his agency, would fall. Therefore He prepared a Redeemer in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, who we are told was “a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.” God having seen that Adam would fall, that death would come upon him, and that a Redeemer would be necessary in order to redeem man from the effects of the fall—for unless there had been a Redeemer provided, Adam and all his posterity would have slept an eternal sleep, they would have been consigned to the tomb, and there would have been no redemption therefrom because of the penalty that had been pronounced by the Father upon him if he committed this act—God knowing all this provided a Redeemer. That Redeemer was the Son of God, Jesus our Savior, in whose name we all approach the Father, in whose name salvation is given unto the children of men. It was arranged beforehand that He should come and perform His mission in the meridian of time—lay down His life, as it was known that He would do through the wickedness of bad men.

Now, it may be said, why did not God prevent man and woman from taking this course? Because, as I have before said, it was right that they should exercise their agency. God—shall I say could not? Do I detract from His majesty and His glory by placing a limit on His power? I will say that God would not, because it would be in violation of His own laws; it would be in violation of those eternal laws which our God Himself recognizes, for Him to have interfered and deprived man and woman of their agency. But, knowing the consequences of their actions, He prepared a way for their salvation and their redemption, and thus it is that we are born on the earth. It was part of the design that we should be subjected to all these afflictions and trials and ordeals that belong to this mortal state of existence. This was part of the plan.

I have been told by objectors that God ought to reveal Himself in fullness. Why does He not do it? Because if He were to do so, we should be deprived of the opportunities of proving our integrity which we now have. He has marked out the path for us to walk in. He has designed that we shall struggle; that we shall exercise faith; that we shall contend with the temptations of the adversary; that we shall overcome evil; and by a continued exercise of faith progress in the course that He has assigned to us. It is absolutely necessary that we should be tempted and tried in order that we should receive the glory that He has in store for us. What would our salvation amount to; what would heaven amount to if we had never been tried, if we were to be placed in heaven without trial, without effort, without exertion upon our part to overcome evil and to contend with those influences that abound in this mortal state of existence. It would not be such a heaven as God inhabits, and such a heaven as He designs that all His children shall inhabit. For let me say to you, my brethren and sisters, God designs that we shall be like Him. He designs that His children shall attain unto the Godhead—that is if they will obey the laws necessary to bring them up to that exaltation, and before they can attain unto that, before they can enjoy that, before they can be in a condition to appreciate that, they must pass through just such scenes of trial and tribulation and affliction as we are subjected to in this mortal condition of existence.

There is an interesting passage in the new translation of the Bible, in the Pearl of Great Price, that I have often been struck with. It shows clearly the feelings of our first parents after they had been thrust out of the Garden of Eden. I will read a paragraph or two:

“And Adam called upon the name of the Lord, and Eve also, his wife, and they heard the voice of the Lord, from the way towards the garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not, for they were shut out from his presence.”

That was one of the consequences of the fall. They were shut out, and man has been from that time to this shut out from the presence of the Father.

“And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flock, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.* * * *

“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

“And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and daughters.”

Now this couple blessed God because of their transgression. Their eyes were opened; they had become as Gods; for the devil in tempting Eve, had told a truth when he said unto her that when she should eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they should become as Gods. He told the truth in telling that, but he accompanied it with a lie as he always does. He never tells the complete truth. He said that they should not die. The Father had said that they should die. The devil had to tell a lie in order to accomplish his purposes; but there was some truth in his statement. Their eyes were opened. They had a knowledge of good and evil just as the Gods have. They became as Gods; for that is one of the features, one of the peculiar attributes of those who attain unto that glory—they understand the difference between good and evil. In our pre-existent state, in our spiritual existence, I do not know how extensive our knowledge of good and evil was. That is not fully revealed. But this I do know, that when we come to earth and become clothed with mortality we do arrive at a knowledge of good and evil, and that knowledge prepares us for that future existence which we will have in the eternal worlds; it will enable us to enter upon a career that is never ending, that will continue onward and upward throughout all the ages of eternity. It is for this purpose that we are here. God has given unto us this probation for the express purpose of obtaining a knowledge of good and evil—of understanding evil and being able to overcome the evil—and by overcoming it receive the exaltation and glory that He has in store for us. Here we are subjected to the power of the adversary. He can tempt us, try us. Satan has power in the earth, and in the exercise of his agency he tempts the children of men. He has rebelled against God in the exercise of his agency; for he was a great and a mighty angel in the presence of our Father and our God. But in the exercise of his agency he rebelled against the Father and drew away with him one-third of the hosts of heavens, who likewise exercised their agency and followed him in preference to following the Lord God, their Father; and in the continued exercise of his agency he tempts us. He has power over us to that extent in this fallen condition. At the same time we have the sweet influence of the Spirit of God pleading with us to do that which is right, pleading with every human being that does not drive it from him; for every human being has a portion of the Spirit of God given unto him. We sometimes call it conscience; we call it by one name and we call it by another; but it is the Spirit of God that every man and woman possesses that is born on the earth. God has given unto all his children this Spirit. Of course it is not the gift of the Holy Ghost in its fullness; for that is only received by obedience to the commandments of God—to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But it is a Spirit that pleads with men to do right. The heathen have it. There is no degraded Indian in these mountains or valleys who does not have a portion of that Spirit pleading with him to do that which is right. It pleads with all the heathen, the Pagan as well as the Christian; the Methodist and Baptist as well as the Latter-day Saints. Everywhere throughout the earth where man dwells this Spirit rests upon him. It comes from God. It pleads with man to do right. It pleads with man to resist the blandishments of Satan. No man ever did a wrong but that Spirit warned him of it to a greater or less extent. No man ever put his hand forth to do a wrong to his neighbor without that Spirit telling him it was wrong. He never put forth his hand or influence to wrong the gentler sex—to commit sin in that direction—without that warning voice which is in every human being telling him of the sin. On the other hand, there is the influence of evil, the influence of the Adversary enticing men to do wrong, leading into paths of sin, leading them away from righteousness and from God; infusing doubt, infusing unbelief, infusing hardness of heart, infusing rebellion against everything that is holy and pure. We are all conscious of the existence of these two influences within us. There is no child that has reached the age of accountability and in the possession of his or her faculties but what has had these two influences pleading with him or her—one entreating to do right, the other enticing to do wrong, to commit sin and to violate the commandments of God. If we cultivate the good influence it will lead us into the truth (if we are not already in possession of the truth) when we hear it. It was through this Spirit that you Latter-day Saints accepted the Gospel in the various lands where you heard it preached. That Spirit that came from God taught you by its sweet and heavenly influence that it was the truth you heard, and when you espoused it you had a feeling in your hearts that you cannot describe. It was the testimony of the Spirit of God that this was indeed the truth of heaven, and it led you to obey the commandments of God; and to receive in greater fullness and power the gift of the Holy Ghost, which you have received through obedience to the commandments that God has given.

Time will not permit me to say a great many things that I have on my mind. I see the time is nearly expired. But I wish to say that we had an existence before we came here. “But,” says one, “I do not remember anything about it.” No, you do not. You do not remember the day you were born on the earth, yet you will not deny that you had an existence at that time. When you were a year old you do not remember beginning to walk, yet you will not deny that you had an existence then. God, in His wisdom, has withdrawn the recollection of these things from us. If we could understand the glory we once had with our Father in heaven we would be discontented in dwelling in this condition of existence. We would pine for the home we left behind us. Its glory and its beauty, its heavenly graces and delights were of such a character that we would pine for it with that homesickness that men have some partial knowledge of here on the earth. It is said that at one time in the French army, the bands were forbidden to play certain airs because of the effect they had upon the Swiss soldiers whom they employed. These Swiss airs would arouse such sensations of homesickness as to cause the Swiss to throw down their arms and desert and go back to their native valleys and mountains. Now, if such a feeling of homesickness can be brought about in that way, how much more would it be the case if we could recollect our association with our Father and God in the eternal world! Wisely, in the providence of God, this knowledge is withdrawn from us. We can have a glimpse occasionally, through the revelations of the Spirit to us, of the glory there is awaiting us, and sometimes when men and women are approaching death—when they are ready to step out of this existence into the other—the veil becomes so thin that they behold the glories of the eternal world, and when they come back again—as some have, we all probably have met those who have been snatched from death—they come back to this mortal existence with a feeling of regret. They have had a foretaste of the glory that awaited them; they have had a glimpse of that glory that is behind the veil; and the love of life is so completely lost—the love of earthly home and friends is so completely taken from them, that they desire with all their hearts to take their exit from this life into that glorious life which they knew was on the other side of the veil. Has not this been the case in many instances? Certainly it has. Therefore our God in His wisdom has withdrawn this knowledge from us, and left us to seek for and obtain that aid and strength necessary to enable us to successfully battle with and overcome the powers of evil that assail us on every hand.

My brethren and sisters: it is for us to contend with the evils that surround us, patiently bearing all the afflictions and trials that belong to this mortal life. We should remember our destiny, and at the same time look forward to that glorious future that God has prepared for us. We should be filled with the most noble aspirations. We should never condescend to commit any low, mean, unworthy act when we consider who we are, and what we are, and the glory that God has promised unto us if we are faithful to Him. Let us keep those things in mind. Let us bear patiently the afflictions that come upon us. Let us contend earnestly for the faith that God desires we should have, seeking unto Him for that knowledge which He has to bestow, and though we may not behold His face now, yet we will behold it, and will dwell eternally with Him and His Son Jesus in the heavens, if we keep the commandments He has given unto us.

May God grant that we may do so, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Nature of the Gospel, and of Our Position and Calling—Responsibilities of the Latter-Day Saints—The Right of All Men to Religious Freedom—Honorable Men of the Earth—We Aim at a Higher Exaltation Than the Rest of the World

Remarks by President John Taylor, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden, Sunday Afternoon, July 20th, 1884.

We are occupying a very peculiar position in the world, and in many respects different from the position that is occupied by any people that at present live upon the earth. Our ideas, and views, theories and doctrines; our principles and our mode of life generally are very distinct from that of other people. We look at things from another standpoint to that which the world generally do. Our ideas are predicated upon the work that God has commenced, by the ministration of holy angels, by the opening of the heavens, by the voice of God, and by the revelation of His will to the human family; in which all mankind, whether they comprehend it or not, are very much interested. The Lord has been pleased to make known unto us certain things of which we were ignorant; and certain things of which also the world of mankind are ignorant; and of which we know nothing, and could know nothing, only through the revelation of God to man.

The Gospel, we are told, brings “life and immortality to light”—life for ourselves, life for our families, for our wives and children, life for our progenitors, and life for our posterity; and consequently it is pregnant with greater events than anything that has yet transpired upon the earth. It goes back, back, back into the eternities that were, it unfolds things that now exist, and are on the eve of fulfillment, and it develops things which are to come. Consequently, as I said before, we are in a different position from that of other people. We do not look at things from the same standpoint which they do. We have other ideas and feelings and anticipations, and are in possession of another spirit and principle of intelligence other than that which is generally diffused in the world. Men in the world talk about the Gospel, but they do not comprehend it. We as Latter-day Saints talk about the Gospel, yet we understand only very little about it. Just in proportion as we live our religion and possess the Holy Spirit, do we comprehend the position that we occupy and no more.

We read, in the Scriptures, of a dispensation of the fullness of times, when God would gather together all things in heaven and all things in the earth—that is, a certain dispensation which would include everything that has existed in other times, and in other dispensations, and would embrace in one dispensation what has been scattered throughout the world in different dispensations, from the commencement of time until the present. Hence this is a matter that affects the earth and the heavens; it is a matter in which those who are in the heavens are concerned, and also those that are upon the earth. It reaches back to the commencement of time and goes forth to the final winding-up scene of all things pertaining to this earth whereon we dwell. Hence, as I said, we occupy a very peculiar position before God, and also before the world. The world do not comprehend our position, and hence they reason very strangely and very vaguely about us, and they get some very strange notions pertaining to us. That is not surprising. It is as much as we can do ourselves to comprehend our position. It is as much as the Elders of this Church can do to magnify their callings. It is as much as the Apostles or the Presidency of the Church can do to comprehend their positions, and it needs continual watchfulness, and prayer, and self-abnegation, and devotion to God, and the continual guidance of His Spirit, that we may comprehend the relationship which we sustain to each other, to our heavenly Father, to the world in which we live, to the nation with which we are associated, to the world of mankind generally, and the duties and responsibilities that devolve upon us pertaining to all of these matters, both to the living and the dead.

We have a fight to fight. We have a faith to contend for. We have principle to learn, and to develop to others. We have our relationship to God, and to holy angels, and to the world to maintain. We have duties and responsibilities devolving upon us that mankind, and that we ourselves comprehend only very little. It has been thought generally that if men could secure in some way or other their salvation, and get to heaven, as it is called, that they were doing a great work. We have, however, got a great deal more than that to do. We have first to learn ourselves the way of life; and then to teach others that way. Hence, what mean our Seventies and our High Priests, our Elders and our Apostles and men holding the Priesthood of God? What mean those various missions they take to the nations of the earth? What mean our gathering together here, and the efforts that we make for that purpose? What mean the building of Temples and the administering therein? What mean some of those things that we begin to have a slight glimpse of regarding certain duties and responsibilities resting upon us, pertaining to the dead as well as the living? What mean those Scriptures that speak about saviors upon Mount Zion? What mean our dedications to God, and the ordinances that we administer in His house? What means the development of those great principles pertaining to eternal lives that begin to enter into our minds partially?

Man is a dual being. He possesses a body and a spirit. He is connected with eternity as well as time. He existed before he came here. He exists here. He will exist after he leaves here. Before he came here he had to do with intelligences; he has here, if he will only fulfill his part; and he will have to do with them hereafter. We are here on a mission. What does that consist of? That is the question. Some of us have to go to the ends of the earth and preach the Gospel to every creature under the heavens. That is something which God requires at our hands. Some of us have to assist in establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Some of us have to aid in purifying the Church of God. We have the same kind of material now that they had in former ages for this very purpose. In former times God placed in His Church Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists for the perfecting of the Saints. These officers were requisite to the Church then, and they are requisite now. We all have our follies and weakness. We all need the assistance of the power and Spirit of God.

We talk sometimes about the world, we Latter-day Saints, and we are very flippant in referring to their follies and foibles. We have enough follies of our own; and I often very much question whether they do not live as near to their religion as we do to ours. “How is that,” says one, “we are a much more moral people than they are?” We ought to be. We make greater professions than they do. They do not talk about having revelation. They do not talk about having any special mission to the nations of the earth, and we do. They do not talk about any celestial glory, and know nothing about it. We profess to know a little about it. They do not aim at a celestial glory, for they do not know what it is; and we understand a very little about it. One thing we do know; one thing is clearly told us, and that is if we are not governed by the celestial law and cannot abide a celestial law, we cannot inherit a celestial kingdom. What is it to obey a celestial law? Where does the celestial law come from to begin with? From the heavens. Very well. What have the people here to do with it generally—that is, outsiders? Nothing. They do not say they have had any revelation. They have had no principle of that kind unfolded to them. They are living under what might be termed a terrestrial law; and many of them, I think, under the circumstances, do quite as well as we do under our circumstances. We profess to be moving on a more elevated plane than they are. We profess to have come out from the world; to have separated from the ungodly. We profess to be under the guidance of Apostles and Prophets, Pastors and Teachers, etc., and to be living under the inspiration of the Most High. They do not profess anything of the kind.

These are some of the things we profess to believe in; and some of the things that the world do not believe in. We have, however, enough to do in attending to the duties of our Priesthood and calling without troubling ourselves with the follies and foibles of those who are not of us. As I have already said they do not profess what we do. We profess to be governed by higher principles and nobler motives, and by more exalted ideas. Let us try and live up to our profession. So far as the people of the world are concerned, I look upon them very charitably, myself. I do not entertain any vindictive feelings toward them. “Well, say you, “have they not got curious ideas pertaining to religious matters?” Yes, they have; but they have as much right to their ideas as I have to mine. I have no right to interfere with them. They have a right to worship whatever kind of a God they please, or in any form that suits them. If a man has a mind to worship a red dog it is none of my business. It is for me and for my brethren to fulfill the duties that God has placed upon us. He has revealed certain principles to us from the heavens for the benefit of the whole human family, and we will do that which God has commanded us. Will they persecute us? No matter about that. God has told us to do certain things, and we will carry them out, persecuted or not persecuted. We must perform our duty. At the same time we have rights and privileges that belong to us in common with everybody that lives in the United States. We have as many rights in these United States as any other people have, and no man has the right to deprive us of them. They are trying to deprive us of them all the time. That makes no difference. The principle is still the same, and it is for us to look after our rights. God has given us a goodly land here, and we have paid for it. It is ours by right of purchase and possession. If we have got farms, or city lots, or inheritances of any kind, we have paid for them according to the laws of the United States. We have complied with all the requisitions of the United States that are constitutional, and mean to do that all the time. We simply contend for our rights. We simply contend for the principles of human liberty, not only in behalf of ourselves, but in behalf of thousands who are in these United States. There are thousands of honorable men in these United States—in the Senate and House of Representatives, and all through the land—who are quite willing men should have the rights and privileges of free men, and then there are thousands, and ten of thousands, and millions of others who want to trample the principles of freedom under their feet and deprive men of their liberties. In relation to the people of the United States, I have nothing myself but kindly feelings. I feel sorry for them. I am sorry to see people act under wrong influences, influences that will lead them to destruction. The people of the world are placed under influences that they do not comprehend. What is the matter with them? I have numbers of prominent men call upon me from the United States, and from all parts of Europe, prominent men of all classes and grades, and when we meet together they talk very kindly and very pleasantly. They admire our beautiful city and improvements, and they do not believe one-hundredth part of the stories that are circulated about us broadcast throughout the earth. They say, “We know better than that.” There are a great many honorable men among the peoples of the earth, and we do not want to get a spirit of enmity and hatred against anybody because of the infamous acts of a few unprincipled men. We are here as saviors upon Mount Zion; and the time will come, and it is not very far distant, when, in consequence of the evils, the corruptions, the adulteries and licentiousness that prevail throughout the land, that God will bring the people to judgment. Then the time will come, and it is not very far distant, when the sinners in Zion will be afraid, when fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites.

