Extensive Character of the Gospel—Comprehensiveness of Divine Revelation, Etc.

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 15, 1852.

I am confident I have the prayers of the Saints and the faith of those who have faith. It is seldom that I request the Saints to pray for me, for I judge them by myself with a righteous judgment. I always pray for the Saints, and suppose in return they pray for all the faithful; and consequently, I have my share of their prayers.

I recollect a statement that I made, last Sabbath, with regard to the Gospel—what a Gospel sermon is, how long it takes to preach it, and what it comprises; that it takes the same time to preach it that it does to accomplish the plan of salvation pertaining to the children of men.

I have never yet seen the time that I had wisdom, strength, and ability enough to preach a Gospel discourse—to commence it, and finish it, setting before the people the plan of salvation sufficiently full, that thereby they might be saved. But it is only given in portions—a little here, and a little there, by feeble man.

The subject that is before us today is in the great discourse. To understand the first principles of the Gospel—to rightly understand them, a man must have the wisdom that comes from above; he must be enlightened by the Holy Ghost; his mind must be in open vision: he must enjoy the blessings of salvation himself, in order to impart them to others.

In our capacity, we are privileged, in a spiritual point of view, precisely as we are in a temporal point of view. We have the privilege of learning and adding to the knowledge we have already obtained. We have a knowledge, for instance, of the rudiments of the English language. If we continue in our studies—in our exertions to acquire information, we obtain more knowledge; and if we continue still to persevere, we add still more to that, until we are perfect masters of the language.

Again, with regard to mechanism, in a certain sense, the same principle will hold good. We have the privilege of learning the arts and sciences that the learned among the Gentile nations understand; we have the privilege of becoming classical scholars—of commencing at the rudiments of all knowledge—of entering into the academics, we might say, of perfection. We might study, and add knowledge to knowledge, from the time that we are capable of knowing anything until we go down to the grave. If we enjoyed healthy bodies, so as not to wear upon the functions of the mind, there is no end to a man’s learning. This compares precisely with our situation pertaining to heavenly things.

The capacity of mankind in attaining to geometrical knowledge and the fine arts is great. All nations and people understand more or less of the knowledge pertaining to the arts and sciences. But when they leave those principles that are comprehended in the studies pursued by the natural man, and undertake to define their own persons, their own being, and to understand the propriety and wisdom of the creation, and bring forth to themselves or to others those principles that pertain to future knowledge, they are in the dark; there is a veil over them. The veil of the covering that is over the nations of the earth has beclouded their understandings, so that they are in thick darkness. This our experience teaches us—that when any uninspired person or persons (who pretend to) step beyond organized nature, which is visible to the natural eyes, there is a mystery—the hidden mystery—the deep and unsearchable mystery of creation.

We can see the natural man, we can behold our face in the glass; but can we tell what manner of person we are? Can we define the object of this organization—of this body? Can we circumscribe it? Can we fathom the depths, the propriety, the necessity, and the object of Divine wisdom; in our organization? It is a mystery to the wisest there is upon the earth. We see life and action: this we witness daily; ourselves, we act; we see others act. We have sight to see; our ears are organized to hear, our hands to feel, and all the system throughout seems to be perfectly framed to sense and understanding; and the mystery of it is such that the wisest of all the philosophers are ready to acknowledge, and exclaim, It is a mystery!—it is not to be fathomed or understood by man. When we advance into the future or recede into the past, either plunges a man into still greater mystery. It is a mystery that the world have sought after by their wisdom: they have studied diligently for the express purpose of becoming acquainted with these mysteries. Thousands and thousands have spent their whole lives in study—have sought after and read the comments and ideas of others with the utmost anxiety and fervency of intention, seeking to find that which others have not found—to learn that which has not been learned.

This Book, which is the Old and New Testament, preaches but one sermon from Genesis to Revelation. We commence and go through with this volume; then search all those books which have been rejected by the Christian nations as not canonical, and any other writings of Prophets and Apostles, and all good men—all revelations that have been set aside, and considered unnecessary—summon all the revelations that have been given from the days of Adam to the present time; and what is the sum of the whole of the teachings of Him who has created (the Supreme of the universe)—who has organized and planned and executed and brought into existence—all his teachings to his people? Simply this—Son, daughter, live before me, so that I can come and visit you; order your lives with that propriety, that I will not be disgraced to come and abide with you for a season; or, when I send my angels or my minister the Holy Ghost to reveal my mind and will to you, or to bless you with abiding comfort, that they may not be disgraced in your society.

I say, all the revelations of God teach simply this—Son, daughter, you are the workmanship of mine hands: walk and live before me in righteousness; let your conversation be chaste; let your daily deportment be according to my law; let your dealings one with another be in justice and equity; let my character be sacred in your mouth, and do not profane my holy name and trample upon mine authority; do not despise any of my sayings, for I will not be disgraced. I wish to send one of my servants to visit you. What for? That you may see and know as others have—that you may see as you are seen—that you may understand those principles pertaining more particularly to the kingdom you are in. You have descended below all things. I have, in my wisdom, reduced you; I have caused that you should drink of the dregs of the bitter cup. I have placed you in the depths of ignorance, and have surrounded you with weakness, to prove you. I have subjected you to all misery that can be endured. I have caused you to come upon this earth, where misery, and darkness, and every species of unbelief and wickedness reign, to prove you, that you may understand and know the good from the evil, and be capable of judging between these with a righteous judgment.

I have caused all this to be done; and now, son and daughter, the inhabitants of the whole earth that have lived from the days of Adam until now, the first and the last—the grand aim of all that I, the Lord, have revealed is to instruct you to live so that I can come and visit you, or send my angels, that they can enter into your habitations, walk and converse with you, and they not be disgraced. By so doing, you shall be made partakers of all knowledge and wisdom, power and glory that the sanctified or glorified beings enjoy. And this is, first of all, what the Lord wishes of the people.

What does our experience teach us—our eyes witness day by day? True, I may say, with many of you, I am not under the necessity of hearing the name of my God, whom I serve, my Father in heaven, blasphemed daily; I am not associated with those who blaspheme the name of the Father and the Son, and the character of the Holy Ghost; I do not associate with those who are liars, or adulterers, or whoremongers, or those who love and make a lie. You can say the same: yet, when we mingle among the wicked, what do we see and hear? What do these my brethren hear, that take the pains to go into the canyons to sell a little beer to the traveler? They hear the name of the Lord that bought them blasphemed. It would take all the teams you have in the country to draw gold enough to tempt me into such a situation.

Men are going crazed to attend the ferries, in order to amass a few paltry dollars. What do you hear there? You hear the name of the Lord Almighty, and his character, and his Son Jesus Christ, and his minister the Holy Ghost, blasphemed; and every servant of God upon the earth is cursed by them to the lowest regions. It is not all the gold of Ophir and California that could hire me to hear it for one month. These are my feelings.

Gold and silver will perish, but the name of the Almighty will remain forever. His character will not sink, nor the character of his Son, nor of his ministers, nor of any of his faithful servants who keep his commandments. Riches will perish, but they will endure. I say again, there is not gold enough lying east of the Rocky Mountains to bring me to one of these ferries and hear the blasphemies I should have to hear. But can we not hear it here? Yes—to the shame and disgrace of a few of those that call themselves Latter-day Saints. Is it so, that there is a man whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life that will take the name of the Deity in vain? I speak to you who are trifling with the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit of promise, to the shame of a few of the Elders of Israel.

The time will come when they will be cut off, though I am sorry to say that. I would rather say that while I am in the society of the Latter-day Saints, I might never hear the character of the Deity ridiculed and disgraced, and his name used in a light and trifling manner.

It is true, I do not hear it. If I were to hear that which other people say they hear—an Elder of Israel use the name of the Lord God in vain, I should cut him off from the Church; and if I could not get any help to cut him off, I would do it myself. Let me tell you, he must be a very ignorant man who can use the name of the Deity in vain, without having to repent forthwith.

While I was talking, last Sabbath, I wished that I could have strength of lungs to speak about one thousand years, and live without eating or resting. I thought in that time we should get pretty well through with a portion of the Gospel sermon.

I will now read a little in this book, called the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, pertaining to the subject we had before us last Sabbath. I will read a part of a short revelation, in order to exhibit some items of doctrine that are not generally understood, although it is before the people. All people who are disposed, have the privilege of reading this book for themselves; for it has been published to the world for some years. The Saints read it and have the privilege of understanding it, if they choose. Still, as I observed, we are in the school and keep learning, and we do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn and increase our fund of information. That may appear a strange idea to some; but it is for the plain and simple reason that we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once. We must therefore receive a little here and a little there.

I will read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 44—

A commandment of God, and not of man, to Martin Harris, given (Manchester, New York, March, 1830) by Him who is eternal.”

I could give to the people the cause of this revelation, but if is not necessary. I may say a word upon it when I come to it in the revelation, which will explain all that is necessary. Those who are acquainted with Martin Harris know his natural turn and disposition: he wanted to learn all things at once, was continually in pursuit of knowledge, and neglected to act upon that which he had already received. That is his true character, as far as I have known him. The revelation reads as follows—

“I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world. I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works, and the deeds which he hath done.”

We read in the Bible, you recollect, that every man shall be judged according to his works; but it is almost impossible; or, I will say, it is a considerable task and quite a labor to get a community to understand these words as they read; when, in reality, to those that understand them, it is as plain to them as it is for this con gregation to count how many fingers I am now holding up before you. If I hold up two fingers, you exclaim, There are two. But somebody will start up and say, No; there is but one; while another declares, There are four, and not one or two. Every person has a privilege of looking for themselves, and may know whether I hold up one, two, or four fingers. To a person who understands this saying it is just as easy for him to judge and know that mankind will be judged according to their works which they do in the body; and yet how hard it is to get the people to say it is so, and have them understand it.

“And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless. Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand. Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.”

This revelation has been before the people, in this volume, since the year 1834, and yet how few have paid attention to it. Suppose I repeat a part of this last quotation—“Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment; but it is written, Endless torment.”

“Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory. Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles. I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest. For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.”

If I recollect right, I think there is no place in the Bible so explicit, with regard to this name of the Deity—“for Endless is my name.”

“Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name; And it is by my almighty power that you have received them; Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.”

This language needs no particular explanation to those who ever knew Martin Harris.

“And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me. For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will.”

I want to connect this part of the revelation given to Martin Harris, with a few words in the revelation called the Vision—

“Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and to defy my power—They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.”

I wished to connect these two quotations, and refer directly to the situation of the world, believing that this can be made profitable like everything else. All the revelations that are given, and every revelation that was given, and every matter of fact or truth that is revealed to the chil dren of men is for their benefit; and, if improved upon, in honesty and truth, in righteousness and humility, to the glory of God, and to their own honor, it is a lasting benefit; but if they should turn about and make an evil use of it, it always will be to their condemnation: consequently, it is for the inhabitants of the earth to know the blessings and the privileges the Lord has for them to enjoy. It was said by the Savior, when in the flesh, to the scribes and Pharisees and learned doctors of the law; and it will apply to every class and grade, and every individual in every community: “This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men choose darkness rather than light.”

So it is; it always has been, and it always will be so: when light comes, if the people reject that light, it will condemn them, and will add to their sorrow and affliction. So it is with the inhabitants of the earth, at the present day, as much as it was in the days of the Savior, or in any other period of the world. Light comes into the world, but men choose darkness: when they do, it proves that their deeds are evil. This principle may prove beneficial to us and to every son and daughter of Adam who hear and have the privilege of hearing and of understanding for themselves.

When we take a view of the inhabitants of the earth, and look at ourselves, and contemplate our own situation and circumstances, we are satisfied that we, as a people, are favored above any other class upon the face of this globe. Our blessings are multiplied unto us more than any people. We have the privilege of knowing how to escape this world of sorrow and sin, to enter into the strait gate that was spoken of by the Savior, and obtain eternal life.

Is there any other people that know these principles—that have committed to them the keys of the holy Priesthood, by which they may save themselves, save their families, save their neighbors, and save all that will hear them? Where is that community? I do not know. So may this congregation exclaim, if the same inquiry was made of them: they can say, We do not know.

