Sermons and Writings Vol. 3

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Kevin Kraut


Aug. 1852 – Mar. 1853

If God has given me light, if I possess the light of the Spirit of revelation, and bestow that knowledge upon my brethren, that same fountain increases in me; whereas, if I were to shut it up–to close up the vision–and keep it from the people, it would be like the candle lighted and put under the bushel, where of course the want of free air would extinguish it. (Brigham Young, JD 4:265-266)


compiled and published


Ogden Kraut

September 1994


The information in this third volume of Sermons and Writings of the Restoration dates from August 1852 to March 1853 and is taken from three major sources:

Millennial Star

Wilford Woodruff Journals

Deseret News

Since these documents are becoming less and less accessible to the inquirer, and more and more expensive to the buyer, selected discourses are compiled here for the benefit and edification of the reader.

The years of 1852 and 1853 were still considered early pioneer growing stages for the Church, but the Saints were becoming more secure in their little inland empire–free from mobs and free to build a productive and peaceful community with their own theocratic government.

With the establishment of this wilderness territory came further emphasis on learning and supporting restored and new doctrines, the widespread acceptance of which brought additional difficulties. Although many of their trials were left in the past, new ones soon took their place.

Within this volume are a variety of sermons that explain and advocate some of these doctrines, as well as words of comfort and encouragement to give the Saints the strength to meet their challenges and ordeals.

–The Publisher


[7]                          SERMONS AND WRITINGS

of the Restoration


Volume 3

Purity and Knowledge

Millennial Star editorial

(from the Deseret News)

August 7, 1852

Everything which tends to the prosperity and advancement of the Kingdom of God on the earth, tends to the same objects in the heavens; for the Saints, while here, are laying a foundation for their exaltation hereafter; and although they may cease from their labours, such as produce weariness, fatigue, and sorrow, yet their works will follow them, and continue to increase and multiply upon their hands, forever and ever, even so long as they shall continue to increase, and spread abroad, and acquire dominions in the eternal world; yet fatigue, combined with their works, will not be their companion, as it is while dwelling here in mortality.

Hence the saying of the Saviour to those who should go forth to preach His Gospel and prune His vineyard for the last time, if they continued faithful in all things they should become renewed in their bodies, and not go hungry or thirsty, they should run and not be weary, they should walk and not faint. This is a blessed promise, and has been the means of sustaining many of the Elders of Israel in their travels, at home and in foreign countries; for many have realized the fulfillment of these promises and rejoiced therein; and the principle is equally good, and may with equal propriety be applied to the Saints who are labouring at home to sustain the families of the Elders who are abroad proclaiming the Gospel, or are labouring to prepare for the reception of the Saints who are coming [8] home, provided they labour with the same singleness of heart, and unyielding devotion to the interests of Zion, as the Elders feel who are abroad in foreign lands among strangers, and have no friend but God to depend upon for food, strength, support, and direction in all things.

The greater purity of body the Saints can attain unto before death, the less change will necessarily have to take place before the resurrection; for in the resurrection the body must be perfect, and consequently the nearer towards perfection we arrive at here, the nearer and more rapidly we approach a glorious resurrection, and the less time we may have for our spirits to be separated from our bodies, while our bodies are undergoing a purification and change in their graves; and the more intelligence we acquire in this state of existence, the more we will have to carry with us into the next or higher state, consequently the more exalted will be our introduction to the eternal worlds.

Knowledge is power, and the more a man knows, the greater good he is capable of doing, and his reward will be according to his works; and although, through the vanity of man, it is true that “knowledge puffeth up,” yet it is not so with the Saints, while in the exercise of a right spirit, but it tends rather to make them more humble, while they become more powerful and Godlike; but it is the foolish that are puffed up with knowledge, and such as are not edified with charity or Godlike love; self love is their god, and that true love that casteth out fear has no place with them.

Purity and knowledge being requisite qualifications for all Saints to prepare them to enter into the presence of the Father, we have no time to idle away, no spare moments to loiter about the stores, the post office, or any of the public offices or halls of assembly. If the Saints have special business at such places, let them transact that business as speedily as possible, and depart, giving room to others to do their business; and when the business hours of each successive day are closed, the merchant, the clerks, the business men want and need the succeeding hours and evenings to count their cash, to balance their books, to put up their mails, and to arrange their business for the future day; and any unnecessary delay of the people in retiring from the public places, when their business is [9] completed, is a hindrance to public affairs, which ought not to be countenanced by the Saints, who need every moment they can get, to wash and purify their bodies, feast their minds, and prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise men receive hints thankfully, and profit by them, while fools wait for kicks, and then receive them most ungratefully. Let the Saints be wise. (Mill. Star 14:378-379)




Elder John Jaques

Millennial Star, August 7, 1852


“For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron.” (Isaiah LX. 17)

“But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof, neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not in me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it, and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls, for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

“Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.

“God understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof.

“And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job xxviii. 12-21, 23, 28)

What will not men do for gold? They will toil for it, lie for it, swear for it, steal for it, murder for it, live for it, and die for it. They will do more, and suffer more, ten times over, for gold, than they will do or suffer for eternal life and happiness. The world is almost crazy after gold, for gold is the world’s god. “For gold, men are found ready [10] to sell themselves, soul and body–to swear black is white–to vote for anything or anybody–to cross seas and deserts–to rake mud, riddle dirt, and work with spade, pickaxe, and cradle, among ruffians and desperadoes, in California and Australia,” yet, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

Said one of old, “The love of money is the root of all evil;” and verily, if we look around us observingly, we can see much, very much evil and misery that are produced by this love, this infatuation for gold, which is the highest representative of money or riches that the world acknowledges.

What may not be bought with gold? More, a great deal more of this world’s necessaries, comforts, luxuries, favours, honours, and blessings than can be purchased by any other commodity. Let a man come in the name of gold, and he will be certain to be more respected, and will receive more attention, and will obtain more worldly honour than another who comes in the name of Him who can with propriety say, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine.”

Gold does not constitute true wealth, neither will it produce the necessaries, comforts, and luxuries of life, nor bring to its possessor true honour and glory. Place a family on an uninhabited island, and labour only will sustain them; all the gold in the world could not do it. Labour is true wealth. Labour will produce what is necessary for the sustenance, comfort, and happiness of man, when gold cannot buy it. Intelligence, labour, and integrity only will bring true honour, glory, and dignity to mankind. True intelligence will bring salvation and eternal life, but gold never will; yet intelligence, with that sterling integrity which is proof against the temptation of the “yellow glittering gold,” and which will not swerve from the path of duty and virtue for it, is exceedingly rare, but those only who possess this quality will rise to the highest pinnacles of authority, honour, and glory in the kingdoms of our God. If we look at emperors, kings, princes, dukes, lords, judges, lawyers, preachers, trades-men, to the lowest beggars–through the vast and varied category of earth’s dignities, professions, and occupations, we can behold in all ineffaceable tokens of the deep and [11] lasting hold which the sordid and debasing passion for gold has on the minds and consciences of men. Gold is exalted above virtue, purity, honour, integrity, and God-like intelligence, and is accounted worthy of superior esteem.

God, by the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah, declared that He would make gold as plentiful as brass in the latter-days; and surely that prophecy is fulfilling before our eyes. California and Australia are pouring forth their long-hidden stores of the “precious metal,” and offering flattering inducements to its adventurous devotees; and from all nations and climes do they flock to the “land of Ophir.” We know not where gold may yet be found, when the Lord God discloses fully to mankind the “chief things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting hills, and the precious things of the earth, and fulness thereof.” From the east to the west, from the torrid to the frigid zones, the earth, at intervals, may be rife with the shining ore, if men only knew where to dig for it. We need not be surprised if the sober inhabitants of “Quiet England” should yet be “startled from their propriety” by the discovery of gold in their midst. If it should so happen, we shall witness, as a natural consequence, most alarming ravages by that fearful malady the “yellow (gold) fever.” Already many in this land exhibit unmistakable symptoms of this disease, and, in a considerable number of cases, these symptoms are so decided, that nothing short of a journey to the “diggins” with its incumbent “hard experience” will make the subjects of these attacks men again, and probably before that time, the constitutions of many will be quite broken down.

But God has a purpose–yes, a glorious purpose, in disclosing some of the secrets of the earth in this generation. He has established His kingdom upon the earth, and when it is built up, and the Saints are sufficiently perfect, then, the gold, and the silver, and the precious stones, and all the choicest productions of the whole earth will be made tributary to the beautifying, ornamenting, and adorning of the temples and buildings of the cities and stakes of Zion; for the Lord will make the place of His feet glorious, yea, Zion shall become the [12] delight of the Lord, and the joy of the whole earth–the foremost among the nations in the race for celestial glory and exaltation.

But a sudden influx of gold in any nation, or among any people is a positive evil, and will be followed by the most disastrous and ruinous consequences, unless that nation or people are so far advanced towards perfection, and have so subjected their passions to the law of righteousness, that the fascinating substance has no power over them, and cannot tempt them to swerve from the path of duty, nor influence them to quit their ordinary avocations to worship it. When a community have arrived at such a state in the scale of being, that they can willingly consign their precious stones for the foundations of their city walls, their pearls for their city gates, and their gold for the paving of their city streets, then a flood of gold, and diamonds, and earth’s choicest treasures will not be followed by such fearful consequences. Until society has attained to a higher state of perfection than generally prevails at the present time, an influx of these things would introduce confusion, idleness, dissipation, recklessness, misery, and death, temporal and spiritual, for its tendency would be to encourage and give license to the worst passions of men, and thus the savory institutions of law and order would be broken down and swept away.

The Saints are at present imperfect, and, consequently, if not very watchful and prayerful, they are liable to be led astray, as other men are, by influences and powers not of God. Some have half an idea that if they were to go to Australia they would have splendid chances of speedily gaining for themselves a comfortable outfit for Zion. They persuade themselves that they do not wish to go to Australia for the gold, but that they may fulfill the commandment to gather to Zion sooner by going there than by staying in Britain, and waiting the Lord’s time. This reasoning is very specious certainly. Milton said, “They also serve who only stand and wait,” and it is truly so; for the Saints in this land, who cannot gather to Zion at present, can serve the Lord as faithfully by waiting His appointed time for deliverance, as they can by going to the goldfields of Australia, unless they have special counsel from the right source to go.

[13] But, let us reason a little upon this matter. It may be quite possible for a stouthearted, energetic Saint, with his family to make a four month’s voyage to Australia, to sojourn for a time in that land, to gain there sufficient means to carry himself and family to Zion, and also to journey with them to Zion, and yet maintain his and their integrity and faithfulness all the time, and not lose the spirit. But, beloved Saints, how many brethren and sisters would prove true and faithful under the accumluated and widely-varied trials and temptations they would meet in such a course? There is reason to fear the number would be few indeed. Are all Saints whose faces may be set towards Australia quite sure they would prove so faithful, when they had no faithful Elder or Priest in their midst to guide them with his counsel, that they would not forget their God, or their prayers, or their religion, that their souls would not be filled with the love of gold, and that they would not apostatize from the work of the Lord, and fall unknown and unnoticed by the way?

Here are ten families of Saints; they are accounted faithful among their brethren; they emigrate to Australia; they have no faithful Elder to visit and teach them; they mingle freely with the drunken, the filthy, the obscene, the scoffing classes of society, and pursue the exciting labours of a gold-digger, or perhaps the more sober business of common life. How many of these ten families will maintain their integrity, and present themselves in Zion, six years hence? Not many. On the contrary; here are ten other families; they are accounted faithful before their brethren; they wish to gather to Zion, but have not the means; they conclude to wait here until they have means, or the Lord opens up the way for them; they have faithful Elders to visit amongst them to do them good, to build them up, and to inspire them with faith and fortitude; in a short time, by their persevering industry, or by the benevolence of a rich brother, or by means of the “Perpetual Emigrating Fund,” they are enabled to cross the mighty deep; through the compassion of their brethren in Zion, they are met on the banks of the Missouri, by oxen and wagons, sufficient to carry their luggage and little ones over the plains, whilst the stronger portion of the family pursue their journey on foot to their mountain [14] home, without apostatizing, or losing the spirit of their God. It is not right to hold out to the Saints inducements that may not be realized, yet the probability is that those who are content to stay in Britain, and wait the Lord’s time for their gathering, will find that the chances are ten to one of their being gathered quicker than those who run off to Australia, deceiving themselves.

If all the Saints in Britain will continue very faithful to their God, and prayerful, they will always find something to do for the advancement of the work of God in this land, so long as there is any necessity of their stopping here. Let them pour out their desires before the Lord, telling Him how they wish to gather, and build up the cities and temples of Zion, that they may attend to the ordinances of salvation and exaltation for themselves and their dead, asking Him to so order events that the way may be opened for a mighty gathering of His poor Saints, and it is certain the Lord will not turn a deaf ear to their cries, for it is not His nature to do so; but the Saints will find that, perhaps when they least expect it, their way will open, and they will be delivered from bondage, and will be constrained to say in the fulness of their gratitude,–Great and marvelous are thy doings, O Lord God Almighty, thy ways are past finding out. Praise the Lord, O my soul, for His loving kindness, and forget not all His benefits, for His tender mercies endure for ever.

As for digging gold, it is at best a worrying and wearisome task. Let the Saints engage themselves heart and soul in building up Zion–the Kingdom of God. Gold and precious stones will be required to beautify Zion, and to polish her temples and halls after the similitude of palaces, and if the Gentiles dig all these things up whilst the Saints are engaged in the ennobling work of preaching the Gospel, and building up the kingdom, why of course, when they are wanted to adorn the Zion of the Lord, there will be no digging required at the hands of the Saints, but all things will be ready for the servants of the Lord to appropriate them as their inspired wisdom and experienced judgment may dictate; yea the kings of the earth shall come, their silver and gold with them, unto the name of the Lord our God, the Holy One of Israel. Amen. (Mill. Star 14:369-372)



[15]                      Brigham Young’s Discourse

Tabernacle, G. S. L. City

August 8, 1852


I will read a revelation given to Joseph Smith, junior, and Sidney Rigdon. But previous to my doing so, and commencing upon the subject that I expect to lay before the people this morning, I will say to them, my understanding with regard to preaching the gospel of salvation is this; there is but one discourse to be preached to all the children of Adam; and that discourse should be believed by them, and lived up to. To commence, continue, and finish this gospel sermon, will require all the time that is allotted to man, to the earth, and all things upon it, in their mortal state; that is my idea with regard to preaching. No man is able to set before a congregation all the items of the gospel, in this life, and continue these items to their termination, for this mortal life is too short. It is inseparably connected, one part with the other, in all the doctrines that have been revealed to man, which are now called the various doctrines of Christianity, of which all professors of religion believe a portion; but severally reject, or desire to reject, other portions of the truth; each sect or individual, taking to themselves portions of the Bible, portions of the doctrines of salvation, that are the most pleasing to them, rejecting all the rest, and mingling these doctrines with the tenets of men.

But let a gospel sermon be preached, wherein all the principles of salvation are embodied, and we will acknowledge, at the end of the mortality of this earth, and all things created upon it–at the closing up scene, at the final communication of all things that have been from the commencement of the creation of the world, and the peopling of it unto the latest generation of Adam and Eve, and the final finishing up of the work of Christ; I say, we shall acknowledge that there is the gospel sermon, and that it could not be preached to finite beings, in one short life.

I make these remarks for the purpose of extricating myself from the arduous task of undertaking to set before this congregation, every item of the doctrines of salvation, [16] in all of their various significations, as they are presented in this life, and according to our understanding. I make these introductory remarks to free myself from the great task of finishing the discourse I shall commence. I did not expect to finish it; I do not expect to see the need of it, until the winding up scene. I do not even commence at the beginning of it; I only catch at it, where it comes to me, in the 19th century, for it has been before me; it is from eternity to eternity.

This, however, would be contrary to our prejudices, to admit for a moment, that Christ, in his redeeming properties, has power to redeem any of the works of his hands; any other living creature, but the children of Adam and Eve; this would not be in accordance with our prepossessed feelings, and long imbibed prejudices, perhaps; but he has redeemed the earth; he has redeemed mankind and every living thing that moves upon it; and he will finish his gospel discourse when he overcomes his enemies, and puts his last enemy under his feet–when he destroys death, and him that hath the power of it–when he has raised up this kingdom, and finished his work which the Father gave him to do, and presents it to his Father, saying, “I have done the work, I have finished it; I have not only created the world, but I have redeemed it; I have watched over it, and I have given to those intelligent beings, that you have created by me, their agency, and it has been held with perfection to every creature of intelligence, to every grade of mankind; I have preserved inviolate their agency; I have watched over them, and overruled all their actions, and held in my hand the destinies of men; and I have finished up my gospel sermon,” as he presents the finished work to his Father.

It takes just such a character as the Savior, to preach one gospel discourse; and this was commenced with the commencement of all men upon this earth or any other; and it will never close until the winding up scene, and all is finished, and the kingdom is presented to the Father.