We are here to build up the Zion of God, and not to build up ourselves. We are here to establish righteousness, and to establish it first within ourselves; to feel that “as for me and my house we will fear God.” We should prepare ourselves for glory and for eternal lives, that we may associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds. We are the sons of God; but we occupy a different position in many respects to the rest of the world, because we have obeyed the new and everlasting covenant; been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and had hands laid upon us for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and have lived up to our privileges, many of us. Consequently we are aiming, as I said before, at a higher exaltation and a greater glory than the world know anything about, and that we ourselves at present comprehend, but very little. But we shall improve from time to time and become better instructed in the laws of life and in the principles of eternal truth. We are gathered together for that purpose.

Well, brethren and sisters, God bless you and lead you in the paths of life, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.




Remarks

Remarks by President John Taylor, before the High Council of Salt Lake Stake of Zion, February 20th, 1884.

The case of the officers of the Deseret Hospital versus Dr. Ellen B. Ferguson was heard before the High Council of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, on the 20th of February, 1884, and a decision was rendered therein by President Angus M. Cannon. President John Taylor on that occasion, made lengthy remarks which were applicable to the case in question, and upon the general principles of justice. The request has been made that they should be published, as they would be of benefit for the guidance of other High Councils. For this reason, his remarks and the proceedings in the case are now published. Mr. President and Members of the High Council:

I listened with a good deal of interest to a trial that you had before you, yesterday and the day before, in which there were certain principles developed that I thought it might be necessary and advantageous to reflect upon, and to give you some of my views thereon.

I should have been pleased to have done this had there been time when the High Council was before in session; but I thought as I had not then an opportunity I would take the opportunity tonight, this meeting having been convened for that purpose.

There are a great many principles underlying the subject that was presented before you, and acting as you are in the capacity of a High Council, and having many cases to adjust, I thought it might be proper to touch upon some of the leading principles pertaining to government, rule, authority, dominion, the conflict of opinion, the necessity of being prepared to act wisely, prudently and intelligently, and to discriminate between right and wrong: so that upon general principles we might be able to comprehend things that would be calculated, in many instances, to help us to avoid a great deal of difficulty. I have been very much hurried for time today, or I would have liked to have had some of my views prepared. As it is, I have had a few items put down very hastily, and I will get Brother George Reynolds to read what I have stated on this subject.

I made a few remarks at the conclusion of the investigation you have had here. I call it an investi gation; for I think it was more an investigation than a trial.

The investigation was instituted to find out the true status of certain things whereby injury had been received by certain parties, and, on reflecting further upon the subject, I have had some leading items put down, which, as I have said, Brother Reynolds will read, after which I will make some remarks.

I speak of these things before Brother Reynolds reads my views, otherwise the attitude that I take might seem strange to you.

In the few remarks I made before the High Council, at the conclusion of the investigation, I stated that I was pleased to see the harmony and unity, the kindly feelings, care and anxiety that you manifested to all parties, both for and against, with a view to arriving at a just conclusion in relation to this matter. I also spoke of the Board of Directors of the Hospital, stating that they also had done as near right as they knew how. Then I spoke of the accusers of the party in question—Sister Ferguson—and I thought that although there were some errors associated with the action taken, that they were quite sincere in their intention to correct a supposed evil, and I would not except Sister Ferguson from the same rule, and the question is, with such a diversity of opinion, with so much commotion in existence, with so many severe charges being made, how it is possible for all to be right, and yet all acted upon principles that they conceived to be right; but which were in many respects incorrect. This I may explain more fully hereafter; and it is for this purpose that I wish to talk a little to lay my views more fully before you.

Brother George Reynolds then read as follows;

I. The care, justice, equity and proper deference to all manifested by the High Council.

II. The care and zeal manifested by the Directors, the President and associates in the interests of the Institution—the Deseret Hospital.

III. The zeal, energy and competency of the resident surgeon, as vouched for by the testimony of other eminent physicians.

IV. The diligence and zeal manifested by the matron and the assistants.

Whence then originates this difficulty; these hard feelings, sayings and doings, this bitterness, acrimony and ostracism?

These arise partly from misunderstanding, partly from ignorance, and partly from a misconception of law, order, precedence and jurisdiction, with probably the best possible motives. It will be found on a careful examination of this subject that there is a great principle involved that affects in some respects all institutions, associations and nations.

Among the nations of the earth there are various forms of government. There are what are called absolute monarchies—such as Russia, Turkey, China, Persia, Morocco and others; then there are limited monarchies, such as England, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Portugal and others; these are governments which are called representative, having a monarchy, but that monarchy partially under the power of the representative of the people. There is another species of government which is called oligarchical, which is under the direction of notables, who manipulate the affairs of the country for the benefit of the people. Then there is what is called the republican form of government, such as the United States, France, Switzerland, Mexico, and the South American Republics and others. These are supposed to be governed by the people and are said to be “governments of the people, for the people and by the people,” their general motto being Vox populi, vox Dei, or the voice of the people is the voice of God. These governments assume different phases according to the nature of the government, varying from absolute despotism, wherein the will of one man governs the whole, to that of the freest and fullest and most unrestricted will of the people; and to prevent usurpations in the republican forms of government, as well as in some of the limited monarchies, constitutions are introduced and subscribed to, which are an agreement or compact between the rulers and the people, or the governors and the governed, and such governments whether monarchical or republican are called constitutional governments. These constitutions prescribe the powers and authority of the various officers in the government, and how and in what manner the several officers of the government shall be selected, elected and qualified. In our government, whether in a National, State, or Territorial form, all officers, of every grade, are requested to take a solemn oath to sustain and maintain the constitution of the United States, and of the State, or if a Territory, the organic act of the Territory as the case may be. If these things are not a fiction all these officers and authorities throughout the land in every department of National, State or Territorial government, are as much bound by their obligations and oaths as the people are bound to be subject to all constitutional laws, and the people are not one whit more bound to the observance of the law than these men are bound to the observance of the sacred and solemn covenants which they have entered into. And if the people have given up to governors, legislatures, the judiciary and to the officers of the law certain powers, rights and privileges, this authority coming of or from the people, it is expected that they shall act for and in the interests of the people; and furthermore, that while they possess those rights ceded to them by the people, whatever is not thus ceded and placed in the hands of their rulers is emphatically stated to be reserved to the several States or to the people.

There are again other branches of government among the several nations, or States in the nations, as well as in this nation; there is martial law and civil law; also the governments of cities acting under the directions of the authorities or legislators of the nations or of this nation; to whom certain rights, immunities and privileges are given in the shape of municipal regulations or of charters. But it must be understood here in matters pertaining to our government, that no charters or grants of any kind can be given by any parties, in excess of the rights which they themselves possess, and that the same obligations which vest in regard to constitutional rights and guarantees must be observed in all those municipal regulations by the recipients as of the grantees of those charters.

These rights and privileges in our government are formulated upon the idea that our government is “of the people, by the people and for the people.” There are other institutions which receive more or less the patronage and sustenance of the general, the State, and Territorial governments, such as educational institutions, hospitals, infirmaries, asylums, railroads, canals, steam boat lines, etc., all of which are more or less sanctioned by law, and are more or less of a quasi public character. These institutions generally have usages of their own, and operate under certain stipulations specified in charters granted to them, each having their own regulations and bylaws, as their directors, boards of management, or other officers may dictate. These are all subject to the common laws of nations and the usages of the people. Then there are other laws, there are laws that pertain to the physical world in which we live, and those that govern the sun, the moon, and the countless stars that shine in the dome of heaven. With all these man has nothing to do. He never has been and in the nature of things never can be able to change what are called the laws of nature. If any congress, parliament, or convocation was to pass a law changing the period of the earth’s revolution, or the phases of the moon, or the rising or setting of the sun, or if all the congresses, parliaments, or legislative bodies in the world were to unite to pass such a law, it would be of none effect, or utterly useless, for the simple reason that these laws are entirely independent of man’s action and outside of his control. So with the laws governing man’s physical being or that of the brute, or those natural to the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, all these are irrevocably fixed and unchangeable so far as man is concerned. All beings, all things, from the Great Creator to the minutest form of life are governed by the law of their existence. The laws by which all created things fill the measure of their existence were placed there by a superior power to that of man, and he is impotent to change or annul them. All these are called natural laws. Then there are celestial laws, adapted and suited to celestial beings; terrestrial laws adapted to things of the earth, and other lower laws called telestial. As we are taught in the Doctrine and Covenants; in all the universe there is no space where there is no kingdom, and where there is no kingdom, there is no law; and all things that are governed by law are preserved by law, and sanctioned by law; also even the law or laws of the state of existence to which they belong, be it higher or lower, much or less.

There are again celestial laws as before referred to, and terrestrial laws, and the question arises, what is the meaning of a celestial law; and what again is the meaning of a terrestrial law; a celestial law pertains to the law of heaven; and is a principle by which the intelligences in the celestial world are governed. The Gospel in its fulness places those who obey it, under its influences, while at the same time it does not relieve them from other obligations of a terrestrial nature. It is said in the Doctrine and Covenants, that he that keepeth the laws of God, hath no need to break the laws of the land. It is further explained in section 98, what is meant in relation to this. That all laws which are constitutional must be obeyed, as follows:

“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

“And that the law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, be longs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

“Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of the church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

“And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.”

That is taking this nation as an example, all laws that are proper and correct, and all obligations entered into which are not violative of the constitution should be kept inviolate. But if they are violative of the constitution, then the compact between the rulers and the ruled is broken and the obligation ceases to be binding. Just as a person agreeing to purchase anything and to pay a certain amount for it, if he receives the article bargained for, and does not pay its price, he violates his contract; but if he does not receive the article he is not required to pay for it. Again we ask, what is this celestial law? The celestial law above referred to is absolute submission and obedience to the law of God. It is exemplified in the words of Jesus, who, when He came to introduce the Gospel said, “I came not to do my will but the will of the Father that sent me;” and His mission was to do the will of the Father who sent him, or to fulfill a celestial law. And when His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He said, “When ye pray, say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” This it would seem was the celestial law, or the law of the Gospel.

Thy kingdom come. What kingdom? The kingdom of God, or the government of God, or the rule and dominion of God, the will of God—thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This seems to be the grand leading feature of that celestial law. Connected with this are all the blessings, rights, privileges, immunities, promises of exaltations, promises of blessings in this world, and of exaltations, thrones and powers in the eternal worlds; being heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. While such persons do not neglect the lesser duties associated with the responsibilities of life, and do not violate any correct principle or law, they still feel a responsibility resting upon them to yield obedience to the mandates of Jehovah; and thus as good citizens, loyal and patriotic to the country and its institutions, fulfilling all just and equitable requirements, whether civil or political. They have at the same time the same inalienable right as men, to worship their Creator, and yield an obedience to His laws, without infringing in anywise on the rights and privileges of others, and that right is guaranteed to them also by the constitution of the United States.

I have before spoken of certain associations, such as educational establishments, cooperative institutions, hospitals, and other organizations, which legislatures, private bodies of men, or individuals may establish. These institutions must be governed by their constitutions and bylaws as shall be agreed upon among themselves. And any parties entering into those compacts, take upon themselves the responsibilities of the conditions associated therewith. But as in National or State affairs, these duties and responsibilities are often very imperfectly understood; and hence in consequence of the weakness and imperfections of men, many misunderstandings and difficulties are liable to occur.

The case that you have had here before the High Council is one of these cases.

The question is, how far shall rule, dominion, authority and power be used, and how far shall mortal suasion, individual and special rights, and a judicious and intelligent policy obtain.

It is rather a peculiar case and requires an understanding of the position occupied by the various parties. It will be observed that there are two usages or laws in existence—one of these would be the general law, regulating an institution of that kind, which would be applicable to a university, a cooperative institution, a shoe establishment, such as we have, or any other well regulated institution. In our cooperative institution here in the city, there is a President and Board of Directors; they appoint the Superintendent. He has the charge of the buying, selling, engaging, or dismissing men, making contracts, and generally supervising and manipulating all the affairs of the institution. The Directors would be empowered to remove him, if thought advisable. In the University the Board of Regency stands in the place of the Directors, and they appoint Dr. Park as President, and he has general control of the studies and the internal management of its affairs. In like manner, Mrs. Ferguson held the position of resident surgeon, and is supposed to manipulate the affairs of her department in the hospital subject to the hospital physicians and the directory. Of course Sisters Van Schoonhoven and Beck would be under her direction as they belong to the medical department; while Sister McLean, being matron, would have charge and control of the domestic arrangements. It does not appear that any one of them was derelict in her several duties; but that a misunderstanding had arisen between Dr. Ferguson and these officers of the hospital, she being charged with being austere and dictatorial in her intercourse with them, and she on the other hand charges them with insubordination and plotting against her. Bitter feelings and acrimonious remarks passed between them, crimination and recrimination, until it culminated in those three ladies drawing up specific charges of a most serious character against the resident surgeon. These charges, it would seem, were credited by the directory and she was requested to resign. It is evident that the directors did this sincerely for the benefit of the institution; and to prevent a person whom they considered incompetent, as an opium eater, a drunkard and a thief (for these were the charges made according to their ideas), to officiate any longer in that institution.

But here arises another phase of the matter which is this; that while they had authority to dismiss her from the institution on these alleged charges, they had no right to malign her private character and reputation which it does not appear that they desired to do, but to avoid, as far as possible. Yet these things having taken place, and these allegations having been made on paper, and she having been dismissed from the hospital, they leaked out without her having any opportunity to defend herself against these statements, and her reputation has been seriously injured; hence comes in another law—the law of the Gospel, above referred to, or under other circumstances, the celestial law, or what is sometimes substituted for it here, the law of equity.

President Taylor resumed: There are very many nice points of discrimination associated with a subject of this kind. When we talk of law it is a very comprehensive subject, and enters into all the ramifications of human life, and, as has been remarked, through all nations. Generally among the governments of the world—and also among many of the institutions referred to, there is a kind of neutral ground, a sort of neutral zone, something similar to that which sometimes exists between one State and another in order to prevent collision and difficulty, and it is upon this ground that a great many troubles and difficulties frequently exist on various matters. The people on their part occasionally claim things that they have no right to claim, and those who govern sometimes go beyond the bounds allotted to them. And hence arises difficulty and trouble. Courts are appointed generally for adjudication of these matters, and sometimes it is very difficult for these courts to decide correctly, justly and equitably the cases that come before them. Among the nations they are very frequently submitted to what is termed the “arbitrament of the sword.” That, however, is a very poor thing when put into the scales of justice. I have heard it said, for instance, when certain questions have arisen in the United States—that is, in regard to States rights and in regard to the rights of the people, and in regard to how far they should be sustained in their privileges, rights, etc. I have heard some people very flippantly say, “Oh, that has been decided by the sword.” A very singular piece of justice is a sword with which to administer one’s social, political, or national affairs. When we come to put it in the balance of the goddess of justice—who is supposed to be blind and to hold the scales evenly—it will not stand the test. Hence when people make this remark it shows that they are very ignorant of the principles of jurisprudence, of the rights of man, of the obligations that the nation sustains to its people, or the people to the nation.

But what I wanted particularly to arrive at are the principles associated with this case that has come up before you, and I will try and show you why and how these difficulties have occurred between these parties.

Sister Ferguson—who according to the evidence we have had, and from questions presented, and remarks made—evidently is a lady of intelligence and very well acquainted with medical affairs, and as such she was appointed House Surgeon of the Deseret Hospital. From this position she was removed. And here comes in a principle that I wish to speak upon.

