Human and Divine Government—the Latter-Day Kingdom, &c

Remarks by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday p.m., July 31, 1859.

Brother Kimball has borne his testimony to the truth of the work in which we are engaged: he has exhorted you to faithfulness, and presented practical morality. For your satisfaction, I will present some of my views concerning the kingdom of God, and leave the subject for others to elaborate.

Erroneous traditions and the powers of darkness have such sway over mankind, that, when we speak of a theocracy on the earth, the people are frightened. The government of the “Holy Catholic Church,” from which all the Protestant churches are offshoots, is professedly theocratic, though it is directly opposed to the theocracy described in the Bible.

But few, if any, understand what a theocratic government is. In every sense of the word, it is a republican government, and differs but little in form from our National, State, and Territorial Governments; but its subjects will recognize the will and dictation of the Almighty. The kingdom of God circumscribes and comprehends the municipal laws for the people in their outward government, to which pertain the Gospel covenants, by which the people can be saved; and those covenants pertain to fellowship and faithfulness.

The Gospel covenants are for those who believe and obey; municipal laws are for both Saint and sinner.

The Constitution and laws of the United States resemble a theocracy more closely than any government now on the earth, or that ever has been, so far as we know, except the government of the children of Israel to the time when they elected a king.

All governments are more or less under the control of the Almighty, and, in their forms, have sprung from the laws that he has from time to time given to man. Those laws, in passing from generation to generation, have been more or less adulterated, and the result has been the various forms of government now in force among the nations; for, as the Prophet says of Israel, “They have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant.”

Whoever lives to see the kingdom of God fully established upon the earth will see a government that will protect every person in his rights. If that government was now reigning upon this land of Joseph, you would see the Roman Catholic, the Greek Catholic, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Quaker, the Shaker, the Hindoo, the Mahometan, and every class of worshippers most strictly protected in all their municipal rights and in the privilege of worshipping who, what, and when they pleased, not infringing upon the rights of others. Does any candid person in his sound judgment desire any greater liberty?

The Lord has thus far protected and preserved the human family under their various forms and administrations of government, notwithstanding their wickedness, and is still preserving them; but if the kingdom of God, or a theocratic government, was established on the earth, many practices now prevalent would be abolished.

One community would not be permitted to array itself in opposition to another to coerce them to their standard; one denomination would not be suffered to persecute another because they differed in religious belief and mode of worship. Everyone would be fully protected in the enjoyment of all religious and social rights, and no state, no government, no community, no person would have the privilege of infringing on the rights of another: one Christian community would not rise up and persecute another.

I will here remark that we are generally looked upon as a dangerous people, and for the reason that there are thousands and millions of people who are afraid that justice will be meted out to them; and they say, to use Scripture language, that “if the Saints are let alone, they will take away our place and nation, and will measure to us what we have measured to them.” They conclude thus because they estimate others by themselves, realizing that if they had the power to deprive us of our rights, they would exercise it. “We will judge you Latter-day Saints by ourselves. If we had the power to destroy you, we would do it; and we are afraid that if you are let alone, you will have the power to destroy us and will do as we would under like circumstances.” If this people had that power today, they would not infringe in the least upon the rights of any person; neither could they, without ceasing to be Saints.

When the Saints of the Most High are established upon the earth, and are prepared to receive the kingdom of God in its fulness, as foretold by the Prophet Daniel, they will have power to protect themselves and all the sons and daughters of Adam in their rights. Then, when a person or community says, “I do not want to believe your religion,” they will enjoy liberty to believe as they please, as fully as we shall.

The Creator has given agency to every son and daughter of Adam, and he does not infringe upon our agency. We are at liberty to believe in him and in his son Jesus Christ, or to let it alone.

When the kingdom of God is established, we can believe in the principles of the eternal Priesthood or in something else, and be equally protected in our outward rights. My law, says Jehovah, is pure: it is the law by which the worlds are made, and by which all things are. Those laws tend to exaltation and power; but the world is observing rules that tend to death. You have the privilege of believing and practicing a law that will bring to an end, if you wish, not only to the first death, but also to the second.

Jesus has taught us not to fear those wicked persons that are seeking our lives. Do not fear those who only have power to destroy the body, and after that can harm you no more; but fear God and observe the laws he has given and will give, that evil spirits may have no power over you after the body is left to rest.

This body must die: it is so decreed by the Almighty. “For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return;” and it matters little whether you die today or tomorrow. Do not fear the wicked, but fear him who has power to destroy both soul and body. The man that pursues principles that tend to death resigns himself unto death, and no power can hinder it.

People are afraid of “Mormonism,” as they call it. They are afraid of the Gospel of salvation, and say that we have something that others have not—that we have an almighty influence, and that influence is a mystery. Certainly that influence is a mystery to all men: it is a mystery to us. I have not time now to explain to you the reasons why it is a mystery.

When the doctrine of salvation was first preached to me, and the vision of my mind was opened, I undertook to fathom the depth of the Gospel plan; but I could not. I was familiar with the doctrines taught by the various Christian denominations, and could easily comprehend them; but I soon learned that I could not fathom the full extent of the doctrine of salvation as revealed in our day through the Prophet Joseph; for I discerned that it was incomprehensible in its extent. It was soon suggested to me—Which of all the doctrines do you now say is the most Godlike—that which you can comprehend and fathom—that which you can measure, or that which you cannot? That which I cannot.

To finite capacity there is much which appears mysterious in the plan of salvation, and there is an eternity of mystery to be unfolded to us; and when we have lived millions of years in the presence of God and angels, and have associated with heavenly beings, shall we then cease learning? No, or eternity ceases. There is no end. We go from grace to grace, from light to light, from truth to truth. But I do not want to follow that thread any further at present.

It is recorded in the Bible that in the last days the God of heaven will set up a kingdom. Will that kingdom destroy the human family? No: it will save every person that will and can be saved. The doctrines of the Savior reveal and place the believers in possession of principles whereby saviors will come upon Mount Zion to save the house of Esau, which is the Gentile nations, from sin and death—all except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. Men and women will enter into the temples of God, and be, in comparison, pillars there, and officiate year after year for those who have slept thousands of years. The doctrine of the Christian world, which I have already said I was familiar with, sends them to hell irretrievably, which to me is the height of folly. They do not understand what the Lord is doing, nor what he purposes to do.

It is alleged and reiterated that we do not love the institutions of our country. I say, and have so said for many years, that the Constitution and laws of the United States combine the best form of Government in force upon the earth. But does it follow that each officer of the Government administers with justice? No; for it is well known throughout our nation that very many of our public officers are as degraded, debased, corrupt, and regardless of right as men well can be.

I repeat that the Constitution, laws, and institutions of our Government are as good as can be, with the intelligence now possessed by the people. But they, as also the laws of other nations, are too often administered in unrighteousness; and we do not and cannot love and respect the acts of the administrators of our laws, unless they act justly in their offices.

Jehovah has decreed and plainly foretold the establishment of his kingdom upon this earth; and it will prove to me a shield to the ordinances of his house, in the endowments, and in all the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God with which the Priesthood, so to speak, is clothed. The municipal laws of that kingdom are designed for the protection of all classes of people in their legitimate rights; and were it now in its fulness upon the earth, and the New Jerusalem built upon this continent, which is the land of Zion, the Latter-day Saints would not alone enjoy its blessings, but all denominations and communities would be alike protected in their rights, whether they worshipped the Supreme Author of our existence, or the sun, or the moon, or, as do some of our aborigines, a white dog; and none will be permitted to infringe upon their neighbors, though every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Hindoos would have the privilege of erecting their temples and of worshipping as they pleased; but they would not be permitted to compel other worshippers to conform to their mode of worship, nor to burn their companions upon the funeral pyre; for that would interfere with individual rights.

The kingdom of God will be extended over the earth; and it is written, “I will make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.” Is that day ever coming? It is; and the doctrine we preach leads to that point. Even now the form of the Government of the United States differs but little from that of the kingdom of God.

In our Government a President is elected for four years, and can be reelected but once, thus limiting the time of any one person to but eight years at most. Would it not be better to extend that period during life or good behavior; and when the people have elected the best man to that office, continue him in it as long as he will serve them?

Would it not be better for the States to elect their Governors upon the same principle; and if they officiate unjustly, hurl them from office? If a good man is thus elected and continues to do his duty, he will keep in advance of the people; and if he does not, he does not magnify his office. Such is the kingdom of God, in comparison.

When the best man is elected President, let him select the best men he can find for his counselors or cabinet; and let all the officers within the province of the Chief Magistrate to appoint be selected upon the same principle to officiate wisely in different parts of the nation. Our Father in heaven does not visit every place in person to guide and administer the law to the people, and to do this, that, and the other: he never did and never will; but he has officers, whom he sends when and where he pleases, giving to them their credentials and missions, as does our Government to our fellow men here.

Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so. He is no more everywhere present in person than the Father and Son are one in person. The Bible teaches that doctrine precisely as it is.

The kingdom that the Almighty will set up in the latter days will have its officers, and those officers will be peace. Every man that officiates in a public capacity will be filled with the Spirit of God, with the light of God, with the power of God, and will understand right from wrong, truth from error, light from darkness, that which tends to life and that which tends to death. They will say, “We offer you life; will you receive it?” “No,” some will say. “Then you are at perfect liberty to choose death: the Lord does not, neither will we control you in the least in the exercise of your agency. We place the principles of life before you. Do as you please, and we will protect you in your rights, though you will learn that the system you have chosen to follow brings you to dissolution—to being resolved to native element.”

When the government of God is in force upon the earth, there will be many officers and branches to that government, as there now are to that of the United States. There will be such helps, governments, &c., as the people require in their several capacities and circumstances; for the Lord will not administer everywhere in person.

The world seem to be afraid of the power of God, or rather, as I observed not long since, afraid that we are not in possession of it. They need not borrow trouble upon that point; for if we are not what we profess to be, we shall certainly fail, and they will no longer be disturbed about “Mormonism.” Brother Kimball said that his friends at first limited the existence of this work to one year; and when the year passed, they extended the time to two years: they then put it off five years; and I do not know what time they have now fixed upon.

I know that the kingdom of God is in its youth upon this earth, and that the principles of life and salvation are freely proffered to the people all over the world.

Our Elders go from east to west, from north to south; and they almost invariably go without purse or scrip.

When Mr. Greeley was here, he was anxious to learn what salaries our missionaries received, and what salary this and that officer in the Church received.

I told him that our missionaries received what the people gave them after they went from here. A few have started from here with money to pay their passage across the sea, that they might not be delayed in reaching their point of destination.

He then asked me whether I did not receive a salary.

I replied, “No, my friend; I can truly say to you that I do not have the value of a cabbage-head from the Tithing Office, unless I pay for it.”

“What!” said he, “do you not have pay for your services? You devote all your time.”

I remarked that I should count myself a poor hand to dictate this people and hold the position I occupy in the providence of God, unless I was capable of maintaining myself and family without assistance from the Church, though I have had a great deal given to me by the members of the Church. The Lord has blessed me with ability to provide for my wants, and those of my family; and if he has not blessed all the Elders with like ability to sustain themselves, we will assist them when necessary; but we pay no salaries to our Elders and Bishops. My salary consists of the providences of God while I live, and eternal life when I faithfully finish this probation.

When the kingdom of God is established upon the earth, people will find it to be very different from what they now imagine. Will it be in the least degree tyrannical and oppressive towards any human being? No, it will not; for such is not the kingdom of God.

I believe in a true republican theocracy, and also in a true democratic theocracy, as the term democratic is now used; for they are to me, in their present use, convertible terms.

What do I understand by a theocratic government? One in which all laws are enacted and executed in righteousness, and whose officers possess that power which proceedeth from the Almighty. That is the kind of government I allude to when I speak of a theocratic government, or the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is, in short, the eternal powers of the Gods.

What do the world understand theocracy to be? A poor, rotten government of man, that would say, without the shadow of provocation or just cause, “Cut that man’s head off; put that one on the rack; arrest another, and retain him in unlawful and unjust duress while you plunder his property and pollute his wife and daughters; massacre here and there.” The Lord Almighty does nothing of that kind, neither does any man who is controlled by his Spirit.

Again, the theocracy I speak of is the power of the Holy Ghost within you—that living and eternal principle that we do not possess in the fulness that we are seeking. When we talk about heavenly things, and see the world groveling in their sin and misery, and loving iniquity and corruption, the heavens weep over the people, and still they will not infringe upon their rights. God has created them so far perfectly independent as to be able to choose death or life; and he will not infringe upon this right.

And then to see people running after this and that which is calculated to destroy them spiritually and temporally—to bring upon them the first death, and then the second, so that they will be as though they had not been—is enough to make the heavens weep.

When his kingdom is established upon the earth, and Zion built up, the Lord will send his servants as saviors upon Mount Zion. The servants of God who have lived on the earth in ages past will reveal where different persons have lived who have died without the Gospel, give their names, and say, “Now go forth, ye servants of God, and exercise your rights and privileges; go and perform the ordinances of the house of God for those who have passed their probation without the law, and for all who will receive any kind of salvation: bring them up to inherit the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms,” and probably many other kingdoms not mentioned in the Scriptures; for every person will receive according to his capacity and according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad, much or little.

What will become of the rest? Jesus will reign until he puts all enemies under his feet, and will destroy the death that we are afflicted with, and will also destroy him that hath the power of death; and one eternal life will spread over the earth. Then it will be exalted and become as a sea of glass, as seen by John the Revelator, and become the eternal habitation of those who are so happy as to gain eternal life and live in the presence of our Father and Savior.

There are millions and millions of kingdoms that the people have no conception of. The Christians of the day have no knowledge of God, of godliness, of eternity, of the worlds that are, that have been, and that are coming forth. There are myriads of people pertaining to this earth who will come up and receive a glory according to their capacity.

A man apostatizes and comes back, and there is a place prepared for him; and so there is for all persons, to suit their several capacities and answer to the lives they have lived in the flesh.

There are many who swear occasionally; others get drunk, &c. Do you not know it? O fools and slow of heart to understand your own existence! But many indulge in such practices, and some will stumble here and there; and we must keep pulling them out of the mire and washing them all the time.

Will they be consigned to eternal damnation for such conduct? No; for these who drink too much will make good servants, if you can get them where whiskey will not cloud their brains, or where there is none. Make servants of such characters and set them to work in their different departments, and they can do something: they are not useless. They are the workmanship of God’s hands—brothers to Jesus, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. The same Father that begat the tabernacle of Jesus on the earth brought forth the world of mankind; and we are all his children, whether we do wickedly or not. We are the offspring of one common Father.

Brother Kimball says that it is a pity there is such a quarrel in the family. In the flesh we are the sons and daughters of Father Adam and Mother Eve: we are all one family; and yet we are contending and quarreling, and have arrived at such a pass that many do not know whether they belong to one kingdom and family, or not.

There is a place for all; but those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost will become angels of the Devil, and must suffer the wrath of God.

Then I might say, O ye wicked nations of the earth, why do you quarrel with us all the time for doing you good? We want to build up Zion and bring up your fathers and mothers to enjoy a glory, and you are trying to prevent us. They are contending against their own lives—quarreling against their own salvation and being. But I can truly say to all that I am thankful that I live to see this day and what we call the Gospel of salvation, but called by our enemies “Mormonism,” because we believe in the Book of Mormon.

We are in possession of the principles of life, and I exhort you to cleave to them under all circumstances. Do not fear those who only have power to shorten your mortal existence; but fear God, our Father in heaven. Love him and keep his commandments. Love righteousness all the days of your lives. “Mormonism” is true. It is life and salvation that we proffer to all mankind, and we are now struggling against the power of death, and by faithfulness shall overcome. And still you know that our enemies are thirsting for our destruction; and why do they seek to destroy us? Because we are striving to be righteous. We have the words of life for them, to do them good, to save them and their fathers who died without the law.

With you, my brethren, I have the principles of eternal salvation; and for this cause they quarrel with us. The world say that we have principles that really lay the axe at the roots of the trees of all false creeds; and if we are let alone, their creeds will cease having followers. If they let us alone, and we are wrong and corrupt, as they say we are, we shall come to an end.

Why do they prefer to be corrupt? They do not understand true principles, otherwise they would say, “Praise God! I am thankful that you are here. Do right, prosper, and bring salvation to all the house of Israel, and to the Gentile world so far as you can.”

Let us alone, and we will build up the kingdom of God. We are striving for what all Christendom professes to be, and we will bring it forth. If they persecute us, we will bring it forth the sooner. Could all the Elders of Israel have given “Mormonism” the same impetus that the last quarrel has done? No. The Lord will bring more out of that than all the Elders could have done by any performance of theirs.

If the Devil and his servants are permitted to persecute us, why should we complain? Has not the Prophet said that the servants of the Devil would make lies their refuge, and hide themselves under falsehood? Poor, miserable, lying curses here can write lies and publish them and send them forth in every direction. Traders take our money for goods, and all the time stir up every destructive element in their power to sell our blood, destroy our lives, and pollute our society.

Should the Lord reveal to me that my work on this earth is finished, I am ready to depart this life at any moment he may require. But the time has not yet come, and I expect to live until the Lord is willing that I should die.

I expect to live until I finish my work; and what is that? To promote the welfare of mankind, and save as many of the sons and daughters of Adam as I can prevail upon to be saved. How many I shall prevail upon to be saved is not for me to say.

When I get through my work here, my body will have the privilege to rest; and I understand where my spirit will go, and who will be my associates in the spirit world.

We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life; and then we shall go on from step to step, from rejoicing to rejoicing, and from one intelligence and power to another, our happiness becoming more and more exquisite and sensible as we proceed in the words and powers of life.

God bless you! Amen.


A Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Sen., Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 24, 1859.

I came to this Tabernacle this morning without any expectation of being called upon to address the congregation; but as I have been requested to preach, I cheerfully yield to the solicitations of my brethren, praying that the Holy Ghost may impart to me something for your edification. The office of the Spirit, when given in ancient times, was to make manifest truth—to quicken the memory of the man of God, that he might communicate clearly things which he had once learned, but partially forgotten.

For instance, the Apostles heard, during three years and a half, many sermons and a vast amount of conversation and private teaching. The office of the Spirit of truth was to bring to their remembrance the things that Jesus had formerly taught them. So it is the office of the same Spirit in these days to bring to our remembrance the words of the ancient Prophets and Apostles, and the words of Jesus, inasmuch as we have faith and confidence in God.

Our traditions inform us that if a man has two wives, it is a great sin and transgression against the laws of heaven and the laws of man. The congregation that now sit before me, both male and female, imbibed these traditions before they embraced the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. We were taught strictly, by our parents, by works on theology, by our neighbors, by our ministers from the pulpit, by the press, and by the laws of Christendom, that plurality of wives is a great crime. Many of us, perhaps, never thought of questioning the correctness of the tradition, to know whether it was in reality a crime or not. That which is generally condemned by our nation, by our parents and kindred, by our public teachers, and by the laws of Christendom generally as a crime, is considered criminal by us. If asked why polygamy is considered a crime, our only answer is, Because false tradition says so—popular opinion says it is a crime. Now, if it be a crime—if it can be proved to be a crime by the law of God, then the inhabitants of this Territory, so far as this one institution is concerned, are in an awful condition; for it is well known that this practice is general throughout this Territory, with but a few exceptions. A great many families, not only in Salt Lake City, but throughout the settlements, have practically embraced this doctrine, believing it to be a Divine institution, approbated of God and the Bible.

We shall inquire a little into this principle for the information of the strangers who are present. Let us inquire whether, indeed, plurality of wives ever was sanctioned by the God of heaven—whether he himself is the Author of it, or whether he barely permitted it as a crime, the same as he permits many known crimes to exist. The Lord permits a man to get drunk; he permits him to lie, steal, murder, to take his name in vain, and suffers with him a long time, and at last he will bring him to judgment: he has to render up his accounts for all these things.

If the Lord permits what is termed polygamy to exist as a crime among the Latter-day Saints, he will bring us into judgment and condemn us for that thing. It is necessary that we, as Latter-day Saints, should certainly understand this matter, and understand it, too, beforehand, and not wait until we are brought to an account. If a man were in the midst of a nation where he was not thoroughly acquainted with their laws, he would be thankful to obtain such information as would guard him from committing crime ignorantly: he would not wish to remain in ignorance until the strong arm of the law laid hold of him and brought him before the bar of justice, where he would be forced to enter into a public investigation of his deeds, and be punished for them. Neither do we, as Latter-day Saints, wish to wait in ignorance until we are brought before the great tribunal, not of man, but of God.

Let us, therefore, carefully investigate the important question—Is polygamy a crime? Is it condemned in the Bible, either by the Old or New Testament? Has God ever condemned it by his own voice? Have his angels ever been sent forth to inform the nations who have practiced this thing that they were in transgression? Has he ever spoken against it by any inspired writer? Has any Patriarch, Prophet, Apostle, angel, or even the Son of God himself, ever condemned polygamy? We may give a general answer, without investigating this subject, and say to the world, We have no information of that kind on record, except what we find in the Book of Mormon. There it was positively forbidden to be practiced by the ancient Nephites.

The Book of Mormon, therefore, is the only record (professing to be Divine) which condemns plurality of wives as being a practice exceedingly abominable before God. But even that sacred book makes an exception in substance as follows—“Except I the Lord command my people.” The same Book of Mormon and the same article that commanded the Nephites that they should not marry more than one wife, made an exception. Let this be understood—“Unless I the Lord shall command them.” We can draw the conclusion from this, that there were some things not right in the sight of God, unless he should command them. We can draw the same conclusion from the Bible, that there were many things which the Lord would not suffer his children to do, unless he particularly commanded them to do them.

For instance, God gave to Moses express commandments in relation to killing. “Thou shalt not kill.” And this is not one of those commandments which was done away by the introduction of the Gospel; but it is a command that was to continue as long as man should continue on the earth. It was named by the Apostles as one that was binding on the Christian as well as on the Jew. “Thou shalt not kill.” Everyone who reads this sacred command of God would presume at once that any individual found killing and destroying his fellow creature would be in disobedience to the command of God, and would be committing a great crime.

The same God that gave that commandment unto the children of Israel, saying, “Thou shalt not kill,” afterwards gave a commandment to them, that when they went to war against a foreign city, or a city not included in the land of Canaan, “when thou shalt go to war against it, and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women and little ones, shalt thou take unto thyself.” (Deut. xx. 13, 14.)

Again, when Israel took the Midianites captive, they were commanded to “kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (See Numbers xxxi. 17, 18.)