I expect only to look into some portions of it, as it comes to me in the 19th century of the Christian era. I will now read a revelation that was given to Joseph Smith, junior, and Sidney Rigdon, called “A Vision.”

(He then read the entire Section 76 of the D. and C.)

[17] These are the words of the Vision that were given to Joseph and Sidney. My mind rests upon this subject, upon this portion of the gospel of salvation; and has done so, more or less, for a great many years. The circumstances that surround me, almost daily; things that I see and hear, cause my mind to reflect upon the situation of mankind; create in me an anxiety to find out–to learn why things are as they are; why it is that the Lord should build a globe like this earthly ball, and set it in motion–then people it with intelligent beings, and afterwards cast a vail over the whole, and hide himself from his creation–conceal from them the wisdom, the glory, the truth, the excellency, the true principles of his character, and his design in forming the earth.

Why cast this vail over them, and leave them in total darkness–leave them to be carried away with erroneous doctrines, and exposed to every species of wickedness, that would render them obnoxious to the presence of God, who placed them upon the face of this earth. My daily experience and observation cause me to inquire into these things. Can I attribute all to the wisdom of Him that has organized this earth, and peopled it with intelligent beings; and see the people honestly desiring to do right all the day long, and would not lift head or heel against the Almighty, but would rather have their heads taken from their bodies, than dishonor him? And yet, we hear one crying on the right hand, this is the law of God, this is the right way; another upon the left, saying the same; another in the front, and another in the rear; and to every point of the compass, hundreds and thousands of them, and all differing one from another.

They do the best they can, I admit. See the inhabitants of the earth, how they differ in their prejudices, and in their religion. What is the religion of the day? What are all the civil laws and governments of the day? They are merely traditions, without a single exception. Do the people realize this–that it is the force of their education that makes right and wrong, with them? It is not the line which the Lord has drawn out; it is not the law which the Lord has given them; it is not the righteousness which is according to the character of Him who has created all things, and by his own law governs [18] and controls all things, but by the prejudice of education–the prepossessed feeling that is begotten in the hearts of the children of men, by surrounding objects; they being creatures of circumstances, who are governed and controlled by them more or less. When they, thus, are led to differ one from another, it begets in them different feelings; it causes them to differ in principle, object, and pursuit; in their customs, religion, laws and domestic affairs, in all human life; and yet every one, of every nation there is under heaven, considers that they are the best people; that they are the most righteous; have the most intelligent and best of men for their priests and rulers, and are the nearest to the very thing the Lord Almighty requires of them. There is no nation upon this earth that does not entertain these sentiments.

Suppose a query arising in the minds of the different sects of the human family. Do not the Latter Day Saints think they are the best people under the whole heavens, like ourselves? Yes, exactly; I take that to myself. The Latter Day Saints have the same feelings as the rest of the people; they think also, that they have more wisdom, and knowledge, and are the nearest right of any people upon the face of the earth.

Suppose you visit China, and mingle among the celestial beings there; you will find a people who hold in scorn and ridicule every other people, and especially those of Christendom. They consider themselves more holy, more righteous, more upright, more honest; filled with more intelligence; they consider themselves better educated; better in every respect, in all their civil and religious rites, than any other nation under heaven.

Suppose you next visit Spain; there you will find the mother, and grandmother, and great-grandmother of all the Christian denominations upon the face of the earth–though these are but a scanty proportion of mankind, compared with all the inhabitants upon the face of the globe. I suppose not one twelfth, or one sixteenth part of the inhabitants of the earth, believe in Jesus Christ–and probably not one thirtieth part of them.

Take the mother of modern Christianity; go into Italy–to Rome, and the seat of her government, and we find that they also consider themselves to be the best [19] people in the world–the nearest to the Lord, and in the path of right–more so than any other people upon the face of the earth.

Then visit the first Protestant church that was organized, and they consider themselves nearer right than their mother, or any of their sisters. You may thus follow it down to the last reformer upon the earth; and then step back to those we call heathen; to all that ever lived, from the place where Noah landed his ark, to the building of the tower of Babel; and in their dispersion, trace their footsteps to the islands and continents under the whole heavens, and you cannot find a people that do not believe they are nearest right in their religion, more so than their neighbors, and have the best form of civil government.

Suppose you call upon the aborigines of our country, here–these wild Indians; we call them savages; we call them heathens. Let yourselves be divested of prejudice; let it be entirely forgotten and out of the question, together with all your education, and former notions of things, your religious tenets, &c., and let your minds be in open vision before the Almighty, seeing things as they are, you will find that that very people know just as much about the Lord as anybody else; like the rest of mankind, they step into a train of ideas and ordinances, peculiar to the prejudices of their education.

All this I admit; and I admit it upon the resources of my own knowledge that I have pertaining to the inhabitants of the earth; this, also, every person knows, who is acquainted with the different customs and religions of different countries.

Let one step over into England, and carry with me my Yankee notions and manners, and I should be a burlesque to them. Let an Englishman pass over into Scotland, and speak and act according to English customs, it would differ so far from them, that they would laugh at him. Let a Scotchman or an Englishman go to Ireland, and it would be just the same. This difference of feeling, sentiment, and custom, exists in those countries that are so near each other. If you go to France, you find that they walk over the customs and manners of England, as unworthy of their notice. Should you thus go, from one people to another, throughout all nations, you would find [20] that they differ in their religions and national customs, according to the teachings of the mother and the priest. In this manner the consciences of mankind are formed, by the education they receive. You know this to be true, by your own experience.

That which you once considered, perhaps, to be a non-essential in religion, you now consider to be very essential. That which you once esteemed to be unbecoming in society, has become so interwoven in your feelings, by being accustomed to it, that it ultimately, appears quite rational to you.

When you survey the inhabitants of the world, you will find that the religious tenets of all nations, have sprung from their education; consequently, if we should summon the whole earth before us, and strictly examine them, we should find that the nations of the earth, as far as they know and understand, are doing about the best they know how; they are just about as near right as they know how to be.

These tribes of Indians, differ from one another in their sentiments and feelings; they war with each other, and try to destroy each other; and why do they do it? Why, “you are not as righteous as I am, and I want to bring you over to my holy faith.” You see these bands of (Indians?) doing these things, and you spurn the idea. Suppose you extend the principle, and carry it among the greatest nations of the earth; and you would see Queen Victoria, one of the most powerful sovereigns, sitting at the head of one of the most powerful nations upon the earth, sending her forces among these “celestial” ones, battering down the walls of China, bombarding the cities, throwing confusion into their States, and destroying thousands of their people, extending their sway of empire over India. And why all this? “To subdue you heathens, and bring you over to our more enlightened customs and religion.”

Does one nation rise up to war with another, without having motives, and those which they well substantiate as being good and sufficient? Will one people rise up to war with another people, except the motive that moves them is of a nature to justify them in their own minds and judgment for doing so? No. There is not a people upon the [21] face of this earth that would do so; they all calculate to do that which seemeth good to them.

There are the Jews–and recollect that they are a very religious people to this day; a more religious people never lived than they, that is, the tribe of Judah, and the half tribe of Benjamin, that were left in Jerusalem; they are as tenacious as any people can be, to this day, for the religion of their fathers; and where can you see them among the nations of the earth, without seeing a hunted, driven and persecuted people? The laws of nations have been framed for the express purpose of killing and destroying them from this earth. Yes, in the midst of nations that profess to adhere to the doctrines of Christianity–that legislate, and make laws, and put them in force, laws have been made to exterminate them; then cry out against them, and raise mobs to persecute and destroy, and clear the earth of the Jews. Notwithstanding all this, will they forsake their religion? No. They have suffered themselves to be stoned in the streets of the cities, their houses to be burned over their heads; but will they forsake their religion? No! They will perish rather.

The Christians say they are wrong; and the “Holy Roman Catholic Church” would have killed every one of them, hundreds of years ago, had not God promised by his holy prophets, that they should remain and multiply; they have been distributed, dispersed, scattered abroad among the nations of the earth, to fulfill that, and many more of the sayings of their prophets; and they are as tenacious, this day, with regard to their religion, as in the days of Moses, and are as anxiously expecting, and looking for the Messiah.

Conscience is nothing else but the result of the education and traditions of the inhabitants of the earth; these are interwoven with their feelings, and are like a cloak that perfectly envelops them, in the capacity of societies, neighborhoods, people, or individuals; they frame that kind of government and religion, and pursue that course collectively or individually, that seemeth good to themselves.

When we look at the whole creation, and that, too, from the days of Adam, down to this time, what do we see? According to the reading of the Bible, the sayings of Jesus [22] Christ, of all the ancient prophets, and of the apostles, every soul, every son and daughter of Adam and Eve, that have lived from the day of the transgression to this time, and that will live from this time henceforth, so long as any of the posterity of Adam and Eve shall continue upon the earth, unless they know Jesus Christ, and his Father, and receive the Holy Ghost, and be prepared to dwell with the Father and the Son; become acquainted with them, and converse with them–they will all be damned; every soul of them will be sent to hell.

And what do we see on the back of this, I ask? We see that all Christendom are ready to pounce upon them that believe in Jesus Christ, and are trying to attain to this knowledge, and grind them down, and send them down, and continue to bear upon them, and crowd them down–down to the bottom of the “bottomless pit,” and throw upon them pig metal, and lead, to keep them down. This is what we see; and all creation may see it also, if they will open their eyes.

I shall not undertake to prove from the Bible everything I say, yet it is all there.

With regard to the peculiar and varied formations of the religions of the day, I will say, we can see in them the first strong lines of the religion of Christ drawn out, which have existed among them from the days of the apostasy from the true order, to the present day.

If you could just humble yourselves until your eyes should be enlightened by the Spirit of God, by the spirit of intelligence, you may understand things the world cannot see; and understand that it is the privilege of every person to know the exact situation of the inhabitants of the earth for themselves. The ancient apostles saw it; Jesus Christ knew all about it; and the prophets before them prophesied, and wrote, and preached about what was then upon the earth; what had been, and what would be.

The inquiry might be made, can any person in the world prophesy, unless he possess the spirit of it? No, they cannot. They may prophesy lies by the spirit of lies, by the inspiration of a lying spirit; but can they see and understand things in the future, so as to prophesy truly of tidings to come, unless they are endowed with the spirit of prophecy? No! Is this the privilege of every person? It is. [23] Permit me to remark, there–this very people called Latter Day Saints, have got to be brought to the spot where they will be trained, (if they have not been there already,) where they will humble themselves, work righteousness, glorify God, and keep his commandments. If they have not got undivided feelings, they will be chastised until they have them; not only until every one of them shall see for themselves, and prophesy for themselves, have visions for themselves, but be made acquainted with all the privileges and laws necessary for them to know, so as to supersede the necessity of anybody teaching them.

Is not the time to come, when I shall not say to my neighbor, know the Lord, for he will know him as well as I do? This is the very people that have to come to it, sooner or later. Can we come to it? We can. If you are industrious and faithful scholars, in the school you have entered into, you shall get lessons one after another, and continue on, until you can see and understand the spirit of prophecy and revelation; which can be understood according to a systematic principle, and can be demonstrated to a person’s understanding, as scientifically as Professor Pratt, who sits directly behind me, can an astronomical problem.

I do not purpose to go into that, or to say anything to the brethren, or to this people, with regard to their daily walk and actions. I propose to view the inhabitants of the earth, and their situation, that you and I might understand that the Lord Almighty has a hand in all these matters; that the Lord is on the earth, and fills immensity; he is everywhere; he dictates governors and kings, and manages the whole affairs of the nations of the earth, and has from the days of Adam, and will until the winding up scene and the work shall be finished.

There is only one gospel sermon, recollect, brethren and sisters; and the time that is required to preach it, is from the day of the fall, or from the day when Adam and his wife Eve came here upon this planet, and from that time, until Jesus Christ has subdued the last enemy, which is death, and put all things under his feet, and wound up all things pertaining to this earth. Then the gospel will have been preached, and brought up and presented, and the effects thereof, to the Father.

[24] Now what shall we do with the inhabitants of the earth? Their true situation can be presented to your minds, if you will calmly reflect. Every person, whether they have traveled or not, if they are acquainted with the history of nations, can discover at once, the variety there is of religions, customs, laws and governments; and if you will apply your hearts, you can understand the cause of this variety of effects.

Again there are the nations that have lived before us–what shall we do with them? And what is their situation in the other world? What have we now to say of them? I can tell it in short. We are preaching to them the gospel of salvation, to the dead, through these who have lived in this dispensation; and it is a part and parcel of the great gospel discourse, a little here and a little there, that is necessary for the nation unto whom given. With regard to doctrine, rules, customs, and many sacraments, they are meted out to the inhabitants of the earth severally as they stand in need, according to their situations and what is required of them.

You may ask what is meted out to us? I answer the ordinances, the sacraments that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted for the salvation of the Jews, for all the house of Israel, and then for the Gentiles. This is the gospel–the plan of salvation the Lord has given to us. This is the kingdom the Lord has presented to us; the same he presented to the apostles in the days of Jesus. Now it is for the people to become acquainted with these laws and ordinances of salvation, then apply them to their lives, and that will save as many in the celestial kingdom, in the presence of the Father and Son, as will steadily adhere to them. This we read in the sacred book; we have it before us all the time, that just as many as will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, live up to its requirements in their lives, and die in the faith, shall receive a crown of life with the apostles, and all the faithful in Christ Jesus.

What next? I will tell you a practice of the Latter-Day Saint elders generally. For instance, I get up here, and preach the fullness of the gospel, perhaps to individuals who never heard it before in their lives, and I close by saying, you that believe this which I have told you, shall be saved; and if you do not, you shall be damned. I leave [25] the subject there. But, says one, “Doesn’t the Bible say so?” You ought to explain yourself. “I only said what the Savior taught–he says, go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned. Don’t I say the same?” You leave it there, don’t you? Yes; the apostle left it there, and so do I.

I wish to explain it a little more, according to the plain, simple, English language. The sum of this practice is theirs; when I preach a gospel sermon, and they don’t believe what I say, I straitway seal their damnation. Brethren, do you believe in such a thing as that? I do not; yet there are many of the elders just so absurd.

I recollect in England, sending an elder to Bristol, to open a door there, and see if anybody would believe. He had a little more than thirty miles to walk; he starts off one morning, and arrives at Bristol; he preached the gospel to them, and sealed them all up to damnation, and was back next morning. He was just as good a man, too, as we had. It was want of knowledge caused him to do so. I go and preach to the people, and tell them at the end of every sermon, he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned. I continue preaching there day after day, week after week, and month after month, and yet nobody believes my testimony, that I know of, and I don’t see any signs of it. What shall I do in this case, if I am sent to preach there? You may inquire. You must continue to preach there, until those who sent you shall tell you to leave that field of labor; and if the people don’t manifest by their works that they believe, as long as they come to hear me, I will continue to plead with them, until they bend their dispositions to the gospel. Why? Because I must be patient with them, as the Lord is patient with me; as the Lord is merciful to me, I will be merciful to others; as he continues to be merciful to me, consequently I must continue, in long suffering, to be merciful to others–patiently waiting, with all diligence, until the people will believe, and until they are prepared to become heirs to a celestial kingdom, or angels to the devil.

When the Book of Mormon was first printed, it came to my hands two or three weeks afterwards. Did I believe, [26] on the first intimation of it? The man that brought it to me, told me the same things; says he, this is the gospel of salvation; a revelation the Lord has brought forth for the redemption of Israel; it is the gospel; and according to Jesus Christ and his apostles, you must be baptized for the remission of sins or you will be dammed. Hold on, says I. The mantle of my traditions was over me to that degree, and my prepossessed feelings so interwoven with my nature it was almost impossible for me to see at all; though I had beheld all my life that the traditions of the people was all the religion they had, I had got a mantle for myself. Says I, wait a little while; what is the doctrine of the book and of the revelations the Lord has given? Let me apply my heart to them; and after I had done this I considered it to be my right to know for myself, as much as any man on earth.

I examined the matter studiously for two years before I made up my mind to receive that book. I knew it was true as well as I knew that I could see with my eyes, or feel by the touch of my fingers, or be sensible of the demonstration of any sense. Had not this been the case, I never would have embraced it to this day; it would have all been without form or comeliness to me. I wished time sufficient to prove all things for myself.

The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached to all nations for a witness and a testimony; for a sign that the day has come, the set time for the Lord to redeem Zion and gather Israel, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man. When this gospel is preached to the people, some will believe and some will not know whether to believe it or not. This is the situation of the world; go forth among the people; go among your own neighbors, and you may see it; because the Lord has touched your understanding with the spirit of truth, it looks to you as though all the world will believe it if they can only hear your testimony; you go and preach to them, but to your astonishment they seem perfectly uninterested; some go to sleep and others are dreaming of their farms and possessions.

The Methodist will tell you he has had the gospel from his youth and been brought up in the Methodist society; and so will the Quaker, and so will the Presbyterian; and so will the Shakers, for they say they [27] are the only people who are preparing for the Millennium. What is law here is not there; and what is not there is here. I have been used to this method of worship or that, and have heard the good old tone all the days of my life.