In this city we have a cooperative institution. I refer to it because it is an institution with which we are all familiar. I have already referred, in what has been read, to the nature of its organization, and the kind of government by which it is carried on. There are quite a number of employees in the institution—some 150 or 200. There is a Board of Directors, and there is a president and a superintendent. The superintendent seems to be the man upon whom rests the greatest responsibility, and he is responsible to the directors for all his acts. As stated already, he makes the purchases or orders them made; he disposes of the goods, or orders them disposed of. He makes arrangements for all its business transactions, and he reports to the directors, monthly, the status of the institution. In his hands is placed the power to manipulate and regulate the affairs thereof. If some person in that institution—he may be a good man—is incompetent, he uses his discretion in removing that man. He requires men that are acquainted with the business that he is associated with: and although this may be a very good man, the superintendent may think it proper, in the interests of the institution to have him removed. He uses his authority and has him removed because of his incompetency. The man who is dismissed may feel aggrieved. He may think he is competent: and it is difficult in all such circumstances to meet the wishes and views of all these people. Hence the necessity of a wise discretion. “But,” says the man, “I am a good Latter-day Saint.” “Very well, that may be; but, then, because you are a good Latter-day Saint, you may not be a good blacksmith, a good carpenter, or a good shoemaker, or you may not be—to come to their terms—a good salesman, one who comprehends the value of goods and the wants and interests of the business.”

Now, a great many questions arise out of these things, and how far they shall go and how far they shall not. On the other hand there may be a man who is very competent. I could refer to some of these and yet they are not good men. “Well,” says one, “we don’t want such persons as these in our institution. Although they are competent men and well acquainted with the business, I am afraid their example and influence would be pernicious, and we don’t want them; and we think we would have a right to act in such a case.” So they would think anywhere. The same thing would apply to the institution I have mentioned.

Then another question arises associated with these matters, and it has come up before you here. We have a hospital. There is an Executive Board, which amounts to the same thing as the Board of Directors in the other institution. Then there is a resident surgeon or physician, and it becomes her duty to attend to certain rules and principles that are laid down to use medical talent and ability for the benefit of the patients and the hospital, and to manipulate certain things committed to her charge. I suppose they have some rules associated with these matters, although I cannot state them definitely. Sister Ferguson, it would seem, got up a set of rules. They might be very good; I do not know, but it would seem they were not adopted by the Board, and it would also seem that the Board held the power in its own hands to manipulate these affairs. So that, although the rules drawn up by Sister Ferguson might have been very good and very advantageous if adopted, it appears they were not.

Let me refer to another thing. Sister Ferguson received her medical education in some medical college in the east. All such institutions, it was stated yesterday, both in England and this country are governed by certain rules and the general usage is that the resident physician takes charge of and manipulates the general affairs of the institution; and what are termed by some the inferior officers—I merely make use of that term for want of a better one—are under the direction of the resident physician or surgeon as the case may be. This was Sister Ferguson’s experience. Those acting in one department had no right to interfere with the privileges belonging to others. If these things had been specifically defined by the Board in this Hospital, and each had known her proper duties, and each fulfilled them, difficulty might have been averted; although according to the evidence we had, all were very diligent and sincere in carrying out their several duties. If a set of rules had been adopted and lived up to, a great amount of difficulty arising out of this subject would have been avoided between the parties, and which has more or less involved you and I and others, and caused us to look into these matters. Well, was there anything wrong in that? No. At the college in which Sister Ferguson obtained her medical knowledge—and a diploma as a mark of that knowledge or education—she also obtained a knowledge of the rules and usages of that kind of an institution; consequently it became almost part of her system. Is not that so, Doctor? That is the way I understand it. Well, now, Sister Ferguson comes here and she gets among a lot of us novices. At least I should call myself a novice; for I have never been in any of these establishments; I have never attended medical lectures, etc., consequently I should consider myself a novice in these things. At the same time, independent of this, there is a principle of rule and propriety that ought to exist everywhere, that does exist among all the nations of the earth, and that does exist among all those various institutions of which I have spoken. But for want of a better knowledge of these things, I am not surprised if, with her superior knowledge, Sister Ferguson did assume a dictatorial air and said, when interfered with, “I do not know that that is any of your business. I think that is mine.” And then, again, those other sisters have got their feelings on the same question, and no law being laid down in relation to those matters, they carry out their ideas according to their theories, and they do not think it is proper for any kind of airs to be put on by anybody whether rightfully or assumed. They do not comprehend that, and neither do we, generally, in our republican institutions. It is a good deal the same in our Church affairs. We are apt to think that “Jack is as good as his master,” and a little better. That is about the feeling that exists. And if people should sometimes see their authority interfered with, it creates feelings of irritation. To a person accustomed to be governed by correct rules, and to see things carried out intelligently, it is painful to their feelings to see them carried out otherwise; they feel as though something was wrong and wanted putting right.

I will relate a little circumstance of that kind; for we have all kinds of things among us Mormons. We had a war here a while ago. Brother Wells here was appointed a Lieut. General, and then myself and George A. Smith were appointed his counselors—(laughter), if anybody knows what that is in a military capacity. I never was able to find out. Well, we went out and did the best we could, and I must say that General Wells displayed a good deal of knowledge, tact, vim, life and fidelity, and we tried to step up to him as near as we could—being his counselors. (laughter.) There was a little difficulty arose about Brother Nathaniel Jones—or Colonel Jones—a very excellent, good man, and a thorough disciplinarian; and he had not been rubbing his back against that medical college wall and become familiar with all its usages, but he had been in the Nauvoo legion and an officer in the Mormon Battalion, and there he had got a smattering of military tactics, military ideas, military rule and authority, and when he saw all kinds of curious doings among the boys—as they called themselves—who were not strictly under military rule, etc., he wanted to straighten them out. But they, like the associates of Sister Ferguson, felt that “Jack was as good as his master.” They didn’t want too much military rule; they wanted a great amount of latitude, that they might be able to carry out their ideas and enjoy themselves and kick up their heels and feel like a lot of wild colts. Well, General Wells wanted me to go down, as his counselor, and see if the difficulty could not be put right. I was not even a corporal; I don’t know what office I did hold; but he wanted me to go down and adjust matters. So I went. I examined into things generally; talked with the officers, and mixed up with the men, and found out how things were exactly. There were Captains, and Colonels, and Generals, and all kinds of big men there, and they each had men in command; but Colonel Jones, whenever he saw anything wrong anywhere, wanted to go to work himself and put it right. I soon found out the feeling that was against him. The men considered him too straight-laced, and as they expressed it, “had too many epaulets on his shoulders,” because they saw in him a disposition to exercise authority, and the officers of the several companies did not object to that because it relieved them from responsibility. “Now, Brother Jones” (said I)—I called him brother; I had not got the length of calling him colonel, I called him plain Brother Jones—“let me tell you how to fix these matters. Such and such a man is a captain, is he not?” “Yes.” “Another, there, is a lieutenant?” “Yes.” “And another is major?” “Yes.” “And you are in command here?” “Yes.” “Well, now, instead of going to work to regulate all these matters yourself, why do you not detail lieutenant so and so, captain so and so, and major so and so, to look after the men who are acting improperly?” He thought the advice was good, and followed it, and order and harmony were restored.

Now, this would apply to Sister Ferguson. There was nothing particularly wrong about her; there was nothing particularly wrong with the Board; the directors did not wish to harm Sister Ferguson; they were simply seeking to remedy what they thought was an evil.

Now we come to another principle which is this: if in an institution like that, without any regulations pertaining to these matters, there was any kind of—shall we call it arbitrary feeling? I do not know that much of that feeling was displayed. There may have been a little of it; I do not know; but when we come down to the Gospel, which we profess to be governed by, it places us in another position. This Hospital was started, I believe, as an institution for the benefit of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These sisters, I suppose, were selected because they were considered competent, and then, on the other hand, because they were considered good Latter-day Saints. Now, I believe that about them, and they desired to do right, and then sister Ferguson desired to do right too. But then there were these discrepancies exhibited. But when we come down to the law of the Gospel, that places us altogether in another position. And the law of the Gospel and the law of the needs of the world do not always altogether harmonize. Sometimes we require to exercise a good deal of forbearance, a good deal of kindness, and a good deal of that kind of feeling expressed by the poet in speaking of his wife:

“Be to her faults a little blind, Be to her virtues very kind.”

I have had a good deal of experience of this nature. I have to meet with all kinds of men and all kinds of women. We are all surrounded with a good many infirmities, and I feel as the old lady said, “we are all poor, miserable, independent sinners.” We all make egregious mistakes sometimes when we think we are acting for the very best. There is nothing new about that. The same thing exists in the nations. The same thing exists among the leading men of this government and in other governments.

Let me here refer you to a case that took place in New Orleans. General Jackson when he was in command had some difficulty with the mayor of that city. To make defensive works he called for cotton. One man, I think objected, and said, “General, that is my cotton, and I don’t choose that you shall use it in this public way.” “Well,” said the General, “if it is yours why don’t you take your gun and help defend it?” He ordered the cotton bales to be rolled up, and it was necessary, as he thought, under the necessities of the case, that military authority should be obeyed; in other words, that martial law should be exercised. He got the cotton. He drove back the British. He accomplished his object. And after he was done he was fined, I believe, $1,000 for interfering with the civil authorities, and resisting the writ of habeas corpus. He thought he had a right to do what he did, and he assumed the responsibility. But they fined him for it, and that fine stood against him until pretty near his death. He had transgressed the civil laws of the land, and if he could do that with impunity, it was considered that others could do the same, and they did not want to set such a bad example. In this we see a conflict between military and civil authority. The mayor thought he was doing his duty; the general thought he was doing his; but when it was brought before the courts the general was fined. He paid the fine, but it was remitted some little time before his death.

Then there is a case of a similar nature right before this nation at the present time. I refer to the case of Fitz John Porter. I am not competent to enter into the full details of it. However, suffice it to say, that his superior officer, General Pope, had ordered him to make a certain movement, and, it is alleged, he disobeyed the order, thinking that if he did obey the result would be injurious. In this he committed a breach of military etiquette and military law. They had the law there—not like this hospital—and he violated it. For this he was censured.

I merely want to show that there is nothing in these kinds of misunderstanding for they exist everywhere and have existed from time immemorial. And it is not uncommon for parties when their dignity is insulted to settle the matter by pistols or swords, as the case may be, and frequently one or the other is killed, and “honor is satisfied.” I merely introduce this to show how such things operate, and that you make the very best rules you can, and the very best laws, and there is a danger of their being violated. I might mention other instances, but I do not wish to occupy too much time in relation to these matters. From what I have said it will be seen that these folks, to whom I have alluded, were pretty decent people. I do not know but the Mayor of New Orleans was a pretty good man, and General Jackson had a pretty good reputation, and was afterwards President of the United States. I expect Fitz John Porter is a pretty good man; I expect that General Pope is a pretty good man; yet they have disturbed the nation and Congress with the difficulties that have existed between them in spite of all those laws. As I said before there is a kind of neutral zone, and yet men come in conflict.

Here as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we profess to be governed by a law that is different from others. I have mentioned it already. It is the law of the Gospel. Then, as has been stated, we have our institutions separate and distinct from the States, the same as others have. Other religious bodies have the same. We have our religious usages, our ideas, and our theories. We believe—and hardly I was going to say we believe in a celestial law. Hardly. What is it? “Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” That is the way I understand it. As I have said before, Jesus came not to do his own will, but the will of His Father that sent Him. And when He told His disciples to pray, as I have stated, He said, say, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,” what! thy kingdom! whose kingdom? the kingdom of God. What! The kingdom of God come upon the earth? Yes, that is what it says—the rule of God, the govern ment of God, the dominion of God. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When that is done we shall have a celestial law here. We have not got it yet quite, and we are not prepared for it quite; but we are trying to introduce those things, and the Gospel has been restored for that purpose, and revelation has been given for that purpose, and the heavens have been opened for that purpose, and the Priesthood of God has been organized for that purpose in all its various forms and ramifications, and predicated upon that principle, the High Council has been organized, and other officers and peoples associated with the Church and kingdom of God.

Now, then, as has been stated here, the Executive Board of this hospital were desirous to be set apart by the Priesthood that they might act under the blessing of God. They came to consult me about the hospital in general, and wanted to know if something could not be done in the interest of the sick and afflicted of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were desirous of having a house that was dedicated to God, a house where the Elders could go in and administer to those who were afflicted as well as the physicians, and that all these things should be conducted under the direction of the Almighty. Now, while I am a strict believer in discipline and rule, yet I could not but believe, on the other hand, in the feelings that were exhibited by Sister Eliza Snow and others, in relation to these matters. It has appeared in this investigation that some difficulty arose among those in charge of the hospital, and Sister Eliza and others tried to get them to harmonize and act as Latter-day Saints. That was very good counsel to give, and it would have been well if it had been obeyed, but, it was not, and things have resulted as they have done.

Now, what would you do? These sisters prayed, etc. I presume they did, and certainly I do not want to set them down as hypocrites. They had seen Sister Ferguson take opium once or twice. She alleged that she took it for neuralgia of the heart. Being afflicted with a disease of that kind she had consulted some eminent physicians, and they had advised her to take morphine for an affliction of that sort. It was supposed to be a proper thing to take under the circumstances. Now, while the taking of this morphine might look a little suspicious, yet if they had had that same neuralgia, would it not have been the proper thing to have said, “Oh, my sisters, won’t you be merciful to me. And while I am sick don’t attribute my sickness to any wrong or any evil, but won’t you come and pray for me and be my good, kind sisters and friends and help me in my affliction.” That would have been the right thing to have done instead of trying to find out something bad. There was nothing that could be brought against Sister Ferguson here. She had to stand the fire of all kinds of witnesses, and not one solitary thing could be proven either against her moral conduct or against her actions, or against her reputation in regard to these things—either as a brandy drinker or as a morphine taker under those peculiar circumstances.

Well, now, it would look naturally cruel to me to throw out reflections, especially when a person was laboring under extreme pain, and we ought not to give way to that kind of feelings, any of us. Why, if I were to see the lowest and most de praved suffering under an influence of that kind, I would want to follow the teaching given by Jesus in regard to the man that had fallen among thieves and had been abused and robbed. The Priest passed by on the other side of the road, thinking doubtless it was only some poor devil. Then came a Levite, and he passed by, thinking no doubt, “he is only a poor outcast; let him die and be damned or anything else.” But a certain Samaritan came along, and his feelings seemed to be this: “You have fallen among thieves. Won’t you allow me to administer to you.” That would be proper. That is the way I look at it. I would do the same thing to anybody that I saw in distress. I would not seek to injure their reputation or to malign their character.

Now, I suppose that these sisters were mistaken in their ideas. I do not think that they have bad hearts; but sometimes when people allow their prejudices to run against a person, they carry these things too far. While we are desirous to put down iniquity we must not go to work and act a cruel part toward anybody. God does not do it. He sends His rain on the evil and on the good. He causes His sun to shine on the just and on the unjust. A wicked man’s field may lay alongside a righteous man’s field. He don’t take His sun off the field of the wicked man. He makes no distinctions of that sort. He pours blessings upon all, and He has to be merciful to us all, otherwise we would not be as we are today, surrounded with the blessings we enjoy.

In regard to all these matters, it requires great care and great discrimination. When those sisters came to me and reported that Sister Ferguson had got out of the way, and read those charges, I felt ashamed. I could hardly believe it at first. I said to them: “These are grave charges you are making. Do you know that these things are so?” They answered they thought they did. “Well,” said I, “If these things are true, Sister Ferguson is not fit to hold that position, nor to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” For she was accused, you know, of being false—in other words, a liar. Some things, too, were said to be strangely disappearing, so that she was accused of being a thief; but when we come to inquire into these things we find there was no foundation for the charges. They seem to have arisen from unworthy jealousies. We should not be too ready in harboring such feelings.

Now, I will tell you of a principle taught by Joseph Smith. It may be of use to you as a High Council, and it will not hurt anybody else. In speaking of the discernment of spirits, said he, a man may have the gift of the discernment of spirits; he may see what is in the heart; but because that has been revealed to him he has no business to bring that as a charge against any person. The man’s acts must be proved by evidence and by witnesses.

I speak of these things for your information, and I do not know but I have talked long enough.

Suffice it to say that as Latter-day Saints we ought to be under the law of love, of kindness, and of mercy. And yet at the same time we cannot overlook the wrong. It is right to probe certain things to the bottom as you have done this thing. I was pleased to see the energy displayed all the way through on both sides, and I think this is the general feeling that prevails—a determination to ferret out wrong and to correct evil. One thing is just as necessary as the other.