The question is, Was it a sin before the Most High God for the children of Israel to obey the law concerning their captives, notwithstanding the former law, “Thou shalt not kill?” Most certainly not. Thus we see that it was a law given by the same God and to the same people that they should kill their captives, that they should kill the married women, their husbands, and their male children—that they should save alive none but those who had never been married and who had never known man. “Save them alive for yourselves,” says the law of God.

Here, then, we perceive that there are things which God forbids, and which it would be abominable for his people to do, unless he should revoke that commandment in certain cases. Because certain individuals among the Nephites, in ancient days, were expressly forbidden to take two wives, that did not prohibit the Lord from giving them a commandment, and making an exception, when he should see proper to raise up seed unto himself.

The substance of the idea in that book is that—When I the Lord shall command you to raise up seed unto myself, then it shall be right; but otherwise thou shalt hearken unto these things—namely, the law against polygamy. But when we go to the Jewish record, we find nothing that forbids the children of Israel from taking as many wives as they thought proper. God gave laws regulating the descent of property in polygamic families.

Turn to the 21st chap. of Deuteronomy, and the 15th verse, and you have there recorded that, “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

In this law the Lord does not disapprobate the principle. Here would have been a grand occasion for him to do it, if it had been contrary to his will. Instead of saying, If you find a man that has two wives, he shall be excluded from the congregation of Israel, or shall divorce one and retain the other, or shall be put to death, because he presumed to marry two wives, he considers both women his lawful wives, and gives a law that the son of the hated wife, if the firstborn, shall actually inherit the double portion of his property. This becomes a standing law in Israel. Does not this clearly prove that the Lord did not condemn polygamy, but that he considered it legal? That he did not consider one of these wives to be a harlot or a bad woman? Does it not prove that he counted the hated one as much a wife as the beloved one, and her children just as legitimate in the eyes of the law?

Again, let us go back to the days of the Patriarchs before the law of Moses was introduced among the people, and we find the same principle still existed and approbated by the God of heaven. I have heard many of our opponents argue that the law of Moses approbated a plurality of wives; but it was not to be under other dispensations—as much as to say, it was merely given because of the hardness of their hearts. But such a saying is not to be found in the Bible. I can find a declaration of our Lord and Savior that the divorcing of a wife was permitted in the days of Moses because of the hardness of the hearts of the people; but I cannot find any passage in the sayings of the Savior, or the Apostles and Prophets, or in the law, that the taking of another wife was because of the hardness of their hearts. There is quite a difference between taking wives and putting them away.

This law of plurality, as I am going to prove, did not only exist under the law of Moses, but existed before that law, under the Patriarchal dispensation. And what kind of a dispensation was that? It has been proved before the people in this Territory, time after time, that the dispensation in which the Patriarchs lived was the dispensation of the Gospel—that the Gospel was preached to Abraham as well as unto the people in the days of the Apostles; so says Paul; and the same Gospel too that was preached in the days of the Apostles was preached to Abraham. “The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham,” &c. The same Gospel that the heathen would be justified by was the same Gospel that Jesus and his Apostles preached, and which was before preached to Abraham. If we can find out that, under the Gospel preached to Abraham, polygamy was allowed, the Gospel preached by Jesus, being the same, of course, would not condemn it. Jacob, we understand, went from his father’s house to sojourn at a distance from the land that was promised to him; and while he sojourned there, he married Leah, one of the daughters of Laban, after having served faithfully seven years. It was a custom to buy wives in those days: they were more expensive than now-a-days. It is true he got cheated: he expected to have married Rachel; but as, I presume, the old Eastern custom of wearing veils deceived Jacob, he could not exactly understand whether it was Leah or Rachel until after he was married. Then he served seven years more to get Rachel. Here was a plurality of wives.

Did the Lord appear to Jacob after this? Yes. Did he chasten him? No. Did he send his angels to him after this? Yes: hosts of them came to him. He was a man of such powerful faith, and his heart so pure before God, that he could take hold of one of them and wrestle all night with him, the same as people wrestle in the streets here, only they did not swear; and, I presume, they had not been drinking whiskey; and they wrestled with all their might. I do not suppose the angel, at first, exercised any peculiar faith, but merely a physical strength. He was unable to throw Jacob; and Jacob, like a prince, prevailed with God; but he began to mistrust that he was something more than a man that was wrestling with him, and began to inquire after his name; and by-and-by the angel, determined not to be worsted, put forth one of his fingers, and touched one of Jacob’s sinews, and down he came. Did this angel inform Jacob that he was a wretched polygamist—an offscouring of the earth, not worthy to dwell in the society of men? No. He was recommended as a great prince, and one that had power to prevail with an angel all night, until the angel put forth his miraculous power on him.

This same Jacob conversed with God, heard his voice, and saw him; and in all those visions and glorious manifestations made to him, we find no reproof for polygamy. Certainly, if the Lord did not intend to approbate a crime, he would have reproved his for polygamy, if polygamy were a crime. If he did not intend Jacob to go headlong to destruction, he would have told him he had taken two wives, and it was not right; but, instead of this, he blessed these wives of Jacob exceedingly, and poured out his Spirit upon them. Leah bore him four sons, and then she became for awhile barren. Finding she had left off bearing children, she gave Zilpah—a woman that was dwelling with them, to Jacob to wife, although he already had two; and Zilpah raised up children to Jacob. Leah had borne several children, and had left off bearing. She had been more backward about giving her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob to wife than Rachel had been in giving Bilhah. Seeing the Lord was about to curse her with barrenness, because she did not do according to the example of her younger sister, she gave Zilpah to Jacob. Then the Lord hearkened to her prayer, and Leah said—“God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” (See Genesis xxx. 18.)

Whoever heard of the Lord’s hearing one’s prayer, because a person was doing an evil? If polygamy were a crime, God would have condemned her, because she gave up her handmaiden to her husband. We cannot suppose that any woman not acquainted with the law and commandment of the Most High, and believing it to be sinful for her husband to have two wives, would express herself in such a manner—The Lord heard my prayer and gave me the fifth son, because I gave my handmaid to my husband to wife. This shows to us that Jacob’s wife, Leah, did really consider it something pleasing in the sight of God. It was something that God and all his angels that appeared to Jacob approbated, and, instead of cursing him, blessed him more and more. By these four wives the whole twelve sons of Jacob were born, and they became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. And when the day comes that the Holy City, the Old Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven, crowned with glory, there will be found upon the wall which is erected around it the names of the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, beautifully engraved upon the walls. I suppose the people of this day would call the most of these sons of Jacob bastards; but they are to be honored of God, not for a few years, but an honor that is to exist forever and ever, while their names will be found emblazoned upon the walls of the Holy City, to remain throughout eternity.

Now, recollect, this is under the Gospel dispensation, and not under the law of Moses, which was given several hundred years afterwards. The Lord made great and precious promises to the seed of Jacob, through these wives, saying they should inherit the land of Palestine, and they should be blessed above all people. We find this blessing fulfilled upon their heads, according to the righteousness of their descendants, until they were scattered because of iniquity.

Moses, one of the greatest Prophets that ever arose, with the exception of Jesus, not only approbated polygamy but actually practiced it himself. We find, on a certain occasion, that the brother of Moses (Aaron) and the prophetess Miriam began to upbraid him, in consequence of a certain Ethiopian wife he had taken. (See Numbers xii. 1.) He had already one wife, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Did the Lord join in with them? Did he say, You are right to make light of Moses’ second wife? It is polygamy! It is a great crime! It is sinful! Was this the way the Lord talked? No. But he was angry that they should make light of a thing which he himself esteemed as very sacred; and, as a consequence, he smote Miriam with leprosy, and she became as white as snow; and although she was a prophetess, she had to be put out of the camp, and stay out seven days, because of speaking against one of Moses’ wives. Did this look like the Lord’s considering it an illegal marriage? It proves that the Lord did consider the marriage legal.

I have only demonstrated to you that the Lord approbated polygamy, and gave laws regulating the descent of property to the polygamic children. But I will now repeat to you an express command of God to certain persons to marry more than one wife; and they could not get rid of it without breaking the law of God. The Lord said, “Cursed be every man that continueth not in all things written in this book of the law.” However righteous and moral a man might have been in many other respects, yet, if he did not continue in all things written in that book of the law, he was to be cursed. “Cursed be that man, and all the people shall say, Amen.” Now, among the things written in that book of the law, we find these words—“If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.” (See Deuteronomy xxv. 5, 6.) Must his brother do this, if he has a family of his own? Yes. It does not matter whether he has a family or not, that command is given to him: it is the law of God, and the reason is given in order that the name of the dead might not perish and be cut off from Israel. The living brother had to preserve the inheritance in his deceased brother’s family. Now, if the widow of the deceased brother married a stranger—a person that did not belong to that particular tribe, the inheritance would go to a stranger, and would be shifting from tribe to tribe, or even might become the inheritance of one that did not belong to the tribes of Israel. In order to prevent this, the firstborn male of the living brother was to be considered the son of the dead brother, and was to receive the inheritance and perpetuate the same in the family; and this was to continue from generation to generation. Now, suppose that there were seven brothers, as there often were families of that size in Israel; suppose they married them wives, and six of them should die without leaving male issue to bear up their name, but the seventh brother was still living; do you not see that this law and commandment would be binding on that seventh, still living, to take the six widows? This he would be compelled to do; and yet this generation say polygamy is a crime, while here is the sanction of Divine authority. Here a man is brought under obligation to take these six widows, and raise up seed to his dead brothers. How long was this to continue? Is there any evidence in the Bible that it was to cease when Christianity should be introduced by our Savior and his Apostles? What was the condition of the Jewish nation at the time Jesus went forth preaching repentance and baptism and admitting members into his Church? I will tell you, there were thousands and thousands that were polygamists, and were obliged by the command of God to be so. They could not get rid of it, if they obeyed the law of Moses; and if they did not obey, they were to be cursed.

These polygamists, then, that took their deceased brothers’ wives, according to the notions of Christendom in the nineteenth century, would be prohibited from baptism. The Son of God and the Apostles that went forth 1,800 years ago, were so holy that they must not permit any of these polygamists to enter the Christian Church, though they were only obeying the command given by the God of heaven through Moses; yet they must not be baptized—they must be rejected. This would be the argument of Christianity in the nineteenth century. But can we suppose that Jesus would be so inconsistent that he would actually command a thing a few thousand years before (for Jesus was the one that gave the law to Moses), and then come two or three thousand years afterwards, and not permit the people to enter his Church because they had obeyed that former command? Such is the foolish argument of Christendom in these days. Say they, Polygamy is not to be sanctioned under the Christian dispensation. I would like to know where their evidence is. What part of the New Testament, or where, in the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, do we find such evidence recorded, that a man should not have more than one wife? It cannot be found. But says one, “I have read the New Testament, and I do not recollect that the term wives is used by the eight writers of that book; but they always used the term “wife,” in the singular number. And from this it is presumed that they did not have more than one. Let us examine the strength of this presumption.

I find eighteen or twenty writers of the Old Testament who use “wife,” and not wives. Will you, therefore, draw the conclusion that plurality was not practiced among them under the Old Testament? If the presumption is of any weight in relation to the eight writers of the New Testament, it certainly is of greater weight in relation to twenty writers of the Old Testament. But it is known that in the latter case the presumption is false; therefore it is of no strength or force whatever in the former case.

Now let us examine some other objections urged against polygamy. The objector has often referred to the saying of Jesus, when commanding the people that they should not put away their wives, saving it should be for the cause of fornication. Jesus says Moses suffered a divorce to be given because of the hardness of the hearts of the people; and further says it was not so from the beginning; that God made man, male and female, and they were joined together by Divine authority, and they twain became “one flesh.” Now, says the objector, it does not say that three or that four shall become one flesh, &c.; and consequently, this is an argument against plurality. Let us examine this, and see if there is any force in it. It was not so in the beginning, before the days of Moses. What was not so? This putting away of wives—this divorcing of wives for every little nonsensical purpose. Jesus was showing that it was contrary to his mind and will; that Moses only suffered it because of the hardness of their hearts; but that in the beginning it was not so; as much as to say, “If you give divorces, you practice something given through the wickedness of the people. If you put away your wives for any other cause than that of fornication, you cause your wives to commit adultery; and if any man marry her that is put away, he committeth adultery.”

Then, again, he says, “If a woman put away her husband, she committeth adultery.” A man has no right to put away his wife, nor a woman her husband. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder; for in the beginning it was not so, but they twain became one flesh.”

Is this an argument against having more than one wife? For instance, Jacob and Leah were one flesh, Leah being his first wife. Jacob and Rachel were one flesh. Jacob and Bilhah were one flesh. Jacob and Zilpah were one flesh; and if he had had a thousand more, it would have been the same: each wife would have been a legitimate wife, and one flesh with Jacob; and their children would have been legitimate. This was no argument against plurality. If so, Jacob would have been found a transgressor.

In the second chapter of Genesis, it is stated that the Lord took a rib from Adam, and, by adding other materials, formed a woman, and brought her to the man, and gave her to him as an helpmeet—as a wife. “And Adam said, This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.”

This is the saying which Jesus quoted. Now, Jacob, in taking four wives, became one flesh with each one of them; but how and in what respect? Perhaps it may be said that they became one in mind, one in understanding, one in intellect, one in judgment, &c. Their minds are to be one. But it does not say one in mind, one spiritually, but one flesh.

How are we to understand this? Paul (Eph. v. 28—31) says, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

Paul makes this quotation from the second chapter of Genesis, to prove that the woman was one flesh with the man, because she was taken out of man’s body, and made out of his flesh and bones. She was one flesh in this respect—not in identity: they were two distinct persons, as much so as the Father and the Son are two distinct personages.

And again, the wife becomes one flesh with her husband in another respect: when she presents herself to the man, and gives herself to him with an everlasting covenant, one that is not to be broken, she becomes his flesh, his property, his wife, as much so as the flesh and bone of his own body.

The Father and the Son are represented to be one. “I and my Father are one,” said Jesus. Would any person pretend to say, because Jesus and his Father were one, that he could not receive a third person into the communion?—a fourth, or a fifth? If we examine the arguments of modern Christendom, nobody but Jesus could be admitted into the union; or, in other words, they twain—that is, the Father and the Son—were to be one, and no others. But Jesus says, “Father, I pray not for these alone which thou hast given me out of the world; but I pray for all them that shall believe on me through their words (the Twelve), that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee; that they may be made perfect in one.”

The disciples of Jesus were not to lose their identity, because Jesus was one with the Father. The identity of Jesus was not destroyed, but he remained a distinct person, and so did all the disciples, and yet they became one; and so is every man and his wives. Because they twain—that is, Jesus and his Father—were one, it did not hinder the disciples from attaining to the same oneness. And so likewise with regard to the man and his first wife: because they twain are one flesh, it does not prevent him from being one flesh with each of his other wives which he may legally take.

Again, there is a principle which I will now relate more particularly for the benefit of strangers. There is such a principle as marriage for eternity, which may imply one wife or many. The marriage covenant is indissoluble; it is everlasting; it is not limited to time; but it is a covenant to exist while eternity exists: it pertains to immortality as well as mortality. I will prove this. The first example we have on record of a marriage was that of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Were they married as people marry now-a-days? Were they married as the world of Christendom marry at the present day? No: they married as immortal beings. They knew nothing about death; they never had seen any such thing as death. When Eve was brought to Adam, she was brought to him an immortal being. When Adam received her as his wife, he was an immortal being: his flesh and bones were not subject to sickness and decay; he was not subject to pain and suffering: there was no death working in his system—no plague that could prostrate him in the dust. They were intended to endure forever and ever. So far as their bodies were concerned, they brought death on themselves.

Paul says that sin entered into the world by transgression, and death by sin. Notice that expression. Death entered into the world by sin. If there had been no sin, there would have been no death. If Adam and Eve never had sinned, they would have been alive on the earth at this time, just as fresh and pure as in the morning of creation: they would have remained to all eternity without a wrinkle of old age overtaking them.

These were the personages first married. Question—Were they married for a certain period of time, as persons are married by the world of Christendom at this day?

When you go up before a magistrate to have marriage solemnized, you hear him saying—I pronounce you husband and wife, or man and wife, as the case may be, until death.

Adam knew nothing about that monster: it was not in his creed. Such an idea never entered into his mind as they have at the present day—I bind you together as husband and wife until death, which shall separate you. If I were married by the laws of Christendom, I should consider the woman I had taken was my wife until death. I should consider this marriage covenant the same as if I had a piece of property promised to me for a certain period of time—say for the space of twenty years; after which, I have no claim upon it. When death comes, I have no claim upon the woman married to me by those who pretend to administer the sacred ordinance. But not so with our first parents. When Eve was presented to Adam as an helpmeet to him—as a wife, it was not intended that that relation should cease after a few score of years, or when death should come; but it was as everlasting as Adam and Eve themselves. When they went down to their graves, they could go down with a sure and certain knowledge that they still were husband and wife, and that this sacred relationship would continue after the resurrection.

This is the great and first example for marriage. The Latter-day Saints have adopted this example, not by our own wisdom—for I do not know that we should ever have thought of it; but by new revelation. The same God that originated marriage for all eternity, in relation to the first pair, has again spoken from the heavens and told us something about this sacred ceremony. He has informed us that if we are married and expect to have claim on our wives, and wives on their husbands, in the eternal worlds, that this ordinance of marriage must be, not till death, but forever and ever, reaching forward through all our future state of existence.

Having established this principle of marriage for eternity, let us examine the results flowing from it. Let me suppose that here is my neighbor; he has a wife, and she is married to him for all eternity. By-and-by, he dies and leaves his widow. I am a young unmarried man, and pay my attentions to her; and she, being still young, accepts my attentions and wishes to be married to me; yet she has been married to a man for all eternity. Can she be married to me for all eternity? No. I accept of her as a wife for time only, yielding her up with all her posterity in the morning of the first resurrection to her legal and lawful husband.

But now what shall become of me? I have got to give up this wife to her legal and lawful husband in the morning of the first resurrection; and I must not, according to the laws of Christendom, marry another so long as she lives; and she might live as long as I. Am I to be deprived of a wife for eternity, because I married this widow for time? Or would plurality come in and supply me also with a wife?

This is one of the results necessarily arising, when marriage for eternity is admitted. There is just as much reason for it as for any other principle God has ever revealed to the human family.

Again, for instance, here is a man that has married a wife for time and all eternity; and here is a woman that has not had a privilege of being married, like thousands and tens of thousands that are abroad in the States and in all the world among the nations of Christendom: they have to live contrary to their own will, and die old maids, without a husband for time or eternity either. If one of this class, who had not had an opportunity of marriage with a righteous man, and who was unwilling to trust herself with those whom she considered unworthy of marriage for time or eternity either, should come to the Territory of Utah, and, still having no offer of marriage from a single young man here, she sees a good man that has a family; he proposes marriage to her; she voluntarily offers to become one of his wives; he accepts the offer; the ceremony is celebrated. What harm is done? Who is injured? What law is broken? None. I ask, Would it be right, with a view that marriage is to exist, not only in time, but in eternity, that this woman, who is a good, moral, virtuous woman, should remain without a husband through all eternity, because she did not have an opportunity of being married? If marriage be of any benefit in the eternal world, would it not be far more consistent with the law of God that she should have the privilege, by her own free, voluntary consent, to marry a good man, though he might have a family, and claim him for her husband, not only through time, but eternity?

Jesus informs us that in the resurrection mankind are neither married nor given in marriage: all these things have to be attended to here. In the resurrection, a man is not to be baptized. Here is the place to attend to these things. If we are to become the promised seed, and heirs according to the promise, we must be baptized into Christ and put him on, and do it before the resurrection; for if I put it off beyond this life, in the resurrection there will be no such thing as putting on Christ by being baptized. Just so, in the resurrection there will be no such thing as attending to the ceremony of marriage, so far as we are informed. But Jesus further says, concerning those persons who have not attended to those matters here, that in the resurrection they are as the angels of God: and some of the angels are a little lower than men. In what respect? They have not the power to increase their kingdom by the multiplication of their species, and this because they have not lawful and legal wives. They are probably among that class who have put off marriage for eternity, and die without attending to it; and after the resurrection, they find themselves wifeless, without any family or kingdoms of their own offspring. In this single and undesirable condition they are to remain, because they cannot hunt up a wife after the resurrection. Such, instead of receiving crowns, will merely become ministers or messengers for the crown, being sent forth by those who have attained to a higher glory, who have the power of receiving kingdoms, and increasing the same, through their own offspring that are begotten after the resurrection by the wives given to them while here in this world. These angels have forfeited this privilege; consequently, they are lower than the man who keeps a celestial law; and if these angels lived on the earth, they would be called old bachelors.

Do you not see the difference between the glory of those who claim their privileges and those who do not? I am not speaking to the class who pay no attention to the law of God or to the nature of marriage; but I am speaking of those ancient Patriarchs, and Prophets, and holy men that understood the law of God, and practiced it, and prepared themselves here to receive an exceeding weight of glory hereafter. Do you not understand that such men arise above angels?—that they have kingdoms, while angels have none?—that they are crowned kings and princes over their own descendants, which will become as numerous as the sands on the seashore, while the angels have neither wives, sons, nor daughters to be crowned over? Shall a young, moral, virtuous woman, because she does not find a young man that is suitable to her nature, or worthy of her—shall she be deprived of this exaltation in the eternal world, because of the Gentile laws of modern Christendom? No. The Latter-day Saints believe otherwise. We believe that woman is just as good as man, if she does as well. If a good man is entitled to a kingdom of glory—to a reward and crown, and has the privilege of swaying a scepter in the eternal world, a good woman is entitled to the same, and should be placed by his side, and have the privilege of enjoying all the glory, honor, and blessings that are bestowed upon her lord and husband. If she cannot get any lord or husband through whom she can trust herself for exaltation to that glory, who can blame her for going into a family where she thinks she will be secure?

These are some of the reasons in favor of polygamy. Many people think it strange that there should be a whole territory of polygamists organized in the midst of Christendom. It is so contrary, say they, to our institutions, and to the traditions of our society and nation, and to the practice of our forefathers that have lived for many generations past. But did you never reflect that it is possible for some of the institutions, traditions, and practices of our forefathers to be incorrect? Look at the vast number of traditions that have had their place upon the earth, and that, too, among the most enlightened generations, which are now entirely discarded. Look at the laws which existed but a few years ago in enlightened England, where a man, if he went into a shop, being hungry, and took the amount of five shillings’ worth, he must be hung up by the neck.