The Methodists come along and say you may be baptized by pouring, or by sprinkling, or not at all, for there is nothing essential in it. Another man says, you can partake of the Lord’s supper if you like or let it alone, for it is non-essential; if you have only the good old tone, you are all right.

Now I ask a question: Who is there that can know the things of God; who can discern the truth from the error? Where is the man; where are the people now in the world that can do it? They do not exist. Let the best wisdom of the world be summoned to their aid, and they cannot know the things of God. Let a man be endowed with the revelations of Jesus Christ, and he will say at once, they cannot tell–it is impossible. Let the just Judge sound his trump, what would he say? I can read it to you in this book. (Laying his hand upon the Bible.)

He is compassionate to all the works of his hands; the plan of his redemption and salvation and mercy is stretched out over all; and his plans are to gather up, and bring together and save all the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of those who have received the Holy Ghost and sinned against it. With this exception, all the world besides shall be saved. Is not this Universalitism? It borders very close upon it.

I have preached portions of the doctrine of salvation to the people, when I traveled abroad. When I would take up this subject, the Universalists would run after me hundreds of miles, saying, “we are Universalists, where I live; we are troubled with the Methodists, and the various sects; won’t you come and use them up for us; we want them whipped out.”

It is only parts and portions of the gospel that you hear; a little here, and a little there, scattered all over the world. Now let the hearts of the children of men be enlightened; let them be awakened to understand the designs of the Lord in the salvation of man, and what will their voices echo, one to another? I will tell you what would be the feeling of every heart; salvation, glory, [28] alleluia to God and the Lamb, forever and ever. Why? Because of his abundant mercy and compassion; because his wisdom has devised for us that which we could not have devised for ourselves. That is what all creation would do.

I will take up another thread of my discourse by observing that a few men upon the earth have found an item of truth, here and there, and incorporated it with their own wisdom, and taught the world that the Lord designs to save all mankind, no matter what they do. Another portion will catch at the Calvinistic principles; they hold that the Lord has fore-ordained this, that, and the other, and vigorously contend that the Lord did decree, and did fore-ordain whatsoever comes to pass, and away they run. Another comes along with free salvation to all, he has sought that principle, and away they all go depreciating everything else, only the little particle each one has incorporated to himself.

It is this that makes the variance in the religious world. We see a party here, and a party there, crying lo here, and lo there, and the people are contending bitterly with each other, nation against nation, society against society, and man against man, each seeking to destroy the other or bring them to this little practice of doctrine that each one thinks is just right. It is right, as far as it goes.

Man is made an agent to himself before his God; he is organized for the express purpose that he may become like his maker. You recollect one of the apostle’s sayings that when we see him, we shall be like him; and again, we shall become Gods, even the sons of God. Do you read anywhere that we shall possess all things? Jesus is the elder brother, and all the brethren shall come in for a share with him; for an equal share, according to their works and calling, and they shall be crowned with him. Do you read of any such thing as the Savior praying that the saints might be one with him, as he and the Father are one? The Bible is full of such doctrine and there is no harm in it as long as it agrees with the New Testament.

I will continue the point I am now at. The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself; when we have been proved in our present capacity, and been faithful with all things he puts into our [29] possession. We are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven. That is the truth about it just as it is. The Lord has organized mankind for the express purpose of increasing in that intelligence and truth, which is with God, until he is capable of creating worlds on worlds and becoming Gods, even the sons of God.

How many will become thus privileged? Those who honor the Father and the Son; those who receive the Holy Ghost and magnify their calling and are found pure and holy; they shall be crowned in the presence of the Father and the Son. Who else? Not anybody. What becomes of all the rest? Are you going to cast them down and sink them to the bottom of the bottomless pit, to be angels to the devil? Who are his angels? No man nor woman, unless they receive the gospel of salvation and then deny it and altogether turn away from it, sacrificing to themselves the Son of God afresh. They are the only ones who will suffer the wrath of God to all eternity.

How much does it take to prepare a man or woman, or any being, to become angels to the devil, to suffer with him to all eternity? Just as much as it does to prepare a man to go into the celestial kingdom, into the presence of the Father and the Son, and to be made an heir to his kingdom, and all his glory, and be crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives. Now who will be damned to all eternity? Will any of the rest of mankind? No! Not one of them.

The very heathen we were talking about; if they have a law, no matter who made it, and do the best they know how, they will have a glory which is beyond your imagination, by any description I might give; you cannot conceive of the least portion of the glory of God prepared for his beings, the workmanship of his hands; for these people who are sealed before me, who are the sons and daughters, legitimately so, of our Father in heaven, they all sprung from him; it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what he has prepared for them.

The Lord sent forth his gospel to the people; he said, I will give it to my son Adam, from whom Methuselah received it; and Noah received it from Methuselah; and [30] Melchisedek administered to Abraham. In the days of Noah, the people generally rejected it. All those who became acquainted with its principles, and thereby were made acquainted with and tasted the power of salvation, and turned away therefrom, became angels to the devil.

Let us apply it directly to ourselves, who have received the truth and tasted of the good word of God. Let me turn around with you and reject it, and teach our children that it is an untruth, teach the same to our neighbors, and that it is a burlesque to our senses; let us deny the Lord that bought us, what would be the result? Our children would grow up in unbelief, and the sin would rest upon our heads. Suppose we are faithful and the people will not believe our testimony, we shall receive our reward, the same as though they did believe it.

Suppose the inhabitants of the earth were before me, those who have died, what shall we say of them? Have they gone to heaven, or to hell? There is a saying of a wise man in the Bible like this; “who knoweth the spirit of a man that goeth upward or the spirit of the beast that goeth downward.” All have spirits, I should suppose by this. Again, there is another saying, “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.” Man dies and his spirit goes to God who gave it. All these things are within the scope of the gospel sermon; all these principles are embraced in this great gospel discourse.

What shall we say without going to the scriptures at all? Where do the spirits of this people go to, when they lay down their tabernacles? They go into the presence of God, and are at the pleasure of the Almighty. Do they go to the Father and the Son, and there be glorified? No! They do not. If a spirit goes to God who gave it, it does not stay there. We are all the time in the presence of the Lord, but our being in the presence of the Lord does not make it follow that He is in our presence; the spirits of men are under _______(?) to go into the presence of the Lord, when they go into the spiritual world.

The prophet lays down his body, he lays down his life, and his spirit goes to the world of spirits; the persecutor of the prophet dies, and he goes to Hades; they both go to one place, and they are not to be separated yet. Now, understand that this is part of the great sermon the [31] Lord is preaching in his providence, the righteous and the wicked are together in Hades. If we go back to our mother country, we there find the righteous and the wicked.

If we go back to our mother country, the States, we there find the righteous, and we there find the wicked; if we go to California, we there find the righteous and the wicked, all dwelling together; and when we go beyond this vail, and leave our bodies which were taken from mother earth, and which must return; our spirits will pass beyond the vail; we go where both saints and sinners go; they all go to one place. Does the devil have power over the spirits of just men? No. When he gets through with this earth, he is at the length of his chain. He only has permission to have power and dominion on this earth, pertaining to this mortal tabernacle; and when we step through the vail, all are in the presence of God. What did one of the ancients say? “Whither shall I go from thy spirit, and whither shall I flee from thy presence; if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Where is the end of his power? He is omnipotent, and fills immensity, by his agents, by his influence, by his spirit, and by his ministers. We are in the presence of God there, as we are here. Does the enemy have power over the righteous? No. Where are the spirits of the ungodly? They are in prison; where are the spirits of the righteous, the prophets and the apostles? They are in prison, brethren; that is where they are.

Now let us notice a little experience, lest some of you should be startled at this idea. How do you feel, saints, when you are filled with the power and love of God? You are just as happy as your bodies can bear. What would be your feelings suppose you should be in prison, and filled with the power and love of God, would you be unhappy? No. I think prisons would palaces prove, if Jesus dwelt there. This is experience, I know it is a startling idea to say that the prophet and the persecutor of the prophet all go to prison together. What is the condition of the righteous? They are in possession of the spirit of Jesus, the power of God which is their heaven; Jesus will administer to them; angels will administer to them; and [32] they have a privilege of seeing and understanding more than you or I have in the flesh; but they have not got their bodies yet, consequently they are in prison. When will they be crowned and brought into the presence of the Father and the Son? Not until they have got their bodies; this is their glory. What did the holy martyrs die for? Because of the promise of receiving bodies, glorified bodies, in the morning of the resurrection. For this they lived and patiently suffered, and for this they died. In the presence of the Father and the Son, they cannot dwell, and be crowned, until the work of the redemption of both body and spirit is completed. What is the condition of the wicked? They are in prison. Are they happy? No! They have stepped through the vail, to the place where the vail of the covering is taken from their understanding. They fully understand that they have persecuted the just and Holy One, and they feel the wrath of the Almighty resting upon them, having a terrible foreboding of the final consummation of their just sentence, to become angels to the devil; just as it is in this world, precisely.

Has the devil power to afflict, and cast the spirit into torment? No! We have gained the ascendancy over him. It is in this world, only, he has power to cause affliction, and sickness, pain, and distress, sorrow, anguish, and disappointment; but when we go there, behold! The enemy of Jesus has come to the end of his chain; he has finished his work of torment; he cannot come any further; we are beyond his reach, and the righteous sleep in peace, while the spirit is anxiously looking forward to the day when the Lord will say, awake my saints, you have slept long enough; for the trump of God shall sound, and the sleeping dust shall arise, and the absent spirits return, to be united with their bodies; and they will become personages of tabernacle, like the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ; yes, Gods in eternity.

They look forward with great anxiety to that day, and their happiness will not be complete, their glory will not attain to the final consummation of its fullness, until they have entered into the immediate presence of the Father and the Son to be crowned, as Jesus will be, when the work is finished. When it is wound up, the text is preached in all its divisions pertaining to the redemption [33] of the world, and the final consummation of all things; then the Savior will present the work to the Father, saying, Father, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do; and the Son will give it up to the Father, and then be subject to him, and then he will be crowned, and that is the time you and I will be crowned also.

We will notice, by this, that all the nations of the earth, with the exception of those who have apostatized from the gospel of salvation, every son and daughter of Adam, except those who have denied the Holy Ghost after having received it, are placed in prison with the rest of them, with prophets, priests and saints. Suppose we quote a little scripture on this point. Jesus died to redeem the world. Did his body lay in the tomb? Did his spirit leave his body? Yes. Where did his spirit go, you may inquire? I do not know that I can tell you any better than what the ancient apostle has told it; he says he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Who are they to whom he went to preach? The people who lived in the antediluvian world. He preached the gospel to them, in the spirit, that they might be judged according to men, in the flesh.

What shall we say of the people who live in the 19th century? When any of the Latter Day elders or apostles die and leave this world, suffice it to say that their spirits go to that prison, and preach the gospel to those who have died without hearing it; and every spirit shall be judged precisely as though they lived in the flesh when the fullness of the gospel was upon the earth. This leads to the subject of the saving and redeeming powers possessed by the righteous; but we shall not have time, this morning, to treat upon it; suffice it to say that saviors are coming up, in the last days, upon mount Zion.

This I say of every son and daughter of Adam, prophets, priests, and those that slew the prophets, all go to prison; the elders of this church go there, and there continue their labors; and by and by, you will see Zion redeemed, and saviors will come up upon mount Zion. The faithful elders will come, and go forward in the ordinances of God, that our ancestors, and all who have died previous to the restoration of the gospel in these last days, may be redeemed.

[34] Now ye elders of Israel, when you say that John Wesley went to hell, say that Joseph Smith went there, too. When you tell about Judas Iscariot going to hell, say that Jesus went there, too. The world cannot see the whole of the gospel sermon at one glance; they can only pick up a little here, and a little there. They that do understand it from the beginning to the end, know that it is as straight as a line can be drawn. You cannot find a compass on the earth that points so directly as the gospel plan of salvation. It has a place for everything, and puts everything in its place. It divides, and subdivides, and gives to every portion of the human family as circumstances require.

It is for us to get rid of that tradition in which we are incased, and bring up our children in the way they should go, that when they get old, they will not depart from it. It is your privilege and mine to enjoy the visions of the spirit of the Lord, every one in his own order, just as the Lord has ordained it, that every man and woman may know for themselves if they are doing right, according to the great plan of salvation. I have only touched a little of the great gospel sermon, and the time has come that we must close our meeting; so may the Lord God of Israel bless you, in the name of Jesus: Amen. (Des. News, Oct. 2, 1852)




Millennial Star

(from the Deseret News)

August 14, 1852


Knowledge or intelligence is progressive, here and hereafter. Some have supposed that it would make but little difference with them whether they learned much or little, whether they attained to all the intelligence within their reach, or not, while they tarry in this world, believing that if they paid their tithing, went to meeting, said their prayers, and performed those duties which were specially commanded, that it would be well with them, and that as soon as they should lay off this mortal body, they should see as they are seen and know as they are known, that they should know all things, even as much as [35] those their brethren who devoted all their time and talents to acquiring information and rolling on the Kingdom of God, regardless of wealth, personal aggrandisement, or the fears, frowns, and flattery of the world.

But this is a mistaken idea, and will cause every soul to mourn who embraces and practices upon it, when that soul arrives in the world of resurrected bodies, (should it be so very fortunate as to get there); for there they will realize, to their sorrow, that God required of them in this world, not only obedience to His revealed will, but a searching after His purposes and plans, such as would be made manifest unto those who through faith and patience were ready and willing to devote all their powers, faculties, and possessions, in labouring to advance the highest interests of His Church and Kingdom on the earth.

If, when we enter on another state of existence, we shall see as we are seen, that is, as some suppose, we shall see and comprehend God our Eternal Father, as He sees and comprehends us, then Gods will cease to be; then all the glories of the celestial kingdom will cease to be; those regions of light and glory will be thrown into chaos, and the sublime object of the eternal residence we have been seeking after will be annihilated, so soon as all beings therein become equal in knowledge; for the great, supreme I am thereof is the glory of that Kingdom, and His glory consists in the pure intelligence He possesses over and above His dependents and the creatures of His creation. When they shall arrive at the same standard of knowledge with Himself, they will know as much as He, and He will have no more dominion or rule over them, and that, then, would be the final end of man’s celestial greatness; being as big as his God, he could rise no higher, but would have to live in chaotic confusion forever.

Is this what the Saints are seeking after? No! This is what constitutes the glorious beauties of Lucifer’s dominions, they are all confusion, and anything short would be a hell to him and his subjects. All the hosts of hell are striving for the mastery, to know how they shall get above their leader, their god, and this would make confusion in any kingdom. But our God, the Father of our spirits, has wisely ordained the most perfect order throughout all his dominions, and in that order He [36] Himself is the head, for though there are lords many and gods many, to us there is but one God who is the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and he is our elder brother; and the higher we exalt them in our estimation and acts, the greater our glory.

Jesus communicates to his Saints, his younger brethren, what he will and when he will, according to their faith and obedience; for the Kingdom is his to establish, by subduing and bringing into subjection all things that are willing to be governed by the laws regulating his kingdom, which were given him by his and our Father; and when he hath brought all things in subjection unto himself, then shall the Son, our elder brother, be subject unto his and our Father, even as the Son now requires us to be subject unto himself, that God may be all in all, and over all, even according as He possesses knowledge beyond and over all the creatures of His creation.

Knowledge is power, or in knowledge consists power; and because God knows more than any of His creatures, He controls them at His pleasure; but could man arrive at the same knowledge with his God, He could have no more control over him, and we should again meet that chaotic confusion which constitutes hell. Order reigns in heaven, confusion in hell.

What then shall be done? If man is a creature of eternal progression, the time must certainly arrive when he will know as much as God now knows, be his progress ever so small. Admit the truth that man was made in the image of his God, and the difficulty is solved at once; for if man was created or formed in His image, He of course was once a man, and from manhood, by continual progression, became God, and He has continued to increase from His manhood to the present time, and on the same principle he may continue to increase without limit. And man also may continue to increase in knowledge and power, as fast as he pleases, and strive to become godlike, but God having greater experience, can increase the faster, consequently man can never come up even with his maker, so as to know his God as his God knows him.

What then, is the meaning of the expression, “see as we are seen, and know as we are known?” It is that we [37] shall see all things below us, in our scale of existence, as God sees us and all things below Him in His scale of existence; for if we could see all that God sees, we should know as much as God knows, and God would cease to be God to us, for the Godhead signifies knowledge and power; and did man know as much as God, power over man would cease with God, and all heaven would be converted into a republic of Bedlam. But God by His knowledge has reserved the crown to Himself, and for His own use; and where the crown is, there is necessarily implied a kingdom; and where a kingdom is, a king. Consequently the government of Heaven cannot be a republic, according to the perceptions of a wicked world; and if it were, there could be no king, for his subjects being equal in knowledge with him would dethrone him; and there would be an eternal quarrel who should preside or sit in the chair of State, or act as umpire among his equals.