We are blessed, greatly blessed; and when we contemplate even upon our afflictions, the fact is, they appear to us not worth mentioning: they should never come into remembrance before us. We have the privilege of serving the Lord, of growing in grace, and obtaining that which the Lord has for us. This is the people the Lord designs should be prepared to enter in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate and narrow is the way, says Jesus, that leadeth to the endless lives. It is translated in King James’ version of the Old Testament, “That leadeth unto eternal life.” But in our late revelations it is rendered, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to the endless lives, and few there be that find it.”

Were I to inquire of the Latter-day Saints if they are all expecting to enter in the strait gate spoken of by the Savior—if they are all going to inherit eternal lives, everyone would answer in the affirmative. I hope they will. It really would rejoice me, were it to be so; but I cannot believe for a moment that every person who receives this Gospel will be prepared to enter in at the strait gate and inherit eternal lives. But there is one fact, and that is undeniable—we cannot alter it, and that is, every man shall be judged according to his works, and every man will receive according to the extent of his capacity.

Every individual among the Latter-day Saints and among all professors of religion, and then among all the heathen upon the face of the earth, will be judged according to their works. Is this all? No. Every individual will also receive according to the extent of his capacity. The inquiry might arise, Are all individuals who receive the new and everlasting covenant, and by their acts submit to it—are they capable of receiving the glory to be revealed—the crowns of glory, of immortality, and eternal lives? You may answer that question yourselves. Pause a moment.

I will refer your minds to Abraham. He lived many years without children, and sought diligently of the Lord to know if his name should be blotted from the book—if it should become extinct. He was a righteous man, a good man, and conversed with his Lord, received revelations from above, and communed with heavenly beings; while his constant cry was, O Lord, shall my name stop here? You can read in the Bible how he obtained a promise, and his wife actually bore him a son in her old age. He obtained this promise—“Abraham my son, you shall have a posterity, and a great nation shall spring forth from your loins; you shall receive the desire of your heart. What can you desire, Abraham?” I want to know if this will be the end of my posterity? And is my name to stop here? No, says the Lord; to your posterity there shall be no end. You remember what the Apostle says concerning this matter. It is this—“His seed shall be like the sands upon the seashore, and like the stars in the firmament, for multitude; they cannot be numbered from this time henceforth and forever; they are endless, and still continue to increase and increase.”

Here is the very posterity of Abraham in this house. Nearly the whole of this congregation is composed of them; and they are on the increase, spreading forth on the right and on the left, according to the promise made to Abraham, and the blessings he was earnestly seeking for. I mention this to remind you of one fact: it is a great blessing, and one of the greatest that can be bestowed upon a mortal being, to receive the sanction of the Almighty, the voice of God to man, saying that he shall inherit eternal lives. The gift of eternal life is the greatest of all gifts that can be bestowed upon mankind.

When we step forth into other communities, or contemplate the past, and view our forefathers, what will be their situation? What their doom? I can tell you, and you will allow me to judge the matter; not, however, that I am going to judge them and pronounce sentence upon them; but their situation is plain to those who understand.

My father and grandfather—my ancestors were some of the most strict religionists that lived upon the earth. You no doubt can say the same about yours. Of my mother—she that bore me—I can say, no better woman ever lived in the world than she was. I have the feelings of a son towards her. I should have them—it is right; but I judge the matter pertaining to her from the principles and the spirit of the teachings I received from her.

Would she countenance one of her children in the least act that was wrong according to her traditions? No, not in the least degree. I was brought up so strict, so firm in the faith of the Christian religion by my parents, that if I had said, “Devil,” I believed I had sworn very wickedly, no matter on what occasion or under what circumstances this might occur. If I used the name of Devil, I should have certainly been chastised, and that severely. Would my father or mother allow any of their children to say, “Darn it?” Were they ever allowed to say, “I vow?” No. If we had said either of these words, we should have been whipped for it. I don’t say that we did not say such things when out of the sight of father and mother; but if by any means it came to their ears, we were sure to be chastised.

Did I ever hear a man swear in my father’s house? No, never in my life. I never heard my father or any person about his premises swear as much as to say, “Darn it,” or “Curse it,” or “the Devil.” So you see I was brought up pretty strictly. My mother, while she lived, taught her children all the time to honor the name of the Father and the Son, and to reverence the holy Book. She said, Read it, observe its precepts, and apply them to your lives as far as you can: do everything that is good; do nothing that is evil; and if you see any persons in distress, administer to their wants: never suffer anger to arise in your bosoms; for, if you do, you may be overcome by evil. I do not know that I ever wronged my neighbor, even to the value of a pin. I was taught, when a child, not to take a pin from the dooryard of a neighbor, but to carry it into the house and give it to some of the family. Never did my mother or father countenance any of their children in anything to wrong their neighbor or fellow being, even if they were injured by them. If they have injured me says my father, let me return good for evil, and leave it in the hand of the Lord; he will bless me for doing right and curse them for doing wrong.

I have merely mentioned my own parents and their teachings to their children to bring before your minds the thousands and millions and thousands of millions of the inhabitants of the earth who have lived and passed off this stage of action, and the millions that are now living, eating, drinking, and busily engaged in the almost endless pursuits of mortal life as we are, everyone moving according to his own capacity and according to his own views and notions of things; but they all alike breathe the free air and drink of the free water, and all are before the Lord. I bring up these little items to prepare the way for the question, “What are you going to do with all these inhabitants of the earth?”

The Methodists answer, “You must come to the anxious seat, or else be plunged into that lake of fire and brimstone, and there live forever, without any end to your torment, among devils employed in pitching you around, adding brimstone to fire and fire to brimstone. You are to stay there for millions and thousands of millions and millions of billions of years, and all the rest of it a man can think of in the shape of numbers. When you have lived there so many years, you are not any nearer the end of this awful torment than you were when it first began.”

This has appeared to me, from my childhood to this day, a piece of complete nonsense, to talk about the inhabitants of the earth being thus irretrievably lost—to talk of my father and mother, and yours, or our ancestors, who have lived faithfully according to the best light they had; but because they had not the everlasting covenant and the holy Priesthood in their midst, that they should go to hell and roast there to all eternity. It is nonsense to me; it always was, and is yet.

What are you going to do with them? I will tell you. Take the Methodists and every reformer, from the latest back to King James, who seceded from the authority of the Pope, and the hundreds and thousands that are now living upon the earth, and have lived and passed away, who profess no religion, but stand aloof from all parties—among those who are dead and those who are living, there are multitudes who have been and are as good as they know how to be.

Now, the point is to know what we are going to do with them. Are we going to send them to an endless hell? This wants a little explanation; for if I were to say that all go to hell, I should certainly tell the truth; and I can say, as I said last Sabbath, All go there, both Saint and sinner, in one sense of the word.

There are reasons for this, and it is for man to understand what they are, placing everything in its own place, classifying and putting all things where they belong, to make the doctrine of salvation complete. Foreordination, for instance, and free grace are both true doctrines; but they must be properly coupled together and correctly classified, so as to produce harmony between these two apparently opposite doctrines. We must know, when the Lord speaks, what he is talking about, and who he is talking about; all and considerably more of which is necessary to get a proper knowledge of the whole scheme of salvation.

I ask you again, what are we going to do with father and mother? Are we going to send them to perdition, and there let them welter in awful misery and endless torment? No; we are not going to do any such thing; but we will put them where they belong.

Now, understand, all spirits came from God, and they came pure from his presence, and were put into earthly tabernacles, which were organized for that express purpose; and so the spirit and the body became a living soul. If these souls should live, according to the law of heaven, God ordained that they should become temples prepared to inherit all things. I wish you to understand that all spirits are pure when they are put into these tabernacles; but we have not time to explain or set before you the reasons of the variation in appearance in the mortal tabernacles. There are causes for it. Our spirits fill the tabernacles organized for them; the body is a habitation for the spirit to dwell in; and if the spirit and the body both agree in keeping all the laws and all the commandments that the Lord reveals unto that tabernacle, it never shall be destroyed.

How many shall be preserved? All who do not deny and defy the power and character of the Son of God—all who do not sin against the Holy Ghost. Now, to return again. Here are the spirits which have come and taken possession of the tabernacles prepared; they have entered into their house; and you observe that these habitations of the spirits of men are scattered over the face of the earth, and they have come from the Lord pure in their spirits. These enter their tabernacles and are shut out from his presence and the knowledge of the Lord: they are ignorant, filled with unbelief, exposed to the unholy traditions of the fathers, which they have to grapple with, and all the wickedness that is in the world with which they have to contend.

With your mind’s eye look at the millions of them in all nations who are doing according to the best knowledge they possess. What! The Roman Catholics? Yes, and then every one of her daughters down to the latest Protestant Church that has been organized. They are all doing just as well as they can, and living according to the best light they have—a great many of them, though not all. What shall we do with them? They pass from the world, their spirits go into the spiritual world, and their bodies go back to their mother earth, and there sleep, while their spirits are before the Lord.

Are they happy? Every son and daughter of Adam who live according to the best light and knowledge they have, when they go into the spiritual world, are happy in proportion to their faithfulness. For instance, take a view of some of our late reformers; take the best specimen of reformers that we have, who are all the time full of glory and happiness and full of praise to the Lord—who meet together oft to sing and pray and preach and shout and give thanks to the Lord Almighty; and in a great many instances and in a great degree they enjoy much of a good spirit, which is the Spirit of the Lord, or the light of Christ, which lighteth the world.

Now, this may be singular to some. What! They enjoy the Spirit of the Lord? Yes, every man and woman, according to their faith and the knowledge they have in their possession. They enjoy the goodness of their Father in heaven. Do they receive the Spirit of the Lord? They do, and enjoy the light of it, and walk in it, and rejoice in it.

What will be their state hereafter? Every faithful Methodist that has lived up to and faithfully fulfilled the requirements of his religion, according to the best light he had, doing good to all and evil to none, injuring no person upon the earth, honoring his God as far he knew, will have as great a heaven as he ever anticipated in the flesh, and far greater. Every Presbyterian, and every Quaker, and every Baptist, and every Roman Catholic member—every reformer, of whatever class or grade, that lives according to the best light they have, and never have had an opportunity of receiving a greater light than the one in their possession, will have and enjoy all they live for.

I am telling you the truth as it is, and you may write it down if you please, and call it revelation if you will. But it has been revealed before I revealed it here today. This is the situation of Christendom after death.

You may go among the Pagans, or among all the nations there are, and they have their religion, their sacraments, and ceremonies, which are as sacred to them as ours are to us: they are just as precious and dear to them, though we call them heathen. They are idolatrous worshippers; yet their religion is as sacred to them as ours is to us. If they live according to the best light they have in their religion, God is God over all and the Father of us all; we are all the workmanship of his hands; and if they are ignorant, filled with superstition, and have the traditions of the fathers interwoven like a mantle around and over them, that they cannot see any light, so will they be judged; and if they have lived according to what they did possess, so they will receive hereafter.

And will it be glory, you may inquire? Yes. Glory, glory, glory to our merciful Father in heaven; for the least glory spoken of in this Vision given to Joseph Smith, junior, and Sidney Rigdon, cannot be described: it is so great and so exquisite that it is altogether beyond mortal perception.

They could not write it, neither describe it in language. The glory of the telestial world no man knows, except he partakes of it; and yet, in that world they differ in glory as the stars in the firmament differ one from the other. The terrestrial glory is greater still, and the celestial is the greatest of all; that is the glory of God the Father, where our Lord Jesus Christ reigns. Well, this people are privileged above all other people upon the earth: this community—this congregation now before me are the people whose blessings are far superior to the blessings of all the human family besides.

What manner of persons ought we to be? Should not all our lives be filled with praise, and glory, and hallelujahs to God and the Lamb, with good works and good feelings, being filled with the Spirit of God? If so, would there be any room for anger or contention from this time forth? There would not be one man or woman that could find time to talk about their neighbors or contend with a brother, but all hearts would be sanctified before the Lord, and every tongue would be speaking praise, and every hand would be put forth to do good and to seek to build up the kingdom of God; and they would never sin again. If we seek to build up this kingdom, hereafter the Lord will build us up. I don’t know that I shall get half through with what I want to say today. I wish to come back and look at ourselves in the next place.