I have already published a statement about a woman who had committed an act of adultery while her husband was away from home. I was written to about it. Why, said I, cut her off from the Church. We cannot have such people in the Church. Ultimately I requested the husband of the woman to come and see me, but instead of coming himself he brought along the seducer of his wife and three beautiful children—three as beautiful children as I had seen anywhere and as promising. It made my heart ache to see the position that that woman had placed her family in. But I could not help it. She had entered into covenants which were sacred. She had violated those covenants. The Book of Covenants says that such people shall be destroyed. I could not change it. I did not make that law. When they told me that the seducer was there, I said, I do not want to see him. I can’t have anything to do with such a wretch—a man that would enter into a family and debauch another man’s wife while he was away, thus taking advantage of the circumstances in which she was placed. I do not know who the man was; and I don’t care. I don’t want to see him. The woman wept. “Can I stay in the Church,” she asked. “No, madam, you can’t.” I could not assume the responsibility, the Bishop could not assume the responsibility, the High Council could not assume the responsibility without becoming partakers of the crime. I have seen other things of a similar kind and have had to deal with them. This High Council has no right to condone sin. This is an error that people fall into. If men transgress and violate the laws of God, they have no right but to deal with them according to the law of God. Treat them kindly; do the best you can for them, but do not condone their crimes. Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Deacons, and High Councils are placed in the Church as they formerly were, for the perfecting of the Saints; not to pass over iniquity because of certain influences. No influence of any kind ought to control you, only the pure principles of eternal truth as laid down in the law of God. No man can inherit a celestial kingdom who does not keep a celestial law. No man can inherit a terrestrial kingdom unless he abides a terrestrial law, and no man can inherit a telestial kingdom unless he abides a telestial law. And it is for us to see that these laws are executed. We must purge ourselves from sin.

Then, in regard to this affair. As I have already said, I think there was a little weakness in Sister Ferguson and in those sisters. And is there not a little weakness in all of us? I have many weaknesses and infirmities. Shall we condemn one another? No. But I wanted to point out some of these things for the benefit of this Board of Directors, of Sister Ferguson, of this High Council, and of all concerned, that we may be enabled to look carefully, dispassionately and intelligently into all of these matters, and seek for the Spirit of the living God. It is your privilege as a High Council always to know the right, if you are living your religion and keeping the commandments of God, and to have the inspiration of the Most High to guide you in your acts, and if you have that and seek unto the Lord, He will bless you and guide you in all of your doings. And so He will bless all men who seek unto Him, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. And we have to discriminate between the laws of the world and the laws of God. We have no need to break any just and equitable laws, and never mean to.

Now in regard to the position of the United States today. What a pitiful example we have when we come to look at it. They talk about our debauchery and corruption. Why they have twenty criminals right among us to our one, and more than that. I have read that in Springville, out of the outsiders there, 45 percent of them are in some way or other, some lesser and some greater, violators of the law. Yes, according to statistics that are clear, pointed and plain they have from 20 to 80 violators of the law to the Latter-day Saints one. Well, that is not much for us to boast of, for we ought not to have any. But, then, the idea of our being accused of licentiousness and crime, and these pure people being sent out here to correct our morals!

But it is all right. We will try to do right, maintain the law and sustain all correct principles. We put up with a good deal of indignity. Still we will do right and leave ourselves in the hands of God; for if we do right and cleave unto Him, He will take care of us; He will avenge the cause of Zion, and judge the men who are fighting against her; and I say now, as I have before, over and over again, Woe! to them that fight against Zion, for God will fight against them. We will pursue our course and observe the law of God, and keep His commandments.

And I say God bless this High Council with the President and his councilors; God bless the brethren and sisters associated with the Hospital; and those sisters who may have unwittingly done wrong; they will try and do better; and Sister Ferguson, if she has walked a little too strait, she will try to be a little more pliable; and we will all try to move along and feel that we are living among the Saints of God, and that we are of one family and one household.

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

Brother Angus M. Cannon asks: Do we understand you to sustain the decision of the Council? Certainly I do. I feel always like sustaining such things. And I will say, moreover, that it is very seldom I find it necessary to change what has taken place and been decided by the High Councils, among all the High Councils there are in the Church. And why should they not do right? Men that are disinterested, men who are working for nothing, men who are seeking to adjust difficulties among their brethren, and who meet together from time to time and spend hours and days and weeks in adjusting these difficulties, simply for the love of God and humanity and to correct error and establish the principles of righteousness, etc.

In regard to Sister Ferguson, I give you my right hand of fellowship and say God bless you, and try and be a little more humble. And I will do the same to those other sisters. God bless you all. Try to ameliorate the wants and sufferings of humanity, and seek to do all the good that lays in your power; for as you do good to others God will be good to you. God bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The following are the remarks made at the investigation, or trial, by President Angus M. Cannon, and the decision of the High Council in the case above referred to:

President Angus M. Cannon proceeded to review the evidence which had been adduced in the investigation. He took the charges seriatum. With respect to the first charge—that of taking morphine to excess—he held that there was no evidence to support the allegation. It was admitted by Sister Ferguson that she had been accustomed to take morphine to relieve her from pain induced by neuralgia of the heart; but never, except upon one occasion, was she rendered incapable of attending to her duties by the taking of this drug, and it was very supposable that severe pain was the cause of her administering what appeared to be an overdose. But was she to be denounced as a confirmed morphine taker because upon this one occasion she had administered an overdose of this drug? Was that circumstance to be used as a means to destroy her communion with the Church, to destroy her reputation, and to brand her as being an habitual slave to this terrible medicine? By no means.

With regard to the second charge—that of being false—President Cannon said he had not discovered anything in the evidence to substantiate that Sister Ferguson was false. She might have appeared to be arbitrary, commanding, in her desire to have respect and obedience from those under her charge; but a good deal of this kind of feeling appeared to have arisen from jealousy and from watching for faults, and when found, magnifying them to a great extent.

In reference to the third charge—that of stealing medicine from the Hospital—it had been proved that Sister Ferguson took some pills once, and they were administered to an outside patient of the Hospital, she took this medicine as was her right, for the use of outside patients. And as to the taking of brandy—about which so much had been made—all the evidence upon that point was that Sister Ferguson had asked the nurse once for a “sling” of brandy to be brought to her room, and she felt that she had need of it. Was it criminal for her to take a little brandy under those circumstances? Was she to be proclaimed as a drunkard? Not by any means.

Fourth charge—that of malpractice in the case of an old woman by the alleged administration of morphine—was held to be entirely unfounded. The old woman referred to was in a bad state of dropsy, and in a dying condition when brought to the hospital; she suffered great pain; and doubtless, as a doctor, and considering it the right thing, sister Ferguson did administer morphine for the purpose of relieving the patient from pain and getting her to sleep. The patient subsequently died. But because of this was sister Ferguson to be accused of causing her death? No.

The very fact of the sisters having signed those charges showed that they conceived them to be right. They expected this matter to be investigated. They expected to meet Sister Ferguson face to face. The question had been asked, did Sister Snow prompt the sisters to write those charges. The reply was elicited that Sister Van Schoonhoven made a draft of the complaints and that Sister McLean copied it. Sister Snow took it for granted that the charges were true, not thinking, probably, the damaging effect they would have upon the character of Sister Ferguson. This being the case it was concluded that it would not do for Sister Ferguson to be allowed to continue in her position. He (President Cannon) had no doubt that Sister Snow believed every word of the charges, and after considering the easiest mode of letting Ferguson down, the Executive Board asked her, finally, to resign. They did not see, apparently, that this would come out and damage, as it had done, the reputation of Sister Ferguson; but having become a party to this thing, they shouldered the responsibility. On the other hand, while he maintained that these charges had not been sustained, still, under the circumstances, he thought the wisest thing the Board could do was to ask Sister Ferguson to resign her position in the hospital. Her resignation was not asked with the intention to hurt her. But the devil took advantage of the position and used it to the injury of Sister Ferguson. He would say, however, that if Sister Ferguson would live humbly before the Lord and take what had transpired for good, and listen to counsel, the Lord would bless her, and the Lord would bless those sisters who had erred in this matter unwittingly, if they would take hold of Sister Ferguson and help her along, and thus promote union and fellowship in our midst as the sons and daughters of God upon the earth.

The decision therefore in this case will be: That these charges are not sustained against Sister Ferguson before this council; but I do think the sisters acted wisely under the circumstances in asking her to resign. That is my judgment. But that the evil one has magnified these charges to the injury of Sister Ferguson in that investigation was not had at the time. And I would say to these sisters, take hold of Sister Ferguson by the hand and help her to sustain her reputation and practice before this people, and as you seek to build her up so the Lord will build you up and bless you by increasing your influence for good.




Privilege of Meeting Together—We Are Here to Do Our Father’s Will—All Dependent Upon God for Assistance, Guidance and Direction—The Lord Revealed to Adam the Purpose of Sacrifice—Adam, Before His Death, Called His Family Together and Blessed Them and Prophesied—Many Spirits Have Been Destined to Hold Certain Positions Among Men—Why We Are Gathered—We Must Follow the Teachings of the Spirit, and Honor the Priesthood in All Its Callings—Prepare Ourselves to Enter Holy Places—The Priesthood Must not Tolerate Iniquity—The Church Must Be Purified—Concluding Exhortations

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at a Priesthood Meeting, held in the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, Saturday Evening, October 6th, 1883.

It is quite a privilege for us to meet together in such assemblies as this—to associate with the Priesthood of the Son of God, which Priesthood is also after the order of Melchizedek, and after the power of an endless life. It is a great privilege for us to meet together, to talk over the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, and to reason and reflect upon those things that God has revealed for our salvation in time and throughout the eternities that are to come. It is proper that we should comprehend the various positions of men in relation to this Holy Priesthood, and further that we should understand the various orders, callings, ordinances and organizations associated with the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth; that we each of us may be prepared to magnify our calling, to honor our God, and to pursue that course always which shall be acceptable in the sight of our Heavenly Father.

We are here as Jesus was here, not to do our own will, but the will of our Father who sent us. He has placed us here; we have a work to do in our day and generation; and there is nothing of importance connected with any of us only as we are associated with God and His work, whether it be the President of the Church, the Twelve Apostles, the Presidents of Stakes, the Bishops, or anybody else, and we can only thus be of any service by placing ourselves in a position to act as God dictates us; as He regulates and manipulates the affairs of His Church in the interests of humanity, in behalf of the living and of the dead, in behalf of the world in which we live, and in behalf of those who have lived before us, and who will live after us. We can none of us do anything only as we are assisted, guided and directed by the Lord. No man ever lived that could. Adam could not. Noah could not. Even Jesus could not. Nor could the Apostles. They were all of them dependent upon the God of Israel to sustain them in all of their acts. And in regard to Adam himself, as we are, so was he very ignorant of many principles until they were revealed to him. And if they were revealed to him they did not originate with him; and so it was with others. We find that Adam was directed of the Lord to do a certain thing—that is, to offer up sacrifices—and when the angel of the Lord came to him and said: “Adam why do you offer up sacrifices?” Adam replied, “I do not know; but the Lord commanded me to do it, and therefore I do it.” He did not know what those sacrifices were for until the Lord revealed unto him the doctrine of the atonement and the necessity of the fall of man, and pointed out to him the way and manner to obtain an exaltation. Then he and Eve his wife rejoiced exceedingly at the mercy and kindness of the Almighty, and realized that even in their fall they were placed in a position to obtain a higher glory, and a greater exaltation than they could have done without it. Now, who revealed this to them? The Lord, through the ministering of an holy angel; and in relation to the dealings of God with all of the human family it has been precisely the same. We are told, for instance, that when Adam had lived to a great age—that three years before his death he called together his family—that is, some of the leading branches thereof who held the Holy Priesthood, mentioning the names of many of the more prominent that had received certain peculiar blessings from the hand of God—and there was manifested to him all things that should transpire to his posterity throughout all the future generations of time, and he prophesied of these things; and also upon those who were with him, rested the spirit of prophecy, and he blessed them, and they turned around and blessed him and called him Michael the Archangel, the Prince of Peace, etc. By what spirit then did Adam prophesy, and under what influence was he operating at that time? We are told in Scripture that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, and he in common with his sons who were then associated with him were in possession of that spirit which enlightened their minds, unfolded unto them the principles of truth, and revealed unto them the things that would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time. Who manifested these things? The Lord. Who organized the world? The Lord. Who made man upon it? The Lord. Who placed upon it the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea? The Lord. Who sustains all things by his power? The Lord. Who controls the affairs of the world? The Lord. To whom are we indebted for life, for health, and for every blessing that we enjoy? To the Lord. He is the God of the earth, and the giver of every good and perfect gift which we enjoy, and He desires to gather together a people that will observe His laws, that will keep His commandments, that will render obedience to His will, that will submit to His authority, and for this purpose, in different ages of the world, He has introduced the Gospel and has placed man in possession thereof.

Now, what about the positions of men? Why, it is a good deal as spoken of in the Scriptures and in the revelations which have been given to us pertaining to these mat ters—that many have been called and chosen, and that many were elected and selected to fulfill certain offices. It was so revealed to Abraham. He was told that there were a great many spirits, many of whom were noble, who were destined to hold particular positions among the children of men, and it was said to him, “And thou Abraham wast one of these.”

Now, there are events to transpire in this day as there have been in other days; and we, the Elders of Israel of the Church of the living God, have to build up the Church of God, the Zion of God, and the Kingdom of God, and the Church has to be purified according to the law, order, rule and dominion which God has appointed. It is not for us—as the brethren have expressed it—to receive certain portions of light and intelligence, and with regard to other portions follow the desires of our own hearts, thus laying aside God, His rule, His dominion and His authority. “Having begun in the spirit,” as Paul said, “are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” No, that is the wrong way about; but on the contrary we ought to add to our faith virtue, to virtue brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness charity, to charity godliness, that we may be full of the light and life, and of the spirit and power of God, and approach more closely to the law of God, and be governed thereby.

Why are we gathered here to the land of Zion? This is called the land of Zion. We are called the people of Zion. What does Zion mean? The pure in heart. Why are we gathered here? One of the Prophets in talking about it, says: “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” What then? “I will give them Pastors according to mine own heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” That is what we are here for. That we may be fed with knowledge and understanding, that we may learn the law of the Gospel, the law of the Zion of God, the laws of the Kingdom of God, and that we may be instructed in all things tending to promote the welfare, exaltation and happiness of ourselves, our wives, our children, the people with whom we are associated, and the world in which we live and act; and that we may operate for the benefit of those who have lived, and stand as “saviors upon Mount Zion.”

In all this, as has been said, there is an order. We are all dependent the one upon the other. The head cannot say to the foot I have no need of thee, nor the foot to the head I have no need of thee, nor the hand, the arm, the leg to the body, I have no need of thee. We are formed into a compact body according to the law of God in the organization of His Church, and it is for us to magnify the callings unto which we are called, and unless we all of us are placed under the guidance and direction of the Almighty, we cannot do so—that is, those who do not yield themselves subject to the law of God, cannot do that thing. But those who yield themselves subject to the law of God, can do it and do it quite easily, for Jesus says: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Now, if we yield obedience to God and to the spirits that dwell within us, then will our light become like that of the just that shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day; but if we do not yield an obedience to the law and word and order of the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth, the light that is within us will become darkness, and then, as it is said, how great is that darkness! We see sometimes men of that character. They are occasionally referred to as cranks, or, as the Germans use that term, sick. They lose the light, spirit and power of God, and they do not comprehend the order of the Church and Kingdom of God, nor do they place themselves in the way to obtain knowledge of these things. The first thing they begin to do is to try to pervert the order of God, and to find fault with their brethren in the Holy Priesthood—with their Bishops, with their Bishop’s Counselors, with the High Council, perhaps with the Presidents of Stakes, as the case may be, or with the Apostles, or with the First Presidency; no matter which, or how, or when, or where. Now, if these men were walking in the light as God is in the light they would have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Christ would cleanse them from all sin; but when they begin to murmur and complain, to find fault and to give way to improper influences, they give place to the devil, and he takes possession just as fast and as far as he can, and forces upon them feelings, ideas and principles that are at variance with the law and order, and word and will of God.

What, then, are we here for? What did Jesus come to do? He tells us that He “came not to do His own will, but the will of His Father who sent Him.” How are we to obtain a knowledge of that will? I will tell you what Joseph Smith told me. I have frequently mentioned it. Between forty and fifty years ago he said to me this: “Elder Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost. Follow its teach ings. Sometimes it will seem to you as though it was hardly the right way. No matter, follow its teachings, and it will always lead you right, and if you do so it will, by and by, become to you a principle of revelation, so that you will know all things that are necessary for you to become acquainted with.” Now, I know that is true. I know that he spoke the truth. And I would say that it is the privilege of every Elder in Israel who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, to follow its teachings. What was said by one of the old Apostles? “As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.” Follow its teachings, therefore, and do not give way to your own feelings, nor to covetousness, to pride, nor to vain glory; for we none of us have anything to boast of. We have none of us received anything but what God has given us. If we possess light, or intelligence, or a knowledge of the things of God—which we do—from whence did it emanate? From God our Heavenly Father, through the medium that He has appointed. I do not wish to dictate to Him the way these things shall be done. I never did. While Joseph Smith was on the earth I looked to him as a Prophet of God, and I do not believe I ever disobeyed Him in one solitary thing that he ever required at my hands, and I have been put in some pretty tight places. But that was my feeling, that was the idea I entertained towards the Priesthood of the Son of God.