Who that is anxiously looking for a glorious hereafter would ardently desire such a state of things, such an order of government in the eternal worlds, so that he might go down to his grave in peace, shouting hallelujah! vox populi vox Dei, (the voice of the people is the voice of God,) the people omnipotent reign! And when we get beyond the veil of this mortal existence, we shall stand just as good a chance to be elected President of the whole as the God we adore.

Is this the glorious uncertainty that calms the souls of the Saints, while they contemplate the realities of eternal worlds, and their resurrection unto lives eternal? If it be, their hopes are vain, their faith is vain, and all their labor, toil, privations and sufferings are in vain, and in the end they will reap a reward according to their labors, sown to the wind to reap the whirlwind, which will prove them chaff instead of wheat.

But the Saints know in whom they have believed. Their God is King of kings, and Lord of lords; His dominion is over all, and He controls the workmanship of His hands as it pleaseth Him; He hath made known His decrees, and He will execute them.

In this the Saints rejoice, that their God knoweth all things pertaining to His dominions, and consequently has power to control all things in relation to His children, just [38] as He pleases; and though all the creatures of His creation should cry vox populi vox Dei, he would say unto them, I am God and there is none else beside me to dictate my works; do ye therefore whatsoever I command you; and he that doeth no more than I command, and seeketh not the interest of my kingdom, with his whole soul, and of his own accord deviseth not ways and means for the prosperity and good of my household is an unprofitable servant; such are not sons but bastards; and such will leave my work, and will follow their love of money, which will cause them to run after the god of their own choice, and leave my people, and go down to perdition; or if they be saved at all, it will be to inherit a lesser glory, and be ruled over instead of being rulers. (Mill. Star 14:385-387)



John Taylor’s Remarks

Great Salt Lake City

August 23, 1852


Elder John Taylor gave the following report of his mission to Europe:

Brethren and Sisters: I feel happy in having the privilege of meeting you once more in the valley of the mountains. It is now about three years since I left this place. Since then I have traveled a great distance; enough, if in a straight line, to have gone round the world. Had I only had that to have done, I should have been back some time ago. Before I enter upon anything else, I will tell you some of my feelings, and speak of other things afterwards.

I feel glad to see you, brethren, sisters and friends; and permit me to say that I feel just at home, for Zion is my home; wherever the people of God are, I feel perfectly at home, and can rejoice with them. It seems as though I want to look at you; I have been gazing around at this, that, and the other one, while brother Wallace was preaching; I have been trying to think where I had seen them, and the various scenes we have passed through together, in different places; in journeying, in perils, in mobbing, in difficulties and dangers of various kinds; but out of all we have been delivered; the hand of God has been manifested towards us in a remarkable manner. And then I see people here from different nations, with whom I have [39] associated; from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and from other nations of the earth; from the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern States; from Canada, and from almost all parts of the world. I think of the various changes, annoyances, and tribulations that we have passed through; the deliverances we have obtained, and the hand of God which has been manifested to us in all these things; and I rejoice, and praise God my Savior. I feel perfectly at home; in fact I feel at home wherever I meet with the saints of God; in this country, or in other countries; but this is the grand home; this is the home for the gathering of the saints of the Most High God; the place where the oracles of God dwell, and where the Spirit of God is pre-eminently poured out; where we have come to learn of the great Jehovah, the sacred things pertaining to, and associated with His Kingdom.

I am not going to preach; I wish to tell my feelings, and look at you, and think about what we have done, and what we are going to do; for it is not all done yet; we have only commenced the great work of the Lord, and laying the foundation of that Kingdom which is distinct to stand forever; what we shall do, is yet in the future; we have commenced at the little end of the horn; and by and by we will come out at the big end.

I was talking about troubles; but I don’t know that we need to talk or care about them; we have had some little amusements and frolics among the Gentiles; some few difficulties; but we have struggled through them all, and we are all here safe and sound. True, some of our friends have dropped by the way; they have fallen asleep; but what of that–and who cares? It is as well to live as to die, or to die as to live; to sleep as to be awake, or to be awake as to sleep, it is as one; they have only gone a little before us. For example, we have left other parts and come here, and we think we have got to Zion; they have gone to the world of spirits, and they think they have got to heaven; it is all right. We have left some of our friends behind in various places; when they arrive here, they will shake hands with us, and be glad they have got to Zion; and when we go to where our departed friends are gone, we will shake hands with them, and be glad we have got to heaven; so it is all one. Although our friends were sorry when we left them [40] yet they rejoiced as well as us, that we were going to Zion; and so we will rejoice with those who have died in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.

We have the principles of eternal life in us; we have begun to live, and we shall continue to live, as the Methodists very properly express it, “while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures;” and this is the beginning of it; consequently other little circumstances in this world, or even life or death, have very little to do with it. Some people have said to me, “Sometimes, are you not afraid to cross over the seas, and deserts, where there are wolves and bears, and other ferocious animals, as well as the savage Indians; are you not afraid that you will drop by the way, and leave your body on the desert track, or beneath the ocean’s wave?” No; who cares anything about it; what of it, if we should happen to drop by the way? We expect the Lord and His angels can do as much as Bro. Benson has done in gathering up the people. He has brought a great host of Pottawatomie, and the Lord can surely as easily “send his angels and gather together His elect from the four quarters of the earth.” And as old Daniel says, we shall all come up and stand in our “lot in the end of the days.” These things don’t trouble me, but I have felt to rejoice all the day long, that God has revealed the principle of eternal life, that I am put in possession of that truth, and that I am counted worthy to engage in the work of the Lord, and be a messenger to the nations of the earth. I rejoice in proclaiming this glorious gospel, because it takes root in the hearts of the children of men, and they rejoice with me to be connected with, and participate in the blessings of the Kingdom of God. I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us, that we may comprehend ourselves–become acquainted with our weakness and infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers; therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long.

I feel as though I am among the honorable of the earth when I am here; and when I get mixed up with the people abroad, and mingle with the great people in the world, I feel otherwise. I have seen and deplored the weakness of men; their folly, selfishness and corruption. [41] I do not know how they feel, but I have witnessed a great deal of ignorance and folly; I think there is a great deal of littleness about them. There is very little power among them; their institutions are shattered, cracked, and laid open to the foundation. It is no matter what principle you refer to–if to their religion, it is a pack of nonsense; if to their philosophy and politics, it is a mass of dark confusion; their government, churches, philosophy and religion is all darkness, misery, corruption and folly. I see nothing but Babylon wherever I go–but darkness and confusion, with not a ray of light to cheer the sinking spirits of the nations of the earth, nor any hope that they will be delivered in this world, or in the world to come.

I have been with my brethren here who went with me some years ago to foreign nations. Bro. Erastus Snow, who is here, and Bro. Lorenzo Snow, who has not got back yet; Bro. F. D. Richards, who has been over in England, and Bro. Pratt. There has been a great work done in all of these places, but I will leave these brethren to relate their own affairs themselves. I rejoice to associate with them; I rejoice to hear of their prosperity, and to see the wisdom, intelligence and prudence that has been manifested in all their deportment and transactions. I could not have bettered it, and I do not know that anybody else could. Everything has been going on well, and prospering; the hand of God has been with us, and His angels have been on our path, and we are led to rejoice exceedingly before Him as the God of our salvation.

It gave me great joy, on my way home, to find the saints leaving Kanesville; it seemed as though they were swept out with a besom, almost. When I was there, I rode out in my carriage one day to a place called Council Point. I thought I would go and visit some of the folks there; but when I got there, behold there were no folks to see. I hunted round, and finally found a place, with something like “grocery” written upon it. I alighted, and went into the house, and asked a person who presented himself at the door, if he was a stranger here. “Yes,” says he, “I have only just come.” And the people have all left, have they? “Yes,” was the answer. I next saw a few goods standing at the side of a house, but the house was empty–these were waiting to be taken away. I went into another house, and there were [42] two or three people waiting for a boat to take them down the river; and there were all the inhabitants I saw there.

When I first reflect upon my arrival, my heart felt pained; I well knew the disposition of many of the men on those frontier countries, and I thought that some miserable wretches might come upon them after the main body of the saints had removed, and abuse, rob, and plunder the widow, the orphan, the lame, halt, blind and destitute, who might be left as they did in Nauvoo; and thus the old, decrepit and infirm would be abused, insulted, and preyed upon by wretches in human shape, who never have courage to meet men, but are cruel and relentless with the old, infirm, the widow, orphan and destitute. But thank God they are coming, nearly all, old and young, rich and poor.

When I see my brethren and sisters here, I cannot help but rejoice with them, and especially with those who have been engaged in these various labors.

The reports that have reached me from time to time, of your prosperity, have caused me much joy–accounts of the great work of the Lord that was going on here. I have heard of your progress in the city, and out of it; of your various settlements and explorations, and of the many organizations made by the Presidency. This has been joyful to me while abroad in foreign nations.

Some people think that preaching is the greatest part of the business in building up the Kingdom of God; this is a mistake. You may pick out our most inferior elders in point of talent and ability, and send them to England to preach and preside, and they think they are great men there. Their religion teaches them so much more than the Gentiles know, that they are received as the great men of the earth. Anybody can preach; he is a poor simpleton that cannot; it is the easiest thing in the world. But, as Prest. Young says, it takes a man to practice. A great many preach first rate when they get abroad; you there meet with most eloquent men; they will almost make the stones under your feet tremble, and the walls of the building to quake; but the moment they get into a little difficulty, they immediately dwindle down into nothing, and they have not got as much force as would draw a mosquito off its nest.

[43] But the things that are going on here, require talent, force, energy, a knowledge of human nature and of the laws of God. The sacrifices that are being made, in leaving home, and traveling from place to place, combating and overcoming the many difficulties that we have had to cope with, and standing in a distinguished position in the eyes of the nations of the earth is no small affair. They gaze with astonishment at the stand that his people take at the present time in their territorial capacity; to that all the nations and courts of Europe are looking. Talk about preaching; this is a matter of another importance entirely. I do not care how eloquent men are, these are all good in their place–but it is the organization in this place; the wise policy of the governor who presides here, in the extension of this infant State, by building up new colonies, &c; making such extensive improvements that preach louder among the courts of Europe, at the present time.

It is one of the most remarkable things that has ever taken place in any age; and kings and philosophers are obliged to acknowledge it. I remember noticing an article in the “London Times” not long ago, (and it is one of the leading papers of the day) in speaking about the Mormons, giving an account of some efforts associated with the church, and with the establishment of a territorial government here. The editor remarks nearly as follows, “We have let this people alone for some time, and said nothing about them; we have been led to believe that they were a society of lunatics and fools, &c.; but let this be as it may; their position in the world, in a national capacity, demands at our hands as public journalists, to report their progress, improvements and position.” I sent the Epistle of the First Presidency to the journal Des Debuis, which is one of the principle papers in Paris. They published the Epistle, and the chief editor made some excellent remarks upon it and signed his name to them. It was taken from that paper, and translated and published in Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Germany, and thus in their various languages. It was spread before the nations of Europe. Our place and people are becoming well known abroad. While in the city of Paris, I had to do with some of the leading government men; in seeking to obtain authority to preach, [44] all I had to do generally, was to send my card –John Taylor, du (from) Deseret.

We are becoming notorious in the eyes of the nations; and the time is not far distant when the kings of the earth will be glad to come to our elders to ask counsel to help them out of their difficulties; for their troubles are coming upon them like a flood, and they do not know how to extricate themselves.

I will here give a short history of some of my proceedings. I was appointed to go to France some years ago, in company with some of the Twelve, who were appointed to go to other places. The First Presidency asked us if we would go. Yes, was the reply; we can go anywhere; for if we cannot do little things like these, I don’t know what else we can do. Some people talk about doing great things; but it is not a great thing to travel a little, or to preach a little. I hear some of our elders saying sometimes that they are going to do great things; to be rulers in the Kingdom of God; Kings and Priests to the Most High, and again to exalt thousands of others to thrones, principalities, and powers, in the eternal worlds; but we cannot get them out of their nests to travel a few miles here. If they cannot do this, how will they ever learn to go from world to world?

We went, and were blessed in our journeying. We had a pretty hard time in crossing the plains, and I should not recommend people to go so late in the season as we did. We should have lost all our horses, but the hand of God was over us for our good, He delivered us out of all our dangers, and took us through safely. When we got to the Missouri River, the ice was running very strong, so that it was impossible to ferry; but in one night the river froze over, and we passed over as on a bridge, in perfect safety; but as soon as the last team was over, the ice again removed. Thus the Lord favored us in our extremities.

You may inquire, how did you get along preaching? The best way that we could; the same as we always do. We went to work (at least I did) to try to learn the language a little. I went into the city of Bolougae, and I obtained permission there from the mayor to preach, this I was under the necessity of doing. At that time, I had not been very particular in seeking recommends as I went along; [45] but I had a recommend from Gov. Young; he told the folks I was an honorable man, and signed his name to it as the Governor of the Territory of Utah, and Willard Richards as Secretary. I told the mayor in relation to these matters, I had not many papers with me, but I had one, that I obtained from the Governor of the State I came from. “O,” says he, “Mr. Taylor, this is very good indeed; won’t you leave it with me; and if anybody finds any fault, I shall have it to refer to.”

Several Protestant priests from England commenced to annoy us, and wanted to create a disturbance in the meeting, but I would not allow it; besides I was in a strange city, and was received courteously by the mayor, and wished my meeting to be orderly. These insolent men came to create disturbance in our meetings, but seeing they could not get a chance of speaking inside the doors, they followed me in the streets, asking me questions as I walked along. Among the questions, they said something about Joe Smith. Says I, “Who are you talking about? I was well acquainted with Mr. Joseph Smith; he was a gentleman, and would not treat a stranger as you do me.” They still, however, dogged after me, asking me more questions. I told them, “I do not wish to talk with men of your caste;” they finally sent me a challenge, and we had a discussion; the result of it you may have read as published. The Methodist preacher denied his calling, and was to be removed from his place, in consequence, and the others sunk into forgetfulness–I could obtain no information of them when last there. I decreed then, I would let the English alone, and turn to the French.

I went from there right into the city of Paris, and commenced translating the Book of Mormon, with Bro. Bolton to assist me. We baptized a few; some of them men of intelligence and education and capable of assisting us in the work. Bro. Pack went to Calais, and raised a small church there. We afterwards united some English branches, Bouleune in France, to it, called the Jersey Islands. There the people speak halt English, halt French; and Bro. Pack went to preside over them. Bro. Bolton and I remained principally in Paris, and in that neighborhood, we there organized a church. Before I came away, we held a conference, at which 400 members were represented, [46] including those branches that were added to the branch in Calais.

We have got a translation of the Book of Mormon, as good a one as it is possible for anybody to make. I fear no contradiction to this statement from any man, learned or illiterate. I had it examined and tested by some of the best educated men in France. I have got a specimen with me. (The Book was produced, which was beautifully bound.) This is the Book of Mormon, translated into the French language, and it is got up in as good a style as any book that was ever published, whether in the church or out of it. The translation is good; the printing is good, and the paper is good. I have made some little alterations; that is, I have marked the paragraphs, and numbered them so as to tell where to refer to when you wish to do so; and in some instances where the paragraphs are very long, I have divided them. The original simplicity of the book is retained, and it is as literal as the genius and idioms of the French language would admit of.

This book is stereotyped, and I have arranged it so that when copies of this work are sold, a certain amount of money is put away, that when another edition is called for, the money is there; and thus it can be continued from time to time, as necessity shall require, until 200,000 copies are printed, without any additional expense. We also publish there a paper called “Ftorle du Deseretor;” (the Star of Deseret) it is got up in good style, and printed in new type; it is also stereotyped, and most of it is new matter. I have given an account of the organization of the church, and a brief history of it; of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the evidences of it; the doctrines of the church, and the position of things in this country, &c, &c. These are some of the leading items of this publication. Instead of filling it with the news of the day, we have filled it with all that is good for the people to read, that it may be a standing work for years to come. It contains articles written on baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the necessity of gathering together, and all the leading points associated with the religion we believe in, that there may be evidence forthcoming at any time and place, in the hands of the inquirer. If men should be there, not acquainted with the language, and individuals should [47] make inquiries of them relating to the doctrines of their religion, they have nothing to do but hand them this number or that number of the “Star of Deseret,” containing the information they wish. This will save them a great deal of trouble in talking.

We found many difficulties to combat with; for it is not an easy thing to go into France and learn to talk French well; but at the same time, if a man sets to work in good earnest, he can do it. I have scratched the word “can’t” out of my vocabulary long since, and I have not got it in my French one.

The Spirit of the Lord was with us and with the people, and He prospered us in our undertakings, and we were enabled to accomplish the thing we set about. We had difficulties to cope with in regard to the government. If it had not been for the position of things there in relation to the late revolution, that was then brewing, I believe we should have obtained the privilege from the government to preach throughout all France, and also protection for the Elders.

I petitioned the Cabinet for that privilege; while talking to some of them, they told me there would be no difficulty in obtaining permission; but we were unable to obtain the liberty we wished; and I believe it originated from the position of things just before the revolution broke out; it was through that, or through difficulties in Denmark, wherein a mob was raised against the saints. They were then banishing strangers out of Paris, and would not allow them a place there unless they were wealthy persons, and had money in the bank, as security for their conduct.