How many glories and kingdoms will there be in eternity? You will see the same variety in eternity as you see in the world. For instance, you see here one class of men who have lived according to the best light they had. You may go among the heathen, or among the Christians, it is no matter; I will call them all Christians, or all heathens, if it will accommodate anybody’s feelings, for they don’t come much short of all being heathen. We will take the best men we can find among them—when they pass through the veil they are in happiness, they are in glory, they go among the disembodied spirits; but they do not go where there are resurrected bodies, for they cannot live there: a Prophet or an Apostle cannot live there. They also go into the spiritual world to live with spirits. Do they commune with the Father and Son? The Father communes with them as he pleases, through the means of angels, or otherwise the Son and the Holy Ghost. This is the situation of the Prophet, the Apostle, and all Saints before they receive their resurrected bodies; but they are looking forward to the time when they shall receive their bodies from the dust; and those that have been faithful, probably, will now soon get their resurrected bodies. Abraham has had his body long ago, and dwells with the Father and the Son, among all the Prophets and faithful Saints who received their resurrected bodies immediately after the resurrection of the Savior. They were then prepared to enter into the Father’s rest and be crowned with glory and eternal lives; but they were not prepared before.

No spirit of Saint or sinner, of the Prophet or him that kills the Prophet, is prepared for their final state: all pass through the veil from this state and go into the world of spirits; and there they dwell, waiting for their final destiny. It no doubt appears a singular idea to you that both Saint and sinner go to the same place and dwell together in the same world. You can see the same variety in this world. You see the Latter-day Saints, who have come into these valleys—they are by themselves as a community, yet they are in the same world with other communities. But I do not feel as though I am dwelling where there are six or eight kinds of religion or more, and, after all, no religion at all. I am not dwelling where there is cursing, and swearing, and horse racing, and gambling, and everything else that is calculated to disturb a peaceable community. Though I am in the same world where all this exists, I am not dwelling where it is, nor am I disturbed by it; but I am peaceable and serving the Lord.

You can see the variety here. The Presbyterians can go away by themselves and build cities and towns, and try to prohibit all other persons who are not Presbyterians from dwelling with them. The Methodists can do the same; the Baptists can do the same. We have the privilege of organizing society in this world as we please, in one sense. This is what Mr. Owen calls Socialism. He says mankind are controlled by circumstances, and others say that mankind govern and control circumstances. Both are true. We govern and control circumstances; but when we come into circumstances which the Lord controls, we are then controlled by circumstances. I and my brethren can go and settle down in a certain part; and if you choose, we can go into merchandising or stock raising; and if we choose, we can live without a family, like a Shaker. In this way we can control circumstances in a great degree, while there are circumstances over which we have no control. All this exhibits precisely the situation of the people hereafter: they control circumstances to a great degree, and sometimes circumstances control them. When they are in the world of spirits, there is the Prophet and the Patriarch; all righteous men are there, and all wicked men also are there.

What is going to be done with them? By-and-by Zion will be built up; Temples are going to be reared, and the holy Priesthood is going to take effect and rule, and every law of Christ will be obeyed, and he will govern and reign King of nations as he now does King of Saints. Pretty soon you will see Temples reared up, and the sons of Jacob will enter into the Temples of the Lord. What will they do there? They will do a great many things. When you see Zion redeemed and built up—when you see the people performing the ordinances of salvation for themselves and for others (and they will hereafter), you will see simply this (but I have not time this morning to tell you only a little part of it). About the time that the Temples of the Lord will be built and Zion is established—pretty nigh this time, you will see (those who are faithful enough), the first you know, there will be strangers in your midst, walking with you, talk ing with you: they will enter into your houses and eat and drink with you, go to meeting with you, and begin to open your minds, as the Savior did the two disciples who walked out in the country in days of old.

About the time the Temples are ready, the strangers will be along and will converse with you, and will inquire of you, probably, if you understand the resurrection of the dead. You might say you have heard and read a great deal about it, but you do not properly understand it; and they will then open your minds and tell you the principles of the resurrection of the dead and how to save your friends: they will point out Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, in the Book of Mormon, and other revelations of God, saying, “Don’t you recollect reading so and so, that saviors should come up on Mount Zion?” &c.; and they will expound the Scriptures to you. You have got your Temples ready: now go forth and be baptized for those good people. There are your father and your mother—your ancestors for many generations back—the people that have lived upon the face of the earth since the Priesthood was taken away, thousands and millions of them, who have lived according to the best light and knowledge in their possession. They will expound the Scriptures to you, and open your minds, and teach you of the resurrection of the just and the unjust, of the doctrine of salvation: they will use the keys of the holy Priesthood, and unlock the door of knowledge, to let you look into the palace of truth. You will exclaim, That is all plain: why did I not understand it before? And you will begin to feel your hearts burn within you as they walk and talk with you.

You will enter into the Temple of the Lord and begin to offer up ordinances before the Lord for your dead. Says this or that man, I want to save such a person—I want to save my father; and he straightway goes forth in the ordinance of baptism, and is confirmed, and washed, and anointed, and ordained to the blessings of the holy Priesthood for his ancestors. Before this work is finished, a great many of the Elders of Israel in Mount Zion will become pillars in the Temple of God, to go no more out: they will eat and drink and sleep there; and they will often have occasion to say—“Somebody came into the Temple last night; we did not know who he was, but he was no doubt a brother, and told us a great many things we did not before understand. He gave us the names of a great many of our forefathers that are not on record, and he gave me my true lineage and the names of my forefathers for hundreds of years back. He said to me, You and I are connected in one family: there are the names of your ancestors; take them and write them down, and be baptized and confirmed, and save such and such ones, and receive of the blessings of the eternal Priesthood for such and such an individual, as you do for yourselves.” This is what we are going to do for the inhabitants of the earth. When I look at it, I do not want to rest a great deal, but be industrious all the day long. For when we come to think upon it, we have no time to lose, for it is a pretty laborious work.

I have a great feeling to just let the lash slide over onto some men a little. Do you think they would want to go to California to get gold, or run to the ferries, whence the name of the Almighty is blasphemed, if they properly understood these things—the way of life and salvation? You will enter into the Temple of the Lord, when by-and-by here come along brothers Joseph and Hyrum Smith, for instance; for they will be perfectly capable of coming and staying over night with you, and you not know who they are. Or suppose David Patten should come along, and shake hands with some of the Twelve, and want to stay all night with them and expound the Scriptures and reveal the hidden things of God. It will not be long before this will be so.

Suppose we are ready for it, and a great Temple is built at the central point, in Jackson County. Gentlemen, don’t be startled; for if we don’t go back there, our sons and daughters will; and a great Temple will be built upon the consecrated spot, and a great many more besides that. The land of Joseph is the land of Zion; and it takes North and South America to make the land of Joseph. Suppose we are ready to go into the Temples of God to officiate for our fathers and our grandfathers—for our ancestors back for hundreds of years, who are all looking to see what their children are doing upon the earth. The Lord says, I have sent the keys of Elijah the Prophet—I have imparted that doctrine to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts children to the fathers. Now, all you children, are you looking to the salvation of your fathers? Are you seeking diligently to redeem them that have died without the Gospel, inasmuch as they sought the Lord Almighty to obtain promises for you?—for our fathers did obtain promises that their seed should not be forgotten. O ye children of the fathers, look at these things. You are to enter into the Temples of the Lord and officiate for your forefathers.

Suppose we are ready to enter into the Temple to be baptized and attend to the ordinances for one hundred of our best forefathers, and Thomas should say to John, “John, take this affair and see to it; I want to go to this ferry to make a little money;” or “Joseph, you know the names of our ancestors better than I do; won’t you go and see to their salvation? I have not time myself; I want to build a bridge.” “James, are you ready to perform your duties for the dead?” “No; I want to go and keep a grocery.” And you know the language that is common to such places: the name of the Lord is blasphemed, and his servants are cursed with bitter oaths.

What do you think of it, gentlemen, Elders in Israel? What would money have to do with you, if you were now upon the threshold of eternity, and eternity open to you? Would you have the apostasy, as you have now? A little money is more to such persons than the salvation of all the sons and daughters of Adam. I wish I had a voice like ten thousand earthquakes, that all the world might hear and know the loving kindness of the Lord.

I am telling you things that are before me constantly. When men and women are reaching after the perishable things of this world, and will step out of the path of duty and endanger their salvation, it has been said that it hurts brother Brigham’s feelings. It is true, and I could even weep over such; and the angels weep over us to see our foolishness—that we are so giddy-headed as to run after the fading things of the world, and set our minds and feelings upon riches, and neglect our duty in preparing ourselves for the coming of the Son of man, for the coming of the ancient and modern Apostles and Prophets, for the redemption of Zion, and the redeeming of our dear friends in every age of the world when the Priesthood was not upon the earth.

Now, the inquiry on our minds is, Are all the world going to share in these blessings? Yes, all the world. Are there none going to be lost? Are there none going to suffer the wrath of the Almighty? I can say, in the first place, as I have said all my life, where I have been preaching, I never had the spirit to preach hell and damnation to the people. I have tried a great many times—I tried last Sabbath, and I have tried today to come to that point—the sufferings of the wicked. They will suffer, it seems; but I cannot get my heart upon anything else only salvation for the people. All nations are going to share in these blessings; all are incorporated in the redemption of the Savior. He has tasted death for every man: they are all in his power, and he saves them all, as he says, except the sons of perdition; and the Father has put all the creations upon this earth in his power. The earth itself, and mankind upon it, the brute beasts, the fish of the sea, and the fowls of heaven, the insects, and every creeping thing, with all things pertaining to this earthly ball—all are in the hands of the Savior, and he has redeemed them all. Who is there that is out of his power? I will tell you, in the first place, he has made man an agent to himself before the Lord, with all the rest that he has ordained, that mankind shall act for themselves, think for themselves, deal for themselves. They can choose the good and forsake the evil, or cleave to the evil and neglect the light and the good, just as they choose. Life and death are placed before them, and they have the privilege of choosing life or death. If they choose death, evil, and darkness, the time will come when those who are acquainted with the power of God will deny that power, and speak against the Holy Ghost, and commit the unpardonable sin. They then throw themselves out of the power of the Savior, and take to themselves power, and say, “I will not hearken to the Lord Jesus now; I will serve whom I please, and I defy the power of the Son of God.” They yield themselves servants to the Devil and become his angels. They are then out of the hands of the Savior, and can never dwell in heaven, worlds without end.

This will illustrate the idea. You have heard a great deal about having your names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. When we were Christians, according to the common acceptation of the word, we used to preach a great deal about getting our names written in that book. I will tell you how it is. The names of every son and daughter of Adam are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Is there ever a time when they will be taken out of it? Yes, when they become sons of perdition, and not till then. Every person has the privilege of retaining it there forever and ever. If they neglect that privilege, then their names will be erased, and not till then. All the names of the human family are written there, and the Lord will hold them there until they come to the knowledge of the truth, that they can rebel against him, and can sin against the Holy Ghost; then they will be thrust down to hell, and their names be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life.

I want to have the brethren look at the work that is before us. Contemplate your blessings, and realize them. There is not a people who are blessed as we are. We have the words of eternal life, the holy Priesthood of the Son of God. We possess the keys of that Priesthood, and can prepare ourselves to become angels of God—yea, more, to become Saints of God—yea, more, to become Gods in eternity, and to be crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal life. And woe to them that neglect these things—that read them lightly! Woe to them that live among the world, and love riches, or anything better than they do the Author of our salvation!

These are some parts of the Gospel of redemption. Is it not a blessing? Is it not a great privilege for the in habitants of the earth to know the truth as it is—to have it sounded in their ears, that they may go to hell and suffer the wrath of the Almighty; yet, if they have not had the privilege of receiving the holy Gospel, have not come to the knowledge of the truth, so as to sin against the Holy Ghost, the time will come, by the power and triumph of the Lamb, that he will bring them forth, when they have suffered his wrath according to the deeds done in the body. Is it not a great blessing?

I will tell you, brethren, and sisters, and friends, when I look at these things, I earnestly wish they could be understood by the universal world. I wish they could see and realize them, and behold the goodness, and severity, and kindness with that severity, and the love that the Almighty has for them. If they could know it, we should not wait for the rising of the sun again before every knee would bow before the Lord, from the east to the west, and from the north to the south, all over this globe, and every tongue confess before God the Father that Jesus is the Christ.

When they do know it and understand it, that is the time when the veil of the covering is taken from their eyes, and all flesh will see his glory together. Then every knee will bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, the Savior, and the rightful heir of this creation, and honor him as their kind benefactor, and praise him continually, though they are in the terrestrial world.