I have also lived in wards. I do not know that I have ever disobeyed the requests of a Bishop. Why? Because he presided over me in a ward capacity, and if he had a right to respect me as an Apostle, I had a right to respect him as a Bishop, and I always felt a desire to comply with all the requirements that were made of me by any of the proper authorities. I feel and always have felt the same towards Teachers. If a Teacher came to my house—or Teachers, they generally come two at a time—if I happened to be there I have told them that I felt happy to meet with them, and I called together the members of my family that were within my reach, and told them that the Teachers had come to instruct us. Permit me here to ask, have not I a right—say as the President of the Church, or as an Apostle, which I was for many years—have not I a right, or my family a right to possess the same privileges that others possess, and to have the Teachers come to inquire after my welfare and that of my family, and to see that there is no wrong existing—have not I that right? I think I have. If they are the servants of God, have not I a right to listen to them? Yes, I have, and I feel it my duty to receive them kindly, treat them properly and listen to their teaching.

On the other hand, when the Teachers got through, I might give them a little instruction, say as an Apostle, or as a brother—put it any way you like; that while I and my family were receiving benefits from them, it was my duty, on the other hand, to teach and instruct them in some things that I thought might benefit them.

Now, these are correct principles in the Church and Kingdom of God. The Teacher occupies his place; the Priest and Deacon occupy their places; the Elder occupies his place; the Bishop his place; the High Councils their places; the Presidents of Stakes their places, and every one in his position ought to be honored—the Twelve in their place, the First Presidency in their place—each one yielding proper respect and courtesy and kindness to the other. And when we talk about great big personages, there is no such thing. We are none of us anything only as God confers blessings upon us, and if He has conferred anything upon us, we will give Him the glory.

Having been called to these positions, God expects that we will honor them; that we will esteem it an honor to be the messengers of salvation, the legates of the skies, to the nations of the earth. We have a great work to perform both at home and abroad. We are preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. Israel is being gathered home to Zion. And in Zion we are rearing temples to the name of the Most High God. And I will tell you how I feel—that as these temples are advancing, while we are preparing holy places in which to administer the ordinances of God pertaining to the living and the dead—I feel that we ought to begin to prepare ourselves to enter into these holy places, and to feel that we are the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We ought to wake up and put our houses in order, and our hearts in order; we ought to conform to the word, the will, and the law of God; we ought to let God rule in Zion, to let His law be written upon our hearts, and to feel the responsibility of the great work we are called upon to perform. We should see that our bodies and our spirits are pure, and that they are free from contamination of every kind. We are here to build up the Zion of God, and to this end we must subject our bodies and our spirits to the law, to the word, and to the will of God. Being here in Zion we want to see that thing that Jesus told His disciples to pray for take place. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” How was it done in heaven? God spake and the worlds were formed according to His word. God said let us do this, and that and the other, and it was so. Was there anybody in heaven to object and say, “Don’t you think you had better put it off a little. Would not this be a better way?” Yes, the devil said so, and he says so yet, and he is listened to sometimes by sinners and sometimes by Saints; for we become the servants of those whom we list to obey.

There are besides these other considerations in connection with these matters.

The brethren who have preceded me this evening have referred to the celestial, terrestrial and telestial kingdoms, and the laws pertaining thereunto. We are told that if we cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom we cannot inherit a celestial glory. Is not that doctrine? Yes. “But,” says one, “Are not we all going into the celestial kingdom?” I think not, unless we turn round and mend our ways very materially. It is only those who can abide a celestial glory and obey a celestial law that will be prepared to enter a celestial kingdom. “Well,” says another, “are the others going to be burned up, etc.?” No. Do you expect everybody to walk according to this higher law? No, I do not. And do I expect those that do not, are going into the celestial kingdom? No, I do not. Well, where will they go? If they are tolerably good men and do not do anything very bad, they will get into a terrestrial kingdom, and if there are some that cannot abide a terrestrial law, they may get into a telestial kingdom, or otherwise, as the case may be, etc., etc. Did you ever read in your Bibles that “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Did you ever read of the parable of Jesus, where He speaks of the sower going forth to sow, and some seed fell by the wayside, some among thorns, and some on stoney ground, etc.? “But,” says one, “we thought we had got it all.” Yes: but the thorns have grown up in many places and choked the good seed. Sometimes you keep down your weeds in the field, but do they come up again? Yes; fresh crops keep coming all the time; and I think, too, that the wheat and the tares were to grow together for a certain length of time.

Well, what shall we do? Shall we go to work and get angry against people that do not do exactly right? No. They can only do right as God helps them to do it. They can only do right as they seek to God for His help to enable them to do so; they can only do right as they are sustained by the power of God; and if we allow covetousness, pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, malice, lasciviousness, drunkenness, Sabbath breaking, or any other influence to corrupt and lead us astray from the light of truth and the sweet consoling influences of the Spirit of God, we shall get into darkness, and then, as I said before, if the light that is within us becomes darkness, how great is that darkness! It is for us to do right—to observe the law and to keep the commandments of God. It is right also for the Presidents of Stakes and for the Bishops to see that none of these things that I have referred to be permitted among the people over whom they preside. What! Shall we not let the drunk ard wallow in his drunkenness? No; deal with him according to the law of God. Shall we not let the lascivious man wallow in his corruption? No. According to certain principles that are laid down in the book of Doctrine and Covenants in regard to those things, those who have entered into the new and everlasting covenant, and have taken upon themselves certain obligations, if they commit adultery it is positively said they shall be destroyed. Now, can you change that, or can I change it? No, I cannot, and you cannot; and you have no right to permit men to break the Sabbath, nor to do many of those acts that many of the Saints are doing. What are Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, etc., placed in the Church for? What were they for in former days? For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Jesus Christ. What are the High Councils and Bishops’ Councils for but to adjudge all these things? What are the Teachers and the Priests for? To assist the Bishops in their endeavors to promote purity and virtue, holiness and righteousness among the people. That is their office, and if they do not fulfill that office they are not magnifying their calling. They have no right to condone the sins of men. The law of God is perfect converting the soul, and we must be governed by that law and carry it out, or be made amenable unto the Lord our God for the course we pursue, or for neglecting to perform our duties. That is the way I look at these things, and if that is not the case, why are these laws given to us. Are they the laws of God? We so understand them. Then let us perform our duties and seek to magnify our callings that we may stand approved and acknowledged of the Lord.

When I speak of these things, I do not believe in any kind of tyranny. I believe in long-suffering, in mercy, in kindness, in gentleness, and in the love and fear of God. I do not believe that the Priesthood was given to man to exercise dominion and authority over the souls of other men. Everything ought to be done with kindness and long-suffering, yet with fidelity to God. The Church must be purified from iniquity of every kind, that we may stand before God “a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing;” that when we get our temples finished we may enter therein, approach the living God, and call upon Him for blessings, for life and salvation for ourselves and others, for deliverance from our enemies, and God will hear our prayers if we will only be obedient and observe His law. God is on our side. All heaven is on our side. The ancient Prophets and Patriarchs, and the Son of God and God the Father, are enlisted in the cause of Zion. It is for us to be true to ourselves, and I ask no odds of this world or of its powers. (“Amen”) God will take care of His Saints, but we must be careful to be Saints.

Arise! therefore, ye Elders of Israel—ye Priests, Teachers and Deacons, ye Presidents of Stakes, Bishops and High Councilors, ye Apostles and First Presidency, and all of us—Arise! and let us go to work with a will to do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven: for if ever that is done, where is it to start, do you think, if it does not begin here among us? God expects it at our hands. We are full of weaknesses and imperfections, every one of us; but we want to learn the word, the will, and the law of God, and to conform to that word and will and law. Let that law be written upon our hearts. Let us seek to magnify our callings and honor our God, and the Lord will take care of the balance. We need not trouble ourselves much about our enemies. They have their ideas, we have ours. We will do as we have done. We will do the best we can with them, put our trust in the living God, and pursue a course that is wise, prudent and intelligent. We will glory not in ourselves, but in the Lord of Hosts. We will dedicate ourselves, our wives, our families, our houses and our lands, and all that we possess to the Lord, and feel that we are His children. If we do this, He will bless us with life, health and prosperity. He will control the efforts of our enemies in the future as He has done in the past. And here I feel to call upon every soul to bless and magnify the God of Israel for His mercies extended to us in the past; for putting a hook into the jaws of our enemies that they have not had power to harm us, and He will continue to do it, if we will continue to be faithful, only much more so; and woe unto them that fight against Zion, for the Lord God of Hosts will fight against them. Amen.




Growth of the Latter-Day Saints—Necessity of the Spirit of Revelation—Conditional Promises—The Lord Designed Israel to Be a Peculiar and Holy People—And He Has the Same Design Concerning Us—We Will Have to Pass Through the Same Ordeals As They—We Should not Intermarry With Those not of Our Faith—We Should Build Up Nothing that is Opposed to Zion—The Favor of God is Better Than Earthly Riches—Exhortations to Faithfulness

Discourse by President George Q. Cannon, delivered in the Meetinghouse, Heber City, Sunday Morning, August 26th, 1883.

We are becoming a great people—that is, compared with what we have been—not very great compared with the world; but, nevertheless, we are increasing very rapidly; the rising generation is very numerous; and it requires exceeding diligence and watchfulness on the part of those who have the people in charge as shepherds to see that the means of instruction and counsel are in proportion to the growth of the people. If this were not the case we should soon have a generation of young men and young women ignorant of the principles of life and salvation, and of the policy and polity of the work of God that He has established on the earth.

It is very necessary that as a people we should have with us the spirit of revelation from God, and not only should we have it ourselves, but it is also necessary that we should be taught by those whom God has called to preside over His Church and to lead in the affairs thereof.

Our position is in many respects critical. We are surrounded by enemies who are constantly on the alert, and who are doing all in their power to thwart the work of God, and to destroy its influence on the earth. This being the case it is exceedingly necessary that every means which God has placed within our reach for our improvement and for the advancement of His work should be used by us.

The prophecies concerning Zion which are on record are full of promises concerning the future growth of this people, concerning the glory that shall rest upon Zion. But these predictions and promises are all conditional. They will be fulfilled if we place ourselves in a position to merit their fulfillment, or to bring them about. If Zion fails to come up to the requirements which God has made of us, then the fulfillment of these glorious promises will undoubtedly be deferred. It is therefore of importance that the Latter-day Saints should come up to the standard that God has given unto us—that is, fulfill the requirements which He has made of us.

Now, there are many points upon which we need correction. We are guilty of many things that are not in accordance with the mind and will of God. There is a certain policy—if I may use that phrase; I use it to convey the idea to your minds—connected with the building up of Zion, a policy which God has sought to enforce upon us from the beginning until the present time. It is to a great extent the same policy that He urged upon and endeavored to enforce in the midst of Israel, when He led Israel out of Egypt. When He inspired Moses to take the steps that He did towards the emancipation of the children of Israel from the thralldom of the Egyptians, He had a definite purpose in view, and that was to make them a nation of His own, a people who should acknowledge Him as their God, and He wished to make a distinct race of them. For forty years He led them through the wilderness teaching them, counseling them, pleading with them, training them, in order to relieve them as far as possible from the old traditions with which they were burdened. There was no other object in view than this—that is, I may say this was the principle object. He wished to separate them entirely from all the nations of the earth by whom they had been surrounded, and to make them a peculiar people, a people who would look upon Him as their lawgiver, and who should look to Him for all the instructions and counsels and directions that they needed; but because of their rebellious, and their unwillingness to be thus submissive, He caused every man over 20 years of age who left Egypt, to die in the wilderness except two. You remember, doubtless, the circumstances which brought about the preservation of the lives of these two. The rest over 20 years of age all perished in the wilderness, they not having faith sufficient to receive the promises and to gain the end that they started out for when they left Egypt. A new generation grew up during the 40 years of travel in the wilderness—a generation that had to a great extent forgotten the traditions of Egypt, that had forgotten the idolatry of Egypt and the evil practices of Egypt, and then when this was brought about, God led them unto the promised land, and He made of them a nation, a peculiar people. They became His people. He placed His name upon them, although they failed as a generation to come up to the fullness of power that He designed they should have. In other words, they failed to come up to the possession and exercise of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Now, God in like manner has designed in these days in laying the foundation of Zion to establish a new order of things on the earth; to gather us out from the nations of the earth; to make us a peculiar people; to make us a holy and a pure people upon whom He could place His name and through whom He can accomplish His great designs and purposes on the earth; to make us a distinct people from every other people that lives upon the face of the earth, and through us to establish and perpetuate a new order of things on the earth which shall be preparatory to the ushering in of the full reign of righteousness through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is for this that the heavens have been opened. It is for this that God the Father and Jesus the Son have descended. It is for this that angels have come and ministered unto men. It is for this that the Gospel has been restored; that the Priesthood has been given to men; that the authority to administer the ordinances of life and salvation has been restored from the heavens. It is for this that the spirit of gathering has been poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth who have received the Gospel, which has impelled them to do as we have done, to gather together as we are gathered together at this time in these valleys, and it is for this that all that you witness connected with this work, the power that is manifested, the deliverances that have been wrought out—it is for this that these have all been accomplished. God has chosen this people and has given unto them a mission. But I ask myself, who of us comprehend it? Who of us rise to the full conception of its importance, and who understand the mind and will of God in these mighty works of which we are the witnesses and connected with which we are actors? We have been pleaded with all the day long by the voice of Prophets, by the voice of inspiration, I may say by the voice of God through His servants. We have been told with the greatest plainness, the mind and will of God concerning us and the objects that He has had in view in gathering us out and placing us in the position which we occupy. But, like the Israelites of old, the flesh pots of Egypt have been sweet to us; the leeks and the onions of Babylon we have hankered after. We have lusted after these things. We have lusted after that which God has commanded us to forsake, and we have not become emancipated from the love of Babylon. It has been in our hearts. It has influenced us in our actions. It has governed us in our policy, and it has been the great labor of the leaders of this Church to endeavor to uproot this accursed lust that has been in the hearts of those who are called Latter-day Saints for that which they have been commanded to forsake. God has commanded us to forsake Babylon. He has called us out from Babylon; but though we have come out from Babylon we have brought to a great extent Babylon with us, the love of Babylon, the love of that which God abhors, and which He commands us to forsake. We have brought it with us, and to a great extent we cherish it. And this is the great obstacle in the way of building up Zion. At the same time I do not wish to speak discouragingly to my brethren and sisters upon this point. I know that there are many, very many in this Church, who have sought with all the faith and diligence of which they are capable to love the Lord, to love Zion, and to do everything they could to build it up in the earth. I know this. We have constant testimonies of this in looking at the Saints, in mingling with them, and in witnessing the spirit they possess. But, my brethren and sisters, I sometimes feel that it is with us as it was with our fathers whom God led out of Egypt, for we are the descendants of that people. Like our fathers we shall have to undergo the same ordeals—that is, ordeals that shall have for their object the accomplishment of the same ends, and I do not believe that He will allow a generation of people to grow up and witness the accomplishment of all that He has spoken concerning Zion who are not perfectly willing to do that which He requires at their hands. I believe the old generation will pass away. I believe that like our fathers the bodies of the Saints of God will be laid by the wayside in the various places where they live if they do not exercise faith to receive the blessings that God designs to bestow upon us as a people, and that He will raise up a generation as He did in the case of our fathers, which shall have the necessary faith, which shall be divorced from the old order of things sufficiently to go forward and accomplish the mind and will of God concerning Zion.

Today look over the entire field that we occupy. Examine the condition of the Latter-day Saints from the far north to the extreme south; examine the evils which surround us and with which we have to contend, and that threaten the perpetuity of the institutions of Zion. Examine our condition in its true light, in all its aspects and in all its particulars, and what will be the conclusion that will be reached respecting our circumstances? It will be this: that there is no evil today that menaces Zion that we feel it difficult to cope with, that threatens the supremacy of our rule in this land to which God has led us, that is not traceable to ourselves and that does not have its origin in the reluctance of the people to comprehend and to obey the counsel which God has given through His servants ever since we came to these valleys. I leave it to everyone of you to decide for yourselves under the spirit of God if this statement which I make is not abundantly true and sustained by facts. It is a sorrowful statement to make, but it is nevertheless a true statement. We have no dangerous or threatening evils to contend with that have not had their origin in the disobedience of some of the Latter-day Saints to the counsel which God has given them.