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Brotherhood,” was written almost upon every door; you had liberty to speak, but might be put in prison for doing so; you had liberty to print, but they might burn what you had printed, and put you into confinement for it. The nations of Europe know nothing about liberty, except England; and there is much the same as here; that is, liberty to do right.

When you get into France, Germany, or any of the foreign nations, where the language is different from ours, the spirit of the people is different, and it appears to me [48] that a different spirit is carried along with these languages, which is peculiar to them.

I might tell you about their political state, but I will preserve that for some political speech or other; we will let that go for the present. At the same time, there are thousands of as good spirited, honest hearted men as I ever met with in any part of the world; they are quiet, calm, peaceable, and desirous to know the truth and be governed by it; and if we only had liberty to preach to them the principles of truth, thousands would flock to the standard of truth.

Infidelity prevails there to a great extent, and at the same time a great deal of a certain kind of religion, a sort of Catholicism; not the Catholicism that was, but as it is. Men have got sick of it, and look upon it as moon-shine and folly. You may divide the people into three classes–the most religious class are the women; from observation you would judge that they attend to the affairs of the souls of their husbands, as well as their own. The fact is, they care little about it themselves. You will find nothing but women in the places of worship there, while on the other hand, if you go out to the public promenades, and theaters, and public amusements on Sunday, you will see them by thousands; and if you judge of their religion by their actions, you would consider that the theater and public amusements is their place of worship; at the same time, that the church is the place to do penance, and that the women do it.

I am not surprised that infidelity should prevail in such countries. I declare personally, if I could see nothing better than what is called Christianity there, I would be an infidel too; and I say the same also in regard to Protestantism. The Protestants talk a great deal about Catholic priests, but I believe they are much more honest in the sight of man, and will do more for their pay than any Protestant minister you can find. You will find them up at 5 o’clock in the morning, saying mass and attending to what they consider are their religious duties–visiting the sick, and going among fevers and plagues, where Protestant ministers dare not go. This is my notion of that. (A voice in the stand, “The children are always lazier than their daddy.”) The idea of taking Protestantism [49] among the French people is nonsense; for one Catholic priest could prevail over 50 Protestants. The Catholic priests are more intelligent; they know the basis upon which their church is founded; and they can reason upon principles the Protestants cannot enter into. Protestants can do very well when they have got a mass of their own people around them.

When I was in Bologne, some Protestant ministers were afraid lest I should make a division among them; they were fearful lest I should show up some of their follies, and the Catholics laugh at them. One of these Jesuit priests came to me; he was a well educated man. “In speaking on those discussions,” says he, “when they ask about the character of your founders, just examine into theirs, and I will furnish you all the testimony you want.” I told him I was much obliged to him, but I could attend to my own business. I thought if I could not get along, and defend Mormonism without the help of a Jesuit priest, it was a poor case.

I was speaking a while ago about the people there being divided into three classes. One of them you may call infidel, under the head of socialism, Fourierism, and several other `isms.’ Communism is a specimen of the same thing, and they call it religion. These are generally known under the head of what is called Rouges, or Red Republicans. There is one class that think it is necessary to sustain religions as a national policy, to subdue the minds of the people, and make them easier to govern. The third class is in the minority a long way; it is those who are actually sincere in their religion.

I will give you a specimen of Protestantism as I witnessed it in a grand anniversary Bible Society meeting, in Paris. There were some of the most notable men in Paris going to preach there, and that attracted the attention of the public. The meeting was held in one of the principal Protestant churches. The late Prince Minister of Louis Philippe, Monsieur Guizot presided, and many other eminent men were present. M. Guizot is a man of great ability, and quite an orator, so that all parties respected him on account of his talent. As he was going to be there and deliver a speech, it attracted quite an audience. I went to hear them, in company with a French minister that [50] was baptized there. The place was pretty well crowded, but not so full as this hall is this morning, but in that country it was considered a first rate congregation. When M. Guizot finished his discourse, about one third of the congregation left. I thought this a curious proceeding; they don’t act so in Protestant countries. Another got up to speak, and when he had made a speech, another third of what was left, left the house and went away; and when four or five of them had made speeches, there was about as many left in the house as you would see at a Catholic chapel at mass. I was really surprised at the indifference and carelessness manifested.

This was at the anniversary of Bible Society in the city of Paris, where some of the most notable men gathered together. I speak of this to represent to you the position of things there, and the spirit of the people, in relation to these matters. In a theater, or any public spectacle, all would have stayed till the last.

It is among this people we have got to introduce the gospel. When they come to see it, they rejoice in it, but we do not preach religion much to them, for a great many of them are philosophers, and of course we must be philosophers, too, and make it appear that our philosophy is better than theirs, and then show them that religion is at the bottom of it. It would be nonsense to talk about justification by faith; they would say it was moonshine, or something else. You have got to talk common sense; you have got to affect their bodies, as well as their souls, for they believe they are possessed of both. When they once get interested in the work of God, and get the Spirit of God, they rejoice exceedingly in the blessings of the gospel. I have seen saints in that country who rejoiced and thanked God as much as ever I saw them in any country, for the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant.

I had thought after having completed the translation of the Book of Mormon into the French language, with which I was assisted by Bro. Bolton, of returning home last year, but I met with the epistle of the First Presidency, from which I could learn their desire that we should stay another year. I therefore followed the directions of the Spirit of God, for I wished all the time, as Paul says, to be obedient to the heavenly calling; I wished at all times to [51] pursue the course the Spirit of the Lord should dictate. I knew it would dictate them right, though I did not see at that time that it would be of much benefit for me to stay long there, as it was no place for preaching in. The government, after studying about these things some time, denied us the privilege of preaching, and all the place we had to meet in was a private room, and associating to a law of the Government, if more than twenty persons were known to meet together they were in danger of being put in prison. The officers were continually on the alert, and when we would meet, lest there should be more than twenty people, they would be counting how many there were in the room, and thus they were continually under the spirit of fear of the authorities. It is under these circumstances we have had to labor.

As it stated in the Epistle that it was better for the brethren to extend their labors to other nations, it immediately occurred to my mind to go to Germany; so I made a plan before I got up in the morning, for thought flows quickly, you know. The plan was to publish the Book of Mormon there. I wrote to Bro. Hyde to send me out some brother that was acquainted with the German language, and my letter got there about the time he left for the Valley, and he did not get it. I said to Bro. Bolton and Br. De LaMere, who was from the Island of Jersey, that there was one man in the Valley I wished was here, and that is Bro. Cairns. There was one brother in France who was a German and was well acquainted with the languages, both German and French; I engaged him to go with me to Germany, that is, to translate. However, I went over to England, and thought we would hunt in England to find some person qualified to go and preach in Germany. I found many Germans but none with sufficient experience in the church. Finally I thought I would start by myself. When I got to London I met with Bro. Dykes; he had said something about going to Germany, but he concluded he had better be with Bro. Snow, as he was acquainted with the Danish language; he had got his discharge from that engagement, and was on his way home when I met him. This placed things in another position. He said he would like to go if his family could be provided for, but I could not say anything particular about his family.

[52] I finally had him go for a month or two, for I did not wish to put a thing upon him I would not do myself. He felt a desire to go, and said he would do as I said, so I told him to go for two months. I made an appointment to meet him in Germany, as I had to go through France.

When we arrived there we started the translation of the Book of Mormon, and it was half completed before I came away. We also started to publish a paper in Germany, called Zion’s Panfev, (Zion’s Banner). I wished to be perfectly satisfied that the translation was right; Bro. Richards and I heard some of it read in Bolougne, and we thought it was very good, but still it had to be altered. I therefore got some of the best professors in the city of Hamburg to look over it; some few alterations were necessary, but not many. Also with regard to the paper, one of the professors said he would not have known it was written in English and translated; he should, if not told to the contrary, have supposed it written originally in German.

I have often heard men in this country splatter a great deal about the meaning of odd words in the Bible, but this only exhibits their folly; it is the spirit and intention of the language that is to be looked at, and if the translator does not know this it is impossible for him to translate correctly, and this is the reason why there are so many blunders in the Bible. I believe the English Bible is translated as well as any book could be by uninspired men. The German translation of the Bible I believe is tolerably correct, but some of the French editions are miserable.

A Protestant minister in Germany refused to discuss the doctrine of baptism, because their Bible is so plain upon that subject that the doctrine of sprinkling could not be maintained. Among the German people we find a great deal of infidelity, but at the same time we find very much sterling integrity, and there will be thousands and tens of thousands of people in that country who will embrace the faith and rejoice in the blessings of the gospel. We have sent our French papers to Switzerland, Denmark, and to Lower Canada, and some of our German papers to France, and vice versa.

[53] The languages in these countries are mixed up; it is a profession more general than it is in this country; they think a man is very ignorant if he professes to be a teacher and does not know two or three languages; but with all their knowledge of languages there is a great amount of ignorance. There are men there acquainted with two or three languages, and that is all they do know; if you except that, there is not an ounce of common sense remains. What if you can read French, or German, or Hebrew, or anything else, what good would it do you unless you read to understand the works written in those languages? Simply none at all. A man is a fool if he boasts about anything of that kind.

The Book of Mormon by this time is printed and stereotyped in the German language. I left Bro. Cairns there to attend to this business; everything was going on smoothly, so I thought I could leave it as well as not. When I got to Liverpool, and was about coming away, the very man I wanted to come from the valley, arrived there. I was glad to meet him in Liverpool.

I shall want to get some folks to go to France and to Germany. I would not ask anybody to do what I would not do myself.

There are books, thousands of them; if you cannot talk to the people, you can give them the books to read. But you can learn the language or you are poor concerns. Any sane person can.

I do not know that it is necessary for me to say anything more. O yes, I organized a society to make sugar, and a woolen manufactory. The sugar factory will be here soon. If you will only provide us with beets and wood, we will make you sugar enough to preserve yourselves in. We can have as good sugar in this country as anywhere else, we have as good machinery as is in the world. I have seen the best specimens of it in the world’s fair, but there was none better than this; there is not any better on the earth, nor better men to make sugar than those who are coming. I found this hard to do. We could not bring the other machinery on this year, for we had as much on hand with the sugar machinery as we could get along with, so we had to leave it to another year, that is the woolen and worsted machinery. I can say also of this, that it is as good [54] machinery as there is in the world. It is the same kind of machinery that is made use of in the west of England to make the best kind of broad cloth, also a worsted manufactory to manufacture cloth for ladies’ wear, such as Merinos and Alpacas and other sort of Paccas; I don’t know the names of them all; and various kinds of shawls, blankets, carpet, &c, &c, if we can only command the wool.

After having gone through these things, I will say again, I am glad that I have got back to this place. Some people have asked me if I was not pretty near being taken up and put in prison by the authorities of France. I might have been but I did not know it.

A gentleman in Paris would make me promise to call on him when I came back to Paris, and make his house my home. I agreed to return, and stay a few days in that city; and hold a conference there. This was a few days after the revolution. I saw the place where the houses had been battered down, and the people killed by wholesale, where they shot down promiscuously, both big and little, old and young, men, women, and children. I was there soon after this occurrence, and at the very time they were voting in their President, we were holding a conference on the same day, for I thought they would have something else to do than to attend to us; some of the elders however, were afraid to come to Paris, lest there should be difficulty.

There were about 400 represented at this conference, elders, priests, and teachers ordained, and a conference regularly organized. The Spirit of the Lord was with us, and many ordained to the priesthood, together with a presidency over the nation.

After I had left Paris, on my arrival in England, I found a letter from Bro. Bolton, who is president in France; he informed me that the ham (high) police had been inquiring for me at my lodgings, but that the gentleman of the house had kept him talking for two hours defending my character, &c. They came to the house ten minutes after I had left in a cab for the railroad; but I had then finished my work, and when they would have put their fingers on me, I was not there. But at the very time they were voting for their president, we were voting for our [55] president, and building up the Kingdom of God; and I prophesied then, and prophesy now, that our cause will stand when theirs is crushed to pieces, and the Kingdom of God will roll on and spread from nation to nation, and from kingdom to kingdom. And from these nations we have been preaching the gospel of Christ to, you will see thousands, and tens of thousands go flocking to Zion, and sing Hallelujahs to the God of Israel.

Did we not talk about England in the same way when the gospel was first introduced into that country? Bro. Kimball prophesied the same things of that country, and they have all come to pass, and this will come to pass by and by, for there is “a good time coming, Saints, wait a little longer,” and we will rise up like servants of the living God, and accomplish the work He has given us to do, and when we have done our work here, we will then join our friends in the eternal worlds, and engage in acts more vast, more mighty, and that will require more energy than the works we are now engaged in.

I rejoice, I am happy to meet with you, and my family; you are my friends, and you are the friends of God, and we are building up the Kingdom of God, and by and by the kings and princes of the earth will come, and gaze upon the glory of Zion. I used to think there was a good deal of intelligence among the world, but I have sought for it so long I have given up all hopes of ever finding it there. Some Philosophers came to visit me in France, and while conversing, I had to laugh a little at them, for the word philosophy is about every tenth word they speak. One of them, a Jesuit priest, who had come in the church, a well educated man, was a little annoyed in his feelings at some of my remarks, on their philosophy. I asked them if any of them had ever asked me one question that I could not answer; they answered in the negative; but said I, I can ask you fifty that you cannot answer.

Speaking of philosophy, I must tell another little story, for I was almost buried up in it while I was in Paris. I was walking about one day in the garden of plants; a splendid garden. There they had a sort of exceedingly light cake; it was so thin and light that you could blow it away, and you could eat all day of it, and never be satisfied. [56] Somebody asked me what the name of that was. I said, “I don’t know the proper name, but in the absence of one, I can give it a name; I will call it philosophy or fried froth, whichever you like. It is so light you can blow it away; eat it all day, and at night be as far from being satisfied as when you began.”

There are a great many false principles in the world, and as I said before, whether you examine their religion, their philosophy, their politics, or their national policy, you will find it a mess of complete baby work; there is nothing substantial about it; nothing to take hold of. There is no place that I have found under the whole heavens, where there is true intelligence, but in the land of Zion.

I will risk our elders among the world, if they will only brush up their ideas a little. I will take any of you rough looking fellows, put you in a tailor’s shop a little, and start you out like gentlemen, as large as life. I tell you there is a great difference between our people and others. Many others have a nice little finish on them; they may be compared to scrimped up dandies; but everything is on the outside, and nothing in the inside.

Our folks who are operating round here in the canyons, and on the land, are listening to the servants of God, and studying principles of eternal truth; they are like young rough colts, with plenty of bone, sinew and nerve in them; all they want is rubbing down a little, and they will come out first rate. I believe in the polish, and a little of everything else (you know I am a Frenchman now).

I have found that all intelligence is good, and there is a good deal in the world mixed up with all their follies. It is good for the elders to become acquainted with the languages, for they may have to go abroad, and should be able to talk to the people and not look like fools. I care not how much intelligence you have got; if you cannot exhibit it, you look like an ignoramus. Suppose a Frenchman should come upon this stand to deliver a lecture upon botany, astronomy, or any other science, and could not speak a word of English, how much wiser would you be? You may say, I thought the Lord would give us the gift of tongues. He won’t if we are too indolent to study them. I never ask the Lord to do a thing I could do for [57] myself. We should be acquainted with all things; should obtain intelligence both by faith and by study. We are instructed to gather it out of the best books, and become acquainted with governments, nations, and laws. The elders of this church have need to study these things, that when you go to the nations you may not wish to return home before you have accomplished a good work.

When I was in Hamburg, there were 30,000 soldiers quartered in the city, and that is called a free city. If you ask any other inhabitants what they are doing there, they will answer, Ich weise nicht, (I don’t know) but we have to keep them. They are there because the Emperor of Austria placed them there, and he had power to have them there.

In Paris you would suppose you were in an armed city, for you could not step anywhere without meeting soldiers at every step.

When I was in Hamburg, I had to go and get a permit to authorize me to stay one month, and when that was done, I had to get another to authorize me to stay another month. The only thing we can do in that country at present is to baptize some of the citizens and set them to preaching, as they have more rights and privileges than a stranger. No man has a right to receive his own son into his own house if not a citizen, without a card, or a permit from the government; and that is a free city, so called. We cannot know anything about the blessings and privileges we have as Americans, without becoming acquainted with the condition of other nations; this is one of the greatest countries in the world, but they do not appreciate their privileges.

I am glad to see things moving on so well here. I observe great improvements, and changes; you have done a great work, and God will bless you for it. I am glad to see and hear that you are more diligent in paying tithing, and attending to your duties than before I left. It is not hard to do the will of God; and if some of you would go out into the world for two or three years, you would not find it hard to pay tithing when you came back again. I am glad to hear of these things, of the building up of the Kingdom of God; and union is strength; and to fulfill the will of God, brings down blessings upon our heads. I now expect to rest a little, and visit a little, and we will talk and preach, and [58] do all the good we can in this world and then go into the next to do more good.