If a man was almost ready to perish with starvation, as thousands and millions often are in Great Britain, and should go into a neighboring park and take a sheep to preserve his life and the life of his family, he must be hung up by the neck. The people thought these were wholesome laws, when they existed. They were just as sincere in supposing these laws to be good as the people of the United States are in supposing there should be a severe law against polygamy.

Now, let me say, plainly and boldly, without the fear of contradiction, that the citizens of Utah are transgressing no law of man by taking a plurality of wives. But it is asserted by some that we are transgressing the traditions and institutions that are established among civilized nations. We admit this freely; and the people of the United States are transgressing that law that was in force in old England about sheep stealing; for they suffer many of their sheep stealers to go unhung; and if a man steals five shillings worth of provisions, they do not hang him up.

Why have the American nation abolished, not only many of the traditions, customs, and institutions of other civilized nations which have been handed down for so many ages, but have even abolished and discarded many of their criminal laws? Why have they made these innovations upon civilized society? Is it not as possible that the sovereign States of this enlightened nation may be misguided in regard to their strict laws which they have passed against polygamy as it was for our forefathers to be misguided in their strict laws against witchcraft in Massachusetts, where every man and woman must be put to death for a witch, if somebody became prejudiced against them? This was a law among our forefathers in enlightened America but a short period back. They thought they were right, and were as sincere in it as the States are in these strict and rigid laws against polygamy. But, thank the Lord, Utah is not in bondage to such bigoted State laws.

The form of the American Government makes each State and Territory independent of the laws of all the others. Have the laws of Missouri any bearing upon the people of Kansas, any further than what the people of Kansas voluntarily, by their Legislature, reenact? No. The laws of one State or Territory have no more to do with the laws of any other State or Territory than they have with the laws of China. Utah is just as much under the laws of China as under the laws of Missouri, or the laws of any other State of the American Union. There is a difference between these local State laws and the laws of the United States passed by Congress in Washington. The laws of the United States are applicable all over the nation. Has the American Congress seen proper, since its first organization, to pass a law against polygamy? No. So far as the national law is concerned, it has no more bearing upon the subject of polygamy than it has upon the subject of monogamy, or something that never existed. Let us go still higher, above the laws of Congress, to that great instrument—the American Constitution, which we, as a people, have always held as one of the most perfect and glorious instruments that was ever framed by any nation, through their own wisdom, since the world began. It guarantees to us the liberty of the press, freedom of speech, liberty to seek for one’s happiness, and to emigrate from State to State, and to enjoy all the privileges and rights that any man could in conscience ask for. Is there anything in that glorious Constitution that forbids polygamy? There is not. Have the citizens of the Territory of Utah transgressed that instrument so far as this thing is concerned? No. Have they transgressed the laws of any Territory or State of the Union so far as they have any bearing upon this Territory? No. Again, has the Territory of Utah ever passed a law against polygamy? If they have, then as many as have received this doctrine are transgressors of the law. You may search our laws from beginning to end, but you will find nothing in them against polygamy.

The wise legislators of Utah have been actuated by more liberal principles than those who have deprived American citizens of the dearest and most sacred rights granted in the Constitution. What is the result, then? It is, that any people whatsoever who feel disposed to marry more than one wife in this Territory have the privilege to do so. What! The Methodists? Yes. Have the Baptists a right to come into Utah and marry two wives? Yes, so far as the civil law is concerned. Have those who make no profession of religion whatever a right to marry a score or a hundred wives in this Territory? Yes: so far as civil law is concerned, all have equal privileges. Have the Chinese a right to come to this Territory and bring more wives than one, or the Mahometans? Yes. Every nation under heaven have a right to come and enjoy perfect liberty so far as this thing is concerned; and I have already shown that there is no law in the Bible to bear against them.

You cannot condemn us temporally, or spiritually, or by the civil law; neither can you condemn us by the Bible. There is no law that condemns us, unless the law in the Book of Mormon does so; and I have already shown that the Book of Mormon does not, provided the Lord has commanded it. But if we have not been commanded in regard to this matter, then there is one thing that will condemn us, and that is the Book of Mormon. This is a little more strict than any other Divine revelation, in regard to polygamy. Thirteen years after the publication of the Book of Mormon, the same Prophet that translated the Book of Mormon received a revelation upon marriage, which commanded certain individuals in this Church to take unto themselves a plurality of wives for time and all eternity, declaring that it is a righteous principle, and was practiced by inspired men in times of old.

In obedience to this commandment, many have gone forth and taken upon themselves a plurality of wives; consequently, they are not condemned in this thing, so far as the Book of Mormon is concerned; and we consider this book to be a part and portion of our religious creed; and the Constitution of America gives people a right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. But our opponents say no person has a right to commit crime under that saying. I admit it. But prove that polygamy is a crime. You can prove that murder, stealing, and cheating your neighbor are crimes. You can prove a great many things to be criminal, from the Bible and from reason. If you search the great commentaries on law, they will inform you that all criminal law is founded on Divine revelation. When Divine revelation points out a crime, they generally adopt it as such, and attach penalties. The Bible is the foundation of most of the criminal laws of Christendom. Point out in the Bible where polygamy is a crime, and then you may say we have no right to embrace it as a part of our religious creed, and pretend it as a part of our constitutional rights. If we embrace murder, stealing, robbing, cheating our neighbor, as a part of our religious rights, then the Constitution will condemn us. Not so with polygamy. If we should embrace adultery in our religious creed, then we may be condemned as criminals by the laws of God and man; but when it comes to polygamy, which is not condemned by the Bible any more than monogamy, and embrace that as a part and portion of our creed, the Constitution gives us an undeniable right of worshipping God in this respect as in all others. Congress have no more constitutional right to pass a law against polygamy than they have to pass a law against monogamy, or against a man living in celibacy.

A portion of the Shaker’s creed is that they are living in the resurrection, and that they should not marry; and you will find whole communities of them living without husbands and wives. The Government of the United States has no right to say you shall not live in celibacy, but you shall comply with American institutions; neither have they a right to say that sprinkling infants or worshipping a Chinese idol is criminal. A great variety of peculiarities are embraced by different sects and societies in our nation; and they have a right to hold their creeds, however much they may differ from their neighbors, so long as those creeds are not criminal. We ask no rights that are not guaranteed unto us by the American Constitution. We do not claim, beg, or petition for any other. These rights are guaranteed to us as American citizens. We are entitled to the right of voting as we please, and in doing as we please in religious matters, so long as we do not infringe upon the criminal laws of the nation, neither of this Territory. This is all we claim; and this is what every true-hearted American citizen should be willing to fight for, if our rulers rise up and deprive us of the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution.

Do you suppose, because we are few in numbers, that we must tamely submit to see our constitutional rights wrested from us by unprincipled rulers? If you suppose this, you have formed an erroneous opinion of the patriotism of American citizens. There are certain rights belonging to every religious sect that inhabits these United States; and every sect has a right to claim them, if they should have to do it at the point of the sword. I have no hesitancy in saying before the whole world that the rights guaranteed by the great Constitution of this country and its national laws are the rights I will claim while I have a being, even if it is necessary to claim them by force; and if the Chief Executive, or the American Congress send their armies to Utah to trample upon these rights, and take from American citizens that which is more dear to them than life, I shall esteem it no treason to resist them. The majority may undertake to trample upon the minority, because they have the power to do so; but this will not hinder the minority from patriotically defending their rights. Liberty or death should be the motto of every true American. These are my views, and I presume that these are the views of all the people in this great Republic who have tasted and realize the sweets of liberty.

When we speak against the acts of a President of the United States, is that treason? No. Do all the newspapers published in the American nation speak well of the Presidents? Is there no man in the American nation that tries his best to influence the public against the public acts of President Buchanan? You find them by hundreds. They are denouncing the President continually in the most bitter manner. They do not denounce the particular form of Government, or the Constitution, or laws; but they do denounce the acts of public men when they please; and this right is guaranteed to them, and they are responsible for it. If they do it unjustly, in a slanderous manner, they are accountable to the laws, and may be heavily fined. We claim the same privilege. There are many acts of this Government we dislike, and so do many of the political parties in the nation. Many people throughout the American nation are dissatisfied, not only with the acts of Congress, but with the Chief Magistrate of the nation; and they are not afraid of committing treason by bringing these acts before the public, and commenting upon them. We claim this right in connection with other American citizens.

I have already detained the congregation sufficiently long upon various subjects as they occurred to my mind. I recommend the strangers present to appeal to our works and read them. We have nothing we are ashamed of. All our writings are free and open to the public, and have been for years: hundreds and thousands of copies of pamphlets on polygamy, and books on various subjects have been sent abroad, not only throughout the American nation, but throughout the civilized nations of Europe, published in many languages, which contain our views in relation to the Book of Mormon, to the Gospel of salvation, and to our rights as a people. They all are before the public. There are none of our publications which we wish to hide up in a corner. You can learn and investigate for yourselves. And let those prejudices that have been instilled into your minds, as well as into mine, be set aside for a short time, to inform yourselves concerning these matters. Do not be so much bound down by the creeds of men and public opinion as not to be free enough to investigate for yourselves; and when you find a true principle, embrace it. However you may be condemned by mankind, lay hold of it; it will do you good, and no harm.

May God bless you. Amen.

Light and Influence of the Spirit—Power of Evil—Character of the Will, Etc.

Remarks by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, June 19, 1859.

It is recorded in the New Testament, and said to be the words of the Savior, while speaking of his doctrine and the things he taught, “He that heareth and doeth my sayings shall know of my doctrine whether it is of God or men.” “Whosoever keepeth my sayings shall know of my doctrine.” I labor faithfully to instruct the people in the way of life; and the most important point of all my preaching and sayings is that they rest upon the words of the Savior. Whosoever readeth the doctrine of the Son of God, and obeys it, does know whether it is true or false.

Christ is the light of the world and lighteth every man that cometh into it. No human being has ever been born upon this earth without more or less enlightenment by that Spirit and influence that flows from the Fountain of intelligence. All people have been more or less taught by the Spirit of revelation; and let me say further, there never was a child born upon this earth that was not naturally endowed with that Spirit; and when we try to make ourselves believe differently, we are mistaken.

It is extensively taught that nature must be subdued, and grace made to take its place. I wish to inform you that it is nature for the child to be influenced by the Spirit of God. It is nature for all people to be influenced by a good spirit; and the evil that is spoken of is the power the Devil has gained upon this earth through the fall. He gained power to tempt the children of men, and wickedness is produced through their yielding to his temptations; but it is not nature in them. They are not “conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity,” pertaining to their spirits. It is the flesh that is alluded to in that passage. Then why not follow the dictates of the good Spirit? We talk about it, read of it, believe in it—that Spirit which gives joy and peace to the children of men, and wishes and does no evil to any person; and that is the Spirit of the Gospel.

If people would listen to the whisperings of that Spirit, they would be led into the paths of truth and righteousness. If they would overcome temptations to evil—cause their spirits to overcome the flesh, they would bring themselves into subjection to the law of Christ and become Saints of God.

You design evils in your neighborhoods, in your families, and in yourselves. The disposition to produce evil, to annoy, to disturb the peace of families, neighbors, and society, is produced by the power of the enemy over the flesh, through the fall. Every person who will examine his own experience—who will watch closely the leading of his own desires—will learn that the very great majority prefer to do good rather than to do evil, and would pursue a correct course, were it not for the evil power that subjects them to its sway. In wrongdoing, their own consciences condemn them. They are taught what is right, they read what is right, and at times the Spirit of the Lord is upon them, teaching them what is right, and would be upon them from their youth, were it not that they give way to temptation and let the flesh overcome the spirits that God has placed within us. I feel to continually urge upon those who profess to be Saints never to grieve that Spirit that enlightens their minds, teaches them righteousness, to love God and their fellow creatures, and to do good to themselves and to all around them, to promote righteousness upon the earth, and overcome iniquity in themselves and those around them as fast as possible.

Some may imagine and really believe that I am opposed to the great majority of the inhabitants of the earth—to the religious and political parties of the day; but it is not so. To individuals, as such, I am not opposed. The doctrine I preach is not opposed to an individual upon the earth. If I am opposed to anything, it is to sin—to that which produces evil in the world. I believe that I may say with perfect safety that I am as clear as the stars that shine in the heavens with regard to opposing any mortal being on the earth, though many construe the opposing of their sins into an opposition to themselves. I do not feel opposed to an individual on the earth. I have not any enmity in my heart, or at least I should not have. If I have, I am thus far wrong. If we harbor vindictiveness, hatred, malice, and a spirit that produces evil within us, we are so far given up to the power of evil. But when I say that I am opposed to evil principles and their consequent practices, I use an ex pression that I think you can understand.

I am much opposed to men and women who say that they believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ his Son, and treat their names with lightness. I am very much opposed to a dishonest spirit, and that too in this community as well as in the world. I am very much opposed to deception. I am very much opposed to evil speaking. Now understand me completely as I mean. If I should hear a man advocate the erroneous principles he had imbibed through education, and oppose those principles, some might imagine that I was opposed to that man, when, in fact, I am only opposed to every evil and erroneous principle he advances. His morality, so far as it goes, is good.

In the Christian world, thousands and millions of them are as close to the truth as any man that ever lived upon the face of the earth, so far as moral, Christian deportment is concerned. I can find a great many of this community who live as moral lives as men and women can. Is there anything else necessary and important? Yes—to so live as to have the light of the Spirit of truth abiding within you day by day, that when you hear the truth, you know it as well as you know the faces of your father’s family, and also understand every manifestation produced by erroneous principles.

I plead with the Elders of Israel day by day, when I have an opportunity, to live their religion—to so live that the Holy Ghost will be their constant companion; and then they will be qualified to be judges in Israel, to preside as Bishops, presiding Elders, and High Councilors, and as men of God, to take their families and friends by the hand and lead them in the path of truth and virtue, and eventually into the kingdom of God. Let me now tell you, Latter-day Saints, that you do not live to your privileges; you do not enjoy that which it is your privilege to enjoy; and when I see and hear of contentions, broils, misrule, bad feelings, ill conduct, wrong in my neighbor or myself, I know that we do not live according to our profession. Why not live above all suspicion and above the power of Satan? This is our privilege.

So far as morality is concerned, millions of the inhabitants of the earth live according to the best light they have—according to the best knowledge they possess. I have told you frequently that they will receive according to their works; and all who live according to the best principles in their possession, or that they can understand, will receive peace, glory, comfort, joy, and a crown that will be far beyond what they are anticipating. They will not be lost.

I was highly gratified by a remark made by the Reverend Mr. Vaux, the gentleman who has just addressed you, that the terror of the Lord never can, neither should, in the nature of things, bring men to repentance. Those of you who are acquainted with the history of the world reflect upon the conduct of the inhabitants of the earth; and when did tyranny ever cause repentance of evil? Never. It produces crime. When men are infringed upon in their rights and tyrannized over, they are prone to rise in their might and declare, “We will do as we please, and will let you know that we will have the ruling of our own rights and dispositions.” Tyrannical power may possess the ability to behead them, hang them, or sentence them to prison; but resolute men will have their will.

Unless a ruler has the power of the Priesthood, he cannot rule the minds of the people and win their unbounded confidence and love. To illustrate my idea, I will relate an anecdote. A young man entered the ministry, but soon learned that he could not rule the minds of the people. He then turned his attention to the study and practice of medicine, and directly discovered that the power of evil had induced the people to care more for their bodies than for their souls; but that profession did not give him the influence he desired, for he found the will of the people first and foremost with them. He then studied law, and could command all the influence he desired, for their wills they would gratify in preference to either soul or body. You cannot break down the indomitable will of the human family. I have known children to be so abused and whipped as to render them almost or entirely worthless, and still the indomitable will remained. How came it there? God organized us to become absolutely independent, and the will I am speaking about is implanted in us by him; and the spirit of every intelligent being is organized to become independent according to its capacity.

You cannot break nor destroy the will. It is influenced and controlled, more or less, by the evil that is sown in the flesh, but not in the spirit, until the body has grown to years of accountability; then evil, when listened to, begins to rule and overrule the spirit God has placed within man.

The Apostles and Prophets, when speaking of our relationship to God, say that we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. God is our Father, and Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother, and both are our everlasting friends. This is Bible doctrine. Do you know the relationship you sustain to them? Christ has overcome; and now it is for us to overcome, that we may be crowned with him heirs of God—joint heirs with Christ.

I feel to urge upon the people con tinually to depart from every evil. We wish to see the kingdom of God in all its fulness on the earth; and whoso beholds it will see a kingdom of purity, a kingdom of holiness, a people filled with the power of the upper world—with the power of God; and sin will be overcome, and this independent organization will be brought into subjection to that law. We call it the law of Christ: it is the law of eternal life. When we speak of the law of Christ, we speak of it as the power to keep matter in its organization.

You read of the first and second death. We witness, day by day, the dissolution of the body; and there is also a second death. Let a person observe the law of Christ as set forth in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and in all revelations God has given from the days of Adam until now, and his conduct tends to eternal life. It will not save their bodies from death, for it is the decree of the Almighty that the flesh shall die. They will be made pure and holy and be brought into a celestial kingdom, through the body’s being made pure by falling back into the dust. Sin has entered into the world, and death by sin; so death has passed upon all mankind, and there is no excuse: they must meet this change.

It may be said that Enoch and his holy city went to heaven, that Elijah was caught up, and that it is generally believed that Moses did not die; still the sentence that is passed upon all mankind will come upon them at some time or other. They must meet this change, to be prepared to enter into the celestial kingdom of our Father and God.

It has also been decreed by the Almighty that spirits, upon taking bodies, shall forget all they had known previously, or they could not have a day of trial—could not have an opportunity for proving themselves in darkness and temptation, in unbelief and wickedness, to prove themselves worthy of eternal existence. The greatest gift that God can bestow upon the children of men is the gift of eternal life; that is, to give mankind power to preserve their identity—to preserve themselves before the Lord.

The disposition, the will, the spirit, when it comes from heaven and enters the tabernacle, is as pure as an angel. The spirit from the eternal worlds enters the tabernacle at the time of what is termed quickening, and forgets all it formerly knew. It descends below all things, as Jesus did. All beings, to be crowned with crowns of glory and eternal lives, must in their infantile weakness begin, with regard to their trials, the day of their probation: they must descend below all things, in order to ascend above all things. There could not be a more helpless child born of a woman than was Jesus Christ; yet he so grew and increased in wisdom and might, that in childhood he could confound the doctors and lawyers in his questions and answers. He increased rapidly in his mental capacity, for he was the son of the Father who dwells in eternity, and was capacitated to receive the wisdom of eternity faster than we can. But we are capacitated to shun every evil, if we listen to the still small voice and to those holy principles that flow from the Fountain of all intelligence.

Cleave to light and intelligence with all your hearts, my brethren, that you may be prepared to preserve your identity, which is the greatest gift of God. God bless you! Amen.

Idolatry, &c

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, February 7, 1858.

Through the remarks of brothers Edward Partridge and Silas Smith, who have lately returned from their mission to the Sandwich Islands, we are made acquainted with a new variety of customs; and I must confess that, hearing a relation of the customs and traditions of the natives of those islands, I am almost led to believe that they are a people very much like ourselves—that they are entitled to the appellation of human beings. They are prone to wander—prone to weaknesses; and if they have any knowledge of God, they are prone to forget him and to turn to their idols. They are prone to be froward in all their ways, very much like ourselves.

We believe that we have been better taught, and that we are quite an enlightened people. Christian Europe and America deem themselves the most enlightened people upon the earth; and an equal self-confidence among those islanders is all that is wanting to make them believe that they know more than the Europeans and Americans. I have an idea that the Anglo-Saxon race possesses more confidence in themselves and more worldly wisdom than any other nation upon the earth; yet take the people on the Sandwich and Society Islands, and the natives of these mountains and of North and South America, or of any country where there are natives in their idolatry—those whom we call ignorant, dark, benighted, lost, possessed of little or no knowledge, and let a person understanding the Priesthood visit them, and I will venture to say that he would find more and better traits of the Priesthood of God among them than can be found among the Christians. And though it may appear surprising and a matter hardly credible, yet even we are more or less under the power of traditions similar to those of the heathen.

There is a cause for their traditions, customs, and present practices. They have grown into their present idolatry through a neglect of the truth, through a proneness to wander and forget their God and true religion. Let this people backslide—lose their present faith and knowledge, and in after generations, perhaps, a few would cling to the Priesthood with all the vigor that we do, and would understand that the people were going into darkness, and would urge them to have some custom, some form, some representation or figure of their former faith and religion. What is commonly termed idolatry has arisen from a few sincere men, full of faith and having a little knowledge, urging upon a backsliding people to preserve some customs—to cling to some fashions or figures, to put them in mind of that God with whom their fathers were acquainted, without designing or wishing the people to worship an idol—to worship stocks, stones, beasts, and birds. Idols have been introduced, which are now worshipped, and have been for centuries and thousands of years; but they were not introduced at once. They were introduced to preserve among the people the idea of the true God.

I have frequently said, and say again, that there are and always have been a great many in this Church that are not Saints. There are more “Mormons” than Saints; and there are different degrees and grades of “Mormons” and of Saints. There are many that are “Mormons” that are not Saints; and so it will be until Jesus comes to separate the sheep from the goats; or, in other language, until the Husbandman shall bid his servants gather the wheat into the barn, and the tares into bundles to be burned. This must be; this we all believe and can understand.

If we are not all Saints, the most of this people are trying to be. If we are not as perfect in our sphere as are the angels, we are trying to prepare ourselves to become so. We have not yet received our inheritances; but we are trying to prepare ourselves to be worthy to receive them. Yet it can readily be understood that if this people should backslide, they would, as others have, introduce an idolatrous worship. All Protestants accuse the Roman Catholic Church of worshipping idols. It is the practice of its members to carry a cross with them to worship the Virgin Mary. They have paintings and images in their chapels and other places of worship; and they are accused of worshipping these paintings and images, and that they are idolatrous worshippers. But those representations were introduced in the same way that a father would show his children that Jesus Christ is actually a man like their father, by showing them a figure representing Jesus as extended upon the cross, and saying, “This gives you, my children, an idea that he was a man.” Now, let those children, when saying their prayers, have that representation before them, and how long would it be before some of their neighbors’ children would tell their mothers that those children were worshipping a picture or image? This is the way that idolatry has sprung up in the world, through a method established to keep the people in remembrance of the God they once worshipped and were acquainted with.