I feel to say, May the Lord bless you! It is with difficulty I talk to you this morning. My voice does not thunder, as it once did; and it would be misery for me to talk to a congregation, and they not hear me. It is with difficulty I preach. I should like if we could talk here one thousand years and not get tired, if we had the ability and power to do so. We will come to that by-and-by. May the Lord bless you and prepare you for the kingdom of rest. Amen.

The Lord at the Head of His Kingdom—Self-Discipline—Necessity of Cultivating a Knowledge of Science, and Particularly of Theology, Etc.

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered at the Spring Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 7, 1852.

It may be considered that we are a mixed congregation, consisting of Bishops, Seventies, High Priests, Elders, the Twelve, and the First Presidency; but I consider we are, strictly speaking, a meeting of the Elders of Israel; for if we were to be instructed in the duties of any one of these Quorums, that instruction would be equally good for all.

This vast concourse of persons are all Elders in Israel, with but a very few exceptions; for there are some Priests, Teachers, and Deacons present, but not a great many. The greater portion of the male members of this community are Elders in the Church; and, as Elders, we are to be instructed so as to obtain an understanding of all things pertaining to our duty.

We have heard and felt sufficient to know that the wisdom which is to be obtained in this kingdom is more satisfactory to us than the boasted wisdom of the world. This is appreciated by the majority of this assembly, if not by all. The knowledge possessed by this people is of more value than all the knowledge of the world put together, and infinitely greater. In this kingdom you will find the root of all science, and that, too, in men who have not been taught the sciences after the manner of the world. They understand the origin of science, and can trace it through the life of man, much to their satisfaction. Let any man who possesses the Holy Ghost, though never taught the sciences but a very little, hear a learned man exhibit the principles of any science, he understands the origin and proper bearings of the subject treated upon by the speaker, through the increased rays of that light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. This is to us a matter of no little satisfaction.

I have many cogitations with regard to this work of the last days and the prosperity of this kingdom; yet I have learned years ago that the Lord stands at the helm that guides Zion’s ship. He is its Dictator; and unless we work exactly to the line that is marked out by him, our works will be in vain. This has been my experience from the beginning. In every branch and avenue of our lives we must learn to work to the line of truth. It is for us to know what ought to be done, and then do it. Though there should be no earthly prospect of accomplishing it, we can certainly try; and if we try with all our might, that act will prove at least a resolute and determined mind, adorned with patience and perseverance. And if, with all our resolute endeavors, we are still unable to accomplish our purpose, the Lord will be very likely to stretch forth his hand and give the victory.

Perhaps, before we get through with this Conference, we shall ask such a favor of the Bishops as we asked of them last Conference, which was granted to the letter, and that most rigorously. The brethren are rigorous with themselves, for they have paid their Tithing willingly, and I do not know that the Bishops have had to urge them any to the fulfillment of this duty. However, some on the first reflection thought it seemed impossible for them to comply with it, and some thought that our request was inconsistent; but with a little more mature reflection, with a little faith and prayer, they brought themselves directly to obedience. I think this has been almost universally the case. If we should now call upon the Bishops for a favor, it would be to grant us a little assistance with regard to our purchasing and laying in lumber, nails, glass, and other merchandise to supply our future wants. I wish each Ward to bear their share in this matter. I mention it that the Bishops may be alert in their feelings.

Now, brethren, can we fight against and subdue ourselves? That is the greatest difficulty we ever encountered, and the most arduous warfare we ever engaged in. This will apply most perfectly to the brethren who have gathered with the Saints. When we are out in the world we preach faith and repentance, so that the Saints bring the knowledge of first principles with them to the gathering place. Your next step is to enter into the study of this. A man may learn letters and study all the various branches of scholastic education to the day of his death; but if he does not attain to strict self-discipline, his learning will not amount to much. The catalogue of man’s discipline he must compile himself: he cannot be guided by any rule that others may lay down, but is placed under the necessity of tracing it himself through every avenue of his life. He is obliged to catechise and train himself, for he knows his own disposition the best—its fortified and unfortified parts. He is therefore the most fit to school himself, until every particle of the man is brought into subjection to the law of Christ.

When you had obeyed the first ordinances of the Gospel, then you discovered that the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel, that Zion might be built up and Israel gathered from the four winds. These doctrines have been taught and re-taught again and again. I think there is not a man here who did not fully understand them while in his native country. There may be a few exceptions among those who have by chance fallen into the society of the Saints at the gathering place where their first acquaintance was formed, and consequently have not had the same opportunity of hearing the first principles as others have had in the world. Now, we enter this school to be planed, squared, and polished.

Suppose we admit of malice, anger, and wrath in our hearts—steep ourselves in wickedness, by taking the name of God in vain, by entering into every kind of outbreak and transgression, by defiance to every wholesome law, by neglecting our families, physically, mentally, and morally, and by neglecting our brethren and ourselves, our former repentance and baptism for the remission of our sins will not profit us, through indulging in sin afterwards; but all our former sins will again be upon us, and we must atone for the whole. Then let us cleave unto righteousness, learn to do well, and continue to do so all the days of our lives, that our former sins may not stand against us. This is our duty.

If every person in the community would correct his own errors each day he lives, the errors of the whole would continually be effectually corrected. For where is there a man who, by preaching on a text from the Bible or the Book of Mormon, can correct the faults of the people? That may be done until they go into their graves, and little or no good result from it. I mean to correct my own faults, and it is for you to do the same. It is an individual business, over which each man must preside, until every fault in our whole lives is corrected and we are sanctified before the Lord.

If your neighbor suffers his cattle or his children to trespass upon your property, never retaliate or speak an angry reply, for this will engender a spirit of anger in him. Consider well before you suffer your minds to be irritated in the least. Suffer them not to be agitated until your blood is boiling with rage before you are aware; but stop and reflect, coolly consider, and quietly reason with the person or persons who have trespassed upon you, and show them the nature of their transgression against you. If they continue in the same course of conduct, reason the stronger with them, without quarreling. Thus bring your passions down into subjection to your will, and cultivate an even unruffled temper, until you can perfectly control yourselves at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. Then our affections and feelings would become congenial to those of the angels of God, and we should continue to increase in that Holy Spirit which would prepare us for the society of holy beings. This is our school, and a profitable one it is to the Elders of Israel.

Why I mention these things is that you may understand, as quick as you have believed and have been baptized for the remission of your sins, that you have then further duties to perform. To be continually repenting is not required of us. If the Elders of Israel could do all that is required of them; they would not need to repent, but they would seek continually to walk in the paths of truth, virtue, and holiness. It is not in keeping with their calling to be fighting and quarreling with their brethren, or treading upon the sacred rights of others; but it is their duty to walk in the paths of righteousness all the day long. And they will be chastened again and again until they do it.

This is my teaching to the people continually. We do not care about hearing an overgrown Gospel sermon preached here; for the people understand it perfectly already. But do they understand the principle of self-control, and of properly ordering their lives and course before the Lord? Do the Elders of Israel understand all that the Lord requires of them? They do not. This belongs to other branches of the same celestial science. This perfect science requires men and women to be in the school all the days of their lives; and they will not see a single day in which they will not learn some truth with which they were not before acquainted. They can learn from themselves—from the world—from the government of heaven—from the management, government, control, doctrines, and laws of eternity, which will yet be exhibited before us. The Lord has established the world, with its varied productions, for the education of his children, that they may improve upon little things first, and so continue to increase, grow, and strengthen, until they become perfect men in Christ Jesus. These are the duties and this is the situation of the Elders at home.

We have not had much privilege hitherto of meeting together in the Valley. Four years ago, when the brethren came into this valley, brother George A. Smith delivered his first lecture upon the cannon, for there were no houses wherein the people could assemble. Since then they have been greatly blessed, yet they have had little opportunity of holding meeting. The first large place we had to meet in was the Bowery. We felt comfortable in it, and I felt as thankful for it as I ever did for anything in my life; but as quick as the falling weather came, it drove the Saints away, and rendered it necessary to discontinue the meetings in that place and to hold them in the different Wards, so that it became impossible to get all the people together. Now we have a convenient room—the best hall I ever saw in my life, wherein the people could be convened on one floor. I trust we shall renew our strength, meet here to pray, and to praise the Lord, and partake of the sacrament, until our feelings are perfectly pure; for we are where we can sit and enjoy the society of each other as long as we please, and there is none to make us afraid. Let us be industrious in this great school, nor ever slacken our pace.

There are a great many branches of education: some go to college to learn languages, some to study law, some to study physic, and some to study astronomy, and various other branches of science. We want every branch of science taught in this place that is taught in the world. But our favorite study is that branch which particularly belongs to the Elders of Israel—namely, theology. Every Elder should become a profound theologian—should understand this branch better than all the world. There is no Elder who has the power of God upon him but understands more of the principles of theology than all the world put together.

This reminds me of a little circumstance that transpired here a year ago last summer. You, no doubt, well recollect Elder Day (a Baptist minister on his way to California), who used to preach to us so nicely. I preached one day when he was present. In the course of my remarks, I brought up the subject of the Deity—at the point touching the character of our Father in heaven, upon which he desired the most to be instructed. I dropped the subject and turned to something else. He went to dinner with me, and while we sat at the dinner table, he said, “Brother Young, I was waiting with all my anxious heart, with mouth, eyes, and ears open to receive something great and glorious.” “What about, brother Day?” “Why, as you were describing the Deity, and just came to the point I was the most anxious to have expounded, behold you waived it and turned to something else.” I smiled and said, “After I had taught them how, I wanted the people to add the rest of the sermon themselves.” He said, “I declare, brother Young, I would have given anything I possessed in the world, if you had continued your remarks until I had obtained the knowledge I desired.” I inquired the nature of it. “To know the character of God.” I smiled and said, “Are you a preacher of the Gospel?” “Yes.” “How long have you been a preacher?” “Twenty-seven years I have been a preacher of the Gospel of Christ.” “And you have been a minister so long, and have never learned anything about the character of the Being about whom you have been preaching! I am astonished! Now you want to find out the character of God. I can make you answer the question yourself in a few minutes.” “Well, I do not know, brother Young: it is a very mysterious subject to mortal man.” “Now, let me ask you a single question. Will you tell me what God our Father in heaven appears like?” He sat a considerable time, while the color on his cheeks ebbed and flowed alternately, till at last he replied, “Brother Young, I will not presume to describe the character of the Deity.” I smiled, and he thought I was treating the subject lightly. “I am not making light of the subject, but I am smiling at your folly, that you—a teacher in Israel—a man who should stand between the living and the dead—yet know nothing about your Father and God. Were I in your place, I would never preach another sermon while I lived, until I learned more about God. Do you believe the Bible?” “I do.” “What resemblance did our father Adam bear to his God, when he placed him in the Garden of Eden?” Before he had time to reply, I asked him what resemblance Jesus bore to man in his incarnation? and “Do you believe Moses, who said the Lord made Adam in his own image and after his own likeness? This may appear to you a curiosity; but do you not see, bona fide, that the Lord made Adam like himself; and the Savior we read of was made to look so like him, that he was the express image of his person?” He laughed at his folly himself. “Why,” said he, “Brother Young, I never once thought of it before in all my life, and I have been a preacher twenty-seven years.” He never had known anything about the character of the God he worshipped; but, like the Athenians, had raised an altar with the inscription, “To the unknown God.”

There is not one of the faithful Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but is more or less acquainted with the physical and moral character of the God he serves; which is more than all the world knows, or can know, independent of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The greatest, the best, the most educated, and the most profound theologians on the earth, who have obtained their learning by reading and study, had no correct knowledge of what is in the Bible about God, angels, sin, righteousness, and many other important subjects, until Joseph Smith made it known.

We are now in the school of theology and making rapid progress in the study of this celestial science. I admit there are some few dunces in the school: some advance at a very slow pace, and some not at all. It would be difficult to tell whether they enjoy anything or not, or whether they are in the faith or not. But, as a general thing, our boys, who are from the age of ten to fifteen years, know more of the principles of theology than the most educated clergymen in Christendom. In comparison to what is plainly revealed, the world of mankind are almost entirely ignorant of those principles which to them are of the greatest importance.