I feel obliged to the brethren here for putting me up a house; and Bro. Brigham, I am much obliged to you for it; God bless you for it; and I pray that the blessings of God may rest down upon all the saints, worlds without end; Amen. (Des. News, Sept. 4, 1852)




Elder Charles Derry

August 28, 1852


“Give us a sign, and we will believe!”


In this day of many creeds and much confusion, the Lord God has revealed His everlasting Gospel, in plainness and with power to the sons of men. And in consequence of the boldness of the testimony of His servants, the above cry is set up by the hireling priests and abettors of manmade systems, who declare that they are not bound to receive any new revelation, unless miracles are worked to prove the divinity of the same.

But I ask, if, as they say, they are sure that the revelations Joseph Smith received, are not of God, why do they want a miracle to prove their truth? Does not the fact of their calling out for miracles prove that they doubt the falsity of the same? and are afraid their craft is in danger, especially when we offer to give them evidences, and they dare not receive them. But if our doctrines are false, will a miracle prove them true? And if they are true, will the want of a miracle prove them false? But these men do not want them to be true. They only desire to put down the work of God and establish their own tottering systems; that they may feed themselves on the flock, and clothe themselves with the fleece.

But was there no Prophet sent of God that did not work a miracle to prove the truth of his testimony? Did David, who wrote many prophecies contained in the Book of Psalms, work a miracle? What miraculous power did Jeremiah manifest to the people? or Joel, Micah, Amos, Malachi, and others, to prove that they were sent of God? If the Scriptures are to be received as the standard of [59] evidence, we shall find that many Prophets have visited the sons of men who worked no miracle to make the people believe; but they had to depend upon their testimony until they obeyed and proved for themselves; or rejected and were condemned. And the Lord always dealt with them according to their belief or unbelief in the testimony of His servants. Seeing this was the case, is this generation safe in rejecting the revelations of God through His servant Joseph, although no miracle should be worked in proof of their divinity? If the people in times past were condemned for not receiving the testimony of the above-mentioned Prophets, is not this generation in like danger? Certainly it is.

But to whom, and for what object, were the gifts and blessings mentioned in the New Testament given? I answer, to believers and for their benefit. After Jesus arose from the dead, He said unto His servants, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe,” &c. (Mark xvi.)

Paul, when writing expressly to the Church of believers at Corinth, respecting the gifts of the spirit which Jesus promised, said, “to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, to another faith, to another the gift of healing, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man, severally as he will. * * * For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body (or Church), whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” Now it is evident that this was not meant for unbelievers; for they had not been baptized by the Spirit of God into His Church, nor yet had they drank of His spirit; but rather they had drank into the spirit of the evil one; consequently they were not entitled to these glorious blessings. (Cor. xii.)

Peter also promised the Gift of the Holy Ghost to believers on the day of Pentecost. (Acts ii.) Paul, again, in the 4th of Ephesians, says the gifts which Jesus gave were [60] “for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body (Church) of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,” &c. Here we see, instead of these being given to convince the unbeliever, they were to perfect the believer in the knowledge of Christ; and what could be so calculated to do it as the before-mentioned blessings?

But some assert that many unbelievers received blessings. It is true that Jesus fed the multitude with loaves and fishes, by miraculous power; but it was out of compassion for them, because they were an hungered and had nothing to eat: it was not to convince them that he was true. There is, however, one fact, that is written in Matthew xiii. 58, and Mark vi. 4-6, that in one instance Jesus could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. Now this I consider sufficient to show us that faith is necessary to be exercised by those that need the blessing, as well as by the administrator. If the Son of God could not work miracles because of the unbelief of men, is it reasonable to expect that the servants can, seeing they are not greater than their master. Again, if miracles were given to make the people believe, here was a good opportunity, and the fact of Jesus not taking the advantage is another proof they were not for that purpose.

And if we examine the numerous cases of healing by our Lord, we shall find the blessings were according to their faith. See the ruler’s daughter, Mark v.–the deaf man, Mark vii.–the blind man, Mark viii.–the son possessed of a devil, Mark ix.–Bartimeus, Mark x. Also the leper, and the sick of the palsy, Matthew viii.–another sick of the palsy, Matthew ix.–also two blind men, named in the same chapter, and others too numerous to mention; and so far were these from being done to make people believe, that the healed were commanded in many cases not to tell any one what had happened.

Some may say, that before his death he told his disciples to go and heal all manner of diseases. True; but he first told them to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”; and of course, inasmuch as they believed the message, they were entitled to the blessings; but I contend they were not upon any other conditions. It [61] is true he said, “Freely ye have received; freely give.” And they had received according to their faith; and so did the people to whom they were sent; for the servant is not greater than his master; and as the master could not do many mighty works because of the unbelief of the people, neither could the servants.

We find that the world is to be convinced by the preaching of the Gospel, and not by signs and wonders; and if they are not convinced by the preaching of that glorious plan, they will remain unbelievers until they feel the stern realities of God’s judgments poured out upon them. Then they will believe our testimony, and “call to the rocks and hills to fall upon them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb.”

But, how inconsistent are these sign-seekers! First they tell us we cannot work miracles; then that we are the false prophets spoken of by Jesus, who should work signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they should deceive the very elect; and the next breath they cry out, “Only give us a sign, and we will believe.” If their first statement is true, then we cannot be the false prophets; if it is not true, they prove that they are not the elect of God, for they are ready to be deceived by lying wonders; and if they would not believe when they saw these wonders, they would prove themselves liars; and consequently, unless they repent they will have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

But the passages which foretell the coming of false prophets, cannot have the least intimation to us; for we boldly declare with Paul, that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,”–Romans x, 17; and with Jesus, that “this Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness, and then shall the end come.”–Matt. xxiv. And also, that if men will not believe the Gospel, they will not believe though one rose from the dead.

The Prophet Joseph Smith, like Jesus, declared that inasmuch as the people would believe the doctrines he taught, the signs which Jesus promised, should follow them, according as they stood in need of the same; and they should know of the doctrine whether it was of God, or whether he spake of himself. Tens of thousands have believed, and have received the blessings he foretold [62] should follow. Thousands, both in England and in America, testify that they have witnessed the miraculous power of God through His servants since they obeyed His Gospel, as it was preached by His servant Joseph, and his brethren. Denmark, Scotland, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, India, and the South Sea Isles, can furnish testators to the truth of these things.

But when we refer sign-seekers to such for testimony upon this point, they will not receive it, and cry out that these are interested witnesses. Fools that they are! were not the Apostles interested witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus?–yet their testimony is true. Were not the six writers of the New Testament interested witnesses of the miracles of Jesus and his Apostles?–yet their testimony is no less true. Should not every man be interested in the cause of truth? Are not our enemies interested against us?–yet sign-seekers will receive their testimony. Then why not be just, and receive our testimony? Oh, ye unjust judges! God will judge you according to your deeds, and punish you for your unbelief! You reject the simple preaching of the Gospel, and the evidence of miracles as testified to by your fellow-men, and you will be condemned like those who rejected the simple testimony of the Prophets in ancient days, unless you speedily repent and obey the Gospel. (Mill. Star, Aug. 26, 1852)




Elder E. D. Keaton.

September 4, 1852


“He that shall endure unto the end,

the same shall be saved.”–Jesus


In looking over the sacred pages of the Bible, I find the whole tenor of that book goes to show that the Lord is pleased to lead His people through the most distressing and trying scenes of persecution and affliction.

Abraham, whom the Lord tried to the quick, was commanded by Him to offer up his only son as a burnt offering upon the altar of sacrifice; wherefore to be obedient to the heavenly command, Abraham bound his son upon the altar–took the knife, and was about to [63] inflict the fatal wound, when at that moment he was arrested by an angel of God calling to him out of heaven, bidding him not to slay the lad. Now, if Abraham had yielded to his own natural feelings, he never would have attempted to fulfil this (to the natural man) extravagant command. But Abraham was desirous to do the will of God, however painful it might be to his natural feelings, and because of this the Lord greatly blessed him, and said, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

I shall next notice Job, whom the Lord suffered to be tried severely. One messenger after another came and brought him the sad tidings of the loss of his property, and also of the death of his sons and daughters. He bore all this patiently, and did not complain. The Lord tried him still further by suffering him to be afflicted in his body with a sore complaint, and to add to his grief, his wife wished him to curse God and die. But Job did not feel disposed to yield to the persuasion of his wife, but gave her a sharp reproof for her folly; he still retained his integrity, and sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. And because he was faithful in tribulation and poverty, as well as in wealth, after he had been tried sufficiently, the Lord blessed him, and gave him far greater riches than he had before, and more sons and daughters.

Paul says, Hebrews xi, “The Saints were tortured not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Paul, Peter, and others, were beaten and imprisoned several times; indeed the lives of the people of God in [64] all ages have been one continual scene of trial and persecution. It is written, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” “It is through much tribulation we shall enter the kingdom.” We are commanded to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Jesus speaking to his disciples says, “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake, but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Fear not them which kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” He also says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you.” Jesus also says, “if any man will come unto me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, for whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” All who enlist in the Redeemer’s cause, should make up their minds for persecution and trials, for the Prophet Jeremiah says, “the Lord trieth the righteous.”

Some may ask, “Is the Lord pleased to see His children persecuted and tortured? or why does He bring them through such heavy trials?” I answer it is not because the Lord delighteth in seeing His people suffer, but it is to make them perfect; they cannot be made perfect without suffering, and it is the Lord’s will to make all His people perfect. If we taste the bitter we shall be better able to appreciate the sweet. If we taste the sufferings, bondage, and poverty of the Gentile world, we shall be better able to appreciate the happiness, liberty, and riches of eternity, when the “kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High,” and when the “kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and His Christ, and he (with his Saints) shall reign for ever and ever;” for it is written, “If we suffer we shall also reign with Christ; if we deny Him, He will also deny us.”

[65] Another object the Lord has in view in leading His people through trials, is to prove whether they will be faithful in all things, for He will have a tried people, and “he that will not endure chastening cannot be sanctified.” Although the Lord will prove His people, He will not suffer their trials to be greater than they can bear, for He has declared that as their day their strength shall be. The Church of Christ will try all who come into it, for it is a purifier: as the smith brings his metal through the fire to refine it, so will the Lord bring His people through fiery trials to purify them. But alas! how many are there that will not stand the trials, but like those in the Saviour’s parable of the sower, “who receive the word on stony ground, and when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended,” turn away from the truth, and “return like a dog to his vomit, and like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” In reflecting on these things, my feelings are mingled with pity and sorrow, I pity their weakness, and am sorry they have such little courage; if they will not share in the trials and labors in building up the Saviour’s kingdom, neither will they share in the happiness, glory, and honour which will be enjoyed by those who “endure to the end,” when this great work is consummated; although undoubtedly they would like to share in the glory with the faithful, but have not courage to help win it. I shall not attempt to describe the feelings of those who have not stood, and will not stand nobly for the “truth as it is in Jesus,” but have apostatized therefrom, when they shall know that their brethren with whom they were once associated, and with whom they once met to worship the Lord, are living and reigning in righteousness and glory on the earth, with Jesus at their head, and with all the energetic and noble heroes of truth who have lived on the earth since the world began, and themselves cast out.

If there is anything good and noble about a man or woman, this work will soon bring it to light; the Church of Christ will soon prove what people are, whether they are noble or ignoble; it will soon prove who are sheep, and who are goats, who is on the Lord’s side, and who is not.

The ancient Saints have set an example worthy of our imitation, they endured the most horrid persecutions [66] and trials for the Gospel’s sake, yet they remained faithful in their deepest distress; and the Lord has said that “he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is great in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, that there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the Gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” The Apostle John, while enwrapt in heavenly vision saw an innumerable company standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and when the questions were asked, who they were? and whence they came? the answer was given in the following words: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” O ye Saints of Latter-days! take a pattern by the ancients; be courageous, stand firm to the truth, and “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal:” and you will be crowned with righteousness among the noble of the earth, who have lived and died for God in all ages of the world, and who have gained for themselves a fame lasting as eternity, and who will receive a crown that will never fade away. (Mill. Star 14:442-444)



Wilford Woodruff Journal

September 12, 1852


Sept 12th, Sunday. O. Pratt preached the funeral sermon of Lorenzo D. Barnes and Wm. Barton who had died in England and were buried there but their bodies were taken up and brought to the valley of the Great Salt Lake and buried with dead Saints in this place. The follow[ing] is a synopsis of the discourse:

{LDB} {WB} Elder Orson Pratt arose and said the subject before us this morning is one that fills my mind with many reflections. I think the Elders of this church and kingdom do not improve their time as they should but are too slow in treasur[ing] up knowledge as God has [67] commanded us to do. We shall want all the knowledge we can obtain when we go to the nations of the Earth and visit every circle of the learned to teach them the plan of salvation. If we have improved our time, we can bring forth out of the treasures of our hearts things new and old.

The subject before me today is the remains of Lorenzo D. Barnes and Wm. Barton. The question might arise what benefit could it be to these brethren to be brought from their graves in a foreign country and be buried with the saints here? I do not think it would be a great advantage to them in the eternal world. I had as lieves be buried in Asia or Africa as with the Saints here as far as my eternal interest is concerned. But aside from this, it is a great pleasure both to the living and the dead to know that our bodies will be brought to Zion from the ends of the Earth to be laid with the Saints and then to be raised with them so that He can strike hands with his relatives first and then with the Saints instead of being thousands of miles apart and having to waft himself thousands of miles through the air to meet with his brethren.

An immortal being can take himself up into the heavens as Jesus Christ did when he was raised from the dead. He went to heaven. So it might be with them. How long would it take for Brother Barnes and Barton to waft themselves to the bosom of the Church? Not long. Where will be the bosom of the Church? In the clouds above the Earth. Before the wicked are destroyed, the Lord will be in the air and all the Saints with Him of all generations, and He will descend to earth and will bring all the Saints with Him.

At what speed would the Saints travel? We are told that light is the power that governs all things. If the Saints travel as fast as light they would go at the rate of 200,000 miles in a second. God can go as fast as light and He has made the Saints. And I am led to conclude that they can travel as fast as light, for they have got to go on missions to far distant worlds, and if they did not go as fast as light, they would be a long time on their way spending their time without doing any good. If this is the case I had as lieves lay my body down abroad as at home as it would not take more than a second to meet with the [68] Saints. I say this to encourage the Elders who are going abroad. Some may die abroad. Some may seal their testimony with their blood.

The Elders should take heed and not break the commandments of God. If they were to commit adultery after receiving their endowments, they cannot be forgiven but must be destroyed in the flesh and his spirit given to the buffeting of Satan until the First Resurrection. How long it will be from the morning till evening I am not able to say but after the day of redemption He will come forth and inherit all the blessings that were sealed upon his head. No power can take them from him if he has been sealed to any woman, thrones, powers, dominions or kingdoms or any other blessing. He will inherit them to all eternity if they do not shed innocent blood.

The scriptures speak of these same subjects. Paul, while speaking to the Corinthian Churches, speaks of delivering a certain one to the buffeting of Satan that they may be destroyed in the flesh, that their spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We will now speak of David who had a numerous family that was given him. He finally took Uriah’s wife, put Uriah at the head of the battle and he was slain. Here he lost all right to the celestial glory–his wives, thrones, kingdoms and eternal lives, all had vanished. He just escapes hell and that is all. He will be a servant to somebody, perhaps Uriah, for the Gods in eternity will want servants to grease their carriages, make crowns and robes, &c. They will be Gods and want servants. All may be capacitated to become Gods, but all will not keep the laws whereby they may become Gods.

Peter spoke of a people who had shed innocent blood–the blood of the Savior. They were told to repent that they might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a chance for them as they did not know the Priesthood or the fulness of the gospel. If they had known it, they would not have been forgiven.

We will now speak of Brother Lorenzo D. Barnes. He was faithful, but died before He received the fulness of the gospel. He had no thrones, wives or anything els[e] of that kind sealed upon [him]. What shall we do for him? Anything that we do for ourselves. When we get a temple built, [69] such men will loose nothing for they will be judged by the same laws that we are, and they have a chance either in time or eternity to receive all we have. For all that would have received it here, will receive it there. For all will be judged like men in the flesh, for all mankind will have an equal privilege.

There cannot be any baptisms, endowments, or ordinances in the Spirit World performed, but we shall be called to perform in a temple of the Lord all the ordinances for the dead the same as for the living. All things will be sealed to the end of all things preparatory to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they be appertaining to thrones, kingdoms, families or anything els[e] pertaining to earth or heaven, time or eternity.

When we fully consider our duty, we shall not be at ease in Zion or spend our time to make farms, houses, orchards and vineyards for ourselves alone. But we should go to work to build up Zion and a temple and do the great work of our God. Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, but wake up and do the work of our God.



A Special Conference

Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith,

John Taylor, Ezra T. Benson, Brigham Young

August 28, 1852


President (Heber C.) Kimball presented the business of the conference in the following speech:

We have come together today, according to previous appointment, to hold a special conference to transact business, a month earlier than usual, inasmuch as there are elders to be selected to go to the nations of the earth, and they want an earlier start than formerly. There will probably be elders chosen to go to the four quarters of the globe to transact business, preach the Gospel, &c.