Do the Christian world know whether God has eyes to see, ears to hear, or hands, or a body? They are as ignorant of the true God as are those islanders, and all whom we call heathen. And our traditions are such that we are yet more or less in the dark, and are under the necessity of assembling here from Sabbath to Sabbath, and in Ward meetings, and besides, have to call our solemn assemblies, to teach, talk, pray, sing, and exhort. What for? To keep us in remembrance of our God and our holy religion. Is this custom necessary? Yes; because we are so liable to forget—so prone to wander, that we need to have the Gospel sounded in our ears as much as once, twice, or thrice a week, or, behold, we will turn again to our idols. It is immaterial what the idol is, whether it is what the Californians call a slug, or whether it is a twenty-dollar gold piece, or an eagle, or half-eagle, or whether our affections and attention fasten upon our farms, houses, and other worldly goods—if we are not constantly exhorting the people and setting before them the necessity of living their religion, calling back their minds that have been wandering, and preaching and praying with them, behold, they would turn to their idols.

Were the Lord to give us peace for a few years, so that we should have no sorrow or trouble from without, with the land producing abundantly, with the fine weather and the healthy climate, how long would it be before many of you would again want to go to California to get gold, and turn away from your holy religion to worship an idol? Rather than neglect your holy religion entirely, you had better keep your images right before your eyes and say your prayers to an idol, whether it be cut out of wood or is a dog’s skull, so that you believe there is something behind that which will actually point your affections to look beyond that which you see with your natural eyes, and cause you to believe in a Supreme Being, in an Overruling Hand, in an All-wise Providence, or to worship even a god without body or parts. Are we under traditions to the same extent that some others are? Perhaps not. We do not think we are; and yet we have our traditions upon us; and if we are not careful, we are liable to become as great idolaters as there are in the world.

Brother Silas Smith has just told you that he had not been at home four days when he heard his name called for another mission; and he says that he is ready and willing, of which I have no doubt; for I never knew him when he was not willing to do anything that he was told to do. We say that we are willing to do anything required to sustain us in our religious rights—to sacrifice our all for our religion and the hope that is before us. Brother Clapp has just taught us that we are not worthy of eternal life, unless we are willing to sacrifice all. Brother Clapp, what have you to give? [“Everything I have.”] But you have not got anything. John, what are you willing to give for eternal life? You say, “Everything.” What have you got? Consider well what you have. Says he, “I live here; I have my life.” No, you have not; for it is in the hands of your Creator. “I have a wife.” She is only committed to you to enable you to prove whether you will treat her in a righteous manner: she is not yet yours. “I have chil dren that are the offspring of my loins.” They are not yours; for you cannot produce them of yourself. “I have a farm.” No; that farm belongs to another. The Devil says that it is his; but we expect Jesus will have the whole earth. “I have horses and possessions.” Reflect well, and consider whether you really own anything. Upon reflection, you discern at once that your wife may be taken from you; your farm and your other possessions may be taken; and your gold and silver may take the wings of the morning and fly from you. If God withdraws his sustaining hand, you sink. You have no wife, children, horses, houses, nor land.

When men and women talk about giving everything for the salvation which they anticipate and live for, behold, they have nothing to give; nor have they anything to do, only to do their duty. And what is that? To improve upon that which is committed to their possession—to prove themselves worthy to their Father and God, that ere long they may be worthy to receive crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal life. Then we shall be beyond the power of Satan. We shall be where we can control death and him that has the power of death; and we shall reign triumphantly as the Gods and as the sons of God. We must inherit that power and glory before we can say that we really own anything, even the least thing in this world or in eternity.

Some persons talk about sacrificing; but we have nothing to sacrifice. All we have to do is to love and serve our God, and do everything we can to bring knowledge to ourselves and to the people—everything we can to make them happy, wealthy, strong, and numerous, so that we may overcome the powers of darkness and reign triumphantly on the earth, Jesus Christ being our head and king. That is all we have to do. Tell about houses, lands, and other property being ours, and that we have no traditions and idols! I would as soon see a man worshipping a little god made of brass or of wood as to see him worship his property. I have a number of such gods brought to me from the East Indies and from the islands; and I would as soon see one of my brethren worship one of those brass idols as to see him worship his property; and he would be as much justified in the sight of God. Does this congregation understand what idolatry is? The New Testament says that covetousness is idolatry; therefore, a covetous people is an idolatrous people.

Some of you are just as much idolaters as are the heathen, but you do not know it; neither do they realize their idolatry. Were I on the islands and seeing the natives bow before their images to be healed, I would say, “Have faith.” And instead of disfellowshipping a man for worshipping an idol, I would exhort him to have exceeding great faith in his idols, upon the same principle that I exhort the brethren here to have faith in our God. “And if your idol will not heal you, look beyond to that Being who can.” I am not for cutting people off from the Church that worship their property instead of their God, but for bearing with them until they shall gain light and knowledge so as to see their errors and turn to the God of truth. I would say to idolaters, “If you have faith in an idol, have a little more; and if you have faith enough, the Lord may work upon your minds so that you can understand the blessings he has in store for his people.” And I say to the men and women who profess to be Latter-day Saints, “God giveth and he withholdeth; at his pleasure he raises up and puts down kings, emperors, thrones, and dominions; and the power and wisdom and glory of the Almighty, who fills immensity and operates upon all things, will prevail.”

What good can our wealth do, were it not to promote the cause of God upon the earth, overcome the power of Satan, and be used to bring forth righteousness and overcome darkness? That is dedicating ourselves and all we are made stewards over to the building up of the cause of God on the earth. In so doing we can be justified. We cannot receive the glory, the kingdoms, the thrones, the wisdom, and the power that are designed for us, without a close application in our studies and in our efforts in our whole lives to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. We need to apply our minds to wisdom as strongly and closely as brother Silas Smith had to apply his mind to learn the language of the natives, that he might be able to teach them his ideas without trusting to their passing through the mouth of another. No matter how much of the Spirit a teacher has, if his words have to be interpreted by one who has not the Spirit; the people are not benefited; “For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” No matter how much a man preaches, nor how much of the Holy Ghost he has—the spirit may be edified, but the understanding will remain unfruitful. And if we trust to some other person to bring forth the hidden things of the kingdom, if we are all the time dependent on an interpreter who has not the Holy Ghost, we cannot grow rapidly in the knowledge of the truth.

We must live so that our knowledge and faith shall reach beyond the ideal, no matter what that is; and we must have knowledge of the living God for ourselves. The people wish to know whether they cannot find out the living God. Yes, just as quickly as you are prepared; but you must cease worshipping idols. Then, when persons say they are willing to sacrifice their all for the kingdom of God, they will do it without whining. Then, if a Ward is required to perform a certain work, they will not complain about it. Then they will be apt to cast their idols behind them, and will not so worship and covet a beautiful span of horses that they will not let them go to save the whole house of Israel. But in the first place, they have nothing to sacrifice; in the second place, God has given them enough with which to benefit his kingdom; and thirdly, if it is not on hand when required, by-and-by it will be said, “Take from those persons what they seem to have, and give it to those who are worthy—who can dispose of their property to build up the kingdom of God.” It will be said of us all, unless we improve upon what we have, “Take that which they seem to have, and give to those who improve upon their talents and will gain more.”

Whether you can see it or not, I know that this people are more or less prone to idolatry; for I see that spirit manifested every day, and hear of it from nearly every quarter. We must stop worshipping idols. We are in possession of the keys of the kingdom; the eternal Priesthood is committed to this people, and we are blessed as are no other people of which we have any knowledge. This people have the words of life—the way of life and salvation: they know how to save themselves and all that will cleave to them. Now, what is demanded at our hands? Is it to pray that we may be faithful? It seems to be a burlesque. It is most disgraceful to be under the necessity of saying, “Brethren and sisters, let us be faithful.” Rather so obtain a particle of wisdom before God that we can see our own standing, what we are called to do, and understand what is bestowed upon us. You might as well pray for the angels to be faithful as for this people. If you could see and understand things as they are, your whole souls, minds, affections, lives, and everything at your control would be sealed up in God and his work. Then would it be, “You cannot take my horses, for I cannot spare them.” No. Who cares for all the horses in the world? The Devil says that he has claim on them, and he means to devote them to his use. I will see that all the horses, mules, gold, silver, clothing, and people belonging to this Church are devoted to the kingdom of Christ, God being my helper; and I will outgeneral the Devil, and baffle him in every turn, and head him in every nook and corner; and he shall be turned hither and thither as the Lord will. I am determined, in the name of Israel’s God, to see the Devil whipped from the earth, and outgeneraled and fooled in all his schemes, and whirled about by this Church until he is glad to leave the earth and go to his own place; and then we will see whether or not the Lord God has all things that belong to him.

Compare our position and situation with that of the rest of the world; look at the inhabitants of the earth, and try to understand the object of our being on this earth, the object of the forming and peopling this earth, and designing and decreeing that things should be thus and so. Try to understand why our first parents partook of the forbidden fruit, and why Jesus came to the earth to redeem fallen man. Let us try to learn why things are suffered to proceed on the earth as they do.

If you get an understanding to know the purposes and designs of our Creator in framing and peopling this earth, do you think that I should be under the necessity of exhorting you to say that you will sacrifice your all for eternal life? The idea is nonsensical. Should I be under the necessity of exhorting you to live your religion and cling to your God? If we should not come to meeting during the next sixteen years, and if we had never met since the brethren were driven from Jackson County, everyone would live his religion. If this people had understood what they ought, the early Elders might have lived in foreign nations and preached the Gospel until this day, and they would then have been better prepared to worship God acceptably than many are now; and this people would have been more cautious, better prepared, and more contented to practice what they know, instead of searching after things that do not concern them.

We know enough to damn us; and when we know enough for that, we know enough to save us, if that knowledge is improved upon. We are a happy people. We are the only people on earth that acknowledge God and truly believe in him. The Christian and heathen world profess to believe in him; and the Jews say that they believe in him: but they do not believe in Jesus Christ. The Christians profess to believe in Jesus Christ; but, if he told the truth, not one of them really believes in him. I do not doubt their honesty; but I doubt the manifestation of any knowledge they have of him; for if they were his disciples, they would do the works which he did. That alone is positive proof to me that they neither believe in him nor have any idea what he designs concerning them. They may be honest and sincere; but they are very ignorant. This people have the true knowledge; they have it not. We have the Priesthood; they have it not. We have the way of life and salvation; they have it not. We know how to be Saints—how to save ourselves and all who will hearken to our counsel; they do not.

Now, ask yourselves, is there any necessity of preaching, praying, teaching, and exhorting, to learn us our duty and make us Saints? It is almost labor lost. You heard brother Silas say that if the Elders should leave those islands, in a few years the natives who have embraced the Gospel would be as bad as they ever were. If there is nothing more of them than that—if they have no desire to do good—no power in themselves to keep them from giving way to the Devil, unless there is an Elder from Great Salt Lake to watch them, the quicker they are damned the better. I would not, in such a case, walk five rods for the whole of them. If they do not know enough, after what they have been taught, to save themselves, they will be damned, and I will not ask another Elder to wear out his strength and waste his energies in so useless a work.

Those islanders and the natives of this country are of the house of Israel—of the seed of Abraham, and to them pertain the promises; and every soul of them, sooner or later, will be saved in the kingdom of God, or be destroyed root and branch. If they do not choose in this probation to take the path that leads to life, let them go their own road. The honest in heart in all nations and generations who are worthy to receive any salvation will receive it, sooner or later; and I do not care how quick the Lord Almighty cleans the floor; for then we will build up Zion and redeem the honest in heart. But it is not for me to know the times and the seasons: it is for me to be contented in the discharge of my duty today, and let tomorrow bring forth what it will.

May the Lord bless you, brethren and sisters. Amen.

Testimony of God’s Servants Faithfully Borne to the Nations—Gentile Opposition—Judgments of God—Redemption of Zion

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 24, 1858.

Once more I have the opportunity of beholding the faces of the Latter-day Saints here in the valleys of the mountains.

I begin to be almost weary in trying to carry salvation to the wicked nations of the Gentiles; and because of the many years that I have spent on missions, I find myself almost a stranger in the midst of the Saints at home. There are now but very few that I can recognize. There are many that have known me for upwards of a quarter-of-a-century that I have forgotten.

I have felt, since I started for home this last time, that I should, perhaps, be permitted to tarry with you longer than I have had the privilege of doing at any former period of my life.

If anyone should ask me where my home has been for the last quarter-of-a-century, I should answer—Among the nations; for that has been my principal abiding place ever since the year 1830.

When I received a letter from the President, releasing me from the Office at Liverpool, and also releasing all the missionaries in that country, without specifying in the letter what time I should return, I immediately felt a great desire to return this winter; and by this means I believe I have saved to myself some six or seven months time that I can dwell here in the midst of the Saints; and at this peculiar period I feel that it will be a great blessing to me to be with you—that if you have to share toils and tribulations in having your enemies upon your borders, I may share them with you; and that if you have peculiar blessings bestowed upon your heads, that I also may be made a partaker of them.

Should my brethren say to me, “Brother Orson, we wish you to take a mission, now, to China, or to the East Indies, or to any other part of this globe, and tarry there twenty-seven years before you return to your home,” I would go. Yes, I would gladly go, and feel that it was my duty, and that I was pleasing God in obeying the counsel of his servants.

The Lord sent forth this message some twenty-eight years ago; and, during this period, the servants of the Lord have been sent out especially to the Gentile nations, that their times might be fulfilled, and to give them an opportunity of receiving the truth. Those servants have gone forth, though in their weakness; and, with very few exceptions, they have been very faithful in their duties. They have fulfilled that parable that is recorded in the Book of Mormon, where the laborers are said to have gone forth and labored with their might, and the Lord of the vineyard labored with them; and it predicts that they should be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

We must, therefore, draw this one conclusion—that the testimony that has been borne to the Gentile nations is sufficient, so far as our weak judgment can comprehend, to condemn them all, if they never hear another sound from the voices of the servants of God while they exist in the flesh. Why is it enough? Has every individual among the nations of the Gentiles been preached to? I will tell you what has been done.

Thousands and tens of thousands of large congregations have been preached to in the United States and in Great Britain. Thousands and thousands of the servants of God have lifted up their voices, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and warned the nations; and the Lord told us, more than twenty years ago, that he had sent forth his servants to warn the people, and it became those who had been warned to warn their neighbors. The Lord, more than twenty years ago, said to his servants, “Your garments are clean from the blood of this generation.”

Where is there a Gentile nation upon this earth, if they were to be destroyed this very day, that could come up before the Lord of Hosts and plead any excuse before him for not knowing concerning the latter-day message which has been sent forth? According to my feelings upon this subject, I believe that they have been fully warned, beginning with the nation of the United States that inhabit this promised land. They have also been thoroughly warned in Great Britain. The nations of Europe have been offered the message; but they would not receive it. It seems to me, according to my judgment, and according to the vast amount of testimony that has been sounded in their ears, that they are delivered over, not as individuals, but as nations, to the hardness of their own hearts, to fight against the work of God.

The Lord says, in the preface of the Book of Covenants, “Search these commandments; for every jot and every tittle shall be fulfilled, and not one word shall fail.” The inhabitants of the earth were commanded to search those commandments; and you will find in that preface that the Lord told the inhabitants of the earth that his servants, the weak things of the earth that he was then sending forth, had power to seal both on earth and in heaven the unbelieving—yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure.

Now, the Lord moves upon the hearts of our First Presidency to say to the Elders of Israel abroad, “It is enough: come home. Your testimony is sufficient. The wicked reject it; they fight against it: therefore you may now return to these mountains and valleys. Return from the nations of Europe, return from the nations of Africa, return from Great Britain, from the United States, and from the Canadas, and come home to these mountains.”

In sending forth a message of this kind to the Elders, what does it show? Why, it closes for the present the testimony of the servants of God, and shows that the warning is sufficient, and that both earth and heaven bear witness that the Gentiles are left without excuse.

Apparently, all the devils that brother Kimball and the other brethren saw in vision on their first mission to England seem now to have entered into the tabernacles of the people; and you can see them gnash their teeth at the Saints, just as they were seen by brother Kimball; for the Devil influences them and makes them instruments to fight against the people of God.

Read the vision of Nephi, where the Lord showed him the sending forth of this message to the nations—“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and the abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together in multitudes upon all the face of the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” [Book of Mormon, 1st Book of Nephi, chap. iii., 47-50.

What is it that is going to increase righteousness and the power of God upon the Saints that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth? It is the increase of righteousness here at headquarters; and as branches of the great vine of the same Church, they will feel the influence of the same Spirit, even before the intelligence can reach them by letter. When you reform and turn away from your sins—when you practice righteousness here, the Saints of God abroad feel stirred up to do the same things, and the Spirit of the Lord rests upon them the same as it does upon the people here, only not to the same extent, because you live at head quarters, at the fountainhead, and you have a greater experience; therefore, your experience, righteousness, and faithfulness, entitle you to more choice gifts than those that have not the same experience.

The power of God will rest upon the Saints of these valleys first, and then upon the Saints in all the world, just in proportion to their righteousness. The Lord is going to increase power here among the people. Have we any dangerous circumstances to pass through that render it necessary that more power should be made manifest? Have we got to bear testimony to kings and to the rulers of the earth at the present time? No, we are not called to do this; but those who are in the nations abroad may have this to do.

What, then, is needful to be done? We have got a different work to do than what we have had for the last quarter-of-a-century.

You recollect that the Lord has said he would try and prove us in one scale, and then he would try us in another, and see if we would be faithful in carrying out the principles of salvation.

When we were thus tried, we went forth and whipped out the religious world spiritually. Their priests, their lawyers, their doctors, their great men, their discussionists, and their wise men have all been whipped and backed out—so much so that they have confessed that they could not stand before the powerful reasoning of the servants of God and the power which accompanied the great latter-day message. But now we have to be tried in another point. We have whipped them out so far as their doctrines are concerned, and they have now come up to try physical force upon us.

I do not know that the Lord would have sent us down there to drive them, if they had not first come against us. But they have come up with sword in hand, with the best engines and imple ments of war, with their best disciplined armies, their scientific officers, with men that profess to have skill in all the arts of warfare and ability to whip out the few Saints here in the mountains.

Do you think that that God who has enabled his Saints to fight moral and spiritual battles, to array argument against argument and principle against principle in all the contests which they have been called to have, and who has brought them off victorious—do you think he will not defend them at this time also? If he has supported us in all these things, do you suppose that he is going to allow us to be overcome by those who have persecuted his servants, and to let our necks be trampled down under their feet? If I have any understanding of ancient and modern prophecy and of the spirit that is in me, the Lord intends to perform his part of the work for the deliverance of his Saints.

I must say to the Latter-day Saints throughout this Territory, that the same God who has strengthened them to overcome their enemies spiritually will be their defense, and his power and strength and his arm will be stretched out for their deliverance. When you go to meet your enemies, they shall be prostrated before you, and you shall overcome them. And as you have overcome their priests by the strong force of argument, so shall you literally and physically put your enemies to flight, and one shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight; and this you will do by the power and strength of that God who fought for Israel in ancient days.

Have we any ancient prophecy upon this subject? Yes, we have; and let us bring it up; for we now live about the time that the mother of abominations was to gather together and fight against the Saints.

In the last chapter of the 1st Book of Nephi, paragraph 3, the Prophet says—“And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it. For behold, saith the prophet, the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned. For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous. Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.”

Nephi looked upon these things and saw the condition that the people would be in, and therefore he said, “You need not fear.” Do you hear it, Latter-day Saints? You need not fear, for the Lord will preserve his people, even if it must needs be that he sends fire down from heaven to destroy the wicked and those that preach false doctrines to the children of men, even the whore of all the earth; for they must tremble and fall and crumble to dust.

I feel as strong, and I do not know but stronger, in regard to the work that is now before the Saints, than I ever have done in bearing testimony to the truth of the Gospel. I have always felt that God would give me wisdom, argument, and testimony to confound gainsayers and opposers of the truth; and thus God has enabled me to do. I have the same feeling today—not that we have the strength to do it ourselves; but I know that God will strengthen us for the work we have to do.

Though the Lord may suffer our enemies to come and invade our borders, and though we have been driven and trampled upon, and though we have laid down our necks for them to tread upon, he has now got us here, where he will show forth his power.

He has let us rest in these peaceful valleys in safety and in quietness for some ten years, and now he seems to say to the wicked, “Inasmuch as you will not give heed to the testimony of my servants, and you are determined to invade their borders, go up and try it, and I will show you that I will gird on my strength and arm my servants, and they shall defend my cause.”

It will be just as the Lord said in December, 1830—“I will call the weak of the earth, and I will gird up their loins; and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet.” He also says, “I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens also; and the inhabitants of the earth shall know that you are my people, because of the power and the strength that shall be manifest in defending yourselves against your enemies.” This is what the Lord intends to do.

It needed the United States as a nation or as a government to unjustly come up against us, in order to bring about these things. How many scores and hundreds sit in this congregation that have never been in one solitary mob? Have you been tried with persecution and mobbing and death? Have you been tried at the mouth of the cannon or at the point of the bayonet? No—many of you have not; hence a trial is needful. Can you expect the power of God without a trial of your faith? It is expedient that you have a trial of your faith. It would be one of the easiest things in the world for the Almighty to send fire and brimstone upon the earth and destroy our enemies, or to swallow them up by an earthquake as he did in days of Israel.

In those days the Lord enabled Israel to overcome the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, &c. How easy it would have been for the Lord to have destroyed them by earthquake, or by fire, or by something of this kind! But he did not do it—and why? Because he wanted to do several things at the same time: he wanted to destroy the wicked, and to see if his servants would flinch in the hour of danger. The Lord is going to defend this people, but not without their agency. He is not going to let us sit upon our easy chairs and not expose ourselves. If we were to do this, we should not be worthy of the kingdom of God. He offers us the kingdom, and says it is ours, upon certain conditions.

What else does he say? “My Church shall be free and independent of all creatures beneath the celestial world.” Have we been free from the United States? No, we have not; but we are to be made free from every government upon the face of the earth; and wherever there is any dominion that is beneath that of the celestial world, we are to be free from it.

Now, suppose the Lord had offered us all these things, and we should sit down and not move a finger for the blessings he had given, should we be worthy of them? No, not at all. We should be in this condition, if we were suffered to take possession of these blessings without any trials.