You certainly are learning; and, brethren, I tell you again, what I have told you repeatedly, if you ever wish to have my good feelings, it will be owing to your conduct in the strict observance of righteousness and ceasing from all contentions—from speaking lightly of our great Father in heaven, of our elder brother Jesus Christ, of the angels of God, and of any good being upon the earth, from this time henceforth and forever. If you want my fellowship, cease from doing these things. I may love you and seek your welfare with all my might; but I do not love the profane speeches and wicked conduct of some of the Elders in Israel. I have no fellowship for men who are guilty of breaking the Sabbath, of drinking spirituous liquors to excess, of contending with each other, and going to law before Gentile or Bishops’ courts to settle their difficulties. There is a better way of settling difficulties than either of these.

I gave the Elders a little key lately, to know when they were in the right path. I will now give you another. When a difference of judgment exists between two parties, let them come together and lay their difficulties at each other’s feet, laying themselves down in the cradle of humility, and say, “Brother (or sister), I want to do right; yea, I will even wrong myself, to make you right.” Do you not think that a man or woman, acting in that manner towards his or her neighbor, would be justified by the law of righteousness? Their judgments come together, and they are agreed: there would, consequently, be no need of calling in a third person to settle the difference. After taking this course, if you cannot come together, then call in a third person and settle it. But for those who bear the name of Saints to go into a Gentile court to settle their differences is a stink in the nostrils of the Almighty. To me it is disgusting, filthy, and loathsome, in every sense of the word. I abhor it. Do, for Heaven’s sake and for your own sakes, take my counsel and show mercy to your brethren, even as the Lord has been merciful to us.

It has been observed that the people want revelation. This is revelation; and were it written, it would then be written revelation, as truly as the revelations which are contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I could give you revelation about going to California, for I know the mind of the Lord upon that matter. I could give you revelation upon the subject of paying your Tithing and building a temple to the name of the Lord; for the light is in me. I could put these revelations as straight to the line of truth in writing as any revelation you ever read. I could write the mind of the Lord, and you could put it in your pockets. But before we desire more written revelation, let us fulfil the revelations that are already written, and which we have scarcely begun to fulfil.

A person was mentioned today who did not believe that Brigham Young was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. I wish to ask every member of this whole community, if they ever heard him profess to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as Joseph Smith was? He professed to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, called and sent of God to save Israel. If you know what the calling of an Apostle is, and if there were ten thousand of them on the earth at the same time, you must know that the words of an Apostle who magnifies his calling are the words of the Almighty to the people all the time. He never need be called in question whether he revealed the mind of the Lord or not. Although brothers Willard Richards, Heber C. Kimball, and myself are out of the Quorum of the Twelve, our Apostleship has not been taken from us. Who ordained me to be First President of this Church on earth? I answer, It is the choice of this people, and that is sufficient. If the Lord designates a plan how his cause and kingdom can be best advanced, whose business is it, if it is the mind of the people to follow it? It is ours and the Lord’s; but it is certainly not the business of those who are enemies to his cause. I preached considerably upon this point in Nauvoo, to give the people the understanding of the different callings of men. Joseph Smith was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator before he had power to build up the kingdom of God, or take the first step towards it. When did he obtain that power? Not until the angel had ordained him to be an Apostle. Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were the first Apostles of this dispensation, though in the early days of the Church David Whitmer lost his standing, and another took his place. I have taught the brethren this principle years ago. When a man is an Apostle, and stands at the head of the kingdom of God on the earth, and magnifies his calling, he has the keys of all the power that ever was bestowed upon mortal man for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth.

I will now leave these items and take up another. I hinted today at the wisdom of the Lord in opening the gold mines, and said he had one object in view, among many others—namely, to try the faith of the Saints. By this his wisdom has been exhibited, and much accomplished by it among those also who are not Saints. Take a view of this community. A portion will not be Saints. This has always been the case when God had a Church on the earth. They are not all sheep that are in the fold, neither are they all Saints who bear the name. I wish you to understand that when the sheep are separated from the goats, they will never again bear the like afflictions they bore while they mingled with the goats, as long as the world stands; no, neither in this world nor any other. Let the sheep and goats be once separated, and the master of that flock of sheep will never afflict them. When there are no goats to annoy the sheep, the latter will mingle with each other and go hand in hand in full fellowship. But when goats are among the sheep, they besmear them with their stink, and they frisk about, and behave so as to actually turn the sheep almost into goats. They will grow short in the hair, look like goats, and stink like them. The master of the flock must therefore do something to preserve the blood of the sheep pure, lest they completely degenerate and altogether become goats. They must be chastened by persecution, to drive out the stinking goats from their midst. The Lord opened the California gold mines to lead them off; and I say to the goats, Go! I am glad of it. “But do you not think the sheep will go too?” Never mind, if they do: they will get well besmeared with the flavor of the goats, run off and wash themselves, and come back again. Though I speak thus, I do not despise the goats; no, not in the least.

You will perhaps recollect a dream I had in the spring of 1848, when so many were going to California. It seemed as though the whole community would be carried away with the spirit of gold, which caused much anxiety in my mind and enlightened my understanding. I dreamed I was a little north of the hot springs, with many of my brethren, among some scattered timber. I thought of sending to Captain Brown’s, on the Weber River, to get some goats, which I had previously bought of him; but while I was conversing with the brethren, I thought the Prophet Joseph Smith came up to us, and I spoke to him. I thought I would send for my goats which I had purchased from Captain Brown, and brother Joseph started off to the north, and I thought very likely he would purchase the whole of brother Brown’s stock; but I felt quite reconciled, if he did. I thought I stood there some time talking with the brethren, when I looked up towards the road on my right, and behold I saw brother Joseph returning, riding on a wagon without any box to it; but it had a bottom of boards, and on these boards there was a tent and other camping implements, &c., as though he had been on a journey of some length. He alighted from the wagon, and came to where we were standing. I looked, and saw, following the wagon, an almost innumerable flock of sheep of all kinds, sizes, colors, and descriptions, from the largest, finest sheep I ever saw, down to the ugly decrepit dwarf. The wool on the large ones, I thought, was as white as snow; then the next smaller ones had also nice fine wool on them, and some were black and white; others had coarse long wool upon them, approximating to hair; and so on, until they became a mixture of goats and sheep. I looked on the strange flock and wondered. While I was looking, I asked Joseph what in the world he was going to do with such a flock of sheep, and said to him, “Why, brother Joseph, you have got the most singular flock of sheep I ever saw: what are you going to do with them?” He looked up and smiled, as he did when he was living, and as though he was in reality with me, and said, “They are all good in their place.” This is the dream.

So it is with this people. If you can only find the place for the goats, they answer the end for which they were made. I have always realized that a half-hearted “Mormon” is one of the meanest of human beings, for such are always ready to say, “How do you do, brother Devil?” and, “How do you do, brother Jesus?” or, “Brother Jesus, I want to make you acquainted with brother Devil.” It is no trouble for them to turn unto Baal or unto Jesus; yet, at the same time, the Lord has a use for them. I have often heard men say they were convinced that “Mormonism” was true, and that they would cleave to it; but as for their hearts being converted, it is altogether another thing. Mobs never have done one thing against this people, but they could trace them, and have known all about it; for you will always find that the goats will run and lick salt with the sheep; and the Lord who made them has placed them in the world to serve his own purpose. When by these characters afflictions are brought upon the Saints, and they are bereft of all they possess, it is to make them more attached to the cause of truth, while their persecutors are hurled into oblivion, which is the last of them.

If gold is a sufficient inducement to lead men off to live in the midst of that society in California, after they know and understand the condition of it, it certainly proves that they love the things of this world better than they love Christ. You may say you are poor, and wish to accumulate something to help yourself and your family. “Are you starving to death for want of food?” “No.” All of you have plenty to subsist upon. If those who go to California for gold were full of the Holy Ghost, they would clothe their wives and children with buckskin, and wear it themselves to the day of their death, rather than mingle with the wicked and be induced to leave the society of the Saints. The true cause of their taking such a course is, they do not love the Lord.

There is a class of persons that persecution will not drive from the Church of Christ, but prosperity will; and again, there is another class that prosperity will not drive, but persecution will. The Lord must and will have a company of Saints who will follow him to the cross, if it be necessary; and these he will crown. They are the ones who will wear a celestial crown and have dominion, rule, and government. These are they who will receive honor of the Father, with glory, exaltation, and eternal lives. They shall reign over kingdoms, and have power to be Gods, even the sons of God.

Those other classes will take different stations and possess inferior glories, according to their works in the flesh. That class who will altogether serve the world and disregard the cause of truth will become servants to the sons of God and be in servitude throughout eternity.

What shall we do? I say, Cleave to “Mormonism,” work with all our might for the Lord, and love him better than any other earthly or heavenly object. And if he requires us to sacrifice our houses, our horses, our cattle, our wives, and our children, let them remain upon the altar; but let us follow him to salvation and eternal life. Amen.

Dedication Prayer

Offered by President Willard Richards, in the New Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 6, 1852.

Great and all-wise God, our heavenly Father, who dwellest amid the cherubim and art clothed with light as with a garment, in the name of Jesus thy Son and by virtue of the holy and eternal Priesthood with which thou hast endowed us, we come before thee upon this occasion, invoking thy rich gifts and blessings to rest down upon us. Pour out, we pray thee, of thy Spirit upon each and every soul now waiting before thee, that our hearts may be united as one, and that we may approach thee in a manner acceptable in thy sight. May every emotion of our souls arise in unison unto thee in humble praise and adoration for all thy mercies unto the creatures of thy creation.

We remember, our Father and our God, that we are indebted unto thee for our existence—for having been sent upon this stage of action in this day and generation in which the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ thy Son has been made manifest—in which the celestial messenger from thy presence has again proclaimed the way of life and salvation to the children of men upon the earth, saying, “Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come”—shadowing forth the restoration of all things that have been spoken by the mouths of all thine holy Prophets since the world began, establishing the pure principles of the eternal heavens, which constitute the laws of the kingdom of our God upon the earth, opening up anew the great principles of revelation and communication with the Gods of eternity—principles which have been hid in the heavens for many centuries, while many generations have lived and died looking for the blessings and promises of this day, desiring that they might have a part in the great preparatory work of the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory to reign upon the earth.

We remember before thee, O our Father, that we thy servants now in thy presence, having heard the heavenly message and yielded obedience to its holy mandates, have become the happy recipients and partakers of this holy ministry, and that we have ofttimes been delivered from the power of Satan and the devices and machinations of wicked and designing men who have sought our overthrow and conspired against our lives to destroy us from the face of the earth. But thou, O our Father, hast ever been mindful of us, overruling all seeming evil for our greater good, until by thy mighty power thou hast brought us to a glorious inheritance in this goodly land, choice above all other lands, far from the retreats of mobbers and murderers who have slain thy Prophets, and from the land where their blood yet cries from the ground for vengeance to be poured out from the heavens.

Mercifully hast thou dealt with us, our Father; for through all the scenes which thy people have been called to pass—all the perils and watchings and sufferings we have had to encounter, thine angels have watched over and protected us, and the gentle and refreshing influences of thy Spirit have comforted us, and we have been spared as monuments of thy mercy. Multitudes of our brethren and friends have fallen by mobocracy, violence, disease, and death, and their bones have been left to molder upon the prairie and in the wilderness, while we are again permitted to gather ourselves together in this goodly place and bring into requisition all the powers of body and mind with which thou hast clothed us for the advancement and building up of thy kingdom upon the earth. When thy people have called upon thee in their extremities, thou hast not been slow to hear, but hast exerted thine almighty power and encircled them in the arms of love and of mercy, until thy people have been permitted and enabled to build and inhabit, to labor and enjoy the fruits thereof, and to come forth from our comfortable habitations this morning to worship and praise the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Jesus and Joseph, in this commodious edifice, erected for the assembling and worship of thy people.

Ofttimes have our hearts rejoiced together in councils and meetings and in conference; yet never have we met when the manifold mercies and blessings of our heavenly Father called for more ardent praise and thanksgiving to his holy name than at the present, in this spacious and commodious room which thy Saints of latter days are now permitted to occupy. Here, in this place ap pointed for the assembly of the Saints on this the anniversary of the birthday of thy Church and kingdom upon the earth, in this last dispensation from the heavens, and in the midst of the congregation of the Most High God, we thy servants, O our Father in heaven, in the name of thy Son Jesus, dedicate and consecrate this house unto thee and unto thy cause, for the assembling of thy Saints to worship before thee and to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, for prayer, for praise and thanksgiving, for fasting and mourning, for transacting business relating to thy Church and kingdom, or for whatever purpose thy people shall assemble themselves together in thy name.