I recollect reading in one of the revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, where the Lord says, “If a man, inasmuch as he is an elder, has a desire in his heart to preach the Gospel, he it is that is called to preach the Gospel.” On the other hand, the scriptures or some of the other revelations of God, say, that many are called, but few are chosen; when a man has that desire in his heart, [70] he is called; but perhaps not a great many will be chosen to go forth and preach the Gospel.

I suppose you are all aware, by the information that we have received from our brethren, the Apostles, who have lately returned from foreign missions, that the work of God has commenced in many nations of Europe, and upon the islands of the sea; still there are many nations where the Gospel door has not yet been opened in a direct way, though the foundation has been laid for the introduction of the Gospel among them, and indirectly the door has been opened to all nations; that is, it has been opened into the main room; still there are a great many adjacent rooms, leading from that, that have yet to be opened with the smaller keys.

I want to say one thing before we proceed to the business of calling and setting apart those who have to go from this place to the nations this season; we have made a selection of a considerable number of elders to leave home and go abroad; this may be repugnant to the feelings of some; they may think it is a hazardous undertaking, but at the same time, to go now is nothing to compare with going out to preach the Gospel fifteen years ago, when they had to go not only without purse or scrip, but without any knowledge that there was a friend to take them by the hand when they arrived at their destination. Now they cannot go to any part of the world, scarcely, but they will find themselves among the saints.

It is a pleasure to preach the truth, I will say, to those who love to do the will of the Father, as it was with Jesus Christ; for says He, Father, not my will but Thine be done; I wish to know nothing but Thy will, and that I will do until I spend my life. Did He not do this? He did. You require that same spirit and determination to carry out the same purpose; and I beg and beseech of you, brethren, you that shall be chosen, when you are elected, to go, if you don’t live until you get to the United States; for when men are called and set apart to the ministry, to go to the nations of the earth, if they refuse to go, it is death to them–that is, to their characters as faithful elders in Israel; they go down and not up, backward and not forward. I merely speak of this from my own experience, for I have had one in this church of upwards of twenty [71] years. I was raised up as it were with the Prophet; I lived with him to the day of his death. As to our present prophet and elders, Bro. Brigham Young, I have lived with him, with him I have traveled, and with him I have suffered. I have eaten and slept with him, and been by his side almost my whole life. I could say properly, and I can say it with truth, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, a Seer, a Revelator, and Apostle of Jesus, and was ordained directly under the hands of Peter, James, and John; and he died a Prophet, and Hyrum died a Patriarch of Jesus, a father in Israel.

Brother Brigham Young is the successor of Joseph Smith, and a better man never lived upon the earth, nor ever sought the interest of this people more fervently from morning until night, and vice versa, than he has done. Did he not travel in the days of Joseph? He did, from the time he came into the church until the death of Joseph, and so did I. Did we ever hesitate for one moment? No, not for a moment.

Jesus sought to do the will of His Father in Heaven; so it was our duty to do the will of Joseph; and now it is the duty of us all to do the will of Brother Brigham, for he reveals to us the will of God, which is his will. We will do his will as an elder, as a Prophet, as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, holding the same keys that Peter of old held, the same that Joseph Smith held as an Apostle. You all believe this, don’t you, without an exception? Well, if this is your faith, if this is your determination, I want you should manifest it by raising your right hands, and saying Aye. [A literal forest of hands was the result of this call, and the spacious hall trembled when a simultaneous “Aye” burst from the mouths of over 2,000 persons.] There it is, and it cannot be any other way.

I say to those who are elected to go on missions, go, if you never return, and commit what you have into the hands of God–your wives, your children, your brethren and your property. Let truth and righteousness be your motto, and don’t go into the world for anything else but to preach the gospel, build up the Kingdom of God, and gather the sheep into the fold. You are sent out as shepherds to gather the sheep together, and remember that they are not your sheep, they belong to Him that sends you; then don’t [72] make a choice of any of those sheep, don’t make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold; you understand that. Amen.

Elder Geo. A. Smith said:

What has been said brethren and sisters, is verily true. This Kingdom of God has been built up by His distinguished blessings, and the exertion and energy of those whom God has called to bear it off. When men refuse to fulfill their callings and magnify them in the proclamation of the fullness of the gospel to the nations of the earth, they certainly lay the foundation for their own ruin. When men, on the other hand, become so puffed up in their own estimation as to think that the Kingdom of God could not roll forth without their mighty exertions, they fall into transgression; they are fools in Israel, and their greatness will vanish like smoke.

The fact is, God has planned for us the best sieve that could be imagined. He is determined to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity, and He has placed us here on the edge of the mountains, where a little shaking of the winds will cause everything without weight, easily to slide off to the diggings; and in this way the work of sifting is going on daily, and hourly, and yearly, from time to time, according to the nature of the materials that happen to be thrown upon the sieve.

No doubt many of us may be called upon, if not today, at some other time, to bear the message of the gospel of salvation to the nations of the earth; for this was one of the commandments of the Prophet. He enjoined upon us that we preach the gospel to all nations; that we should send forth the word to all people; this responsibility has been laid upon the Priesthood of the Church, and they are required to fulfill this commandment. There is not an elder, a priest, a teacher, or a member of this church but what bears a share of this responsibility.

The missions we will call for during this conference, are generally, not to be very long ones: probably from 3 to 7 years will be as long as any man will be absent from his family. If any of the elders refuse to go, they may expect that their wives will not live with them; for there is not a Mormon sister who would live with a man a day, who would refuse to go on a mission. There is no other way for [73] a man to save his family; and in order to save himself he must fulfill his calling, and magnify his priesthood in proclaiming the fullness of the gospel to the nations of the earth; and this, certainly, ought to be the greatest joy to the family of any man, who feels the importance of building up the Kingdom, that he is actually considered worthy in these last days to be one of the number to go forth, as one of the horns of Joseph, to push the nations together; to gather out the honest in heart; to run for the prize which we all labor for.

I feel deeply interested in these matters, and I hope and pray that every man who is called upon to go forth on missions to preach the gospel, may have the faith of the church upon their heads, and that they may lift up their voices in faith before the people, that the light of truth may be a lamp in their path, and that by their exertions, and the blessings of God, it may be lighted up in distant nations.

I recollect a little incident in history, that is told of William the Conqueror. After he had been king in England twenty years, he became very corpulent. In consequence of a little joke upon his corpulence by the French king, he declared war, and the declaration was made in these words: “Tell my fair uncle I will pay him a visit, and I will bring along tapers enough to set all France on fire.” You may suppose we are sending out but a few elders, probably not more than one hundred or one hundred and fifty; but we intend to continue the work; and send out elders enough to set the world on fire, spiritually.

Elder J(ohn) Taylor remarked:

Bro. George was talking about setting the world on fire. I think when the elders have traveled through the world as far as some of us have, and seen the rottenness and weakness of their institutions, the folly and corruption that everywhere prevails, they will find that it is pretty near time as the prophets have said, for it to be burned up, and all its works.

But I suppose it’s necessary, before the world is burned up, that the good wheat should be saved, and gathered into the garner, and prepared to take a fresh start in peopling the earth, and placing affairs upon a proper foundation.

[74] There is no person that reflects upon the condition of the world, as it now exists, but his heart must be pained, must be filled with sympathy for the inhabitants of the earth. I have gazed upon their proceedings myself; I have watched their follies, abominations, and corruption; I have seen them with my own eyes, until I have wept over them. They seem to me to be regardless of God, heaven, hell, eternity, or anything else; and there are thousands and tens of thousands, and millions of people upon the continent of Europe, that would like no better employment, than to go into deadly combat, and destroy one another.

The people talk about how corrupt we, the Latter Day Saints are. If all they say about us be true, it is only a tithing of what you will find in the world. I have told them to look at home; to examine their own firesides, and they would find plenty of corruption and abomination. They are living without God in the world; without hope; and they are dying without hope; consequently they are careless, profligate and reckless.

The Lord has shone upon us; He has lit up a candle of intelligence in our souls; has imparted to us the principles of eternal truth; opened the heavens, and sent His holy angel to put us in possession of principles that will exalt us in the scale of intelligence among men, and raise us up to be associates of the Gods in the eternal worlds.

Then shall we, who have thus been blessed with the visions of eternity, with light and intelligence; we who are filled with the Spirit of God burning in our hearts; who have gazed upon the hidden things of eternity and contemplated the purposes of God in their majesty and glory; I say, shall we shrink from the task of going forth to snatch these fallen sons of men from everlasting burning? Should we refuse to do so, it would testify that we had not a single spark of humanity in our bosoms, and were not fit to live in the world; much less to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds.

I know you have a desire to do these things; but I will tell you, there are many things that are calculated to try the feelings of men.

Those who have to go out, have to put their noses to the grindstone and keep it there, and let them grunt at it, [75] and not murmur a word, and then, before it is healed, put it there again, and bear it all the time, and go along without saying anything, for you know it is a sin in the religious world to get angry. You need not attempt to go without faith in God; and you will have need of all the wisdom and intelligence you can command. You cannot go and convert the world all at once, for it is too far sunken in folly and vice. This reminds me of a dream a brother had in France. He said he thought he was trying to kindle a fire on the seashore; every time he attempted to light it, a wave came, and fell over it, and he could hardly accomplish it until the tide began to recede, and then he considered he would build up a fire when the wood got dry.

You need not think of going abroad into the world, and going, as the Methodists sing, “on flowery beds of ease,” for a great many consider you as impostors; and as a general thing, you are looked upon as suspicious characters, to say the least of it; and you will be closely watched. If you go to those foreign nations, your footsteps will be traced; no matter how privately you may make your entrance, or how privately you may take your departure; it will all be known to the police authorities, and they can give all the information required, touching your movements.

It was not more than ten minutes after I had taken the cab and started to the railway station to have my last departure from France, when one of the High Police came to inquire after me. The gentleman with whom I stayed, was a very affectionate friend to me, and he kept the police in conversation for two hours, speaking very highly of me; he told them I was a respectable, high-minded man, &c. The police told him of every place I had been at since I came to Paris; when I came to France; what hotel I stayed in, and when I went to England, and how long I stayed there; when I went to Germany, and how long I stayed there; what books I had printed, &c, &c. He gave my friend a most minute account of every step I had taken, and all this is recorded in the books of the police. They have a congress of police among the nations of Europe, by which they can transmit information about every person who appears as a public character in any of those nations.

[76] This is the way you will be watched. If you go to any of these nations, it will be necessary for you to use the greatest wisdom and prudence, and that you should pray to God to guard you in all things.

This police authority did not come after me until I had finished my work. I suppose they would not have injured me for I had broken no law; but this is their policy; with it we have nothing to do, and I should recommend you strictly to obey all police regulations, and never interfere with any national, civil or police institutions or regulations. I suppose they might have telegraphed after me if they wished; but I took another course, not, however, knowing that they were after me; I turned off the main route to go by a little seaport town, and I missed the whole concern, and was in France a week longer, and they knew nothing about me. I got out of their track, and came off safe. The Lord blessed me, and I have been blessed as much in these nations as anywhere else.

You may talk about difficulties, and what you have passed through here and there; but we should not be men if we did not have difficulties to meet with, and we always feel much better when we have conquered them.

This is the difference between us and the world, they meet with difficulties, and they quash down under them; while we ride over them, and become victorious. This is the reason why there are so many institutions among the Gentiles that come to naught–they meet with difficulties, and fall before them; we meet with the same, but we have a God at the helm, and we trample over them.

Another elder and myself stayed in a hotel in a small town for about a week, the landlord of which was an infidel. After we had been there two or three days, I told the landlord I was a religious man; he replied, “Oh, you are religious, are you? Religion is a pack of nonsense.” I told him I cared as little about most of the religion of Christendom as he did; but the one I believed in, I told him, would benefit both body and soul, in time and in eternity. I talked to him a little about it, and he began to feel much interested.

I told him about success and the prosperity that attended our works, and finally he said, “I don’t know but I will sell out and go to America, for I am tired of France.” [77] I said, “I will tell you where you will find a first rate place to settle down in that country,” and directed him to Iowa. He spoke to an elder that was with him, after I had gone away, and said, “I don’t like the way Mr. Taylor speaks to me.” “Why,” said the elder. “He speaks as if he wants to push me off on one side somewhere, and I want to go where he is; you have got the right religion, and had I have found this, I should have been a religious man.”

I talked to another gentleman who came in, who wanted to be introduced to me–a man of good education, and talked the English language as well as I did. We talked about everything, almost, until religion came on in the conversation. When I was preparing to leave, the gentleman said, “O Mr. Taylor, I wish you would stay three or four days more here, and I will introduce you to a rich sugar manufacturer, and there is a gentleman living in a castle not far from here, I will introduce you to him.” They felt as sorry at my going away as though I had stayed with them 12 months, and they came more than a mile to see me off, and bid me good bye, and prayed God to bless me, before I left.

You will see many such things as these. I could have introduced the gospel in the whole of that country, had I had time. You will find that the Spirit of the Lord will go before you and prepare the way. I had men come to me and say, God bless you; you are the man I dreamed about. That is the kind feeling that operates upon the people in those parts, as well as in other parts of the world; the Spirit of the Lord goes before His servants.

I recollect associating with some medical professors, American gentlemen who had come to Paris for the purpose of attending medical lectures, &c., at l’ Ecole de Medicine, and visiting the hospitals; and though we were Mormons, they were glad to have our society, and seemed to feel a desire to associate with us. We talked Mormonism to them, and many other things.

These men came there, remained two or three months, and went away; nobody cared anything about them, only just as much as they paid their way, and that was all. We went there and planted the gospel in the hearts of the people, and they feel as all other people do who are members of this church; the Spirit of God was with them, [78] and we could rejoice in the bosom of our friends, and talk of the things of God, and the blessings He gives to His people. I looked at these doctors, and I said to myself, you poor, miserable creatures; you wander through the world, without the Spirit and blessings of God, and nobody cares for you, whether you live or die; while we come here, to plant the standard of truth in the hearts of the people, and can rejoice with them in its blessings.

If any of you go into those countries, you will find as warm hearted people as you will find anywhere else. Brothers F. D. Richards and E. Snow can bear testimony of this. The gospel has the same effect in their hearts, as it has in yours. I won’t occupy your time farther. May God bless you in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Elder Ezra T. Benson said:

I feel thankful for this privilege to occupy a few moments at this conference, and to give my testimony concerning the work of the Lord in these last days.

I feel thankful that we are here, and that we are blessed with the spirit of truth, which is one of the greatest blessings in the Kingdom of God. When we have the spirit of truth dwelling in our hearts, we are ready, and not only ready but willing to do the things that are required at our hands.

We have been hearing this morning that there are many that will be called to go to the nations of the earth; I feel that I can say that there is not an individual that will be called upon, if he has the Spirit of the Lord, or of Mormonism in his heart, but what will respond to the call with all his soul; he will feel to thank God and his brethren that he is worthy to be called with such an high and holy calling as to be a messenger of salvation; for I do actually know by experience, that there is no calling under the heavens among the children of men, that is so desirable, and so great as to go and preach this gospel.

If a man will magnify his priesthood he can do more in one hour in the vineyard, preaching the gospel, and gathering the saints in one, if he is sent to do so, than he can do here in ten, laboring with his hands for himself, for his family, and for the Kingdom of God on the earth. For it is impossible for us to retain the Spirit of God–it is impossible for us to love the Lord, or ever keep in good [79] fellowship with this people unless we do as we are told. Inasmuch as there are honest people in the earth, scattered among the nations, is it pleasing in the sight of God for us to sit down here unless we are commanded to do so, and refuse to give them the truth? It is perfectly right to tarry here, and prepare for the saints who are gathering, unless we are commanded otherwise.

I wish to say a few words to those who shall be called upon to go to the nations. The time is now, I feel persuaded to it, for us, elders in Israel, to work while the day lasts–to work while there is time and opportunity–while God is softening the hearts of the people; now is the time for the elders to visit the nations, and tell them what they know concerning this great work in the last days; and when we do well for the Kingdom of God, we do well for ourselves; when we do well for the people among the nations of the earth, we do well for ourselves, if we go and do as we are told, and that is, to preach what we actually know and verily believe.

If it be possible, point out one man, an elder in this church, who has gone out to preach the gospel, and has been faithful in the Kingdom of God, that has not been blessed, and his family has been blessed. There is not an instance on the records of this church, showing when a man has gone forth to proclaim the truth, that he has not been blessed. The opposite is the case; they have always returned home rejoicing, with their hearts filled with the love of God. Well then, brethren, let us go if we are called upon and proclaim the good news, that God is doing a great work in the valleys of the mountains; that God has called His prophet, His apostles, and other servants to proclaim the glad tidings to the children of men, to those who sit in darkness, and the shadow of death.