If we are dilatory, we shall have to suffer as in days gone by, and our enemies will come in here and bring in their whoredoms and abominations that they have been accustomed to from their youth up. This will be the case, if we do not save ourselves by our diligence and obedience. But if we show to God that we are willing to stand up in behalf of his kingdom and of the truth, even unto death, then, notwithstanding our enemies may be two hundred to our one, we shall feel strong in the Lord, and he will fight our battles. Then we shall accomplish that which has been promised by the Prophets; and not only the United States will have to suffer, but as the Prophet Isaiah says—“The multitude of all the nations that fight against Zion shall become like the dream of a night vision, as when a man who is hungry dreameth that he is satisfied with food, and he awaketh and behold he is faint.” So will be all nations who fight against this people: they will pass away before the power of the servants of God. His servants will be clothed with wisdom and with the power of the Most High to prevail against all their enemies.

We would let the poor curses alone, if they would stay at home and mind their own business. The American continent never was designed for such a corrupt Government as the United States’ to flourish or prosper long upon it. After they should become ripened in iniquity, it was not intended they should continue. The Lord has designed another thing, and for this reason we are here in these mountains: the little stone has been rolling uphill.

If our enemies keep coming up here, after the Lord has shown his power and enabled his servants to cope with them, if they still continue to fight against Zion, the Saints of God will roll down upon their borders and take them upon their own lands. But before that day comes, we have to show our wisdom by skirmishes and in various conditions in which we shall be placed; and we have got to show the nations that God intends to do something here in the mountains.

When he has done this, we shall then roll down to the borders of Missouri and take possession of our inheritances, from which we have been illegally and unconstitutionally driven.

Brother Kimball says we could not roll down until we rolled up. But we have been rolling uphill for the past ten years, in fulfillment of the prediction of Isaiah, which says—“O Zion, that bringest glad tidings, get thee up into the high mountain;” and having rolled up for ten years, we shall soon begin to roll down. But I do not think it will take ten years to roll downhill; for we shall be propelled by the power of God, and the work will be hastened.

The power of God will be with us, and the Lord God will redeem Zion, as he redeemed Israel in Egypt; and not only his angels, but his presence will go before us, and the nations of the earth shall fear because of the power of God which shall accompany us.

Then will be the time that the Gentiles can be preached to by the Elders with some sense; or rather, they will be preached to by Israel that is scattered amongst them. Then, brethren, you can go and preach to them, and say the power of God is with you, and say to the people, Look yonder, and behold the children of Zion delivered by the power of God; and then you will be respected. Then you can go to the palaces of the great and preach to the king upon his throne, to the great men, to the nobles, and rich men of the earth; and many will fear, and receive your testimony, and flow to Zion, bringing their riches with them. But now you could not go into their fine palaces, nor find access to their rich and splendid mansions. You could not get them to hear you for one moment. No: they would degrade you, if possible, to the lowest hell.

There is not a people upon the face of the earth that were ever degraded like the Latter-day Saints. They look upon you worse than they do upon any set of pirates that travel the open seas—that is, if they believe their own words; for they circulate these things in their lectures and in their periodicals; and there is no use to try to preach to them, but let the Lord work with them and with this people.

Let the Lord purify his kingdom, and let the most bitter branches be pruned off—not by some means entirely independent of the Saints; but let the people go to work and trim off such bitter branches as Missouri and Illinois, because of their wickedness and mobocracy; and then the nations will begin to see that there is power there. Yes, trim them up, in order that the natural branches that bear fruit may bear more fruit—that Zion, in other words, may increase her tents and stretch forth her curtains, even the curtains of her habitations, and make not only the desolate cities of Zion, but the desolate cities of the Gentiles to resound with songs of praise to Him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. This is what the Prophet says about it—“And their desolate cities shall be built up and be inhabited by the Saints of the Most High.” God will bring about this work; and as to our being overcome in these valleys of the mountains, it will not be, if this people do as they are told—if they are willing to do right in all things.

If this people will hearken to the law of God, and in everything be humble and meek, and keep his commandments by day and by night, from one year’s end to another, we shall be, as it is said in the parable of the vineyard, as one body—as the roots and tops of the great tree which the Lord God has planted and made equal, so that the top will not jostle over because there is not sufficient strength in the roots.

I want to see this people of one heart and of one mind; and when the word comes forth, I want to have them as well-disciplined as the Gentiles, and ten thousand times better.

This is the people who have the right to be of one heart and of one mind for the defense of Zion, for the defense of their wives and children, for the defense of their vineyards, and their flocks and herds, but more especially for the defense of the kingdom of the Most High God.

Let this be the main object of this people. You know that it is the kingdom of God or nothing! Therefore may righteousness be our object from this time forth and forever. Amen.

Mission to England—Reminiscences, Etc.

A Discourse by Elder Ezra T. Benson, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, January 24, 1858.

It will be two years the 22nd of next April since I started, in company with brother Orson Pratt and others, to take a mission to Europe; and it seems but as a dream for me to appear in your midst this morning. It seems as if it were only a few days since I was in the midst of this people; for the days, weeks, and months that have passed have gone swiftly, and it seems as though a great deal of the time had not been measured to me.

I presume this is the experience of many of you who are now before me; and although many of you have passed through scenes of trial, yet you have felt to realize your situation in the reformation more than you ever have done before. Feelings have come over you that you have never before experienced since you have been in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, notwithstanding all our past failings and weaknesses, we have been greatly blessed and prospered, and the hand of the Lord has been over us for good all the day long.

Now, if we all realize and do actually know that God is with us—that he has forgiven our sins—that we are in fellowship with this people and have confidence to go before our God in prayer, knowing that our sins are put far away from us, no more to return again, unless through our disobedience, it is one of the greatest blessings that can be conferred upon us.

When I was called upon to leave these valleys, I felt that I had the prayers, fellowship, and confidence of this people; and if I had their confidence then, I am well persuaded I have it now. This reflection causes my heart to rejoice; and it is one of the greatest blessings that any man can enjoy to know that he is in full fellowship with this people.

Shall we be thankful to our God and this people for the faith and prayers that have been exercised in our behalf? These things have occupied my attention ever since I arrived home.

True, there is a warfare within me, and there is a warfare within every man and woman that has a name in this Church; and we have to guard against the intrusions of the Adversary. Upon what principles shall we guard against them? Why, live our religion. That is all we have to do; and I know that, by the power of faith and the Holy Spirit, we can root out everything that is contrary to the promptings of that Spirit, and we shall know for ourselves that we are the children of God.

I have been to England on a mission, sent by the First Presidency and the general authorities convened in Conference on the 6th day of April, 1856; and I can say I have had a prosperous mission, and have been greatly blessed. As I have told the Elders, so I will say here, Any man who goes on a mission in these times, to the European nations, to the United States, or to the islands of the sea, and returns home with his scalp on, I think he should certainly acknowledge the hand of the Lord in it.

When we first arrived in England, all was peace, as a general thing. And do you know the reason why it was peace? Yes, you do. We could preach throughout England; we could preach in Germany, in France, in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; we could preach in Wales, in Ireland, and Scotland, with but very little interruption; and, as a general thing, we had very good attention and good congregations. But when the reformation commenced in the Valleys of the Mountains, as the Saints were told beforehand, the Devil began to open his eyes and look at the Saints, not only in England, but throughout all the parts of the earth where the Latter-day Saints were located, and wherever the servants of God were traveling to preach the Gospel, and wherever the printed word was being circulated.

In all these places the Devil was up and dressed two hours earlier in a morning than he ever had been before, attending to his calling and kingdom, and doing that which was committed to him; for he has a work to do as well as we have, and he is most faithfully performing his part. Just in proportion to the diligence of the Saints in Zion and throughout the earth, so will the Devil work; and you cannot tell the time when his old nose has not been poked as near to the servants of God and to this kingdom as he could get it; and he would be right here today in this congregation and break up this meeting, if he had the power to do it.

Through the faithfulness of the Saints, I am led to believe that the kingdom is pretty well cleansed, especially from Gentiles and from Gen tilism. But it is not so in the world; for the Devil has power in the midst of the Saints while they are amongst the Gentiles. But, as I told the Saints in England, there should always be a little place in the heart of every man and woman which they can call Zion; and it looks to me as if there were a good many here who could say Zion is in their bosoms, and that they have a place in their hearts which they can call heaven.

The Spirit of God flows to a greater extent from this stand than it does in any other place upon the face of the earth. There is more power here than in any other place.

I can say, in behalf of the English Saints, that they are a good people, and you know it as well as I do; and those who have been there know it, and you who have not been there know it by the spirit they bring when they come here.

As regards the work of the Lord, in general the Elders have been faithful. They have gone into the streets and into the lanes and borne a faithful testimony to the work of God and to what he was doing among the nations. To the honest their words have been sweeter than the honeycomb; but the great majority were unwilling to receive the message sent unto them.

I have taken a great deal of comfort and satisfaction in lifting up my voice before the people, and I have cried aloud and spared not, but told them what was in my heart. I felt it was my duty to vindicate the truths of the Gospel. I have also taken up the laws of the Territory of Utah and the laws and Constitution of the United States, pointing out to them the privileges and rights that are guaranteed unto us by those instruments.

I not only say this of myself, but I can say it of my brethren who have been associated with me; for we have had power to put down all opposition that has been raised against us, unless it was by an ungodly mob that was inspired by the Devil to get up sticks and stones and every kind of weapon they could procure, excepting firearms, which the law of the land forbids them to carry.

When they come with the Bible in hand, which they profess to believe, they are easily whipped out; and truth rises triumphant among the people, and the high and low and all that were intelligent could see and understand that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we have the authority which no other people possessed. There was not a minister or any other individual that held the authority which we had in our possession; and some were ready to acknowledge it, when the Spirit of the Lord was upon them. But how long would that last? Only long enough for them to get out of doors.

It is indeed a great thing to purify the Saints; and it is a great thing for a man to purify his heart. When a man’s heart is pure and the scales are knocked off from his eyes, he can then see and comprehend the things of God—he can know the mind of the Lord in this land or any other; but if the scales are over his eyes as thick as canvas, he cannot see afar off. We all know that we have to live our religion here as well as in England; and I sometimes think it takes more faith to live in Zion than in another place; for there is more required of a congregation in Zion than there is in England.

The Saints in Denmark and in Sweden are inspired by the same Spirit that we are, and they are as good a people as I ever traveled amongst in my life. They do not generally understand the English language; but they can understand by what spirit a man is moved when he gets up to speak. They rejoice when an Elder from the Valley pre sents himself in their midst; and, to see a Valley Elder, they would get up of a morning and go 40 miles, and not stop for rain, thunder, or lightning till they got to their journey’s end.

There is a certain class of men that are honest in heart, but fear comes upon them when trials are presented, and they do not understand; they have not faith or confidence to stand up and say, “I am a Latter-day Saint, and if you want to mob, mob and be damned.” There are but few who can stand the trying day. A great many of the Saints have no faith to brook the insults cast upon them, and hence they hide up and keep out of sight of their enemies.

I told the Saints in Bath and Bristol that we were going home, before I had got any news; and, said I, “You have been mobbed, laughed at, and jeered by your enemies, and I want you to understand that you do not owe them anything. I am willing to be responsible for all the sin there will be if you immediately shut up your chapels and henceforth hold your meetings in some private house or little room, or some place where you will not be subject to the insults of mobs.” The next morning I got a letter from brother Pratt, informing me that I was called home.

I was not sent out to convert the world, but to warn the people, to vindicate the cause of truth, to set forth the true character of this people politically, religiously, temporally, and spiritually, and to declare unto the nations of the earth the true situation of this community.

I want to live a long time yet, and I hope that I shall not die until the kingdom of God rises triumphant over all the powers that are organized in opposition to it.

A good spirit prevailed among the Saints in Europe when we left them, which was about the 14th of last October. Brother Samuel W. Richards and George Snyder arrived in Liverpool on the 9th of that month, and brother Pratt immediately wrote me word to come to Liverpool and prepare for returning home.

On the arrival of brothers Richards and Snyder, we held a council, at which it was decided that brother Pratt, myself, brothers John A. Ray, John Kay, John Scott, and William Miller should return home. We immediately went to work and released all the Elders, except brother Calkin, of the English Mission, and brother Jabez Woodard, of the Italian Mission. The native Elders are just as anxious to come here as the American Elders.

Before we embarked for England, I had a few days’ time to spare, and I embraced the opportunity to go and visit my friends and acquaintances; and when I went in amongst them, they immediately asked if I had come back to stay. “No,” said I.

“Then what are you come back for?”

“Why, to prove that you are false prophets; for you told me that in five years “Mormonism” would be broken up, and that the Saints of God would be scattered and peeled.” “Now,” said I, “if you want to prophesy anything more about ‘Mormonism,’ prophesy good things—big things; for it is the kingdom of God, and it is set up in the mountains. It is the kingdom that Daniel saw, and it is going to spread and grow till it fills the whole earth.”

On the Sabbath I was in the neighborhood where my friends lived, in the State of Massachusetts, and I told my brother that I wanted to go to old Milford to the meeting, whereupon he got out his carriage, and we drove off to the meetinghouse; and as soon as the old minister got his eye upon me, he motioned to me to come into the stand. He called me brother Benson, and said, “Sit down here.” He said, “Do you want to preach or to pray?” I said, “Yes, for I am a praying man.” I offered up as humble a prayer as I could, and then sat down. I learned then that he had a special lecture he wanted to deliver on politics; for it was when they were trying to elect Fremont President of the United States. He delivered his political sermon about the North and South; but there was no repentance or Gospel about what he said.

When he had concluded, he gave me the privilege of talking to the people, which I did for about half-an-hour. I knew that I had to talk in a very pious style, but I endeavored to preach the Gospel in plainness; and the very moment that I came to a testimony of the Gospel—to declare that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that Brigham Young is his successor—good gracious! You could see devils dancing in the countenances of the people, and the influence ran from heart to heart. However, they kept quiet, though very uneasy. After my remarks, they claimed the privilege of asking questions. One gentleman asked if we believed in slavery. I told him, No, we did not; “but,” said I, “we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of liberty, for it opens the door of freedom and throws off the fetters of bondage.”

“Well,” said he, “do not you believe in freeing the negroes?”

I answered, “No; the Lord will do that.”

“Ah,” said he, “the Mormons do believe in slavery; for they permit men to bring their slaves into their Territory.”

I then went on to show him our views upon the subject; but I could see my remarks did not satisfy the people.

The next man who came onto the carpet wanted to know how many wives brother Brigham had. I replied, “I have not come here to lay before this people the domestic affairs of my Governor. It is a question I never asked him myself, for I never took the pains to inquire anything about it. But still, as I am a Yankee, I will guess, if that will do you any good. Now,” said I, “I will be honest with you, for your pastor has given me the freedom of speech; and, if I may judge from appearances, I should presume he has some fifty or sixty.”

He then asked, “Why do you believe in that doctrine?”

I replied, “Why did Abraham believe in it? Why do you wish to raise a quarrel with me, when all the Prophets spoken of in the Bible you believe in both taught and practiced it?” He could not tell; but the amount of it was, he wanted to put down “Mormonism”—not that he could rebut the testimony that was presented, but he had a spirit to endeavor to put down the cause of God.

The principles of the Gospel are going to either damn or save all to whom they are presented. There are hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people in the world who this day know that “Mormonism” is true, and they are using their money and their influence to hinder its progress.

The priests of the day are ready to collect their pence and shillings to persecute the Saints of God and to foster and sustain those who will do it.

Wherever you find a man in England, in Germany, or in Denmark, who takes the periodicals of the day, he can sit down and tell you all about the Latter-day Saints. He can tell you what we believe; and, providing you could converse with him without his knowing you were a “Mormon,” or a servant of God sent to him with the everlasting Gospel, he would sit down and tell you all about “Mormonism.” But you must appear as a stranger and ask, “Do you know anything about the Latter-day Saints in Utah?” “O yes,” he will say, and proceed to tell you what we believe. But the moment you let him know who you are and undertake to preach to him, he will turn round and deny everything that he has said. What is the reason of this? It is because he is dishonest and has partaken of the spirit of the father of lies, who is determined to use his influence and power to the injury and destruction of the Saints of God.

I was received in Massachusetts as I never was before by my friends, for they hailed me with joy. But were they ready to receive the Gospel? No—no more than they were fourteen years ago. I could see they had a spirit to persecute the Saints, and they would have been as easily lit up as a lucifer match. “Well,” said one, “did you come that way back?” “No, and I never want to go again, unless the Almighty commands me.”

When we came to New York we looked through the pioneer trail, but it did not look right: but when we looked south, it was all light; so we took the steamer for the Isthmus.

We had on board 1,150 passengers, 200 or 300 of whom were United States troops. When we were loading up, the soldiers were driven on board, like pigs, as thick as they could stand.

Government is shipping men round by the Isthmus of Panama to California, and we were informed the next steamer was to bring 600 men. There was a good deal of fault found by the officers of Government because there were only 250 along with us; but it was said, “They are going to ship them by thousands to California, and then forward them to Utah.”

They said they were coming to California; but when we asked them privately where they were destined for, they said, “We are going to Utah.”

It is so also in Kansas. They have all sworn, old Harney included, that they will not give sleep to their eyes nor slumber to their eyelids until they have destroyed the “Mormons.” They design in their hearts to blot “Mormonism” out of existence, and they feel like using their money for the accomplishment of this object, and even go so far as to say their purses shall be open for their means to be used in the fitting out of men for the Territory of Utah; and they say they will come from the north and from the south and from the east and surround this people by thousands and by tens of thousands, until we are wiped out.

This is their feeling, as a general thing, and it seems as if all earth and hell are united against the “Mormons.” They have not got here yet, have they? Catching is always before hanging!

The halters are already made which they design shall hang the Governor, the members of the Legislative Assembly, and every faithful Elder in the Church; for they feel determined to swing you up between the heavens and the earth. We understand their plays and their schemes, for we have been in their midst.

The inquiry may arise, “Did you ever hear one man say anything in our favor?” Yes, we have heard more than one who dare come out and vindicate the character of this people, but it would generally be in private circles. I have heard a man say that he had been among this people, had been treated well, and never saw a better people in his life; and he said he believed that all those reports that were in circulation were a pack of damned lies.

There was a man traveling on the packet with us who used to attend the threshing machine for William Macpherson, in this city. He vindicated the character of this people. He did not recognize us; but I knew him as soon as I saw him. He said, in conversation with men on the boat, “I am a rambling sort of a chap; but if I were going to live and settle down, it would be in Utah.” I asked him if he thought the “Mormons” were going to fight. He said, “No, they are not; for they are not a fighting people; but it is those lying editors. The Mormons are a peaceable, quiet people.”

When the standard of freedom is raised, we shall bid all classes welcome to the rights and privileges of liberty. When that day comes, people can come with all creeds and enjoy their liberties, providing they will acknowledge the laws of God; and I can tell you they will come by hundreds, by thousands, and by tens of thousands. Yes, they will flock to the standard of liberty.

There is not a master-spirit on the earth at the present time who dare take this stand and raise the flag of liberty, bidding welcome to all nations, except President Brigham Young. The very move that has been made for the last six months will preach louder and stronger than all the Elders of Israel.

The standard of liberty is about to be unfurled. Good laws will be maintained, and the virtuous and innocent will have the rights and privileges guaranteed unto them; and we mean to stand in defense of those principles of right, even to the laying down of our lives, if necessary. When a man will stand in defense of the truth, he has more power and influence among the nations of the earth than a dozen of the ungodly.

If ever I felt like preaching the Gospel, it is now; and I would not ask for a better mission than to take my valise and travel through the Territory of Utah; and I know that in doing so I should travel amongst the best people in the world. I have seen the contrast between this people and the world most visibly during the last three or four months.

What is the condition of the Government of the United States? They are all looking at the President, just as a child would, apparently expecting that something would be done. They are hoping and expecting that Government would take “Mormonism” in hand and wipe it out of existence in a few days. But Uncle Sam, uncle Bill, uncle Tom, and all our uncles and cousins, will find something to do if they attempt such a thing.

The people of the United States seem paralyzed, and do not know what to do. They are waiting for the Government to call for volunteers, and then they say they are all ready to go. California people say they are all ready to rally. But I tell you, I believe what brother Brigham has said—They will not come here. The priest in the pulpit is ready, and says, “O yes, we must go and wipe out the Mormons; but do not ask me to go.”

This is like an old man that had some boys, and when he wanted a job of work done he would say, “Go, boys, and do that:” but his neighbor, who had a lot of boys also, when he wanted anything done, used to say, “Come, boys, let us do that.” It is just so with the priests, lawyers, doctors, and all others who are opposed to “Mormonism:” they say, “O yes, go and wipe out the Mormons;” but they never want to go themselves.

I will tell you, the majority of the people in the States do not care the ashes of a rye straw for their officers, and it is just so in the army: in fact, they none of them care much for each other; but they care a good deal for Uncle Sam’s money.

When we landed in San Francisco, the officers were so much afraid that the troops would desert, that they went and guarded them themselves; and we left them patrolling the docks there. The officers were Yankees, stiff and starched, and they said, “Mormonism must be extinguished—yes, this must be done.”

“Colonel Casey, what do you think about it?” He seemed to be a peaceable kind of man, and said he could not tell what would have to be done. The Colonel was then asked if he fostered the idea of going to an innocent people and exterminating men, women, and children? He said, “I do not like it; it is contrary to my feelings; but the Government of the United States have taken the thing in hand, and we, as officers, are compelled to carry out their plans, or resign.”

Let us do the very best we can, brethren and sisters; for the day may come when we may be thankful for every foot of greasewood and of desert country there is between us and our enemies.

I am glad that we came through on the southern route, for I have been enabled to learn a little of the road.

The editors in the States are prompting Government to bring their troops from the south. Why, they do not know; only they are not, on that route, so subject to snowstorms, and they can travel in the winter. But I can tell them, the south route is ten times worse than the east: it is one perfect desert from Muddy Creek clear through. There is now and then a patch of grass on the journey. But what can a large army do?

The canyon coming up the Santa Clara is quite as good as Echo, and some think a little better. It does seem as if those mountains and canyons have been prepared on purpose; and we have great cause to be thankful for those natural defenses.

Here we have liberty to do right and legislate for our own benefit, and we feel that this is our home.

I told sister Richie on Painter Creek, when she invited us in to breakfast, and set before us some butter, milk, and bread, that it was the best meal I had eaten since I left home; and I enjoyed it much better than I did the dainties that were provided while I was crossing the Isthmus.