God intended when He led Israel out of Egypt, that there should be no intermarriages between Israel and the nations which surrounded them, and a great many of the evils that came upon Israel were due to this. I may say, however, for the men of this Church, that there have been but comparatively few instances (probably because there have not been so many temptations for them) of their taking wives who were not of the Saints. They have not married strange women as did many of the Israelites, as did Solomon the wise king, which God gave to Israel. He married strange wives, and through these marriages he was led away into idolatry in his old age, and the anger of God was brought upon him and his house because of this. Many of the evils that fell upon Israel were due to intermarriage on their part with women who were not of their faith, and who were from nations who did not have the same worship that Israel had. Marriages of this nature are contrary to the command of God. We are commanded not to marry with those who are not of our faith, and no woman ever did it, no girl ever did it that has not sooner or later had sorrow because of this. God is not pleased with such marriages, and it is not in the nature of things to expect blessings to follow such intermarriages.

I have not time to dwell upon the many points wherein we have failed. To build up Zion should be the thought of every heart—to labor to establish the cause of God in the earth, to be a compact people. But we have violated this counsel, until today, in some places, it is questionable who shall rule—the Latter-day Saints or those opposed to them. Now, you all know that the policy of this organization which God has given us is not one that is hostile to strangers. I would not be understood in making the remarks that I do on this occasion as having any disposition to excite hostility in the minds of my brethren and sisters against those who are not of us. We never have had that feeling. No man who has any of the spirit of God within him, and comprehends the nature of God’s work, will have that spirit. But there is a great difference, remember, between hostility to those who are not of our faith, and our sustaining and upholding and taking them in our arms and caressing them and bestowing favors upon them that should only be bestowed upon the household of faith. For instance, if there were two stores in this town, one occupied by a man who is not of our faith, and another occupied by a man who is of our faith, a man whose whole interests were identified with Zion, whose whole thought was to build up Zion and to advance the cause thereof on the earth, would I be an enemy of the man not of us because I did not patronize him, but patronized and sustained the man who is of us? Certainly not; it would be no mark of enmity on my part to him. I might have and would have a preference for my brother, for the man who was identified with me and who was laboring for the same end; and this is the spirit we should have. There are a great many Latter-day Saints who have not been able to discriminate sufficiently between these two spirits. They have imagined that because we are not hostile we must therefore be very loving, and they do not see the line of demarcation which God has drawn and which He wishes us to observe. There is a line and that line ought to be observed by us. Joseph said in the beginning that it was the duty of the Elders of this Church to labor constantly to build up Zion and not to build up that which is opposed to Zion. That embodies in these few words the policy that we should observe. It is not my business; God has not required it of me that I should build up anything that is opposed to Zion, but on the contrary that I should always keep in my thoughts and be influenced by it in my actions that which will advance the cause of Zion, and that which will not retard it or operate against it in any manner. We have erred in this direction in the past. There is a class of people among us who have thought more of money than they have about Zion. They have gone where they could get the best bargains regardless of the effect it would have on the public weal. They only looked to their individual benefit and aggrandizement. There are many such among us throughout our settlements, and particularly in Salt Lake City. They have bought and sold, they have traded, they have done that which seemed right in their eyes, that would promote their own personal benefits regardless of the effect it would have upon the public, and I believe that that is a sin in the sight of God with the light and knowledge that we have. I believe that the man who does that grieves the spirit of God, whether he does it on a large scale or on a small scale. I believe that such a man, unless he repents, will not live to reap the blessings and benefits that God will bestow upon those who labor for the building up of Zion. I believe he will perish just as our fathers perished in the wilderness, and will not live to enjoy the blessings God has in store for the faithful. I would rather my brethren and sisters, stand before you clothed as these Indians are who wander through our settlements; I would rather be clothed in deerskins or in goatskins; I would rather be destitute of those things that men place so high a value upon and be sure that I had the blessing of my God, be sure that I would secure, by continuing faithful, exaltation in His kingdom, than to have all the wealth that this world can furnish. I would rather have the peace of God in my heart; I would rather have the blessing of God and His Holy Spirit resting upon me than to have a thousand things, however grand they might be, bestowed upon me and be destitute of the favor of our God. That is the feeling I have. I know it is pleasant to have good things; I know it is pleasant to have beautiful surroundings; I know it is a sweet thing for us to be able to supply our families’ wants, and when they ask to have it in our power to give; but there is something higher, something nobler, something better than this, and that is the favor of our God. We should labor so as to have this, and at the same time if we do, we may rest assured that all the rest will be added to us. He will not leave us destitute. He will not deprive us of the blessings of the earth. On the contrary he will impart those blessings to us, and not only to us but to our children after us. For we live not for ourselves alone, but we live for our posterity. We hope to be faithful so as to gain the favor of God, that our posterity after us will be remembered in the days of trial and in the days of tribulation and of calamity that are to come upon the earth, a desire that every faithful man connected with this Church must have if he understands the promises and blessings of God. His desire must be that, so long as the earth shall stand, so long as time shall endure, he will never be destitute in any generation of a man who will bear the Holy Priesthood; that he will have a representative in all the generations to come, the generations from now until time shall cease. In order to obtain this promise and this blessing men must be faithful unto God; men must labor and struggle as our fathers did through whose faithfulness we have received those promises, and through whose faithfulness, also, we have received the Holy Ghost that we now enjoy this day; that we, like them, shall gain the favor of God so effectually that he will confirm upon us and our posterity after us the blessings he confirmed upon Abraham our father, those blessings that shall be felt throughout all the generations to come as long as time shall endure. That is our privilege as Latter-day Saints, and we should live for it, and God will help us to obtain it, if we are faithful, if we do that which is right before Him.

In conclusion, my brethren and sisters, I entreat you as a servant of God, in the name of our Lord and Master, to love Zion with all your hearts, and not allow any other love to enter therein. Love this work. Devote yourselves to it. Love our God. Love Him supremely and He will never desert you. Keep His commandments, no matter what the sacrifice may be. Keep every commandment of God, and stand before the Lord blameless, so that you will not be condemned, and if you will do so He will lead you and all of us back into His celestial presence and crown us with glory, immortality and endless lives, which I pray may be our happy lot, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.




Hostility of the World to the Gospel—Rebellion of Lucifer in Heaven—Seth Given in Place of Abel—Wickedness of the Antediluvians—Enoch’s Zion—Necessity of Opposing Powers and Principles, that Men May Be Tested—Difference Between Bigamy and Plural Marriage—Our Marriage Covenants Are Eternal—Enmity of Religious Teachers—Our Children Should Be Correctly Taught

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, February 12th, 1882.

It is well sometimes for us to reflect upon the position we occupy before God; it is well for us to understand the relation we sustain to each other; it is well for us to comprehend the relation that we sustain to the Church and Kingdom of God; it is also well for us to know the position that we occupy in relation to the world in which we live. As intelligent beings it is for us to comprehend all truth so far as we are capable of understanding it.

The Gospel is spoken of as being light; and when it was introduced by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ it was then said, that light had come into the world. But while light had come into the world there was a certain class of people that loved dark ness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Jesus, in alluding to himself, said: I am the true light. And He is spoken of as being the light that enlightens every man that cometh into the world. And again it is said of Him: the light shineth in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. There are many very significant sayings on the same subject, that afford food for thought and reflection.

The Gospel of the Son of God has always been obnoxious to a great portion of the human family. In it there is too much light, too much truth, too much intelligence; for the bulk of mankind; its principles are too pure, too noble, too elevating to accord with the general feelings of humanity and with that spirit that proceeds from the powers of darkness, and which rules in the midst of the children of disobedience. And hence people generally have been opposed to it, and they are opposed to it today. People oppose it, but they do not comprehend it. They speak against it; but they speak of that which they know not of. And while they think we are superstitious and ignorant, we know that they are; there is no doubt on that question. We know that they “understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” Therefore to us they are objects of commiseration more than anything else.

Talk of Christianity and of the Gospel of the Son of God, in all the ages of the world, whenever and wherever it was proclaimed, there was a spirit of hostility and antagonism manifested towards it from the very first. We may go back as far as the days of Cain. We read that Adam had two sons, named Cain and Abel. Cain lent himself to the enemy of all righteousness, and became what is termed in Scripture, the father of lies. He rebelled against God, and rebelled against his father, and instigated by the spirit of enmity which proceeds from the evil one, he killed his brother.

These things are not always understood nor the reasons for them. But it has been revealed unto us that Cain loved Satan more than he loved God, and that he placed himself under his influence. And when Cain and Abel offered up their sacrifice, Cain offered his at the instigation of the devil; and his sacrifice, of course, was not accepted. God knew his heart and the feelings by which he was actuated, and therefore rejected his offering. Then came Lucifer, the devil, and says to Cain, “I told you the Lord would treat you wrong; He has treated me wrong;” and he instigated him to kill his brother, which he did. And why? Because his brother believed in God, and obeyed God; and because he believed in the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, which had been made known to them; because he believed these principles, and because Satan was opposed to them, he instigated Cain to kill his brother.

It looked a rather awkward thing for the world under these circumstances. As we read it—there were two sons, one of them righteous, the other wicked; the wicked killed the righteous, and the world was left under these influences to a certain extent. But then Adam had other sons and other progeny, and he himself was there; and he believed in God, and blessed God for having revealed the Savior, and the plan by which he and his children were to be redeemed from the fall, which he had been an active participator in bringing about, which, probably, was all right that it should be brought about. And from that time the spirit of antagonism existed between the two principles; the power of God and the power of the adversary. It had commenced, in fact, before that time. Lucifer and those that were associated with him were cast out of heaven because they rebelled against God their Heavenly Father. They were not willing that He should carry out the plan of redemption and salvation which He had devised before the world was; and having been cast out of heaven, he, with them, became full of wrath and of hostility against the purposes and designs of the Almighty in regard to the salvation and exaltation of the human family. And this spirit continues to grow and extend; and the descendants of Cain multiplied as did the other descendants of Adam.

By and by another seed was raised up to Adam, namely Seth, to stand in the place of Abel. “For God (said Eve) hath appointed for me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” And he became the representative of God, as Adam was the representative of God. He took Abel’s place as the representative of God and the laws of God; and he had revelation, and the Priesthood, and the Gospel, and was acquainted with the principles of truth. Finally, there was a number of prominent men of whom we read, but of whom a very short account is given; no matter, it is not necessary to enter into details on these subjects, but I wish to touch upon some of the leading points thereof.

After a while wickedness had spread very extensively upon the face of the earth; so much so, that we read that the thoughts of men were evil and that continually; and it became inexpedient to the Lord to permit the people to live to perpetuate their corruptions and infamies. And, therefore, God decreed that He would cut them off from the face of the earth, that they should not have the power to perpetuate their species, and thus become the fathers and mothers of lives and be the media through which the intelligent, pure spirits that existed in the eternal world should receive bodies or tabernacles. They were to be deprived of that privilege.

But before this was done the Lord sent messengers among the people proclaiming to them what was about to befall them if they did not repent and turn from their evil ways. Enoch was one of these; he stood at the head of that dispensation. He, as we are doing, sent out missionaries among the people who had become very numerous. Their mission was to call upon the people to repent and to obey the Gospel and to believe in the Son of God and to obey His law; and to tell them that God had prepared a scourge for those who would not repent, that they would be destroyed from off the face of the earth by a flood; and the people thus destroyed should be cast into prison, a prison which God had prepared on purpose for them. And when these men went to preach this doctrine many believed on them and they were gathered together, as we are, unto a place which they called Zion. And they were placed under the direction of the Holy Priesthood, men who were inspired of God, with whom He communicated; and whom he taught in all the principles pertaining to the Gospel of the Son of God; and they continued in this condition for a length of time. And as they gathered out from among the people, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from among the people; and they became exceedingly angry, angry at Enoch and angry at those who preached the Gospel to them. And the nature of men is just about the same now as then. They spoke all manner of evil against the servants of God who ministered among them; they rejected their testimony, and not only that, but, like some of the very pious people in our day do towards us, they thought it would be doing God service to sweep these men off the face of the earth. And they thought so in earnest for they gathered together their armies for that purpose. The Saints were under the immediate direction and guidance of the Lord, and were, therefore, governed by revelation, and the power and Spirit of the Lord rested upon Enoch. And he rose up and prophesied and told the wicked of the fate that awaited them; and the power of God rested upon him in a marvelous manner, so much so, that the mountains trembled and the earth shook, and the people were afraid and fled away from his presence, because they could not endure it. Their armies were scattered, and they failed to accomplish that which they in their wickedness had designed to do.

But still the same spirit that animated them continued to grow and increase. And finally after the Saints of that day had become sufficiently taught, they and their city—that is, the great majority of them and their city, ascended up to heaven. We are told in the Scripture—which is a meager account of it, that—“Enoch was not, for God took him.” And we may add, Enoch’s city and Enoch’s people were not, for God took them; they were translated. The principle of translation was a principle that at that time existed in the Church, and is one of the principles of the Gospel, and which will exist in the last days.

Many of these that were left, continued to bear testimony to the truths taught by their predecessors; and they themselves were caught up from time to time, according to certain revelations communicated through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The spirit of antagonism to the truths of God, and to the order of God, and to the law of God, and to the Priesthood of God and the Gospel of the Son of God, continued to exist. By and by the flood came, and the things spoken of by the men who had preached among them, were fulfilled, and the people swept from the face of the earth. They were shut up in prison, in the prison house which had been prepared for them. A few people were left, eight only—Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives.

One of the great evils that existed among the people was that the sons of God married the daughters of men; or, in other words, many who were connected with the Church mixed themselves up with those who were not; and thus their hearts were drawn away from God, and in the sight of God they were no better than those who rejected His servants; and consequently they perished with the disobedient and wicked.

There is something associated with these things that it may be necessary to refer to. It is necessary there should be opposing principles, light and darkness, truth and error, virtue and vice, good and evil, etc. It is necessary that man should go through a state of probation and trial, that he should have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting correct principles, or the Gospel of the Son of God. And it is a further development to us, that if men have not had this opportunity upon the earth, they will still have it. There is a further principle exhibited here in relation to this matter. Those very men who rejected the Gospel in their day were visited by Jesus after He was put to death in the flesh and was quickened by the Spirit; He went, we are told, and preached to those spirits in prison who had been disobedient in the days of Noah. And connected with that there is another principle; it is to place all mankind on the same footing, that all men of every age and nation may have the same privilege. And we are informed they will have. And hence, the Gospel is an everlasting Gospel; the Priesthood is an everlasting Priesthood; the work in which we are engaged commenced with our Father in heaven, it has been revealed from time to time to man upon the earth, and it will continue in all its power, fullness and glory in the eternal worlds, until all things that God has designed pertaining to the welfare and exaltation of the human family will be accomplished.

In relation to these things there are some remarkable passages contained in the Bible. For instance:

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

“And knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

This is a very significant Scripture, and if correct is pregnant with the greatest consequences to the human family; if not correct then everything we believe in is a phantom and our worship and religion are vain, and not only ours, but every body else’s. But if such a personage as Jesus existed, and if he spoke those words, He most assuredly spake the truth, and they will most assuredly be fulfilled.

Now, in speaking of the two great principles, the two opposites, it must needs be that there be opposition in all things; that is, darkness as opposed to light; error as opposed to truth; evil as opposed to good, etc. We are told by one of the old Apostles that the “Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;” and the spirit of evil is envy, hatred, malice, lying, slandering, uncharitableness, etc. We are told also in the Book of Mormon the same things precisely. Whenever we see lying, slandering, enmity, hatred, malice, we see the fruit of the spirit of darkness, no matter how pious the people are who profess these sentiments and who operate therein. And this is carried out still further in the revelations of John; the Lord through him says: “For without [the city] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Such characters have no place within; but those who fear God and work righteousness, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, they will be introduced into the presence of God, to participate with Him in the glories there referred to.

Hence, while these things here upon the earth make men feel exceedingly unpleasant, exceedingly unhappy and uneasy, when they get through and expect to get to heaven they will find themselves outside the city, because the pure would not have such society among them, neither would they here. It is necessary, I say, that those princi ples should exist in order to test men, to try and prove them. It was necessary that Jesus should be tried in this way. We are told that “it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” And again, when John saw an innumerable company clothed in white, one was heard to ask, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” The answer was: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple.”

There is something very interesting for Saints to reflect upon in relation to these matters. And there is something that goes a little further than we think about sometimes; and that is, while we profess to be followers of the Lord, while we profess to have received the Gospel, and to be governed by it, a profession will amount to nothing unless we have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is not enough for us to be connected with the Zion of God, for the Zion of God must consist of men that are pure in heart and pure in life and spotless before God, at least that is what we have got to arrive at. We are not there yet, but we must get there before we shall be prepared to inherit glory and exaltation; therefore a form of godliness will amount to but little with any of us, for he that knoweth the master’s will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes. It is “not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but He that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” These are doctrines of the Gospel as I understand them. And it is not enough for us to embrace the Gospel and to be gathered here to the land of Zion, and be associated with the people of God, attend our meetings and partake of the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper, and endeavor to move along without much blame of any kind attached to us; for notwithstanding all this, if our hearts are not right, if we are not pure in heart before God, if we have not pure hearts and pure consciences, fearing God and keeping His commandments, we shall not unless we repent, participate in these blessings about which I have spoken, and of which the Prophets bear testimony.