We set apart and dedicate this house as a holy sanctuary for thy people unto the Lord forever; and we consecrate the ground upon which it stands and dedicate it unto the Lord our God. May the floor upon which we walk be holy under our feet; may the covering which protects us from the snow, the rain, and the sun, be holy over our heads; may the walls which protect us from the chilling blasts of winter be holy round about us; and may the doors, and the windows, and the slips, and the fastenings, and the trimmings of this house, together with all the various materials of which they are composed, be holy unto the Lord for the meetings, the sacraments, and the transaction of the business of thy people. We dedicate and consecrate that portion of this house where thy Prophet and thy servants now are to be a holy and sacred place, wherein thy servants may stand and declare thy word and minister unto thy people in the name of thy Son and before thee, O our heavenly Father. May every part and portion thereof be holy unto the Lord our God. May no unclean thing be permitted to enter into any part of this Tabernacle; but may it be pre served, with the vestry thereof, and the doorkeepers thereof, and with everything pertaining thereunto or round about, a holy and sacred sanctuary, wherein the pure in heart may rejoice forever, and no foul spirit ever be permitted to disturb their worship.

May the angels from thy presence be within and round about this habitation. When thy servants shall stand in this sacred place to minister unto the people, may they feel the blessed influences of thy heavenly messengers; may they be filled with the Holy Ghost, as with manna from heaven, and be clothed in robes of righteousness; may the visions and revelations of the eternal worlds be open before them continually; and may thy Saints ever have the listening ear and the understanding heart, to receive and improve upon the instructions of thy servants, that they may grow unto the stature of perfection that is in Christ Jesus, that they may be one with him forever.

If thy people shall sin, and repent of their sins, and call upon thee in the name of Jesus from within these walls, then hear thou in heaven, thy holy dwelling place, forgive thou their sins, and give them answers of peace. May thy fear and thy dread be upon the heathen that may enter in this sacred place; and may thy Spirit rest upon the honest in heart who shall hear thy word from this stand, that they may believe, obey, and be saved with thy people.

And now, our Father, be pleased to accept the dedication of this house which we now present unto thee, in the name of thy Son, as a tribute of gratitude from thy people; and listen to the voice of our supplications, that it may be preserved from the rage of the elements and the pollution of ungodly men, and that thy glory be upon it and abide therein forever; so that when thy Saints shall call from hence upon thy holy name in righteousness, then thou wilt hear in thy holy habitation and grant an answer of peace.

Bless all those who have assisted in the erection of this edifice. May they ever rejoice in the labor of their hands and have the glory they desire in the presence of their God. Bless those also who have contributed of their substance for its erection, with all those who have desired to contribute and have not had the means or opportunity; may they also partake of the rich inheritance of a celestial glory, and habitations of comfort and delight among the children of men. Bless all those who profess thy name, and have had the means to contribute for the upbuilding of this house, and have neglected their privilege and their duty; may thy Spirit rest upon all such, that they may humble themselves, repent of their shortcomings before thee and in the sight of their brethren, and arise and do their duty from this time henceforth and forever, that they lose no more blessings through slothfulness in thy service.

Bless thy servant Brigham with health and strength of body and mind—with long life and peaceful days; may he be endowed with thy Spirit and the revelations of eternity continually; and may thine angels visit and sustain him, and ministering spirits from thy presence attend him in all his ways. Guard him, O Lord, from the malicious designs of wicked men; turn aside every shaft that is aimed for his injury; fit and prepare him with every necessary qualification to lead and guide this thy people; may his strength and ability be according to his duties and the burden he is required to bear; may the rich blessings of heaven and earth be poured out upon him and upon his household; may they individually and collectively enjoy the communion of God and his Saints, and have bestowed upon them every desirable gift that shall promote their peace, comfort, health, and happiness. Bless his habitation and all therein, his flocks and his herds, the ground that he cultivates, his fields, his gardens, and his vineyards; bless him in basket and in store, and in all that pertains unto him.

Bless his Counselors, thy servants Heber and Willard, with the same blessings. May they always live in the unity of the faith and preserve those bonds of love and union which dwell in thy presence. Continue to strengthen their faith, their power, and their influence, until their voices shall reverberate thy word in tones of thunder throughout the earth’s remotest bounds, resounding in every ear, “Make ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb: his kingdom has come: prepare to receive the Lord!”

Bless this aged Patriarch, O our Father. May his days be continued to be multiplied, and his faculties be strengthened; and may he be filled with the Holy Ghost to bless thy children as he approaches the dawning of a brighter day; that, amid the exaltations of a celestial glory, he may seal blessings upon the heads of the faithful, until thou shalt receive him unto thyself, to rest with his brethren in thy presence. And may the like blessings rest upon all the brethren of his Quorum of the Patriarchs.

Remember the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with their President, Orson Hyde. Grant, O Lord, that thine angels may go before them and preserve them from all evil. Wilt thou give them power to overcome all the designs and purposes of wicked men and all the devices of Satan; may they be enabled to carry the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people upon the face of the earth; may they have, in connection with and under the direction of the First Presidency of thy Church, power to roll forth thy work upon the earth, like a mighty torrent that no barriers can resist. Wilt thou bless them, Father, in the good things of this world, that their families may be provided for during their absence, while on missions of thy will to the nations and among all people. Wilt thou encircle them in thine arms of mercy, and preserve them, one and all, to the accomplishment of their several missions and safe return to the bosom of thy Church and to their families in the valleys of the mountains.

Bless with the same blessings all thine Elders, of every Quorum, who are absent upon foreign missions to the nations and islands of the sea afar off. May the quickening power of thy Spirit rest upon them, and their words be like fire, sinking deep into the minds of their hearers. May their testimony be as the sea that is broken up, roaring and rolling with no rest, until the voice that spake as never man spake shall say, Peace, be still! When all the honest in heart shall have listened to the whisperings of the Spirit of our God and learned the way of life and salvation. Bless all the families of thine absent servants.

O Lord, bless the High Priests’ Quorum and the Quorums of the Seventies of thy people—yea, the Presidents thereof, with their Counselors, and all the members that are striving in their warfare to overcome the world and its evils, and are endeavoring to roll back the curtain which has enshrouded the earth in darkness and the minds of the people in bigotry, superstition, ignorance, and sin, until wickedness covered the face of the whole earth, and there was none found thereon to walk in righteousness before thee; but all were walking in the precepts of men and in the vain imagination of their own hearts. O Lord God Almighty, we pray thee, in the name of Jesus, to inspire thy servants the High Priests and Seventies with the influence of thy Holy Spirit. Pour it out upon them in great effusions; may they gird up their loins, and, renewing their strength from the fountain of light and intelligence, which thou art spreading forth, come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty, and wax strong in the cause of our God, to the utter overthrow of all his enemies, even to the downfall of Satan’s dominion, that the kingdom of our God and his Christ may be established upon an everlasting foundation, never more to be taken from the earth.

Bless, O Father, the Elders’ Quorum, and awaken them to a sense of their great responsibilities. May they all partake of like blessings with their brethren. May they arise in power and walk forth in the strength of Israel’s God to the faithful performance of their duties; and, qualifying themselves for the work of God, putting on the armor of righteousness, may they be prepared to fight the good fight of faith and wield the sword of the Spirit, to the convincing of multitudes who shall become partakers in this holy ministry, and be ready to go forth in their time and season, and labor in the vineyard.

Bless the Presiding Bishop, with his Counselors, assistants, and all the members of the Bishops’ Quorum. O Father, thou knowest their labors and the faithfulness which they have manifested in thy cause and in the discharge of their duties. The overflowings of thy storehouse speak in their behalf, as well as the liberality of thy Saints; and as they have manifested by their labors a willingness and desire to observe the counsel of thy servants and to build up and roll forth thy kingdom, we pray thee to acknowledge their ministration and bless them with every blessing pertaining to thy faithful servants; and may they have every enjoyment emanating from a faithful and acceptable performance of their several duties before thee and thy servants, that they and their households may never lack for any good thing.

Regard in tender mercy, O our Father, thy servants of the Priests’ Quorum, with their President and his Counselors; and thy servants of the Teachers’ Quorum, with their President and his Counselors; also the President and Counselors and members of the Deacon’s Quorum; that they all in their several callings may lift up their heads like men of God and work righteousness, instructing thy Saints continually in their several duties, and ministering in those things pertaining to their high and holy callings. May they be filled with the Holy Ghost and perform a great and glorious work in the midst of thy people Israel.

Grant that thy blessings may be propitious towards this stake of Zion, its President and his Council, and the High Council thereof. May they be men after thine own heart, quick to discern between good and evil, filled with the spirit of the Presidency and of counsel, of justice, and judgment, that the hearts of the people may be made glad, and that they may rejoice in all the administrations of thy servants. And may all the Presidents, Counselors, High Councils, and Stakes of Zion in all the valleys of the mountains be partakers of like blessings.

Have mercy upon thy servants who labor upon the public works and are striving continually to build up thy kingdom, whether in the various offices and shops or by the wayside. Bless them with the refreshing effusions of thy Spirit, that they may have joy of heart continually. Bless them in their bodies, that they may have health and strength; bless their tools, and their shops, and everything that they put their hands unto and that is round about them, even all that pertains to the general welfare of thy people. May the ground of this block be preserved holy unto the Lord, and the time be hastened when its walls and gates shall preserve it from all unhallowed intrusions—when fountains shall come forth thereon for the cleansing, and purifying, and healing of thy people, and when a house shall be reared unto thy name, from which the ordinances of eternal life shall flow forth to the living and the dead, and the whole shall become a paradise in Zion, even as the garden of the Lord.

Bless all thy people in these valleys of the mountains. May thy Spirit dwell richly within them, and may they serve thee in spirit and in truth. May they cleave unto thee will full purpose of heart, never failing to acknowledge thee in all things, and give thanks and praise unto thy holy name. Wilt thou multiply their posterity, that they may become a great people, and increase their flocks and their herds, and their farms, and their gardens, and their orchards, and vineyards, and houses, and shops, and factories, and everything they shall stretch forth their hands to do. May the earth yield its increase without measure unto thy people, that there may be abundance in store for all who shall come hither to learn more fully the way of life and salvation, and for the sustaining of the public works. Wilt thou grant this rich blessing unto thy people, even that they may never be slothful, or grudgingly tithe their increase for the upbuilding of thy kingdom and the spread of thy Gospel on the earth. Bless and preserve thy people from all evil influences, from all untimely and false judging, from all evil thinking and speaking, from all enemies within and without. May their enemies have no power over them to prevail against them or to injure them in their persons, families, or property.

Bless thy servants who have gone to gather up thy people in Pottawatomie and lead them to this place. Give them wisdom and power to accomplish their mission to thy Divine acceptance. In an especial manner would we remember before thee, O our Father, thy children who may attempt to walk across the prairies this season with handcarts and wheelbarrows, pitching their tents by the way, or having naught but the heavens for a covering. Be very merciful unto all such and increase their faith. May thy strength be their strength, and may they be invigorated continually by thine almighty power, that every bone, and sinew, and muscle, and nerve, and every part of their bodies may be renewed, day by day, that their strength fail not. May they have such a power given unto them, that nothing but thine angels can go before them. May no enemy have any dominion over them or any accident befall them. Provide food for them by the way, even if it needs be manna from heaven, as thou didst unto our fathers in the wilderness. May disease and death have no power over them, but may every soul arrive safely in our midst to unite with us in songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God for his great and merciful kindness unto them.

Have compassion upon thy people, O Lord, who are scattered among the nations; and desire to gather according to thy word, but have not the means. Open the hearts of those who have, to impart unto those who have not, that the rich and the poor may journey together, according to thy will. And may all who are now on their way or may be coming this season, whether by land or water, horses or mules, or oxen, or wagons, or chariots, or by any means whatever, experience thy rich blessings, that they may be delivered from every evil and arrive in safety, that the rich valleys of the mountains may be filled with the Saints of the Most High.

Bless the Governor of this Territory, with the Legislators, Judges, Marshals, Sheriffs, and all in authority among the people; and may the spirit of love, obedience, union, and peace prevail. May the lawyers not have power to stir up strife, and contention, and lawsuits in our midst; and may the spirit of peace and conciliation be cultivated by all in authority.