I feel to back up all the plans of my brethren who have the right to dictate, and to bear off this kingdom to the nations; and this is the feeling of my brethren who have returned with me.

We are now ready to go and preach the Gospel, to go into the canyons and help to fight our enemies, or to do anything that is required of us; and I feel to say, with all the power and authority of the Priesthood that is conferred upon me, God bless our leaders with wisdom, with power, with influence, with cattle, with horses, with sheep, with wives, with children, with houses, with lands, and with everything their hearts can desire before God. This is my prayer all the day long; and when I feel so, I feel strong in the mighty God of Jacob, and I know that he blesses them with his Spirit.

I feel to say, Latter-day Saints, in the name of the Lord, Be ye blessed; for ye are the only people that God acknowledges on the earth, as an organized community, politically and religiously, spiritually, physically, and mentally—the only people that are to be found who are willing to acknowledge that God has established his kingdom with Apostles and Prophets.

A great many of the people of this generation have turned infidels; but still the sectarians have their Scripture-readers, and they go through all the formalities of religion. One man came to me and wished to know if I would like to have the Bible read to me. I told him yes, for I was fond of anything that was good. I asked him if he believed in angels. He said, “O no; the power of God is done away;” and everything is done away among them, only just what man can do; and men set themselves up who have no vitality nor intelligence in them. It is all like the chaff before the wind. We are truly a blessed people, for we have the light of eternal life; and, notwithstanding the howling of the priests, if we do as brother Brigham says, we shall come off victorious.

I believe this people are ready to do anything required of them; and if they continue in this way, all will be well with them, and nothing can stand before them.

I heard a man say that he did not care what was said against this people, he was ready to believe it; and I can say that such a man is ready to be damned, and he will be damned.

I bear this testimony that I know this to be the work of God, and I take great pleasure in proclaiming it.

I ask an interest in your prayers, that I may have the spirit of obedience and be enabled to do as I am told from this time henceforth and forever. Amen.

Judgment According to Works—Temporal Nature of Divine Revelations—Temporal Resources and Duties of the Saints, Etc.

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 17, 1858.

We have heard much in regard to the knowledge and understanding of this people—also of the nations of the earth; and it is very true that the best of us have only commenced to learn true principles. We are but children in the kingdom of God. We understand, in a great measure, the know ledge that is in the world: we have been brought up in the wisdom the world professes, and that we understand. But the things of God are so directly in opposition to the vain imaginations of the inhabitants of the earth, that it is hard for people to learn them. They remove our erro neous traditions from us. At the same time, all the morality, and good works, and good thoughts and words that tend to good, that are in the world, are of the Lord. Honest hearts, the world over, desire to know the right way. They have sought for it, and still seek it. There have been people upon the earth all the time who sought diligently with all their hearts to know the ways of the Lord. These individuals have produced good, inasmuch as they had the ability. And to believe that there has been no virtue, no truth, no good upon the earth for centuries, until the Lord revealed the Priesthood through Joseph the Prophet, I should say is wrong. There has been more or less virtue and righteousness upon the earth at all times, from the days of Adam until now. That we all believe. Men who have lived without the Priesthood will be judged according to their works, as well as those who have had the privilege of it. That is our doctrine. That is what the Lord has told us, through his servants, from the beginning. No matter where they have lived, or to what nation they have belonged, all people will be judged according to the works or deeds done in the body.

Honest hearts produce honest actions—holy desires produce corresponding outward works. That is what we understand and believe; yet the traditions of the fathers are so diverse from the holy Priesthood, that it is hard for people to learn even the smaller things pertaining to the kingdom of God—one of the smallest items pertaining to life. If we should have ability to sustain ourselves here on the earth, we certainly should have to live; for if we have not the ability to live, we certainly should pass behind the veil. In that case, we could not be capable of doing good in our present organization. As you have often been told, and as we believe, good men and good women ought to live the longest on the earth and set good examples, teach good doctrines, and produce righteousness.

Individuals or a community that have not the ability to preserve themselves in this life have no power to perform works to be judged by; consequently, there is no judgment passed upon them for deeds done in this probation. The duty of a good people is to know how to preserve themselves in this life. The first revelation given to Adam was of a temporal nature. Most of the revelations he received pertained to his life here. That was also the case in the revelations to Noah. We have but very few of the instructions the Lord gave to Enoch concerning his city; but, doubtless, most of the revelations he received pertained to a temporal nature and condition. And certainly the revelations Noah received, so far as in our possession, almost exclusively pertained to this life. The same principle was carried out in the days of Moses, and in the days of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We may say that eight or nine-tenths of the doctrines and principles set forth in the revelations given to those men were of a temporal nature.

As soon as Moses was called upon to go and deliver Israel, the revelations the Lord gave to him were of a temporal nature, pertaining to the temporal life of the children of Israel—instructing Moses how to deliver them from bondage and lead them from the servile state in which they then were. He taught them in the same manner while they were traveling through the wilderness; and so it continued down to the days of the judges, and then to Saul, whom the Lord permitted them to make a king, and then through the teachings of the Prophets. The greatest recorded digression from that course was when the Savior came. He repeatedly alluded to a spiritual kingdom, in his sayings to his brethren. The people had become so corrupt that it was all useless to then endeavor to establish a literal kingdom of God on the earth. The children of Abraham had wandered so far from the true doctrine, the Priesthood, the principles, and ordinances that the Lord had revealed, that the Savior had not opportunity to more than drop a hint, as it were, about a temporal kingdom. Yet the idea of a temporal kingdom was so indelibly riveted upon the minds of his disciples, that they supposed he alluded to it, and that when the Savior should make his appearance, he would actually establish a literal kingdom on this earth and reign over it. The institutions and traditions which had been handed down pertained to a temporal kingdom, and they could not see that the corruptions and wickedness of the people were so great that he could not teach or suggest anything that they could understand pertaining to a temporal kingdom; therefore he alluded to a spiritual kingdom—the kingdom of God that should be set up in the heart. And those principles taught to the people and received by them would gather them together in the latter days, when he could prepare and organize a literal kingdom on the earth.

The first revelations given to Joseph were of a temporal character, pertaining to a literal kingdom on the earth. And most of the revelations he received in the early part of his ministry pertained to what the few around him should do in this or in that case—when and how they should perform their duties; at the same time calling upon them to preach the Gospel and diffuse the Spirit and principles of the kingdom of God, that their eyes might be open to see and gather the people together—that they might begin and organize a literal, temporal organization on the earth. All that has been done, has been done by the wisdom of God. The wisdom revealed through Joseph was the wisdom of our Father in heaven—it was not of himself.

The revelations to us teach us to first cleanse our hearts—to purify ourselves, in order to have our eyes sufficiently opened to see the kingdom of God; for, without the spiritual birth referred to in the New Testament, we cannot see the kingdom of God. The revelations to Joseph were—Go forth, my servants, preach the Gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost, and open the eyes of the people, that they may see the kingdom of God, and not look into eternity to see the Father seated upon his throne and the angels around him, nor seek to know what he is doing there. The people need teaching by the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, that their eyes may be open to see that the Lord is commencing a literal kingdom upon the earth. When they can discern that, then they have the opportunity to be born of water, to enter into this kingdom. Nearly all the teachings to us pertain to this life; and if we have not ability to preserve our lives in our present existence, what can we do here to promote the kingdom of God on the earth; or to prepare the earth or the people for the coming of the Son of Man? Nothing. Consequently our labor is chiefly a temporal labor.

Brother Taylor has enquired how we are to be clothed another year? We have either to obtain new clothes or to wear those we have now. Someone may say, “My clothes will not last another year.” Perhaps they will, if you will take good care of them.

When we first came here, the people were told, and many saw and believed it as much then as they can now, that the Lord in his providence led the people into these mountains to separate them from the Gentile world, in order that he might establish his kingdom—his laws, and commence his Zion in the mountains, where his people could have but little connection with the world. They were taught that when they first came here; and now the prospect is very fair for separating us from the rest of the world, and most of the people can see it. They were taught then as much as they are taught now, that it was necessary to go to and provide for ourselves. Do any of the brethren who came here ten years ago last July remember that you were instructed that every facility that we could need was here in the elements? That the gold, the silver, and the iron were in these mountains? That the wool, the flax, the silk, the cotton, and everything necessary to sustain man were in the elements around us? “What, is silk here?” Yes, in as great abundance as in any part of the earth; and the finest broadcloth is here, and everything to make life desirable is here.

It is for the people to go to and develop the resources surrounding us. Sugar, starch, and glue are the chief ingredients in the sustenance of man. The saccharine matter is in everything that grows here: it is in the vegetables and in the animals. We have as good beef as there is in the world, furnishing gluten—a substance that acts its part in sustaining man. We can raise as good potatoes and wheat as can be raised in any other part of the earth; also other products affording starch, and all the necessary variety and quality of articles of food. We can make sugar from the beet; but we are now cultivating the Chinese sugar cane, which produces as good a sweet as any we have imported. We have the materials for feeding the body. And as to clothing, we can produce as good wool here as they can in any part of the world; but we must have the sheep to enable us to do so. And we must sow flax and plant cotton for the manufacture of linen and cotton cloth; but the elements are here from which they all will grow.

Import silkworms and mulberry trees, and you will find that this is as good a country and climate in which to raise silk as any on the face of the earth. Do some understand this? Yes, there are persons here from the Eastern States who have raised silkworms and manufactured silk; and here are scores and hundreds of silk manufacturers from the old country. Why, then, do we not have silk? Because no man takes steps to organize certain elements into the silk. All this was told you in the beginning, and why did not men understand?

You may take the Latter-day Saints, as a whole, and they have but very little good, sound, worldly sense. Look over this congregation, and then go through the Territory, and you can find thousands that, during the first four years of our settlement here, flooded these valleys with wagons and cattle, and every facility for raising what we needed. We drove in the sheep, brought the flaxseed, and this, that, and the other useful articles. But what did we see? Men, women, and children run to California to get gold. They were then told what I can now prove. “Go to California, if you will; we will not curse you—we will not injure nor destroy you, but we will pity you. If you must go for gold, and that is your god, go, and I will promise you one thing: Every man that stays here and pays attention to his business will be able, within ten years, to buy out four of those who leave for the gold mines.” Since then some of those persons have come cringing back, and thinking, “O dear, I declare I wish the brethren could not know that I had been away! I want to appear as though I had not gone to California, and to be full of good works and faith.” Poor, ignorant, pusillanimous creatures! They come whining back and want to be considered in full fellowship, after leaving this place to which our God has led us, and after having used their means to feast and build up the Gentiles.

Brother Heber and I told the company that went to San Bernardino with Amasa Lyman, that they would never reach here again without help from this people, and we are now sending all the teams we can raise from the southern settlements to bring them back. Why? Because they cannot stay there, and they are not able to remove. They were told at the start that they would have to renounce their religion, or else come whining back to these valleys. You may take all who have unadvisedly gone from this Territory [and hundreds and thousands have so gone], and I believe that I alone am able to buy the whole of them, though when I came here I had but very little property, except what I owed for. I also believe that brother Kimball and many others who have listened to what is taught now own more property than the whole of those characters. They could not believe that I knew enough to instruct them in temporal affairs. Do they now believe that I do? They are obliged to admit it, though some think, “Really, I do not know whether it is so or not.” What are those persons good for now?

Obedience is one of the plainest, most everyday and home principles that you ever thought or knew anything about. In the first place, learn that you have a father, and then learn strict obedience to that parent. Is not that a plain, domestic, home principle? How long will it take the men and women here to learn it? You have learned, from year to year, scores, if not hundreds of principles of the Gospel taught; and one of the first principles to be learned by the Saints is to be of one heart and mind, to obey your leaders, to obey the Lord. If you have leaders who do not teach you the words of life and salvation—who do not give you the words of the Lord, why not have faith sufficient to remove them out of the way and have better men? If this people are righteous and have any leaders that are not capable of dictating you, why not stretch your faith to the heavens for God to remove them and give you men that are capable of leading you?

Could I make a brother in the Church believe, after passing through the troubles in Missouri, after again being driven from our homes in Nauvoo, Illinois, and after being led to this secret retreat and sustained all the time by the matchless power of our God, that the love of riches would have so blunted the minds of many as to cause them to run to California after gold? Why not have stayed here, where we could have improved this Territory three times as much as we have? We could have extended our settlements still farther on the right and on the left. But no; they must run and leave us. And many of those that have tarried have but a little more confidence, when they have improved upon and learned the lesson taught by those who have left.

The great majority of men and women do not know how to take care of themselves. Let me refer the whole of you to a circumstance in winter quarters. We left Nauvoo in February, 1846, made our own roads through Iowa, except some 40 or 50 miles, built bridges, cut down timber, turned out 500 men to go to Mexico, came this side of the Missouri River, and there wintered. How did you live there? Do you know how you got anything to eat? Brethren came to me, saying, “We must go to Missouri. Can we not take our families and go to Missouri and get work?” Do you know, to this day, how you lived? I will tell you, and then you will remember it. I had not five dollars in money to start with; but I went to work and built a mill, which I knew we should want only for a few months, that cost 3,600 dollars. I gave notice that I would employ every man and pay him for his labor. If I had a sixpence, I turned it into 25 cents; and a half-bushel of potatoes I turned into half-a-bushel of wheat. How did I do that? By faith. I went to brother Neff, who had just come in the place, and asked him for and received 2,600 dollars, though he did not know where the money was going. He kept the mill another year, and it died on his hands. I say, God bless him forever! For it was the money he brought from Pennsylvania that preserved thousands of men, women, and children from starving. I handled and dictated it, and everything went off smoothly and prosperously.

Can you sustain yourselves? Yes. How can you clothe and feed yourselves? Keep Gentiles out of here, and not permit any more supplies to come from them; and then you will raise sheep and take care of them and their wool; then you will raise cotton and flax, and dress the lint. We have women who know how to manufacture flax into thread and the finest cloth in this house. Why do you not make linen? “Because we can turn a calf on to the range, and after awhile sell it for 20 or 30 dollars and buy store goods.” That course is temporal ruination to this people. It is a far greater injury than benefit for us to purchase imported goods. Shut down the gate and make your own hats, bonnets, and every other article of wearing apparel. We have the furs and all necessary facilities for making every article we need. We can also make our dyestuffs, so soon as we can get a greater variety of seed. For ten years we have advertised the brethren to bring indigo seed; and I have not obtained any, only a little that brother William Willes brought from the East Indies. I have also wished them to bring madder seed, for you can raise it where you can raise corn. Do we know enough to raise indigo and cotton? Yes, when the gate is shut down.

I told the brethren, yesterday, that I was not afraid of men’s apostatizing when war and trouble are on hand, for then they will stick together. It is in calm weather, when the old ship of Zion is sailing with a gentle breeze, and when all is quiet on deck, that some of the brethren want to go out in the whaling boats to have a scrape and a swim; and some get drowned, others drifted away, and others again get back to the ship. Let us stick to the old ship, and she will carry us safely into the harbor. You need not be concerned. I want the brethren to raise flax.

I want some man, who has got the requisite spirit and nerve, to prepare a quarter-of-an-acre as they prepare ground for flax in Ireland, and then sow about a bushel-and-a-half or two bushels of seed, and let it grow as thick as a horse’s mane; if necessary, brace it up while growing; pull it at the period when the lint will be the silkiest, and prepare it for the women to exercise their skill in making fine thread. A bushel of flaxseed to the acre produces a coarse lint, suitable for making ropes and coarse cloth.

Brother Taylor remarked that about 60 out of every 75 lambs had died in this Territory. Yes, you may say that, out of every 75 lambs about 90 have died. Where were our sheep in 1848-49? I then had 100 sheep, and I would now have 40,000 if they had been taken care of as they ought; but instead of that, I have bought about 550 since; and now I have 400 or 500.

Sheep are driven into the Territory, and then they decrease. What is the difficulty? It is, “Hurrah for the gold! Hurrah for the stores! Hurrah for the merchants! Hurrah for hell! Let us have a portion of hell here.”

Elders who have been to St. Louis and had credit for a cent should not have brought a thousand or two thousand dollars’ worth of goods here and fooled them away, having fooled them out of merchants who still remain fools.

Shut down the gate, and stop bringing ribbons and foolery here. I wish the ribbons and like articles were all sunk in the bottom of the sea, rather than have them brought here. Do you know enough to clothe yourselves? Yes, when you are driven to it. It makes me think of what we passed through in Missouri, when Joseph was preaching the Consecration law for surplus property. Would any man listen to that law? No, not a man. “Will you pay Tithing?” “I cannot any way in the world, for I have not as much property as I want.”

When the army came and took away the guns, killed our cattle, fired our houses, took possession of our fields, and compelled the brethren, at the point of the bayonet, to sign away their property to pay the expenses of the war, one fellow said, “By——, see these men, how keen and fine they look! Old Joe has been trying for years to make them consecrate their property, but he could not persuade them to do it. We can make them consecrate.”

The brethren felt well: but suppose they had been required to sign a deed of trust to the kingdom of God on the earth, would they have done it? No; they would have suffered themselves to be damned before they would have done it. Can you not see the ignorance of the people in those things? And to this day you can see men come here penniless, and hear them say, “We had plenty of money where we came from.” Then why did you not gather when you had money? “We wanted to make more, to bring a great amount into the kingdom.” Thus men come here penniless, and feel well about it. Enquire into the matter, and you will often learn that last year they had several thousand dollars, but it has gone into the hands of the Gentiles.

Suppose a poor Elder, while on a mission, should borrow ten dollars of such a person, that person will come here and be ready to apostatize, unless that money is paid; but if the devils get it, “Oh, it is all right.” Such feelings are in the hearts of some men and women now before me. With them it is, “If my enemies get my property, all well; but I don’t want the kingdom of God to have it.” Ask them whether they want the kingdom of God to have their property, and they will reply, “O yes; ourselves and all we have are in the kingdom of God:” but touch a dollar of theirs, and they will squirm.

We are trying to become Saints, and by-and-by we will actually become Saints. When men are Saints, they will bring their thousands and lay them at the feet of the Bishops, Apostles, and Prophets, saying, “Here is my money; it is now where it should be.” But now what do you see? If an Elder has borrowed a little money, or been helped in any manner, he must be chased home and made to pay the uttermost farthing, or there is dissatisfaction. Fortunately that is not the case with all. A portion of the principle of darkness is in the hearts of the people; but it is fast going out, and they are coming to a knowledge of the truth.

One of the first and plainest principles to be believed and practiced is to put ourselves and all we have into the kingdom of God, and then be dictated by the Lord and his servants. Is there any danger? Some are ready to say, “Yes, we are afraid to trust ourselves and our means here and there.”

Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth. They may be called cockatrices, for they sting wherever they go. Go to their meetings in the Christian world, and mingle in their society, and you will hear them remark, “Our ministers dictate our souls’ salvation;” and they are perfectly composed and resigned to trust their whole future destiny to their priests, though they durst not trust them with one single dollar beyond their salaries and a few presents. They can trust their eternal welfare in the hands of their priests, but hardly dare trust them with so much as a bushel of potatoes. Is that principle here? Yes, more or less.

Can we feed and clothe ourselves? Yes, we can, as well as any people on the earth. We have a goodly share of the genius, talent, and ability of the world; it is combined in the Elders of this Church and in their families. And if the Gentiles wish to see a few tricks, we have “Mormons” that can perform them. We have the meanest devils on the earth in our midst, and we intend to keep them, for we have use for them; and if the Devil does not look sharp, we will cheat him out of them at the last, for they will reform and go to heaven with us.

We have already showed the invading army a few tricks; and I told Captain Van Vliet that if they persisted in making war upon us, I should share in their supplies. The boys would ride among the enemy’s tents, and one of their captains ran into Colonel Alexander’s tent one night, saying, “Why, Colonel, I’ll be damned if the Mormons won’t be riding into your tent, if you don’t look out.”

We have the smartest women in the world, the best cooks, the best mothers; and they know how to dress themselves the neatest of any others. We are the smartest people in the world. But look out, pertaining to taking care of and sustaining ourselves, that the children of this world are not smarter than the children of light. I say that they shall not be; for we will beat them in every good thing, the Lord and the brethren being our helpers. The Lord bless you! Amen.

Blessings of the Saints—Hindrances to Progress—Object and Benefit of Trials—Acknowledgment of God’s Hand, Spirit, and Priesthood, Etc.

A Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, January 17, 1858.

I feel that we are all of us in the hands of God, that we are all associated with this kingdom, and that if any people under the face of the heavens can be properly called “the Saints of the Most High,” we are that people. It certainly is a prominent position, a great title, an endearing relationship that we sustain to the Lord, if we really magnify our calling and honor our God.

When we reflect upon the myriads of human beings that crowd the earth in every nation, country, and clime, and then consider that we are the only people that do really “acknowledge the hand of God in all things;” that we are the only people that God has chosen and selected to place his name among; that we are the only people that can emphatically be called the servants and handmaidens of the Lord; that we are the only people that have a right and claim upon the promises of God; that we are the only people that entertain correct ideas pertaining to our present position and our future destiny; that we are the only people that can stretch back to ages that are past, and look forward to those that are to come, and that can act understandingly in relation to our worship and the ordinances of the house of God, having a knowledge of the past, the present, and the future; that we are the only people under the heavens that have a legitimate right to the promises and blessings of God, whether they relate to this world or that which is to come; thus we are the only people that understand anything about the present position or the cause of the organization of the world and of man, and that understand anything correctly about a preparation for a future state; that we are the only people that know how to save our progenitors, how to save ourselves, and how to save our posterity in the celestial kingdom of God; that we are the people that God has chosen by whom to establish his kingdom and introduce correct principles into the world; and that we in fact are the saviors of the world, if they ever are saved—when we reflect upon these things, there is something connected with them that is calculated to make our hearts swell with gratitude and thrill with joy; and when we feel the consoling influence of the Spirit of the Most High God resting upon us and round about us, and the visions and glories of the future that we are destined to enjoy are open to our minds, if we are faithful, and the great events that are about to transpire in the last days are manifested to our minds, there is something in them that is calculated to cause us to sing, Hosanna! Hosanna to the Lord God of Hosts!

There is something in these reflections pleasing, enlivening, animating, cheering, and something that is calculated to cause joy and rejoicing in the soul.

If we look abroad in the world, what are their enjoyments and hopes? They say, in effect, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” They say, “Give us gold, give us riches, give us honor, and give us the pomp, glory, and glitter of this world! Let us have our day now, for we know very little about the future. Let us enjoy life while we can.” These are their feelings, and hence they riot in every excess and wallow in lasciviousness and debauchery. They corrupt their bodies, debase their minds, and they are not fit receptacles for the Spirit of the living God; nor have they any among them that are capable of teaching them anything about that Spirit; but they are in the dark.