However, to proceed in relation to these matters I said that it was necessary there should be opposing powers, and that men should be tested and tried as Jesus was, and just as other people have been. And why? Having passed through this ordeal that we may overcome the evil with the good; for it is to him that overcometh, saith Jesus, that I will grant to sit down with me upon my throne, as I have overcome and sit down upon my Father’s throne. It is not to him that puts on the armor only, but to him that fights the good fight of faith, and overcomes the world, the flesh and the devil; for him there is laid up a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give unto Him.

That power and spirit that disturbed the elements and affected the people of the old world still operates among the children of men, and it is—I was going to say a necessary adjunct to the Gospel, in order that men may be tried and proven. Jesus, of course, understood these things when He said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Said He, “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.” There is something very pleasing in reflecting upon these things. To be thrown into a world of evil where strife and corruption exist, and to be mixed up with it; and then to have sent to them the principle of truth, a spark of intelligence descending from the throne of God, the light of the everlasting Gospel, which if men receive in their hearts will bring them into communication with God their Heavenly Father, and make them to feel that they are fighting on the side of God and the right, for everything that ennobles and has a tendency to exalt man. There is something worth striving for in a battle of this kind, and there is something glorious in being able to conquer. It tries men’s souls sometimes. Peter, you know, trembled under it; but Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” I say unto you fear Him; never mind the other power. You have drank from the river the streams whereof make glad the city of our God. The light of eternal truth has beamed upon your minds, and your hearts have been glad in the hopes of eternal life which have been presented to you when under the influence of the Spirit of God. You have rejoiced in the hope that blooms with immortality and eternal lives. Filled with this Spirit you feel that you are an eternal being having the principles of the everlasting Gospel within you; that you have received the everlasting Priesthood, that you are associated with principles that will exalt and ennoble man in time and throughout the eternities to come. There is something pleasing about it.

And when these miserable “dogs” howl and the coyotes yelp and exhibit their folly and nonsense—I was going to say, who the devil cares? Some people would think it is impious to say a thing like that. Yes, and the same people think it very honorable to lie in order to oppose the truth. No matter what men think of these things. I am not very precise in choosing my words in reference to such matters.

But then, did we expect to get along much better? People are very much exercised about us. Well, let them exercise themselves. They are very much troubled. Let them trouble themselves. I am pleased to witness the spirit of calmness and quiet and unconcern that exists among the Saints of God. It is the Spirit of God and the Gospel of the Son of God that gives that. And it is for us to continue to do right and keep the commandments of God; and let us be careful that when men tell these horrible stories about us, that they are not true. Blessed are you when men revile and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for Christ’s sake; but if they should speak evil of us, and that evil be true, then there would be no blessing connected with it. We could tell a great many things truthfully against these same people that slander and lie about us; but it is a dirty business, a business that reflects no credit upon anyone that is engaged in it. Let them take their course. We can afford to move upon a higher plane, doing good to them that injure us; and we can pray for those who evil entreat us; that we may be the children of our Father in heaven, who makes His sun to shine on the evil and the good, and His rains to descend on the just and on the unjust. Who, let me ask, were to be pitied during the time of the flood? The people that disbelieved and disobeyed the Gospel, or the people that were caught up to heaven? Would you feel very sorry for those who were connected with the Zion of God, or would you feel sorry for those poor, miserable, little-souled, ignorant people who rejected God and His law, and who in consequence had to be swept off from the face of the earth—which class would solicit your commiseration?

Today God has revealed to us great principles; and he is desirous that we should do right and obey His law, and keep His commandments.

Among other things there is a great hue and cry about what they call polygamy and what they call bigamy; but our plural marriage is no more their bigamy than white is black or than light is darkness, but seemingly neither they nor their judges nor legislators either can or do want to comprehend the difference between the two, great as it is. It would seem that they either do not know or do not want to know the difference between a man’s marrying a second wife without the consent or knowledge of the first wife, and in doing so deceiving the one he marries, who believes him to be a single man; and a man’s marrying a second wife with the knowledge and consent of the first wife, and living with his wives in honorable wedlock, performing the duty of a husband to them and of a father to their children, and maintaining sacredly his marriage vows. I would suggest either a little gas or electric light be turned on, and that it be allowed to shine upon the visions of their dull understandings; it may help them some. But it is evident that men do not want the truth, therefore they must believe as they choose in regard to these things; it is really a matter of no moment to us. But for the information of such people, if there be any, let me say, their bigamy is deception and fraud and a breach of the marriage covenant; while our polygamy, as it is called, is the fulfilling of the marriage covenant, it is honorable and the fruits of it are good; theirs is done clandestinely, ours openly; we acknowledge ours, they repudiate theirs. They judge us from their own standpoint, and their eye being evil, of course they see nothing but evil in us. With them a man may have his wife and also be mixed up with other women, and while he may be rolling in wealth, at the same time, perhaps, his poor, unfortunate offspring, the product of his vice and corruption, may be sweeping the crossings of the streets of our large cities, begging from his father a penny to help to support a miserable existence. This is compatible with their high state of civilization and purity. God save us from such “Christianity,” from this time, henceforth and forever. [“Amen” from voices in the congregation.] We do not want it. We would say in relation to that what a Prophet said on a certain occasion, “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; into their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.” We expect to be associated with more honorable principles, and with more honorable people in time and throughout all the eternities to come.

There is one thing I wish to say, we do not preach to them this very obnoxious doctrine of polygamy for them to practice. Our Elders are sent forth to preach faith, repentance, and baptism for remission of sins. The doctrine of plural marriage does not belong to people who are governed by such principles as they are, people who break their marriage vows and who wink at those who do it, people who violate their sacred honor with the opposite sex and trample upon and destroy millions of the daughters of Eve, and drag them down to death and destruction—it does not belong to such people; it belongs to the people who have obeyed the Gospel of the Son of God, the people who are in possession of the principles of life, and who are keeping the commandments of God; it does not belong to Latter-day Saints even unless they are pure and virtuous; unless they are honorable and worthy they cannot be associated with any such thing, much less can the class that I have referred to who are making so much noise about it; so they need not trouble their heads.

These things you Latter-day Saints understand. When President Hayes was here, in conversing with him I told him that it was not our intention to crowd our peculiar ideas upon the religious world; that we had received the doctrine of plural marriage as a part of the Gospel, and that it was only for pure men and pure women, that class, and that class only, could receive it and practice it, and make it honorable; it was not for the licentious and corrupt, but for those who feared God and worked righteousness, who were true to themselves and true to the female sex, and who would stand by and sustain them and preserve them in purity and honor. There is quite a difference, you perceive, between the one and the other.

We are seeking to carry out the word and will of God, according to the revelations which he has given unto us, all of which are based upon truth, virtue, purity and holiness, principles that are eternal, that always have existed and always will exist. The Christian world make their covenants for time only; we for time and for eternity. They expect to be associated with their wives “until death do them part.” We expect to be associated with ours not only for time but for eternity. They not entering into any covenants for eternity, assume no obligations beyond this life; but I am sorry to say, it is quite a common thing among them to violate the covenants they make pertaining to this life. But that I may not be misunderstood let me say further with regard to this, there are many honorable people in our nation as well as other parts of the world, men who regard strictly the honor of their social ties, men who feel interested in the welfare of society, who are desirous to see correct principles prevail; but with the understanding they have of us—they believing that we are corrupt and are introducing religious tenets for the purpose of gratifying the sensual passions of man; that all are vile and corrupt at heart, and that we take the ground that we do for the purpose of defending our position and of making it statutory—I do not wonder at such men entertaining the feelings they do against us, because believing the lies that are circulated about us, they, of course, think that we are introducing that which will corrupt and demoralize society; and they know the state of society now, and so do we. And they are desirous to stop a thing of this kind. The clergy, too, are very much exercised, as a class, about us, and they appear to be the most incapable of all classes to tell the truth concerning us; these pious people circulate all kinds of falsehood about us under the name of religion. I need not refer to those things, the fact is well known to you.

Is it then to be wondered at that people generally who do not comprehend the true situation should come to the conclusions they do about us? I think not. Should we feel angry at such a feeling? No. Should we feel angry at those falsifiers? No; they are to be pitied because they yield themselves to work iniquity; they, therefore, become subjects of compassion. What did the same class of persons say of Jesus? If he healed the sick, or opened the eyes of the blind, they persuaded the people to give God the glory for, said they, “we know this man is a sinner.” If He cast out devils, this pious class said, He did it through Beelzebub the Prince of devils. And even when he was condemned to die and the people were asked whether He should be released or whether Barabbas, the thief, should be released, it was “the chief priests and elders,” the pious clergy of that day, that led the popular clamor, that “persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.” The same spirit that moved upon the religious teachers of that day to incite the populace against Jesus and the Apostles, is moving upon the same class today to do the same towards us; and they are doing all they can do. They, notwithstanding their piety, are of their father the devil whose works they do. And what shall we do? “Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Do we want to force the Gospel upon them? No. All religious classes, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Catholics, and all others have the right to worship God as they please, they have the right to either receive or reject the Gospel of Christ. If we had the power to force it upon them we would not do it; freedom of the mind, and the free exercise of the rights of men is part of our religious belief; therefore, we would not coerce them if we could. And if I would not coerce them in that I certainly would not crowd upon them the doctrine of plural marriage, for it is well known that after men join our Church they must prove themselves sometime before they are considered worthy of it.

When I reflect upon the terrible degradation that exists in the land, and the dens of vice and infamy that flourish and keep pace with our boasted enlightenment, I am not surprised that honorable people should feel horrified at the misrepresentations and lies that have gone forth concerning us. I received a letter not long ago from Brother Cannon, in which he states that he was approached on the subject by a gentleman, a member of Congress, who had visited here. He told Brother Cannon that when he was here he was told some very strange stories about the Mormon people, and he had made up his mind when he should meet Brother Cannon to speak to him about it. He said that a gentleman, or at least, a person that had the appearance of respectability, told him when he was here that doings akin to a Saturnalia were quite a common thing among the people—the promiscuous mixing of the sexes indulging in unrestrained license. This gentleman says that this was told to him in the most solemn manner, and that too by a resident of this city. He told Brother Cannon too that he was glad to hear him contradict it. You know Latter-day Saints whether such a condition of things exists among us or not; and yet such willful falsehoods are fabricated and circulated by persons who pass themselves off as our friends. It cannot be wondered at that honorable men should feel exercised in their feelings against us; but when this class of people—and there are thousands and tens of thousands and millions of such people—are correctly informed, they will feel differently toward us. But then, it matters not really what men’s ideas and feelings may be; and I do not feel that we are called upon to contradict all the infamous lies and misrepresentations that are circulated about us by men and women who are living in our midst. I say now, as I said to a gentleman not long ago who remarked, that a great racket was being made about us, meetings were being held and resolutions were being passed, etc.—I said, they may work as they please and “resolute” as much as they please, this we could easily stand, but hands off.

We are accused of being degraded and ignorant. I find that there is nearly twice the amount of illiteracy in the whole of the United States pro rata, as there is in Utah; and this fact exists notwithstanding they have had millions of dollars to sustain their institutions of learning while we have not had a penny. I am grateful to God our Heavenly Father, that we stand in as favorable a position. Let us continue to go on in every good word and work. Let our young people’s improvement associations, and our Sunday and day schools receive our encouragement and aid; and let our children be taught by our friends and not our enemies. Latter-day Saints, will you send your children to be taught of people who would teach them enmity to their fathers and mothers, and who would sow in their young hearts the seed of enmity to the principle of religious liberty, men who, if they had the power, would destroy the altars of freedom that the fathers of this country fought for? We do not want our children to be instructed by persons whose mission among us is to endeavor to instil into their young hearts enmity to the Gospel of the Son of God as revealed by Him through His servant Joseph Smith. We have men quite as capable to teach as they are. We stand on a platform as elevated as theirs, and a great deal more so. And by and by we expect to be as far ahead of them in science, art and literature, and everything calculated to ennoble and exalt a people and a nation, as we are now ahead of them in regard to religious matters. But as to their religious matters, you may wrap up the whole of them in a thimble and put it in your vest pocket, and hardly know it was there. [Laughter.] Any ten-year-old boy of ours who could not meet any of their ministers on matters of religion, I should consider very ill-informed.

Well, it is for us to keep the commandments, to train up our children in the fear of God, to live unto God, and I will risk the balance. Amen.




The Work of God Only Partially Understood—Manifestation of the Father and Son to the Prophet Joseph—The Priesthood Conferred Upon Him—Kirtland Temple, and the Ministrations of Moses and Elijah—Benefits and Uses of Temples—Public and Private Improvements Advocated—Children Should Be Properly Taught—Wives Should Be Kindly Treated—Exhortations to Virtue and Purity

Discourse by President John Taylor, delivered at Malad, Oneida County, Idaho, Wednesday Morning, October 20th, 1881.

I am pleased to have the opportunity of meeting with you. We have been traveling during the summer through many of the various Stakes of Zion, and we thought that our labor would not be complete without visiting you. We have general and Stake Conferences, but the circumstances and numbers of the people do not allow of them attending these meetings, and therefore we think it well to come among you at your own homes, to see you, and converse with you, and to feel after your spirits, and that you may see and talk with us and feel after our spirits, that we may be mutually benefited and blessed; and that we may be the better prepared to operate together; for if we can comprehend it, we are engaged in a very great work. Not only we who are here, for we form but a very, very small portion of the Latter-day Saints; but the people that are Latter-day Saints in this Territory and those that are in Utah, and that are in Colorado and Arizona, and those that are scattered abroad in the different places throughout the earth, wherever a branch of the Church is organized. We do not all comprehend this work; in fact, comparatively a very few do. It is a work in which not only the Latter-day Saints are interested, but everybody else, if they could understand it; but they do not. And, indeed, we can hardly understand it ourselves. We get a faint glimpse, as it were, of certain truths, mixed up with many errors which we have previously entertained; but it is very difficult for us to understand correct principles; and if we would comprehend them at all, it must be by a life of devotion to God, and by complying with His laws, some of which Brother Joseph F. has spoken upon this morning, and which the other brethren present talked about yesterday.

The object that God has in view is to benefit mankind as much as lies in His power. We talk sometimes about moving heaven and earth, but God has moved heaven and earth for the accomplishment of that object. Men in most instances have been blinded by the adversary who leads them captive at his will, but they do not know it. And he operates very frequently among us trying to lead us astray, and we do not know it. It is a very difficult thing for us to comprehend the position that we occupy to God and to His Church and Kingdom.

God desires our welfare, and He has instituted laws for that purpose; He has introduced the everlasting Gospel for that purpose; and He has restored the Holy Priesthood that existed anciently, together with all the principles, blessings, powers, rites, ordinances, and privileges that have graced the earth from the commencement of time. We can hardly realize this important fact, but when you reflect you will see some peculiar features associated with this work.

We all look upon Joseph Smith as being a Prophet of God. God called him to occupy the position that he did. How long ago? Thousands of years ago before this world was formed. The Prophets prophesied about his coming, that a man should arise whose name should be Joseph, and that his father’s name should be Joseph, and also that he should be a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. This prophecy you will find recorded in the Book of Mormon. He had very great and precious promises made to him by the Lord. I have heard him say on certain occasions, “You do not know who I am.” The world did not like him. The world did not like either the Savior, or the Prophets; they have never liked revealed truth; and it is as much as a bargain for the Saints even to bear the truth.

In the commencement of the work, the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith. And when they appeared to him, the Father, pointing to the Son, said, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” As much as to say, “I have not come to teach and instruct you; but I refer you to my Only Begotten, who is the Mediator of the New Covenant, the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world; I refer you to Him as your Redeemer, your High Priest and Teacher. Hear Him.”

What next? Then came men who had held the Priesthood before. Who were they? Moroni, an ancient Prophet who had lived upon this continent and who had charge of the records from which the Book of Mormon was translated—a fitting person to introduce the same principles again. Afterwards it was necessary that the Priesthood should be conferred; and John the Baptist came and laid his hands upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, saying, “Upon you, my fellow servants, I lay my hands, and confer upon you the Aaronic Priesthood, which shall never be taken from the earth again until the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering before me.” That was the Lesser Priesthood—the Aaronic—appertaining to the bishopric. And why was John the Baptist chosen to confer this Priesthood? Because he was the last that held this holy Priesthood upon the earth. And why did he come? Because the Priesthood administers in time and eternity; both the Aaronic and Melchizedek. And he, holding the keys of that Priesthood, came and conferred it upon Joseph Smith. When he had conferred this Priesthood upon Joseph Smith, other things had to be conferred; that is, what is called the Melchizedek Priesthood. But you understand but very little about that, as the Indian would say, about so much (meaning the point of the finger). If you did you would think and act differently from what you do. Who held the keys of that Priesthood? Peter, James and John, who were three presiding Apostles. Did they confer this Priesthood upon Joseph Smith? Yes; and if you were in Salt Lake City and should go into the Assembly Hall, you might see these things pictured out on the ceiling of that building.