May the Delegate from Utah, now in the Congress of the nation, be clothed upon with the Spirit and the power of Elijah’s God, that he may put to silence the tongues of evil men. May all the enemies of our God be confounded before him. May the wisdom of heaven be his, to lead and guide him in every emergency. May he never be confounded or put to silence or fear; but may he feel that God is with him, and that he will bring him off conqueror over every foe. May he stand forth triumphant in the midst of the nation, clothed with the principles of eternal truth and rectitude. May his daily walk be an example to the world and all with whom he associates; so proving himself a friend of God, and a man after his own heart seeking diligently to know thy mind and will, and yielding humble obedience thereunto.

We pray for the President of the United States, for the heads of departments, for the members of Congress, and all those in authority over us. May they have wisdom to discern the signs of the times and administer in righteousness in their respective callings, in their high and responsible stations. May they love mercy, deal justly, and seek knowledge, wisdom, and judgment from him whose right it is to rule, and become subservient to his holy teachings. Holy Father, may no evil spirit be suffered to prejudice their minds against us, thy servants, or thy people, or cause them to seek our injury; but may the good influences of thy Spirit control them in all their acts towards thy people and towards all the people over whom they preside, or for whom they legislate, that the pure principles of our national institutions may be perpetuated forever.

Bless all the governments and rulers of the earth who bless thy people and protect thy servants, and overthrow all thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and governments that fight against thy cause and thy servants, that the way may be opened for the spread of eternal truth, even the Gospel of salvation, to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people that dwell upon the face of the whole earth, and that thy servants may have access to the honest in heart everywhere.

Vouchsafe unto thine ancient covenant people, O Lord, the renovating Spirit of thy grace, that they may be prepared to receive their promised inheritance and be gathered from among all nations whither thou hast scattered them; and may they become polished, even after the similitude of a palace, and become fit temples for the reception and indwelling of thy Holy Spirit.

Remember, O Lord, in mercy, thine ancient covenant people who inhabit this land, even the seed of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Give unto thy Saints the spirit of patience and forbearance, that they may act wisely and justly in all their intercourse with them. Be merciful unto them, O our Father, in their ignorant and degraded and miserable condition, inflicted on them as a living witness of thy righteous judgments: yet remember, we beseech of thee, our heavenly Father, that they are of thine ancient covenant people, and to them pertain the promises made unto their fathers. And we pray thee that their past experience in drinking of the cup of thy displeasure may suffice, and that thou wouldst now stretch forth thine arm for their deliverance from the darkness, superstition, and ignorance that reign in their souls. Give unto them dreams and visions and revelations by thy Spirit, that they may see their degraded condition, and the blessings which are in store for them through the obedience of their fathers, that they may search after thy servants and receive their teaching and the teachings of thy Spirit—that they may be enlightened in principle, in doctrine, and in duty, and learn the way of life and salvation, which their fathers knew and loved, but lost through transgression—that they may again become a white and delightsome people in the midst of the nations, and find salvation at last in thy presence.

Bless all men everywhere who love and obey thy laws, and bless and do good unto thy people. Let their days be lengthened and multiplied upon the earth. Multiply their joy and increase their posterity, that peace may prevail and righteousness spread abroad among the nations.

We present before thee, our heavenly Father, all men who have had the privilege of thy Gospel, who have heard the teachings of thy servants, and felt and beheld the manifestation of thy Spirit, and have turned away from the testimony of Jesus, and persecuted and mobbed thy Saints, and slain thy Prophets, even thine anointed one, and done despite unto thy mercy and thy love, and have waxed old in iniquity and changed thine ordinances, have rejected the testimony of thy servants, and sought to destroy them from the face of the earth—whose days of repentance and salvation are past, and who are unmindful of thee, and will fight against thy cause and kingdom, and have shed innocent blood. We pray thee, our Father in the heavens, that thou wilt divest them of all power to injure thy people, that they may fall in the pits and be taken in the snares which they have spread for their neighbors—that they may go backward and not forward, and fall and rise not again. May the plagues which thou hast instituted come upon them, that they may perish from the face of the earth, and their generations after them—that their names be blotted out from henceforth, that the posterity of the righteous may fill the earth.

And now, our heavenly Father, we beseech of thee to listen to the voice of our supplication, and give us an answer of peace. Accept, we pray thee, of this our dedication of this house, of ourselves, our wives, our children, our houses, our flocks, our herds, and all that we possess, unto thee and to thy cause forever.

We pray that thy good Spirit may be poured out upon us, thy people, while we remain together at this Conference—that thou wilt dictate all things pertaining thereunto—that we may be enabled to accomplish thy righteous will in all things, and grow up in perfection through the gift of thy Spirit—that at last we may rest in thy presence with all thy sanctified ones; and we will ascribe all praise, glory, and honor unto God and the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen.

Character and Being of God—Creation—Salvation of the Dead—The Unpardonable Sin—Resurrection—Baptism of the Spirit, Etc.

A Discourse by President Joseph Smith, Delivered at the Conference held near the Temple, in Nauvoo, April 6, 1844.

Beloved Saints—I will call the attention of this congregation while I address you on the subject of the dead. The decease of our beloved brother, Elder King Follett, who was crushed in a well by the falling of a tub of rock, has more immediately led me to that subject. I have been requested to speak by his friends and relatives; but inasmuch as there are a great many in this congregation who live in this city, as well as elsewhere, who have lost friends, I feel disposed to speak on the subject in general, and offer you my ideas so far as I have ability and so far as I shall be inspired by the Holy Spirit to dwell on this subject.

I want your prayers and faith that I may have the instruction of Almighty God and the gift of the Holy Ghost, so that I may set forth things that are true and which can be easily comprehended by you, and that the testimony may carry conviction to your hearts and minds of the truth of what I shall say. Pray that the Lord may strengthen my lungs, stay the winds, and let the prayers of the Saints to heaven appear, that they may enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth; for the effectual prayers of the righteous avail much. There is strength here; and I verily believe that your prayers will be heard.

Before I enter fully into the investigation of the subject which is lying before me, I wish to pave the way and bring up the subject from the beginning, that you may understand it. I will make a few preliminaries, in order that you may understand the subject when I come to it. I do not calculate or intend to please your ears with superfluity of words, or oratory, or with much learning; but I calculate to edify you with the simple truths from heaven.

In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning—to the morn of creation. There is the starting point for us to look to, in order to understand and be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes, and decrees of the great Eloheim, who sits in yonder heavens as he did at the creation of this world. It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it will be a hard matter to get right.

There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past or that which is to come, as respects their relationship to God. They do not know, neither do they understand the nature of that relationship; and, consequently, they know but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink, and sleep. This is all man knows about God or his existence, unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty.

If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink, and sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, the beast comprehends the same thing. It eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more about God: yet it knows as much as we, unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. I want to go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds into a more lofty sphere and a more exalted understanding than what the human mind generally aspires to.

I want to ask this congregation—every man, woman, and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with him. This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question—What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will peradventure from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The Scriptures inform us that, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is—if he will search diligently his own heart—if the declarations of Jesus and the Apostles be true—he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.

My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being he is; and if I am so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts, so that the Spirit seals them upon you, then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again. But if I fail to do it, it becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations, inspirations, or to be a Prophet; and I should be like the rest of the world—a false teacher, be hailed as a friend, and no man would seek my life. But if all religious teachers were honest enough to renounce their pretensions to godliness, when their ignorance of the knowledge of God is made manifest, they will all be as badly off as I am, at any rate; and you might just as well take the lives of other false teachers as that of mine, if I am false. If any man is authorized to take away my life because he thinks and says I am a false teacher, then, upon the same principle, we should be justified in taking away the life of every false teacher; and where would be the end of blood? And who would not be the sufferer?

But meddle not with any man for his religion; and all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God’s kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood.

I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know him and to be familiar with him; and if I can bring you to a knowledge of him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am his servant; for I speak as one having authority.

I will go back to the beginning, before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth; for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why he interferes with the affairs of man.

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret. If the veil was rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves, in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image, and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked, and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.

In order to understand the subject of the dead, for the consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary that we should understand the character and being of God, and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the veil, so that you may see.

These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. I wish I was in a suitable place to tell it, and that I had the trump of an archangel, so that I could tell the story in such a manner that persecution would cease forever. What did Jesus say? (Mark it, Elder Rigdon.) The Scriptures inform us that Jesus said, “As the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power”—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner, to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life, as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible. The Scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you—namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one—from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me.

These are the first principles of consolation. How consoling to the mourners, when they are called to part with a husband, wife, father, mother, child, or dear relative, to know that, although the earthly tabernacle is laid down and dissolved, they shall rise again, to dwell in everlasting burnings in immortal glory, not to sorrow, suffer, or die anymore; but they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory, and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds come rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the track of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation; and you thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said.

When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel: you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world: it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. I suppose I am not allowed to go into an investigation of anything that is not contained in the Bible. If I did, I think there are so many overwise men here, that they would cry “treason” and put me to death. So I will go to the old Bible and turn commentator today.

I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible. I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head. Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the Baith there. An old Jew, without any authority, added the word. He thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus, the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council.

I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. Oh, ye lawyers, ye doctors, and ye priests, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand counselors sat at the head in yonder heavens, and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at that time. When I say doctors and lawyers, I mean the doctors and lawyers of the Scriptures. I have done so hitherto without explanation, to let the lawyers flutter, and everybody laugh at them. Some learned doctor might take a notion to say the Scriptures say thus and so; and we must believe the Scriptures; they are not to be altered. But I am going to show you an error in them.

I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Hebrew, Latin, German, and Greek languages. I have been reading the German, and find it to be the most correct translation, and to correspond nearest to the revelations which God has given to me for the last fourteen years. It tells about Jachoboy, the son of Zebedee. It means Jacob. In the English New Testament it is translated James. Now, if Jacob had the keys, you might talk about James through all eternity, and never get the keys. In the 21st verse of the fourth chapter of Matthew, my old German edition gives the word Jacob instead of James.

The doctors (I mean doctors of law, not of physic), say, “If you preach anything not according to the Bible, we will cry treason.” How can we escape the damnation of hell, except God be with us and reveal to us? Men bind us with chains. The Latin says Jachabod, which means Jacob; the Hebrew says Jacob, the Greek says Jacob, and the German says Jacob. Here we have the testimony of four against one. I thank God I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I have got the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have all the four Testaments. Come here, ye learned men, and read, if you can. I should not have introduced this testimony, were it not to back up the word Rosh—the head, the father of the Gods. I should not have brought it up, only to show that I am right.

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn in this way, we begin to learn the only true God and what kind of a being we have got to worship. Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him and how to ask so as to receive an answer.

When we understand the character of God and know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.

Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost. They account it blasphemy in anyone to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow; and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.

You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, “Don’t the Bible say he created the world?” And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize—the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed: they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.

I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man. But it is impossible for me to say much on this subject. I shall, therefore, just touch upon it; for time will not permit me to say all. It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead—namely, the soul, the mind of man, the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning. But it is not so. The very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine. I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so; and if you don’t believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. I will make a man appear a fool before I get through, if he does not believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble.

We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principle? Man does exist upon the same principles. God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. [Referred to the old Bible.] How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says, “God made man out of the earth, and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.”

The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal with God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were; and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on the earth.

I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven.

I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man—on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two, then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the housetops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.

Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.

The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits.

This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and I rejoice more and more.

I want to talk more of the relation of man to God. I will open your eyes in relation to your dead. All things whatsoever God of his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle; but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. God reveals them to us in view of no eternal dissolution of the body, or tabernacle. Hence the responsibility—the awful responsibility that rests upon us in relation to our dead; for all the spirits who have not obeyed the Gospel in the flesh must either obey it in the spirit or be damned. Solemn thought!—Dreadful thought! Is there nothing to be done? No preparation—no salvation for our fathers and friends who have died without having had the opportunity to obey the decrees of the Son of Man? Would to God that I had forty days and nights in which to tell you all! I would let you know that I am not a “fallen prophet.”

What promises are made in relation to the subject of the salvation of the dead? And what kind of characters are those who can be saved, although their bodies are moldering and decaying in the grave? When his commandments teach us, it is in view of eternity; for we are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity. God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as we do.

The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, “They without us cannot be made perfect;” for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times—a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.

Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half-way. I say to you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are gone before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man. Hence God said, “I will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

I have a declaration to make as to the provisions which God hath made to suit the conditions of man, made from before the foundation of the world. What has Jesus said? All sins, and all blasphemies, and every transgression, except one, that man can be guilty of, may be forgiven; and there is a salvation for all men, either in this world or the world to come, who have not committed the unpardonable sin, there being a provision, either in this world or the world of spirits. Hence God hath made a provision that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved, unless he has committed that unpardonable sin which cannot be remitted to him either in this world or the world of spirits. God has wrought out a salvation for all men, unless they have committed a certain sin; and every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin. And so you can see how far you can be a savior.

A man cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, and there is a way possible for escape. Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge. So long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. If a man has knowledge, he can be saved; although, if he has been guilty of great sins, he will be punished for them. But when he consents to obey the Gospel, whether here or in the world of spirits, he is saved.

A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.

I know the Scriptures and understand them. I said no man can commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, nor in this life until he receives the Holy Ghost; but they must do it in this world. Hence the salvation of Jesus Christ was wrought out for all men in order to triumph over the Devil; for if it did not catch him in one place, it would in another; for he stood up as a Savior. All will suffer until they obey Christ himself.

The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the Devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the Devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him.

All sins shall be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me; he seeks to kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the Devil—the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life—the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance: they make open war like the Devil, and awful is the consequence.

I advise all of you to be careful what you do, or you may by-and-by find out that you have been deceived. Stay yourselves; do not give way; don’t make any hasty moves: you may be be saved. If a spirit of bitterness is in you, don’t be in haste. You may say that man is a sinner. Well, if he repents, he shall be forgiven. Be cautious: await! When you find a spirit that wants bloodshed—murder, the same is not of God, but is of the Devil. Out of the abundance of the heart of man the mouth speaketh.

The best men bring forth the best works. The man who tells you words of life is the man who can save you. I warn you against all evil characters who sin against the Holy Ghost; for there is no redemption for them in this world nor in the world to come.

I could go back and trace every subject of interest concerning the relationship of man to God, if I had time. I can enter into the mysteries; I can enter largely into the eternal worlds; for Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14th chap., 2nd v.) Paul says, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and ano ther glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1st Cor. 15th chap., 41st v.) What have we to console us in relation to the dead? We have reason to have the greatest hope and consolations for our dead of any people on the earth; for we have seen them walk worthily in our midst, and seen them sink asleep in the arms of Jesus; and those who have died in the faith are now in the celestial kingdom of God. And hence is the glory of the sun.

You mourners have occasion to rejoice (speaking of the death of Elder King Follett); for your husband and father is gone to wait until the resurrection of the dead—until the perfection of the remainder; for at the resurrection your friend will rise in perfect felicity and go to celestial glory, while many must wait myriads of years before they can receive the like blessings; and your expectations and hopes are far above what man can conceive; for why has God revealed it to us?

I AM AUTHORIZED to say, by the authority of the Holy Ghost, that you have no occasion to fear; for he is gone to the home of the just. Don’t mourn; don’t weep. I know it by the testimony of the Holy Ghost that is within me; and you may wait for your friends to come forth to meet you in the morn of the celestial world.

Rejoice, O Israel! Your friends who have been murdered for the truth’s sake in the persecution shall triumph gloriously in the celestial world, while their murderers shall welter for ages in torment, even until they shall have paid the uttermost farthing. I say this for the benefit of strangers.

I have a father, brothers, children, and friends who have gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment. They are in the spirit, and we shall soon meet again. The time will soon arrive when the trumpet shall sound. When we depart, we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love who have fallen asleep in Jesus. There will be no fear of mobs, persecutions, or malicious lawsuits and arrests; but it will be an eternity of felicity.

A question may be asked—“Will mothers have their children in eternity?” Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life; for their debt is paid. There is no damnation awaits them, for they are in the spirit. But as the child dies, so shall it rise from the dead, and be forever living in the learning of God. It will never grow: it will still be the child, in the same precise form as it appeared before it died out of its mother’s arms, but possessing all the intelligence of a God. Children dwell in the mansions of glory and exercise power, but appear in the same form as when on earth. Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature.

I will leave this subject here, and make a few remarks on the subject of baptism. The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use: they are necessary and inseparably connected. An individual must be born of water and the spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God. In the German, the text bears me out the same as the revelations which I have given and taught for the last fourteen years on that subject. I have the testimony to put in their teeth. My testimony has been true all the time. You will find it in the declaration of John the Baptist. [Reads from the German.] John says, “I baptize you with water; but when Jesus comes, who has the power (or keys), he shall administer the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.” Great God! Where is now all the sectarian world? And if this testimony is true, they are all damned as clearly as anathema can do it. I know the text is true. I call upon all you Germans who know that it is true to say aye. (Loud shouts of aye.)

Alexander Campbell, how are you going to save people with water alone? For John said his baptism was good for nothing without the baptism of Jesus Christ. “Therefore, not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Heb. 6th chap., 1st to 3rd v.),

There is one God, one Father, one Jesus, one hope of our calling, one baptism. All these three baptisms only make one. Many talk of baptism not being essential to salvation: but this kind of teaching would lay the foundation of their damnation. I have the truth, and am at the defiance of the world to contradict me if they can.

I have now preached a little Latin, a little Hebrew, Greek, and German; and I have fulfilled all. I am not so big a fool as many have taken me to be. The Germans know that I read the German correctly.

Hear it, all ye ends of the earth—all ye priests, all ye sinners, and all men. Repent! Repent! Obey the Gospel. Turn to God; for your religion won’t save you, and you will be damned. I do not say how long. There have been remarks made concerning all men being redeemed from hell; but I say that those who sin against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this world or in the world to come: they shall die the second death. Those who commit the unpardonable sin are doomed to Gnolom, to dwell in hell, worlds without end. As they concoct scenes of bloodshed in this world, so they shall rise to that resurrection which is as the lake of fire and brimstone. Some shall rise to the everlasting burning of God; for God dwells in everlasting burnings; and some shall rise to the damnation of their own filthiness, which is as exquisite a torment as the lake of fire and brimstone.

I have intended my remarks for all, both rich and poor, bond and free, great and small, I have no enmity against any man. I love you all; but I hate some of your deeds. I am your best friend; and if persons miss their mark, it is their own fault. If I reprove a man and he hates me, he is a fool; for I love all men, especially these my brethren and sisters.

I rejoice in hearing the testimony of my aged friends. You don’t know me: you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame anyone for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born into the world. My voice is always for peace.

I cannot lie down until all my work is finished. I never think any evil, nor do anything to the harm of my fellow man. When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all. Amen.

The Priesthood—The Second Advent—The Gathering—Spiritual Ministrations and Manifestations

Synopsis of an Address by President Joseph Smith, Delivered in Commerce, Illinois, Tuesday, June 2, 1839.

The Priesthood was first given to Adam. He obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. i. 20, 26, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood. He was called of God to this office, and was the Father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.

The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven, whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority. Daniel vii. speaks of the Ancient of Days. He means the oldest man—our Father Adam (Michael). He will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the Father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men; and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ—that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.

The spirit of man is not a created being: it existed from eternity, and will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, &c., had their existence in an elementary state from eternity. Our Savior speaks of children and says, “Their angels always stand before my Father.” The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man, and organized them. He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply. The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him.

The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias gave the keys to Peter, James, and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years—without father, mother, &c. If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered, there is the Priesthood.

How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next. Paul speaks of the Church coming to an innumerable company of angels; to God, the Judge of all—the spirits of just men made perfect; to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, &c. (Heb xii. 23.)

I saw Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. He called together his children and blessed them with a patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst, and he (Adam) blessed them all, and foretold what should befall them to the latest generation. (See Doc. and Cov., sec. iii., pars. 28, 29.)

This is why Abraham blessed his posterity—he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. “They looked for a city,” &c. Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing; and there were Eliases raised up who tried to restore these very glories, but did not obtain them; but they prophesied of a day when this glory would be revealed. Paul spoke of the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God would gather together all things in one, &c.; and those men to whom these keys have been given will have to be there; and they without us cannot be made perfect.

These men are in heaven, but their children are on earth. Their bowels yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason. (Matt. xiii. 41.) “And the Son of man shall send forth his angels, &c.” All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed. The mustard seed is small, but brings forth a large tree, and the fowls lodge in the branches. The fowls are the angels. Thus angels come down, combine together to gather their children, and gather them. We cannot be made perfect without them, nor they without us. When these things are done, the Son of Man will descend—the Ancient of Days sit; we may come to an innumerable company of angels—have communion with and receive instruction from them. Paul told about Moses’ proceedings—spoke of the children of Israel being baptized, &c. He knew this, and that all the ordinances and blessings were in the Church. Paul had these things, and we may have the fowls of heaven lodge in the branches, &c.

The horn made war with the Saints and overcame them, &c., until the Ancient of Days came; judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High from the Ancient of Days; the time came that the Saints possessed the kingdom. This not only makes us ministers here, but in eternity.

Salvation cannot come without revelation: it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be the minister of Jesus Christ, except he has the testimony of Jesus, and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and of hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.

Men profess to prophesy. I will prophesy that the signs of the coming of the Son of Man are already commenced. One pestilence will desolate after another. We shall soon have war and bloodshed. The moon will be turned into blood. I testify of these things, and that the coming of the Son of Man is nigh, even at your doors. If our souls and our bodies are not looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, and after we are dead, if we are not looking forth, &c., we shall be among those who are calling for the rocks to fall upon us, &c.

The hearts of the children of men will have to be turned to their fathers, and the fathers to the children, living or dead, to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. If Elijah did not come, the whole earth would be smitten.

There will be here and there a Stake for the gathering of the Saints. Some may have cried peace, but the Saints and the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes; for God has told us to flee, not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here, and another there. There your children shall be blessed, and you in the midst of friends, where you may be blessed. The Gospel net gathers of every kind.

I prophesy that that man, who tarries after he has an opportunity of going will be afflicted by the Devil. Wars are at hand; we must not delay, but are not required to sacrifice. We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. When wars come, we shall have to flee to Zion. The cry is to make haste. The last revelation says, “Ye shall not have time to have gone over the earth, until these things come.” It will come as did the cholera, war, fires, and earthquakes, one pestilence after another, &c., until the Ancient of Days come; then judgment will be given to the Saints.

Whatever you may hear about me or Kirtland, take no notice of it; for if it be a place of refuge, the Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. You must make yourselves acquainted with those men who, like Daniel, pray three times a day to the house of the Lord. Look to the Presidency and receive instruction. Every man who is afraid, covetous, &c., will be taken in a snare. The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her Stakes.

I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies; I saw blood, desolation, fires, &c. The Son of Man has said that the mother shall be against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, &c. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the Devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; and with a view of them, shall I cry peace? No. I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know. When the fig tree leaves, know then that summer is nigh at hand.

We may look for angels and receive their ministration, but we are to try the spirits and prove them, for it is often the case that men make a mistake in regard to these things. God has so ordained that, when he has communicated, no vision is to be taken but what you see by the seeing of the eye, or what you hear by the hearing of the ear. When you see a vision, pray for the interpretation. If you get not this, shut it up. There must be certainty in this matter. An open vision will manifest that which is more important. Lying spirits are going forth in the earth. There will be great manifestations of spirit, both false and true. Being born again comes by the Spirit of God, through ordinances. An angel of God never has wings. Some will say that they have seen a spirit—that he offered them his hand, but they did not touch it. This is a lie. First, it is contrary to the plan of God. A spirit cannot come but in glory. An angel has flesh and bones: we see not their glory. The Devil may appear as an angel of light. Ask God to reveal it. If it be of the Devil, he will flee from you; if of God, he will manifest himself, or make it manifest. We may come to Jesus and ask him: he will know all about it. If he comes to a little child, he will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.

Every spirit, or vision, or singing is not of God. The Devil is an orator. He is powerful. He took our Savior onto a pinnacle of the Temple, and kept him in the wilderness for forty days. The gift of discerning spirits will be given to the Presiding Elder. Pray for him that he may have this gift. Speak not in the gift of tongues without understanding it, or without interpretation. The Devil can speak in tongues: the Adversary will come with his work. He can tempt all classes—can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues, unless he interpret, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside; then he may discern or interpret, or another may. Let us seek for the glory of Abraham, Noah, Adam, the Apostles, who have communion with these things, and then we shall be among that number when Christ comes.