When we reflect upon these things, have we not something to be thankful for? Have we not cause of gratitude to the Most High God? I think we have; and I think, if any people are blessed under the heavens, we are that people; and we may exclaim, as the ancient Israelites used to, “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”

It certainly is a lamentable thing, when we come to reflect upon it, to see so many of the human family ignorant and careless, knowing nothing about God—knowing nothing of their origin or destiny. What has the Lord done for us? He has opened the heavens, and has revealed the principles of truth. He has sent his holy angels to communicate unto the children of men the things that are calculated to promote their peace and happiness in time and throughout all eternity. He has given unto us, his people, the holy Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, which “holds the keys of the mysteries of the revelations of God,” which draws back the curtains of the invisible world, and enables him to penetrate beyond the veil, and discloses the great purposes of Jehovah pertaining to himself and to this world, as they shall roll forth in the accomplishment of his purposes.

What a contrast between this and the religion of the world! This shows man imperfectly at the present, it is true; but it will show him perfectly how to become a savior—how to redeem this world, which has been overrun with anarchy, destruction, misery, folly, and evils of every kind—how to redeem the world from the curse under which it labors and groans: it will show him how to teach the human family, that they may understand correct principles and be saved in the kingdom of God.

The religion of Jesus Christ will develop the plan of putting down the high-handed power of tyranny and oppression which now pervades the earth, and how to establish the principles of peace, righteousness, and virtue upon the earth, and how to place the world of mankind in that position which God has destined they should occupy when his kingdom shall rule upon the earth, and when “every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth shall be heard to say, Blessing, honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”

The germs of this peace are with us; the intelligence concerning these matters has begun to be developed, and there is a communication opened between the heavens and the earth—an unction that dwells with the Gods, an intelligence that governs all worlds and controls all nature, a particle—a spark of Deity straight from the eternal blaze of Jehovah, opening, unfolding, enlightening, and teaching. It emanates from him to the authorities of this Church, and flows through all the ramifications of the Priesthood. That spark from the bosom of Jehovah enabled them to commence that reformation that will redeem a world from the ruins of the fall.

This kingdom and this organization will save all that are governed by its principles, and it is destined by its influence and workings in the world to spread and increase until every knee shall be made to bow and every tongue confess to the glory of the Father.

These principles have begun to be developed among us; and when we live our religion, when we walk according to the light of the Spirit of God, when we purge ourselves from impurity and corruption, and the sweet whisperings of the Spirit of the Lord pours intelligence into our bosoms, broods over us, causing peace and joy to be with us, we have then, more or less, a faint glimpse of those things that are laid up for the faithful; and it is then we feel as though we and all that we have are in the hands of the Lord, and that we are ready to offer ourselves a sacrifice for the accomplishment of his purposes upon the earth.

These are our feelings, and we feel proud of our associations with the Church and kingdom of God. Why is it that our spirits are not always joyous? There may be different reasons. One reason is that we do not always live our religion. We give way to vanity, frivolity, and nonsense too much, and sometimes to dishonesty and fraud; we do things that are not right, and adopt practices that are not good; and when this is the case, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and it wanders from us, and we are left to grope in the dark; the visions of eternity are shut out from our minds, and we see through another medium than that of the Spirit of God. We are led, through these circumstances, to stumble and fall; and many make shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience.

We do not all of us sufficiently comprehend the great blessings that God has conferred upon us. We forget, sometimes, that we are the Saints of God; we forget that we have dedicated ourselves to the Lord, with all that we have; and we forget our high calling and our future destiny. We forget, sometimes, that we are engaged, with many others, in establishing righteousness and planting the kingdom of God upon the earth; and we condescend to little meannesses, and become forgetful of the great and glorious calling to which we are called. Many of us give way to temptation; we falter and get into darkness, and lose the Spirit of the Lord. We forget that God and angels are looking upon us; we forget that the spirits of just men made perfect and our ancient fathers, who are looking forward for the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth, are gazing upon us, and that our acts are open to the inspection of all the authorized agencies of the invisible world.

And, forgetting these things sometimes, we act the part of fools, and the Spirit of God is grieved; it withdraws from us, and we are then left to grope our way in the dark. But if we could live our religion, fear God, be strictly honest, observe his laws and his statutes, and keep his commandments to do them, we should feel very different; we should feel comfortable and happy; our spirits would be peaceful and buoyant; and from day to day, from week to week, and from year to year, our joys would increase.

Other causes also operate to retard the Saints in their progress. Most of us have come out of and been mixed up with the world; we have been associated with, and have received our education and ideas in the midst of corruptions of every kind, and we have sucked it in as with our mother’s milk.

Even our religion has been corrupt, and our ideas of morality have been wrong; our politics, law, and philosophy have all been wrenched, twisted, and perverted; our customs, habits, and associations have been wrong; and all that we have come out from is vanity, evil, corrupting, and damnable in its nature.

Is it surprising, then, that we should find it difficult to live according to the light and intelligence that dwells in the bosom of God and that is manifested partially unto us, his people? Is it surprising that, surrounded as we have been, and wallowing in corruption all the day long, that we should have partaken more or less of these things, and that they should still cling to us?

When Joseph Smith had anything from God to communicate to the children of men or to the Church, what was it he had to fight against all the day long? It was the prejudices of the people; and, in many instances, he could not and dared not reveal the word of God to the people, for fear they would rise up and reject it. How many times has he faltered? It was not that he was particularly afraid; but he had to look after the welfare and salvation of the people.

If the Prophet Joseph had revealed everything which the Lord manifested to him, it would have proven the overthrow of the people in many instances; hence he had to treat them like children, and feed them upon milk, and unfold principles gradually, just as they could receive them.

Was all this because it was so hard to comprehend correct principles? No; it was because we were babes and children, and could not understand.

How is it now, under the administration of President Young? Much the same, in this respect. He has often found it very difficult to make the people understand things as the Lord has revealed them unto him.

We ourselves have not got rid of our evils. We have so much professed righteousness and foolish tradition within us, that we feel indignant many times at righteous principles, when God reveals them. Have you not felt so, brethren and sisters? I know you have, and you know you have.

What is the reason of this? It is because you do not understand celestial laws, nor the principles that govern intelligences in the eternal worlds; it is because you do not understand what is best calculated to elevate, ennoble, and exalt you both in this world and in the world to come; and hence many falter and stumble and fall by the way.

In consequence of these things, we are frequently brought into darkness, bondage, and doubts, because of our consummate ignorance and the traditions by which we have been surrounded; for they all have their influence upon us, and it seems as if we could not break through the shackles again. There is something in our nature also that is mixed up with our very existence. I think the Scriptures say that man is prone to evil as the sparks fly upwards, and not only prone to evil, but to depart from God.

We are all aiming at celestial glory. Don’t you know we are? We are talking about it, and we talk about being kings and priests unto the Lord; we talk about being enthroned in the kingdoms of our God; we talk about being queens and priestesses; and we talk, when we get on our high-heeled shoes, about possessing thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions in the eternal worlds, when at the same time many of us do not know how to conduct ourselves any better than a donkey does.

Notwithstanding our talk and our short comings, there is a reality in these things, and God is determined, if possible, to make something of us. In order to do this, he has to try us and prove us, to manifest principles unto us, to develop the evils that are within ourselves, and to show us, by placing us in various positions and subjecting us to various trials, what we are—to show us our weaknesses and follies, in order that we may be made to lean and depend upon him alone. He will try men and prove them, to see if their hearts are pure; for he designs to take a course with us that will bring out the evil; and he will touch them in that part that will develop it, for he knows what part to touch in order to make us develop that which is in us.

Many of us feel like one of the kings of Israel did when the old Prophet told him he would fight against Israel, rip open women, and trample upon children. The king said, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do these things?” The Spirit of God in the Prophet knew that such would be the case, and it was not long before he did the very things. And there are many of you who, if you had been told that you would do such and such things, would have exclaimed, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do these things?” Yet, many of you have done things that you would have been ashamed to have your neighbors know; but you were not ashamed to have God and angels know.

The light of the Holy Ghost makes manifest men’s deeds, and the Spirit of God is like a “two-edged sword, dividing the joints and the marrow,” breaking, severing, cutting, piercing, penetrating, developing, and unfolding principles that we are almost entirely ignorant of, until they come to be developed.

When you have seen your ignorance and folly, you are inclined to say, “I thought I was a smart, good, able, intelligent man; but I have found out that I am a fool, and that I can do nothing to establish righteousness upon the earth, except the Lord God helps me to do it.” When the Spirit of the living God was poured out more copiously upon you, it developed principles that were before latent within you. That Spirit enables you to see yourselves as the Lord sees you.

No trial is joyous for the present, but grievous to be borne; but trials yield their blessings, when patiently endured. The things that are seen are temporal, but those that are not seen are eternal; and while we look at things that are seen, we are apt to neglect things that are not seen. When we see things that are by the light of the Spirit, and compare them with things that are to come, we say, “It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.”

The world has been apostate for generations past: it has been under the dominion of the prince and power of the air, even the god of this world, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience. As I have stated before, they have been wrong in their national affairs, they have been wrong in political affairs, they have been wrong in their religion, and they have been wrong in everything.

What is God going to do, to set the world right? We are the people who are called to do his work; and if so, he must put us right. We are a little nucleus, a mere handful, that he has selected from among the nations, to put his name among. Yes, we are that people, with all our faults, our foibles, and vanities. We do acknowledge the hand of God; we do acknowledge the Prophet of God and the teachings of the Most High, and we do feel willing to be governed by those teachings.

Now, are we engaged in a small work? We are here in the tops of the mountains, just as the Prophet said we should be. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah ii. 2, 3.) The kingdom of God has to be established upon the earth, and the reign of righteousness introduced.

We have first to learn submission to the will of God ourselves, through various trials, persecutions, and the development of our weaknesses and imperfections, and thereby learn to appreciate the goodness and blessings that flow from him. We must see that we ourselves first learn obedience, and then teach others. But how can we teach others a lesson which we have not learned ourselves?

There is no nation now that acknowledges the hand of God; there is not a king, potentate, nor ruler that acknowledges his jurisdiction. We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense. Men talk about civilization; but I do not want to say much about that, for I have seen enough of it. Myself and hundreds of the Elders around me have seen its pomp, parade, and glory; and what is it? It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.

How are the nations going to be redeemed? How is the kingdom of God going to be planted upon the earth? Will it be by preaching, or by power? Will it be by the natural course of events, or by moral suasion? Will it be by the outpouring of the judgments of God on the nations? Will it be by kingdoms being overthrown and empires crumbling to ruins? How is it going to be done? I answer, These things will be accomplished by the guidance of the Lord through his Prophets who are in our midst. Don’t you see this, brethren?

How are we going to dispose of that army on our borders? Are they going to fight us, or are they going back? Or what is going to be done? Now, who can tell us how these things shall be? These are very small things, and show unto us the imperfection of our judgment, and how little we know of the things that are around us—how very little we know of those things that are coming to pass, except God reveals them through his servants the Prophets.

If we pursue a right course and magnify our calling before God, then everything else will be right; for “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets to his servants the prophets.” Then it is for us to believe what the Prophets say.

Sectarians profess to believe in the Bible, but they will not let the Lord have any Prophets. But we will listen and try to keep the commandments of our God.

I am now coming to some smaller things than those about which I have been talking. Can any of you tell me how you are going to get your next year’s clothing? No man can be independent who is dependent upon others; no nation can be independent that is dependent upon another nation for its sustenance.

Adam was thrust out of the garden after he fell, and had to take care of himself. Doubtless he was taught to spin, to weave, and to raise flax. We read that Abel used to raise sheep; so he must have known something about the use of wool. Cain was a tiller of the ground, and he went to work and raised wheat, corn, squashes, onions, beets, carrots, and such things.

What had Adam to clothe himself with at first? We are told that he and his wife had fig leaves with which they covered themselves. That was rather a poor scrape to be in! They did not have many bedclothes to put on, nor many hats or bonnets. There were no merchants to sell, or manufacturers but themselves, in those days. We are certainly as well off as he was, for we have got a start; but we cannot be independent until we can make our own shoes, dresses, shawls, bonnets, pantaloons, hats, and all such things as we need. When we can do these things, raise our own food, manufacture everything we need among ourselves, then we shall be independent of other people.

We have talked about being kings and priests; but we shall have to begin at the ABC, and learn to take care of our beef-hides, and see that they are tanned into good leather—to take care of our sheep; and not let them be destroyed as they have been heretofore; and, in connection with all these things, we have to take care that we are Saints, and look sharply after the devils.

A brother was talking to me about sheep, the other day. He stated that he believed 50 out of every 75 lambs in this Territory have been destroyed for want of being better looked after.

We have to make ourselves, our wives, and our children comfortable; and we must do this out of the elements that surround us in these valleys; and if we do not, we shall find the saying of Jesus applicable to us—“The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” Let us learn to take care of ourselves.

While we are dependent upon others, we are in a poor position to look at the condition of the United States at the present time. We are happily preserved from their commercial troubles. Our very isolation preserves us from broken banks and ruinous credit. Let us only use our judgment and proper care and industry, and we shall be free from a thousand contingencies to which we are liable when we depend upon others.

If we take care of our wheat we shall be independent in that respect, and that will be one point gained; and we must continue doing so with every other thing, until we have gained every point and accomplish what we design.

We have more manufacturing talent among us than there is in any other community of the same size that I have ever met with, and yet we are dependent.

If the Lord will tell us what to do, we will do it, whether it is to fight armies or to do anything else; and by the ingenuity there is here, we will go to work and manufacture our own clothing; and, according to the word of the Lord, we will let our adorning be that of the workmanship of our own hands.

Let us learn correct principles, that we may be enabled to govern ourselves spiritually and temporally, and instruct our children and the posterity which spring from us, that we may obtain an exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our God.

The servants of God, if we are faithful, will teach and instruct us in the things of God; and we shall grow up in virtue, intelligence, holiness, and purity, and learn to understand correct laws; and our rulers will be from among ourselves, and our Governor will be one of us—one of the Lord’s appointing—not of the Devil’s.

When Zion is established in her beauty and honor and glory, the kings and princes of the earth will come, in order that they may get information and teach the same to their people. They will come as they came to learn the wisdom of Solomon.

We have intelligence and ingenuity among us to do all that is required, and we have got to set to work; and, as the Lord gives us wisdom and revelation from time to time, we will carry out his purposes and his designs; we will perform the duties that may be required of us, and we will magnify our callings, that we may be prepared, through a long course of instruction and experience, to enter into celestial glory with the intelligences who surround the throne of God.

Brethren, I pray that God may bless us, enlighten our minds, lead us in the way of truth, and save us in his kingdom, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Self-Government—Constitution of the United States—Church Government, Etc.

A Discourse by Elder Orson Hyde, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 3, 1858.

Brethren and sisters, it has fallen to my lot this morning to speak unto you a short time as I may be led by the Spirit of the Lord our God. It is very natural for me, when I arise to address a congregation, to speak pretty energetically and pretty loudly also. This you all know that are acquainted with me and that have heard me speak. I like to hear an energetic speaker; but one who speaks very loud is apt to injure himself. When I have spoken too loudly, I have done injustice to myself and probably to the congregation. I shall endeavor, the Lord being my helper, to modulate my voice according to the Spirit of God that I may have when speaking, and not go beyond it, neither fall short. At the same time, I do not want my mind so trammeled as brother Parley P. Pratt’s once was, when dancing was first introduced into Nauvoo among the Saints. I observed brother Parley standing in the figure, and he was making no motion particularly, only up and down. Says I, “Brother Parley, why don’t you move forward?” Says he, “When I think which way I am going, I forget the step; and when I think of the step, I forget which way to go.”

I desire that I may watch myself, that while I may be thinking what to say, I may not allow my voice to range unchecked or uncontrolled; and while I may seek to govern my voice, I hope not to be forgetful of matter for your edification.

The principle of government among the Saints is the most important principle that there is for us to understand. If we apply it to individual capacity, it is the most important to us as individuals, not only in the government of the hand and arm, which are greater members than the tongue, but in the government of the tongue also. The tongue, though a very small member, is of all importance, which we readily concede. And if we can govern the tongue, we may be considered qualified to rule; for the tongue, though a small member, sets on fire the course of nature, and is too often set on fire of hell.

It is the tongue that causes the evils that exist in the world; it is the tongue that sets nations at war; it is the tongue that causes broils in the domestic circle; it is the tongue that causes the fire of animosity and ill-will to burn in our midst. If we can succeed in governing the tongue according to the mind and will of God, we have got peace in our families, peace in our neighborhoods, peace in our community, and, what is more than all, we have peace with our God; for he that offendeth not in word, the same is a perfect man. Show me a perfect man that does not have peace with his God, and you will show me something I never saw or heard of. If we can govern the tongue, we are prepared then to enter upon the government of other matters; but I think we shall have plenty to do, at least for the present, to govern our tongues, even the best that are under the sound of my voice; for there is no person but that sometimes speaks unadvisedly with his lips—but that sometimes lets off an improper word; for the tongue or mouth is merely the valve of the heart—the place where the sentiments are discharged that have been confined in the heart, and that is the true index to the real inner man. Hence, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by them thou shalt be condemned.” Who of us this morning can say that we have not offended in word, even this morning? Can we say that we have not offended in word since the new year of 1858 began? 1857 is gone by; 1858 is now before us. Have we offended in word since this year began?—for I am sure that you all prayed that, with the close of the year, your sins might be canceled and swept away into the gulf of forgetfulness, that they be brought against you no more. Then I trust that you have entered upon the new year with a clean page—turned over a new leaf. Is there a spot or blemish upon that new page thus far until now? Have none of us offended in word? If we have not, so far we are perfect, and able also to bridle the whole body. This will do then, perhaps, for the regulation and control of the tongue.

There are other matters that I may be led to speak upon in relation to the government of the Saints as a body. By what law shall we be governed? By what rule are we to be controlled and managed? By the laws and powers of this world, or by the laws and powers of the world to come? We form a very important link in the chain of existence. We are occupying a very important place at the present time, and we are called upon to set an example. We are called upon to be the pioneers of a work that shall be everlasting. To be sure, we are but weak and feeble; yet we are the strongest of all people on the earth, if we have the God of heaven to be our helper; and we have him, if we offend not in word—if we can govern the tongue.

It is said there are a great many imperfections among us as a people. Grant it. At the same time, it is said we are the best people on earth, and the only friends God has. Admit this to be so. We may not be so pure friends as he might desire, but we are the best there are; and if he suffers us to be cut off, he will have none left of any kind. This is verily so.

We know that if we want a certain work done, we select the most proper individual for that job. If he is not so good as we could wish, we take the best we have and use that individual. So the Almighty, if he cannot have a people exactly to his liking, I do not know but that he will take the best there is, and manage and get along with them according to the wisdom he possesses.

Now, in relation to the Constitution of the United States, I want to speak a few words. There is a great deal of sacredness attached to the Constitution of the United States by this people: that is all right and good. The Constitution is well enough, and so is anything that serves the purpose for which it was created, provided that purpose be a good one. It was designed and created with a good intention. If it serves the purpose and end of its creation, it is good; and when it has served the end of its creation, the purpose and design of the Almighty are accomplished, and I do not know that he has any more particular use for it. He may then lay it aside as a relic to be respected and honored for the good it has done, for aught I know.

It is said that brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution should be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he said something like this—that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.

The question is whether it will be saved at all, or not. I do not know that it matters to us whether it is or not: the Lord will provide for and take care of his people, if we do every duty, and fear and honor him, and keep his commandments; and he will not leave us without a Constitution. There is none of you will dispute that the Temple of Solomon was built by the inspiration of the Almighty, and it was built to answer a certain purpose and design: it was built by the skill, wisdom, ingenuity, and strength of man, aided by the inspiration of the Almighty. It was a beautiful structure, and excited the admiration of all people. Even the Queen of the South came to behold the wondrous works of Solomon and his wisdom, and declared that the half had not been told her.

The edifice stood for centuries, though it had become somewhat like the boy’s jack-knife, which had had three new blades and two new handles. In the days of our Savior, the disciples were very anxious to show him the magnificence of that building. “Master,” said they, “see what stones! Look at the grandeur, sublimity, strength, and skill displayed in the erection of this building!” I see it all; but I tell you one thing, and it is near at hand, when there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. “You come out against this temple!” The Jews thought the Savior was a blasphemer when he said he would destroy this temple, and in three days he would raise it up again. “What! Are you going to destroy this sacred place that was built by the inspiration of the Almighty?” They supposed he referred to the temple built by Solomon; but instead of that, he referred to the temple of his own body.

This shows how the Jews viewed their temple, and the importance they attached to it. They considered it as a most sacred place, and this is why they misunderstood the Savior and considered him a blasphemer for presuming to speak against the temple. You discover that the Savior says, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.

Why must this temple be razed to the foundation? Because it has answered the purpose of its erection; and another thing it has been so grossly polluted that it has incurred the displeasure of the Almighty, and he will not see so noble a structure defiled and remain in the midst of the Jews to be used as a den of thieves, instead of a house of prayer. The Lord went to work to purify it, and took a whip of small cords, and went in and cast out them that bought and sold, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and made quite an uproar in the midst of the Jews. Still they would resort there. There was the place where they would buy and sell, despite the reproof the Savior had given them. Then said he, There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. It is useless to endeavor to purify and cleanse it, because it has been made the theater of so much corruption and hypocrisy. I will sweep it out of existence, and utterly destroy it.

Just so with the Constitution of the United States. It was framed by the inspiration of the Almighty, we readily grant. It has served a certain purpose—been a partial shield to the Church in its infancy, or it has been a check upon mobocracy that otherwise would have risen against it. It has not been a protection exactly, but a check; and the Almighty saw fit to bring forth his work under this Constitution. It has served and fulfilled its purpose. Now, look at the disgraceful roguery practiced under that Constitution. There cannot be an election of a President without bribery, betraying, and buying and selling votes. Under the Constitution there are all kinds of trade, traffic, and commerce carried on in a political view. The Constitution now serves but little purpose other than a cloak for political gamblers, merchants, and hucksters.