What next? They built a Temple by and by, as we are doing now, in Kirtland, Ohio. And in that Temple the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them again, the account of which you may read for yourselves in the Doctrine and Covenants. Jesus appeared there, and Moses appeared there, and Moses conferred upon Joseph the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four quarters of the earth, and also the ten tribes. And you are here because that Priesthood was conferred upon the Elders who came to you with the Gospel; and when they laid their hands upon your heads, among other things you received the Holy Ghost and the spirit of the gathering. But you did not know what it was that was working in you like yeast sometimes under certain conditions, producing an influence causing you to come to Zion. Yet you could not help it; if you had wanted to help it, you could not while you were living your religion and were governed thereby, for that spirit brought that influence and power along with it, and it carries it with it wherever it goes. And as men received the Holy Ghost so they received the spirit of the gathering, which was conferred by Moses upon Joseph Smith, and by him upon others, and which created that anxiety you all felt to gather to Zion.

What next? Elijah was to come to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.” This has not been the case with this world, generation after generation, yet it must be, for the same Prophet says that, “If it is not, God will smite the whole earth with a curse.” There is a very trite saying, “every man for himself and the devil for the whole,” and I am inclined to believe that there is more truth than poetry in it. God feels interested in the welfare of all mankind as peoples and nations, white and black of all classes and conditions, Jew and Gentile, bond and free. He does not run on a narrow track as we do. We are too apt to feel as the man did when he prayed, “O Lord, bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more. Amen.” That is the way we feel. And if anything is introduced among the people that would be calculated to promote the general good the first thing we do is to screw ourselves up and begin to inquire, How is that going to affect me, I wonder? Who cares about you? It is not for you we are operating. It is not for you God is operating. It is not to make you rich or to exalt you particularly that God is operating; but it is in the interest of the whole human family that has ever lived or ever will live or that now live. That is the religion that I believe in. I do not believe in this narrow tucked up thing that you can pinch up and stick in your vest pocket, and nobody knows where it is. We want something more liberal, something that will reach the wants of the whole human family. But Satan has had so much power in the world; and God has been trying to frustrate his designs, and He will do it as sure as He lives. He will accomplish that which He set out to do when He organized this earth, and placed man upon it. And He will keep striving and working at it until every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God the Father. Until every person in heaven and on the earth and under the earth shall be heard to say, “Blessing and honor and glory, might, majesty and dominion be ascribed to Him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever.” And He will do it in His own way and in His own due time. And this principle that I have spoken of, turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc., is one of those methods by which He will do it. How many thousands and millions of people have died without a knowledge of the Gospel? Do you know? No, you do not. But as Jesus has said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are that go in thereat.” They have found, as the antediluvians did, a prison in which they are put, and in which they will stop until they are redeemed by the holy Priesthood. As Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison after He was put to death in the flesh, to those spirits that were sometime disobedient in the days of Noah; so those men that go the broad way will go into the prison house, and they will have to endure the wrath of God. And whatever they think about it, after many, many years shall have rolled away, when the due time of the Lord comes, this very Priesthood that the world have despised and refused to accept, will be their deliverers, by going, as Jesus did, and preaching to the spirits in prison.

What else? We will administer for them on the earth. Here is the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers. The ancient Prophets and Patriarchs and men of God who held the Priesthood and preached in and labored in time are now operating in eternity; and those whose names I have mentioned came to Joseph Smith and revealed to him what? Why, the dispensation of the fullness of time, when God would not only gather all things in one, but when Temples should be erected and the dead as well as the living should be looked after; when saviors should come upon Mount Zion, and the Kingdom be the Lord’s. Others had their time. They had the Mosaic time; and Moses who stood at the head of it, came and conferred his authority upon Joseph Smith. They had their prophetic time: and the Prophets came and conferred upon him the prophetic influences. They had the Aaronic Priesthood; and those who held it came and conferred it upon Joseph. They had the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the keys thereof, and they came and conferred it upon him. They had the gathering dispensation; and Moses was appointed, who held that in his day, to confer it upon Joseph. This is not one dispensation, but the dispensation of the fullness of times wherein all things are gathered together into one. Then the hearts of the fathers who are living in the heavens are turned to the children; they are feeling an interest in their welfare, like a great many men whom we know today, good men, but their sons do not do right. Adam had two sons, one of whom was a wicked man, and the wicked one killed the good one. At this stage of things I suppose the Devil thought he had a good thing. But he did not. And then he led the people into sin until they were prepared to be overthrown by the flood. I suppose the Devil laughed at the way things were going. But Jesus went and preached to those spirits in prison. And the people that are independent, who think they can get along without religion or without God, will find that in time or eternity they will have to come to the Priesthood of God.

I will go back to the things I was talking about, concerning the hearts of the fathers being turned to the children, etc. This, when fully accomplished, will reach all men that have ever lived. At the present time we are connected with it to a certain extent, and the Spirit of God leads us to build temples. Why is it that you go to work and build temples? You hardly know. You see them; they are pretty nice buildings. We talk about being saviors; but are we saviors unless we save somebody! No. But we build our temples as the Lord has directed, and then we administer in them for the living and the dead; and then we are saviors upon Mount Zion. You here have this same kind of feeling—have they not Bishop? [Answer: Yes, sir.] Moses conferred that upon Joseph Smith, and Joseph conferred it upon the Elders, and they preached to you, and you received the Holy Ghost. And when you gathered together they began to talk about these things; and that Spirit rested upon you, and you said, “I want a hand in it; I want to receive blessings in that temple, and I want also to look to my father’s totally, and those I have been associated with who have died without the Gospel.” And that is the meaning of the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.

The world want to know what Mormonism is doing. Some of us hardly know. But, it is known that we are building temples; but the Christian world do not know what temples are for. If temples were built for them they would not know how to administer in them. And we did not know until God revealed it. And unless Elijah had come and conferred the keys it would not have been revealed. Hence I was showing you who and what Joseph Smith was. He has introduced the Gospel together with the dispensation of the fullness of times, which embraces all other things.

Then again, did Enoch build up a Zion? So we are doing. What is it? The Zion of God. What does it mean? The pure in heart in the first place. In the second place those who are governed by the law of God—the pure in heart who are governed by the law of God. Shall we build up a Zion? We shall; but we shall not, every one of us, have our own way about it. We shall feel that we need the will of God; and we shall feel that we require the Priesthood, under His direction, to guide and direct us, not men who are seeking to aggrandize themselves; but men who are seeking to build up the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth; men of clean hands and pure hearts, every one honoring his Priesthood and magnifying it. Then we shall feel that we want to act like little babes, to ask them for counsel and instruction, and then be governed by it, under the counsel and direction of the Almighty and the aid of His Spirit. Now, this is what we are building up, and they built up a similar thing before the flood; and the Elders went forth in those days as they now go forth; and they baptized people and laid hands upon them, and gathered them to Zion; and after a while that Zion was caught up from the earth. And we will build up a Zion: that is what we are aiming at. And that Zion also, when the time comes, will ascend to meet the Zion from above, which will descend, and both, we are told, will fall on each other’s necks and kiss each other.

These are some of the things we are after. And we are traveling about to teach the people. Why? Because we want all to have the spirit of Zion. We sing sometimes and talk about Zion, that she shall arise, and the glory of God shall rest upon her. We want to lift up Zion. And we want you Welsh and other folks to work to this end—I suppose most of you are Welsh, and if you are not, you are Latter-day Saints, and if you are not Latter-day Saints, you ought to be. And you ought to be pure in heart, too; you ought to be living your religion, and if you are not, you had better turn round and live right before God, and walk worthily of the high vocation that he has conferred upon you. I have not time to talk upon these principles: but I have said enough to give you a general outline.

God is interested in this work, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Patriarchs and men of God are interested in it; and we are interested in it. And we have a little of that spirit upon us; and we would like you to drink of it too. Having been baptized by the same baptism that you may all partake of the same spirit, that we may build temples and administer in them; and having received the Gospel, to feel free to preach it to others. Our duty is to preach the Gospel to all men. Who, the First Presidency? Yes, if there is nobody else. The Twelve? Yes, it is their especial calling to preach it themselves or see that it is preached to all the world. And, then, the Seventies, it is their duty to go forth at the drop of the hat, as minute men, to preach the Gospel to all nations, under the guidance of the Twelve. And, then, it is for those who are in Zion, the High Priests, and others to go and preach the Gospel. And we are doing this in spite of the opposition of men, and in the name of God we will do it until He who directs us shall say, “It is enough: turn now to Israel.” When He says that, then we will quit. And if they love the devil better than God, they can do so and sup trouble and sorrow and calamity and war and bloodshed. For nation will rise against nation, country against country; and thrones will be cast down and empires will be scattered to the four winds, and the powers of the earth everywhere will be shaken; and the Lord will come forth by and by to judge the nations, and it behooves us to know what we are doing, and while we profess to be the Saints of God, not to be hypocrites, but be full of truth and full of integrity and magnify our calling and honor our God. This is what God expects of us. And then to build temples, and what then? Administer in them. Send the Gospel to the nations of the earth. And then gather the people in. What then? Build more temples. What then? Have men administer in them. And when we get through with our relatives and friends, and trace back our ancestry as far as we can, then we will call upon God to give us information as to who need to be administered for in the heavens; and we will work at it for a thousand years, until all the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and everything spoken of in the Prophets shall be fulfilled.

Now, you who live in this little place, look to it that you are found in the line of your duty. You have a beautiful location, and I would like to see you make the most of it. I would like to see at least a hundred times more apple, pear and cherry trees planted out; and all of your streets lined with shade trees. And improve your dwelling houses. If you cannot find the style of a house to suit you, go off to other places until you do find one, and then come back and build a better one. Beautify this place, and make your homes pleasant and agreeable, that you may have nice places for your wives and children, and thus help to fulfill that Scripture which says, that Zion shall become the praise of the whole earth; and that kings will come to gaze upon her glory. I have already had many honorable men from many of the civilized nations call upon me, and they generally express themselves in this way: “What a beautiful place you have here, Mr. Taylor;” “O, yes, (I would say) it is well enough for us, we can please ourselves, it is very difficult to please others, we do not profess much. You hear curious stories about us; but we would rather have our works speak for us.” There is nothing to boast of, and what there is we should not have if God did not give it to us. For we are dependent upon Him for all we have. We live and move in Him, and through Him we have our being. And if we can operate together upon the principles of virtue and holiness, and have more brotherly feeling, we should feel much better. Some people say, I hate such a person. I would not like to have that feeling about me, I don’t know of a person upon the earth whom I hate. What, not the wicked? No, I would say, “the Lord judge between thee and me.“ For if they can afford to do wrong, I cannot.

I will talk about some other things. Go to work and build a meetinghouse half an inch bigger than this. (Laughter). Then you have a public square, make some nice grounds in and about it. And then beautify your private squares at your own homes. Let every man make his own grounds pleasant and agreeable. And let every woman make her husband as happy as she can. The sisters ought to be like angels, ought they not? Be full of good, kind, pleasant and agreeable feelings. And we men who profess to be saints of God—saints of God! What an expression! Do we understand it? There is a peculiar form of expression in the German language. The term Latter-day Saint in the German is: der Heiligen der Letzten Tage, which being interpreted is, the holy of the last days. There is something very expressive about that. We should be the holy of the last days, under the influence and guidance of the Lord.

We talk about the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is not our kingdom. Who manages, directs and controls? God. In whose interest? In the interest of the community, and for the happiness and the welfare of all Israel, and the whole of the human family, so far as they will let Him.

I want to talk about a principle here. We get up sometimes a very rash feeling against people who do not think as we do. They have a right to think as they please; and so have we. Therefore, if a man does not believe as I do, that is none of my business; and if I do not believe as he does, that is none of his business. Would you protect a man that did not believe as you do? Yes, to the last bat’s end. He should have equal justice with me; and then I would expect to be protected in my rights. We have in Salt Lake City, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Roman Catholics, and all kinds. Do we interfere with them? No, not at all. Nobody persecutes them, but they do us in their weak way. They get up meetings and pass resolutions against us, poor, miserable “cootes.” They do not know any better; they do not know nor understand the rights of men as American citizens, much less about the Kingdom of God. So let them “resolute.” We believe in returning good for evil, right for wrong. Because they lie about us, that is no reason why we should lie about them; it would be bad enough many times to tell the truth about them, much less to resort to falsehood. On the same grounds I would not wish to interfere with their political rights, nor have them interfere with mine. I think that is correct doctrine; it is good democracy and good republicanism which we can all subscribe to. But because I would treat them right I would not want them to teach my children. I want good, honorable Latter-day Saints to teach my children because I want them taught correct principles and the fear of God along with their secular education.

It has been published in our papers about different religious bodies getting up resolutions against the “Mormons” to the effect that it is necessary something should be done to them. Well, what about it? Oh, let them “resolute;” our corn and potatoes grow just the same; so it makes but little difference. All we say is, “hands off.” We do not want it to go any further than talk. And if blab-mouthed people who do not like the truth choose to tell falsehoods about us, let them do so. Who cares? I do not, and I do not think you care. And so in regard to other things. What will we do? Try to educate ourselves and our children, and get good teachers who fear God, who are honorable men and women, and who take delight to instil honorable principles into our children. And set them good examples at home, you fathers and mothers. You should never say a word or do an act which you would not want your children to copy after. The idea of men who profess to fear God, and some of them Elders in Israel, being addicted to swearing. It is a shame and a disgrace to high heaven, and this is sometimes done before their families; it is a shame. And then some men give way and say they have a bad temper: I would sell it for nothing, and give something to boot to get rid of it. I would be careful that all my acts and doings were right. And it is right for heads of families to get their families together every morning and evening, and pray with them. Every man and woman to dedicate themselves to God; and in their secret prayers to ask God’s care over them during the day. That will not hurt any of you. That was the doctrine that Joseph Smith taught me; and I have always appreciated it. I would look upon it as a very great trial if I were stopping at a place and if I could not have my private prayers. If we cannot lean upon God, what is our religion worth! Not much. We will treat our wives right. He is a mean man who would abuse a woman. I never liked to see a big dog bite a little one; but if a little dog bite a big one, it is not so reprehensible. And if a man abuse a woman, who is the weaker vessel, it is an outrage to me. Have you not made covenants with your wives for time and eternity. Yes, you have. Would you not like, when you get through, to be able to say, Mary, Jane, Ann, or whatever the name may be, I never injured you in my life. And if you are wives, would you not like to be able to say, Thomas or William, I never injured you in all my life. And, then, to spend an eternity together hereafter.

Then, lay aside your covetousness; that is idolatry. And while laboring to be industrious, do not covet any man’s house, nor his farm, nor anything that is his; nor defraud one another, nor bite nor devour one another. But love one another, and work the works of righteousness, and look after the welfare of all, and seek to promote the happiness of all. That is what God is doing. That is why He has told us to go to the nations of the earth—and many of us have been hundreds and thousands of miles without purse or scrip. I have seen you, lots of you Welshmen, in Wales. And what was I doing there? Preaching the Gospel. How? Without purse or scrip. Did God take care of me? Always, and at every time and place; and I bear this record for God and His Priesthood and His Kingdom, that I was never at a loss for anything that I needed. He always took care of me, and I could do it without begging too. I believe in the same God yet. And I believed then I was benefiting mankind; and I believe in doing so now. But I do not believe in our being led away by their evils. Keep yourselves pure. Do not let corrupt men ingratiate themselves among you, to defile you. Preserve your virtue, you men and you women; preserve your virtue, and live uprightly before God. For as sure as you do not the wrath of God will rest upon you; and the Spirit of God will be withdrawn from you. Keep yourselves, therefore, pure, and be honest and virtuous, and be honest with all men, and treat all men honorably. We can afford to do that; and not be governed by their vices, nor permit them to introduce them into our midst. We cannot afford to follow after the ways of the Gentiles, nor to copy after their illiberality. We want the principles of liberty to extend and to expand so that all men can worship God as they please, without anyone to interrupt them.

Brethren and sisters, let us be virtuous and pure and holy, and God will bless us and lift us up and the power of God will be with us; and we will rejoice upon the mountains; and we will build our Zion upon the principles of righteousness, and we will love and fear God all the days of our lives. And by and by when the dead that are in their graves shall hear the voice of God, the Saints of God shall come forth to live and reign forever among the just who have lived in different ages, and have the privilege to perpetuate the lives in the eternal worlds, worlds without end. Amen.