The Almighty looks down from heaven and sees it impossible to save the Constitution, to perpetuate it, and cleanse and purify it; for the wickedness of the people is determined to sweep it out of the way. Although it was framed by his wisdom and skill, and his power and goodness, yet with as much cheerfulness will it be overthrown as it was ever erected or framed. I presume that Titus, the Roman Emperor, when he entered Jerusalem, when he overthrew the temple and the city, was inspired by the Devil as much to do it, as perhaps, Solomon was by the Lord to build it, or those that did build it, because it had fulfilled its day and its work, and had become corrupted and impure, and was the place in which corruption was practiced; and he would sweep it away. It is sometimes the case that in a city where a house of ill fame is kept, the people will turn out and demolish the house. It is not because they have an antipathy against the house, but because it was the cover in which abominations were practiced, and they will not bear it, and they turn out once in a while and tear down the house. We do not suppose the Almighty had anything against the temple; but it was a place of resort for corrupt characters, and he was determined to dispense with them by destroying their haunts of iniquity. We do not suppose the Almighty has anything against the Constitution; but it serves as a kind of cover under which corrupt characters hide themselves and attempt to carry on all kinds of barter and traffic in relation to politics; and the Almighty is determined to uncover and expose them.

What Constitution shall we be governed by, when unprincipled men have destroyed the Constitution of our Union? I will tell you what we shall have: while we walk in the favor of God, we shall have a Constitution. The Constitution written in the Bible? No. In the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, or Book of Mormon? No. What kind shall we have, then? The Constitution that God will give us. Do you suppose that Joseph Smith was permitted to be killed because the Almighty had anything against him? No. But he wanted the ungodly that rejected his testimony to fill up the cup of their iniquity; and hence they were permitted to take away his life, after he had accomplished the work he came to accomplish, and not before; they could not touch him before he had done the work he was sent to do—before he had laid the foundation of this kingdom. And when that was completed, he might be taken from the troubles of this world, that the ungodly might have the opportunity of filling up the cup of their iniquity. The blood of Joseph and Hyrum was shed—mingled too with the blood of brother Taylor, who survived, and who is here a living witness to the facts that occurred in connection with their death. Has the nation atoned for that blood? No. Have they offered to do it? They never have. But if one poor scamp should happen to be killed in this country, in this region, the whole of the United States are ready to fly to arms to avenge the blood of that individual, that never was worth the powder and lead to kill him. But the Prophets of God that are inspired of the Almighty to do a work for the benefit of the human family can be killed, and no man lay it to heart. Oh, it is all very well: to be sure, it was an outrageous deed to murder them when they were in the hands of the law—when they were held as prisoners; it was a horrid act: at the same time, we are glad it is done. That is the feeling, and the universal feeling almost throughout the United States. There was hardly a man, woman, or child that did not assent to the death of Joseph and Hyrum, but objected to the way in which it was done. “It is not exactly honorable or pleasing, but we are glad of it anyhow.” That is the sentiment of the nation, and by that very sentiment they have drawn upon themselves the anger of God; and that blood has to be atoned for, and it has to be atoned for upon all those that have said, We are glad of it!—that have secretly said so and cherished that idea. It will extend to them all who have consented to the death of the Prophet of God.

Now, says the Lord, “To him that overcometh, will I give power over the nations.” Did Joseph Smith overcome, even unto death? Yes. Was God with him? Yes, he was. When they were about to cut off his head, behold, the power of the Almighty came down, and the men stood as it were like marble statues: they could not move, but stood there like Lot’s wife—not pillars of salt, but pillars of petrified corruption. The power of the Almighty came down with the vivid glare of lightning’s flash, and they had no power to take his head off. Was God with him? Yes. Was his death glorious? Yes. What was his glory? One portion of it is—“To him that overcometh, will I give power over the nations.” A portion of his honor and glory will be to enforce his word and see it take effect among the people and nation that have said, We are glad that he is killed! They cannot avoid it by going through death. They will have to be arraigned under the government and jurisdiction of their murdered victims.

When we pass a law in the Legislature, and say that it is the law by our acts, we also say that all laws and parts of laws conflicting herewith are repealed from this time henceforth. When Joseph takes his position, all laws and parts of laws that shall conflict at all with him are hereby repealed, and his word and his law will be the end of strifes. There is no dodging it, and I feel thankful for it. Well, brethren and sisters, let it be our happy lot and our ambition so to live before our God and our superiors that have gone before us, that they may take pleasure in saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sen tinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire. But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them. The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass. If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. Then if Joseph shall say to a man, or if brother Brigham say to a man, I forgive you your sins, “Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;” if you who have suffered and felt the weight of transgression—if you have generosity enough to forgive the sinner, I will forgive him: you cannot have more generosity than I have. I have given you power to forgive sins, and when the Lord gives a gift, he does not take it back again. When he bestows a power, he does not diminish it, unless it is through transgression in the individual to whom this authority is given; but if he increases in righteousness, the Lord will add to it, instead of taking away. We see the position that brother Joseph stands in; we see that he has overcome, and that he has power over the nation. Now, brethren and sisters, don’t you think that brother Joseph feels for this people—feels an interest for us? Has he overcome, or has he not? We all say yes, he has, by the word of the Lord, by the truth of heaven, and by the word of his testimony. He has laid down his life for his brethren; and greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. He has overcome? Yes. Then has he power over the nation? Yes. Then he loves this people, does he? Yes. Does he love that people that killed him? No: he feels towards them as the Lord does, who is angry with the wicked every day, yet he does not sin. What shall he do with them? Break them to pieces as a potter’s vessel. Then the love that he has for this people and the anger that he feels towards the ungodly will be seen and felt by all classes; and if he has power over the nation, will he not exert it? He is armed with this power, which is reason sufficient why he should exert it in favor of his friends. Then we have no reason to fear.

When a man overcomes, he has power over the nation. I tell you we have no reason to fear, if we are friends to that individual.

They thought, if they could kill Joseph and Hyrum, they would get the ascendancy, and that it would be an end of “Mormonism.”

Do you not see that every means they devised for their own safety is so many steps towards their overthrow? They could not have struck a more fatal blow for themselves than when they murdered Joseph and Hyrum, because it made them rulers over their enemies; and by this bloody act they sealed, nailed, and clenched their own doom, and there is now no possible chance of deliverance.

It is just so with our enemies at this time: if they let us alone, we will prosper; and if they don’t, we will prosper the faster and bring them under subjection the sooner. That is just the way our heavenly Father will overrule it, if we live to his honor and glory.

Now, we have the living law. The voice of brother Brigham is heard from day to day and from time to time, and also the voices of his Counselors, who are to him as Aaron and Hur were to Moses, lifting up his hands in the midst of the congregation, and sustaining and upholding him while his voice pours out the mind and will of God unto us. That is the law by which we are governed; and if we abide it, we have no need to transcend our Constitutional rights. In that we are safe, if we will honor and abide by it; and it is the only safe law and protecting power that will shield and screen us in the day of adversity and trial.

As Joseph stood to the people in his day, so do brother Brigham and his Counselors stand to the people in our day. Now, then, provided we can secure the favor, friendship, and goodwill of them that hold the keys of the kingdom in our day, it will be all right. Suppose some of us did really sin and transgress in the days of Joseph, in our darkness and ignorance, in our stupidity and blindness, and grieve the Holy Spirit and the spirit of Joseph: he is dead and we are living; and by-and-by brother Brigham comes up before Joseph. “Well,” says Joseph, “How did those ones get along in your day? Have they improved any? Have they done right even in your day, and secured your confidence and goodwill?” “Oh, yes,” says brother Brigham; “they have done well in my day. We have had no trouble with them: they have kept my word.” Says Joseph, “If you can speak in their favor, I will not interpose any objections.”

It is for us, brethren and sisters, to secure the goodwill of those that hold the keys of the kingdom here. We do not care what they think outside of us. We ask no odds of them: they may think what they please. If we can only get the goodwill, faith, and love of our brethren that preside over us, we shall not need the encomiums of the ungodly.

If we can get the goodwill of them that preside over us in our day, they will speak a good word for us. If you, Bishops, have a man in your Wards that has been refractory and is put under your jurisdiction, the President calls upon you and asks, “How does that man get along?” “First-rate: he is easily governed and controlled.” Says the President, “I am glad to hear it; I am glad he is getting along so well, and hope and trust he will continue to do so: he has my goodwill.” If we can secure the friendship, goodwill, and confidence of those who preside over us, and merit it (mark you, and we shall not get it without we do), the fact is, it will be their pleasure to speak a good word to Joseph for us, and also to others that have gone before. Is there a Bishop under the sound of my voice now that would not esteem it a pleasure to bear testimony in favor of a man for his good conduct, if he had been rebellious and had reformed under his administration? No. Let us remember these things, brethren.

The men that God has placed in our midst let us sustain like the two counselors of Moses, Aaron and Hur, who held up the hand of Moses. Let us honor that word that comes from the Prophet of God. He holds the keys of the kingdom. He is the true successor of Joseph, and he will have power over the nation, either in life or in death: it is immaterial to him. When brother Brigham goes and joins with Joseph, it will be said, “Oh, we are one, just as we always were; and here come his Counselors: they are one, and they increase the strength and power of the Priesthood beyond the veil.” It is for us to uphold these men in every condition.

Do we ever eat a meal of victuals without asking God to bless it? We do not, if we do right; for we ought to have grateful hearts all the time, and ask God to bless every gift he bestows upon us, and thank him for it. And when we pray, can we pray without remembering the power that bears us up? If I were going to climb upon a scaffold, and I thought it weak, I would strengthen it before I ventured upon it. I do not want to venture upon it unless I know it is strong. If I put forth my powers in behalf of it and strengthen it, then I know it is strong. If I never pray for that power, and feel no interest in it, I will never venture upon it. But if I have an interest there, I will strengthen that power; and when I do, I can venture on it.

The Presidency are like an arch with a keystone in the top of it. The greater weight you put upon it, the stronger it is. It is sometimes the case that the arch falls, but it is when no weight is upon it; but when you put a hundred thousand pounds of weight upon it, it is better bound together and stands the more firmly. So, if we sustain that power by our prayers and faith, we may put everything on it—not everything for them to do, we do not mean, but the weight of responsibility in dictating the affairs of the kingdom. We may trust them with safety and confidence, because we have contributed to make the butments permanent and strong, and now we may venture with assurance.

The grand secret we shall find to be, when we get through, that these are gods unto us, and there are millions of them beside; but they have but little to do with us. It is the power that is next to us that we have to do with more particularly—the power under whose jurisdiction we are immediately brought.

Some think they can run by their Bishops and disrespect their authority. They may think, “Only let me make it fair with the President, and it will be all right; I have the sanction of the highest authority.” You might have the sanction of the head; but if the head had no feet to stand on, that sanction would not be of much worth.

Just so, we should seek to have the sanction of those that are immediately over us by our upright conduct. How can we love those whom we do not see once a month, or once in six months, if we love not our Bishop whom we see daily.

Some men think, if they can have a good name abroad and with the Presidency, all is well. But at home, in our own houses, in our Wards, and with our immediate neighbors are the places to establish our reputation. I tell you, if there is not a good influence in our own neighborhood, among our own Ward people in our favor, there is not a good influence anywhere for us, except with the reprobate. When you find a man or woman that has a good influence in their own Ward with their own Bishop—a good name with their own neighbors, they have a good name everywhere.

When the rays of light come from the sun, we say they are glorious, just as far as those rays extend. It is the same glory and the same influence, and it is the same power. Just so it is if all is right at home; if we have the respect and confidence of our own domestic fireside friends, we have the respect and confidence of all whose respect is worth possessing.

Some may think, if they can only keep fair weather with their Bishop and neighbors, it is no matter how they live at home, whether they neglect their affairs and quarrel like cats and dogs or not, if they can only pull the wool over the Bishop’s eyes.

If we have a little hell in our own houses, that little hell will be sure to break out. We close the sepulchre, and roll a stone there, and seal it with the seal of State, and confine it just as closely as we please; but the contents will escape. Even so with any family: their conduct will be known, and they cannot suppress it, nor confine it to their own domiciles. Let us have no kind of jars at all: let us make everything right at home, at the real seat of government, to begin with.

If they should have a little difficulty among the troops out here in Utah, so far from the seat of Government in Washington, it would have but little effect at headquarters. But when contention, strife, and war break out in the halls of Congress, it then becomes something; and such kind of difficulty I pray God, in the name of Jesus, to let them have right at home, at the seat of empire, because they have sought to destroy the kingdom of God; and it is the same spirit that moved Herod to slay the infant children. God grant they may be smitten with worms, as was Herod, or anything else that seemeth him good, and defeat their intentions and designs.

If we can make it all right in our families, there is the place of government. Govern the tongue right in our own families. I know it is sometimes the case that a person will see a chance to slip in a word that will cut like a razor. “Oh, that is too good a chance to let slip; therefore I will let fly a word,” and it sets all hell on fire. I speak particularly in relation to some women; but I do not know that it is any more in relation to them than to the men. The woman sees a chance to give the man a keen word that will make him feel; but she sours her own dish by so doing. She turns the sweet into gall, and then is compelled to eat it.

What is the better way? If she sees a chance to inflict a wound by a word that will cut, and she thinks her husband really deserves it, which is the sure way to get a victory? Never say that word! Say the women, “If we can have no protection, shall we say nothing at all?” Let it pass, I tell you; take it mildly; and, by-and-by, says the husband, “I grieved my wife, and gave her just cause of offense. I am sorry for it; she has taken it so meekly, and never has harassed my feelings. Now, this cuts me ten times worse than if she had said something to balance the matter: then I should not have had this sting in my heart. But to see her take it so mildly without offering one reproach, O my God, how can I forgive myself?”

When you get a victory in that way, it is worth something. It is like getting a victory over our enemies by not firing a gun nor molesting them, only praying for them all the time. By-and-by they will come under conviction, and see all these things, and say, “O my God, can I ever forgive myself? We are whipt, and they have never done a thing.”

You may get a victory over your husbands all the time by praying for them, not exactly as we pray for our friends out yonder; but pray for them, and never do a thing to harm them, and by-and-by you will gain the victory; and I tell you that will count. Try this plan and see.

I do not feel like occupying more of your time. You have my best feelings and prayers, night and day, that God may bless you, and the land for our sake, and that he will clear our coast of enemies, and place a flaming sword to guard the way of the tree of life, that the tree of life in the valley may grow, being watered by the streams from the mountains until it becomes a great tree. This is what I desire and pray for.

May God bless you and our leaders and give us favor in their eyes, that we may grow up under their fostering care, that we may be prepared to act in every place where Providence may guide us, or they in their wisdom place us, and be ready to act well our part from this time henceforth and forever. Amen.

True Government, Union, and Progress—The Priesthood the Channel of Divine Revelation

Remarks by Elder George A. Smith, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 3, 1858.

We have listened to a very interesting course of instructions, which, if treasured up in our hearts and properly practiced, must do us all good. It is of the utmost importance to our welfare in the kingdom of the Most High that we commence and learn to govern ourselves; and when this lesson is learned, then we are prepared to govern others. Unless we can govern ourselves, we are unprepared to be governed in the way that the kingdom of God is to be ruled and directed, which is to be upon the principle of common consent. It is not that a majority shall rule, but that the people shall be agreed; and when all the people are agreed as touching any one thing in the kingdom of God, no power can resist it.

The world look upon us as though we were tyrannized over, because they do not know the principles upon which we act. In all our Conferences and Councils, this people should act as a unit, and have done so to a greater extent than any other people that have existed on the earth for a great many centuries. This has astonished even republicans. It is astonishing to many men to think that a people can all be agreed; and I have read professedly learned illustrations of republicanism, which declare that it is attended with great danger for the people all to be united. There is danger of their being united, lest they oppress somebody—that is, themselves.

In conversation, last winter, with ex-Governor Lane, of Oregon (then a delegate in Congress), on this principle, I told him of an election which occurred in one of our new counties, where the office of Sheriff was vacant, and by accident there were two candidates and a close contest. He said, “That is an evidence of civilization.”

If every person in a family can learn to be governed, there will be no difficulty in that family. And if every person in a Ward can learn to govern and control themselves, there will be no difficulty in that Ward; for the human mind is so constituted that this principle cannot be learned only by the observance of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, there is no other people upon the face of the earth that could live in these valleys and cultivate and irrigate the soil as we do. They have so little control of their disposition and of their temper, they would kill each other with their hoes over the water ditches. There could not be two, three, or forty owners in a water ditch without fighting. It takes pretty good Saints to get along with water ditches in a dry time, and not quarrel.

When this people live as they should, there will be no disposition in them to quarrel one with another. If anything is wrong, they will be ready to submit that wrong to be made straight by those who understand it better than they do. If any misunderstanding arises, it can easily be adjusted. But, with our views, prejudices, and traditions, we are all the time struggling with ourselves and our own peculiar notions. Every person has in his own brain a series of ideas implanted from early youth, which he considers to be right; and it is a very hard matter for us to relinquish these deeply-implanted traditions, which in nine cases out of ten are not right.

Now, from the early history of this Church, almost every man, every Elder, or member that has undertaken to study or practice law was in a very short time on the high road to apostasy and destruction; and every member of this Church who has undertaken to practice law as a profession has gone neck-and-heels to the Devil. What is the reason of this? They take up the opinions of men that wrote perhaps hundreds of years ago, and lay them down as a standard, drive them down as stakes, and then tie themselves to them, and they are immediately in a peck measure: their minds are contracted to the circumference of a peck measure, and they are a good deal in the condition that a gentleman was, by the name of Silly, who kept a tavern. There was an eminent Presbyterian minister who called on him, by the name of Peck. Silly thought he would joke the minister before the company at the dinner table, and said to him, “Mr. Peck, I believe it takes two pecks to make a half-bushel?” “Yes, sir; but it only takes one silly to make a fool.” So it only just takes one of those “Mormon” lawyers to make a fool.

Instead of taking up the subject as it exists, and enquiring what is right or wrong, they adopt the Gentile mode of undertaking to carry a point, right or wrong; and no Elder of Israel can undertake to carry a point, right or wrong, just or unjust, and stand up and defend injustice, falsehood, and corruption, without losing the Spirit of God; and it only takes one such a man to make a fool.

Trace over the history of apostates, and you will find that in almost every instance they lay down a standard rule—that is to say, “Thus far will we go, and no farther.” For instance, we will take the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and say concerning them, They are true—the rule and guide of our faith and practice; they are the law we must abide, and we must go no further; and so their light is blown out. Although these books are true, and there are many good instructions in them, by which we may learn the way of life, yet the very moment we tie ourselves to them and say we will receive nothing more, from that moment our light is extinguished, and we are inside the peck measure.

Go back to the early history of the Christian Church, and you find that the very moment the institutions of Jesus Christ and his Apostles were presented to the world, men began to speculate and philosophize on them, and to distribute them into different parts, and speculate on them, adopting their own wisdom for the wisdom of God. Instead of observing strictly the original principles of salvation, and keeping the light always blazing—keeping the spirit of revelation always burning—keeping the spirit of truth, the lamp of light, and communications from the Almighty continually flowing, they adopted a little of that they had received which suited their vain notions, saying, “We have enough, and upon this we will build.”

The very moment that revelation to this Church through our Prophet and Presidency ceases to be commu nicated unto us, and we adopt any series of books, whether the writings of Joseph or the writings of any other man, or all the writings and revelations that ever have been given, and say, This much we receive, and no more; then we are as dead as the lifeless corpse: we cut off the channel of revelation, and the light and the communication between us and eternal happiness; we cut asunder the thread of light, and we are in darkness and adrift at sea, without a compass to guide us, like any other religious denomination. Hence it is that we bear testimony of the fulness of the Gospel and of the Priesthood conferred upon Joseph Smith, and conferred upon our Prophet and President Brigham Young, and all the authorities of Israel in their sphere and in their standing and position.

I know that this Priesthood is true and is the authority by which we can claim and obtain from God this burning light until the day dawn and the day star arise.

Now, if I could not get up here and bear testimony that we are led by the power and instruction of the Spirit of prophecy—by the Spirit of the Almighty—by a Prophet called of God, ordained and chosen to instruct, teach, and lead us, you would never hear my voice in your midst. But that light never can be put out: it is with the Church, and God has set his hand at the present time to establish his kingdom. But unless the Saints will so live and so exert themselves that they can preserve the purity of the holy Priesthood among them, the work will be left to other people.

There is no opportunity for a half-way place: it is impossible. Men may think they can lie a little, blaspheme a little, get drunk a little, or do a thousand other mean things just a little, and yet be the servants of God. But if we would inherit the blessings of the Priesthood—if we would stand in the presence of the Almighty—stand upon Mount Zion and inherit the blessings of a glorious celestial dominion, we have got to be clean: we must cleanse ourselves, put away our follies, and be prepared to stand united.

A great many people have wondered why it was that it was necessary for the Saints to gather together. The fact is, the human mind is so weak—so susceptible of false impressions, that while the people of God were scattered in the nations of the earth, to come in contact with all the corruptions, prejudices, and traditions of the world, it was literally impossible for the human mind to resist these pressures. But by bringing our firebrands from every part of the world, gathering them from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and placing them together in one mighty heap, and exercising ourselves with diligence to cast out everything that is not right—by doing this we kindle a fire that can never be extinguished.

This is the work of God, and the servants of God that are called to preside over us are the messengers of the Most High, and they have the light and the power. It matters not whether we live to behold it in this life or not, that light will triumph; and all those who live humble and keep the commandments of God will triumph also. This is my testimony. We need not fear the nations of the earth; we need not fear the armies of the Gentiles.

From the very hour that the light began to shine, all the world has been trying to put it out; but the more they try to extinguish it the brighter it will shine; and it will blaze and burn, and it will go forth and will consume out of our midst all those that work iniquity; and Zion will be established in its purity, no more to be thrown down.

It is of no use to be discouraged or alarmed. We may have to sacrifice some of our habits, some of our comforts, and some necessaries; but then it will wake us up to supply our own wants. If our enemies should stop the importation of goods, deprive us of the means of exporting all the gold and silver we can accumulate, we will retain it among ourselves, and turn in and produce for ourselves. The greatest sermon that ever has been preached in these mountains in aid of home manufactures was that preached by General Johnston, when he told the merchants on Black’s Fork that if they undertook to carry their goods to Salt Lake, he would set their trains on fire. If they will keep their traps away, we will produce our own, and then we shall have them, and they will be our own, and we shall be independent, and we will fulfil the commandment given to the Church through Joseph—“Let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands.”

May God bless us, and enable us to do right in all things, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.