We have the name of being the best feeling people upon the face of the earth; and I will tell you furthermore, we just have the name of being the best people there is in the world; and the time is not far distant when the nations will seek for counsel at the feet of the servants of God. Why? Because we seek wisdom at the hand of God; because we are led by the revelation of Jesus Christ; because we live humble, and are honest before God, and He will pour out His blessings upon our heads, to enlighten [80] our minds, and give us visions and revelation, so that we cannot be led astray. I know this from the testimony that I receive.

I can bear testimony that God has been with me. Why? Because I have gone and done just as I have been told. It is because it was my determination, my will, and my desire to do the thing I was sent to do. We had a little to do with mobs it is true. They understood to mob me a little, and Bro. Grant said, when he heard of it in Washington, he was glad of it. [A voice in the stand, “And so was I.”] I was, too, because I felt when they were trying to mob me, and seek my life, I was better than they were; if I had not been they would not have tried to destroy me from the earth. They ran me into Bro. Farnsworth’s potato hole; to be sure, I ran in there, and thought it was a first rate place to hide; I stayed there a couple of hours, and reflected upon mobs; upon the things of the Kingdom, and called upon my Father in Heaven, by the authority of the holy Priesthood, and felt as though I could whip all the mobs in Missouri, if it had been wisdom to do so, and the best course for me to take. I would have gone out and whipped the whole posse of them. [A voice from the stand, “Yes, after they had all gone away.”]

Many in Kanesville wanted me to wrestle with them. I said, I don’t wrestle with any except for Salt Lake; but I can top you on the head, as I would a little boy, if that will do you any good; but when I see a man from Salt Lake full of good works, I consider it an honor to wrestle with a man of that class; but I don’t have anything to do with the low, degenerated characters who do nothing else but wrestle and gamble; but I said if you don’t believe I can wrestle, try me, and I will end you up a few times. They thought I was a very stout man, and it passed off just as well as though I had tried my dexterity upon them.

To close up the whole matter, I feel thankful to God that I am here; I am blessed; and the people here, and that are on the road, are also blessed.

Now is the time for the elders to go forth and preach the gospel; the Lord will soften the hearts of the people; and if mobs are stirred up, it is all for the good of the saints.

[81] When Satan begins to grin and show his teeth, you may know there is sheep not far off. Only put your trust in God, and He will keep you, and preserve you as in the hollow of His hand. Be comforted brethren, whether you go to the nations of the earth, or stay at home. It is just as necessary for men to live humble here, as it is for them to live humble when they go there; for Satan is not dead yet, and brother Brigham says he is glad of it. It is necessary he should live on the earth a little while longer, to stir up the saints by way of remembrance of the covenant they have made, and I have become perfectly reconciled concerning the things of the Kingdom and can go from day to day.

Let God do as He pleases and call whom He pleases, and send whom He pleases abroad, and tell whom He pleases to remain at home; it is all the keeping of His commandments, and one station is as honorable as the other. If a man is told to tarry at home, he is as honorable as the messenger who is going to the nations of the earth. But if we sit down and consult the natural man, consult our own private feelings, and say here is my poor wife, here are my children, and here is my farm that I have earned with my own hands, I know how I came by my hard earned property; how can I go and preach under these circumstances, all my property and all my fair calculations will be knocked into pie. Supposing they are, let them all go; there are plenty more farms, and everything else; we are in the world, and it is filled with the elements and we have the keys and the power to work and organize them, make them honorable, and contribute to our happiness and earthly comfort.

What is there more honorable than to carry a message of the gospel from this people? You have the prayers and the faith of your brethren, the prayers and the faith of the whole Priesthood. Who is there that cannot go and do good under these circumstances? If there are any such men they are not fit to live upon the earth. If a man is not fit to tarry at home, he is not fit to send abroad; and if he is not fit to send abroad, he is not fit to tarry among the people of God, only to be a scourge and a stumbling block to them.

[82] Then let us rejoice; and if I should give way to my feelings, I should shout “Glory, Hallelujah!”, and I would call upon every individual to feel that the great God is with them, and He is your Father, and you are His sons and daughters, and have a right to the legacy of eternal life, and not be bowed down in your minds and say, “I don’t know, I am afraid I am not worthy to go preaching”; if you get the testimony of the Spirit of the Lord, you belong to the great family of God; and if you have the testimony of Jesus abiding in your heart, you may rejoice all the day long.

Have we anything to fear? No! What did the President say the other day? He said, he had not anything to fear; but if he should have any fears, it would be, that this people would sit down and lull themselves to sleep, and forget the Kingdom of God. Can a man do this when he feels the Spirit of truth in his heart? No. He will long to go to the nations of the earth, and be willing to be handled like the clay in the hands of the potter. We do not care what his testimony or knowledge has been; it is the abiding witness we want from day to day; it is that which carries a man safe through, according to my experience; it is then that we have no need to fear.

In the days of Nauvoo, there were fears; there was death. The people were afraid this thing and the other would be wrong; that Bro. Joseph would go wrong; that we should have to submit to principles and doctrines, contrary to the doctrines of Jesus Christ, &c. From the experience we have already had in the Kingdom of God, has any person a right now, to such fears, or such a thought for a moment? No. He knows that the principles that have been taught by the Prophet Joseph, Brother Brigham, Heber, and Willard, and by every good man in the church, are correct principles; and that these men have been borne off triumphantly over every trial and difficulty they have been called to pass through. The elders, therefore, can go to the nations with their consciences as clear as drifting snow, and with the satisfaction that all is right in Zion, and that we are led by the best men upon the face of this earth. Are you afraid to bear this testimony to this perverse generation? No. The Spirit of the Lord will back you up and put to silence [83] the slanderers in the Gentile world. I have known it by experience; I have not been insulted in any congregation, when I have taught the principles of God as they are taught in the valleys of the mountains; every dog has been obliged to close his mouth, and has not even dared to exhibit his teeth.

All is right; all is glorious; Mormonism will continue, should it come hot or cold; should it blow high or low, for God sustains it. When you feel so, brethren, you feel right; you feel strong, and ready to combat with your enemies; right is written upon your commissions; you are mighty in the right to do right; so that you are perfectly willing that all the devils in hell should know your works; that God, angels, and your brethren should know; and when you are called home, you will return like lions in strength; you will feel well; you will feel blessed.

While you are gone, prayers are ascending in your behalf, and in the behalf of your families and every blessing you need is poured out abundantly upon you, and your hearts are filled with gladness.

This is the way to live, in the midst of the saints, in the world; and when the bowels of hell are moved with wrath against you, and devils belch out their fury, you are then ready to withstand them. Suppose Bro. Taylor had been guilty of any wickedness in his travels; the whole country would have known it. Just so it is in the U. S. or anywhere else; if a man does not do right, but intends to feed his passions and carnal appetite, it would be better for him to turn round and say, “Brethren, goodbye to Mormonism.”

We cannot hide anything from God’s Spirit, and from His servants; I know this to be true. Then let us put the rough and ready side out, and let the word be, “Come on, all hands, and build up the Kingdom of God.” This is my determination; and if God will give me strength and wisdom, and the good blessings of my brethren, it is my determination to shape my affairs so that when I go away, I can be gone any length of time, and not be like the man who went upon the Indian expedition in Utah.

He had not got fairly started, before he wanted to return. What’s the matter? “O dear, I have married me a wife, and cannot go.”

[84] I am glad in my heart, and I say, “God bless Brothers Brigham, Heber and Willard; they are the counsel of heaven to this people,” and I mean to honor them in the earth, wherever I go; and I would preach down in the bowels of hell the same as I do here, and not be ashamed of it. My story all the time, “Hurrah for Mormonism!”

There is a jolly lot of fellows coming on from Kanesville, and other places; eight or ten thousand Mormons will come in here this season. They are a good people. Are the good brethren and sisters here thinking about it? Are they willing to take them by the hand and say, Brother, Sister, come to my house, and I will make you welcome to this or to that–to comfort their hearts after the toils of such a journey? They are a good people; as good a people as you are, and just as willing to be counseled. My heart yearns after them; and I want you to feel after them likewise, by rendering them all the assistance in your power, until they are comfortably located.

I only throw out these few hints, that you may be prepared to act, when you receive the proper instructions from your President. There are musicians coming, who perform upon almost all kinds of musical instruments; the lame are coming; the blind, and the widows, and the fatherless. I did not stop to make any selections; but I said, come on, all of you. We have among them big men and little men, big women and little women; grandfathers and grandmothers; and for ought I know, great grandfathers, and great grandmothers; but if they are not, they will be when they get here, for we have the name of raising the most children, and the best on the earth; and it will be very curious if we do not carry out what they all say we are guilty of.

I told them in Pottawatomie, that we wanted good men to mingle with the saints; we are sent out to preach to a people who wish to do good to their fellow men, and be saved in the Kingdom of God; and if you are not willing to obey the gospel, and build up the Kingdom, you cannot stand among this people; for God intends to raise up a holy race before Him in the last days, to do His will in all things. After we have warned the nations, we will return home, and raise a holy posterity before the Lord, therefore [85] we want good men, and praying men; for I have no confidence in any man who does not pray. It is as much as I can do to live, and pray all the time; and after all, I suppose I may say, like the good old Methodist, I leave undone those things I ought to do, and do the things I ought not.

I do not feel that I have any animosity in my heart to any man on the earth; if a man will be my enemy, and is determined to be, all I ask of him is to keep out of my way. I will not injure him, but let him get all the glory and exaltation he can, and I will not throw the ashes of a rye straw in his path.

I can feel sensibly, that there has been an increase of union and faith among the people here, since I left here last fall, it is either in me or in you. (A voice in the stand, “It is in both.”) It is in both, Brother Brigham says. Let this union, and this faith continue to increase, until we are brought into the presence of our God, and may this be the happy lot of us all, Amen.

President (Brigham) Young remarked:

The morning is far spent, but before we close the morning service, I would like to present before the Conference the names of a few elders who have been selected to take missions.

I suppose the brethren understand the object of this special Conference; it is for the purpose of transacting business pertaining to foreign missions, and of giving to the brethren an opportunity to cross the plains before the cold weather. We shall send them out from this Conference.

I rejoice in the Lord, my Savior, for His choice blessings which we enjoy. It was observed by Bro. Benson that Bro. Brigham has but one fear concerning this people, it is true.

I do not fear all the devils in hell, or all the mobs that could be raised; but, if I have any fear, it is upon this ground, that the people, in their blessings, should forget the Lord their God. I do not see that this is the case with this people, but if there is danger to be anticipated, it is in the slackness of the people to remember the Lord when the fostering hand of Providence is pouring out blessings upon them, and round about them, all the day long.

[86] This has been in former times, when the blessings of the Lord have been poured out upon the people. It is written in the Bible concerning ancient Israel, that they got fat and kicked against the Lord their God. You may understand the expression as you please; they forgot the Lord, and began to trust in the wisdom of man. They forgot their prayers, and the duties they owed to one another; and they fell back into a careless, carnal security, and became like the rest of the world.

This is the only ground on which I would have fear, were I to entertain any. As I have often said, and the same I can say again, it is too late in the day for this people ever to be cast off, or disowned by the Lord. The work the Lord promised to do is too nigh accomplished, and He has promised to make a short work on the earth. This work has some time since commenced, and if any of the people will not serve their God, and do the work He has given them to do, they will be removed out of the way and that speedily. It is too late in the day for this people to apostatize, and the Priesthood to be taken again from the earth; so there is not much ground for fears even in this respect.

A few words to the elders of Israel with regard to the building up of the Kingdom of God. Suppose every man who has wanted to go out to preach, (and almost every elder has wanted to go,) suppose they had all gone six years ago last fall, and left Nauvoo entirely destitute of elders, and attended diligently to preaching, up to this time. Would there have been a place prepared for the gathering of the Saints from all the world? No. There would have been no place for the elders to gather them to; there would have been no standard reared or rallying point for the people. Do you preach the gathering of Israel and the redemption of Zion? You do; and when you had got through this, and found all the rest had been neglected, what would be the situation of the elders of Israel? Their mouths would be closed up and sealed; they would not have any more influence among the people than those doctors and philosophers in France, spoken of by Elder Taylor; they came, they tarried, and if they paid for what they had, it was all right; they went, and no person cared for them or sought after them; it would have been the same with the elders of this church.

[87] The whole machinery is in operation and complete; that when the elders go forth to preach the gospel, every man carries with him a two-edged sword: pierces the hearts of the people by the spirit of the gospel which he goes to proclaim; but if the work is in progress only in part, his sword is blunted at once; it has no edge; it is incomplete and does not pierce the hearts of the people; consequently he had better have staid at home.

Why I make these remarks is that we may understand that unless this work is in progress, as a whole, it is not complete; we are found wanting, and not prepared to do the work we are called and sent to do. Now it is just as necessary for us to come to these valleys, and build houses, make fences, erect schoolhouses, rear up places of worship, and prepare for the gathering of Israel, as it is to go and preach to Israel to influence them to gather. The one is just as honorable, and as acceptable in the sight of God as the other; and those that labor faithfully at home will be crowned with those that labor faithfully abroad. Those who are selected to remain at home, receive as those who are selected to go abroad.

It is unnecessary for me, for any of the Twelve, or for any of my brethren to rise up here to preach to the elders to infuse the spirit of preaching in them, for we have had to hold them back with a cable rope, as it were, to keep them from going to preach. There is no lack of the spirit of the gospel in the ledgers of Israel, for we have been teased all the time to give them permission to go out and give vent to the spirit within them; but had we listened to them, you and I would not have had this commodious house to preach in this day. All the elders would have been off preaching and there would not have been enough left to have made the women and children comfortable.

What is to be done? Obey council. They do, and how far? Enough to scare the whole world. Look at the spirit that is in the midst of this people, and that overshadows them. What influence does this have upon the nations of the earth? It fills them with terror and awe and when they reflect, and reason, it fills them with astonishment, that there is a people on the earth, in the present confused revolutionary state of the nations, that will hearken to counsel and be of one heart and one mind; they are filled [88] with fear and astonishment, and they dread the union that is among this people more than they dread the Lord Almighty upon His throne. This is a pretty positive proof that this people are willing to hearken to the counsels of Heaven.

Bro. Benson proclaims in our hearing that this spirit has increased since he left here last fall. It has, and I expect it has grown in his own bosom; it has in mine. What do you think about it yourselves, brethren? Would you not be ready also to acknowledge that the same spirit is increasing in your bosoms, a spirit of love, and union, and of faith in your calling? I think there are a great many who can say, and say it truly, that this Spirit of the Lord has greatly increased in their hearts for six or eight months past, or for a year; were it not so, we should not be found growing in the knowledge of the truth. This is our labor, our business, and our calling to grow in grace and in knowledge from day to day, and from year to year.

I wish to say to this congregation, and I wish them to say to the families of the brethren who are not here today, and I would like all the inhabitants of these valleys to hear it; when our brethren who are on the plains come with their families into this city, or into any of the settlements of the Latter Day Saints, sit down and calmly make a calculation in your own hearts, how you would wish a neighborhood of Latter Day Saints to receive you, if you had been journeying across the plains this season. Ponder it over in your minds, and place yourselves in the situation of a pilgrim traveling across the plains, and after a hard and fatiguing summer’s work, now we have got home. Imagine yourselves at the doors of your brethren who have plenty. Here are their gardens groaning with the abundance of the products of the earth, with potatoes, beets, and cabbage; here is milk and butter, and find flour in great quantities; here are the tomatoes and garden vegetables of every description; now you say I have got home to my brethren’s door, and he has got plenty. What would you wish these brethren to do to you? Ask that same question to your neighbors, and get them to answer it. I can tell you what you would they should do to you; you would wish them to say, come brother or sister into my garden, and help yourselves to some garden sauce; [89] walk in here, and take and eat and make yourselves glad. And if they turn round and say, “Brother, how shall I pay you for what I get?” then you cannot hear that, for it is something that is altogether out of the question! The Lord gave it to me, now come and help me to eat it. That do to the emigrant saints, every one of you. I know it is the will of the Lord you should do it; and I know if He should speak to you Himself, He would tell you the same thing. I tell you just as it is, and that is just as good precisely, as though another came and told you. Then the brethren will feel joyful; their hearts will be made glad; and they will know that you are actually growing in the knowledge of the truth.

There are a great many coming; Bro. Benson says all are coming, even the great grand daddies, and great grand mammies; uncles and aunts, all are coming, and I am glad of it; I rejoice for it puts us in a position that we can send out elders from this place into all the world; whereas, before, our circumstances needed all the men we had here to prepare for the gathering of the saints. Now the time has come that we can send out our little parties to gather up Israel, and preach the gospel to the nations before the end comes.

The reports we have heard from our brethren are favorable, cheering, and rejoicing to every heart. Those who are coming from the islands of the sea, and from the old countries, where the elders have been sent, those from Pottawatomie and the States are coming home; for the present, this is the place of gathering; here the standard is reared for the Latter Day Saints from all nations, that they may spread out from this place, and fill up other places until all the continent of America, which is the land of Zion, shall be peopled with the saints of the Most High.

Question, “When are we going back to Jackson County?” Not until the Lord commands His people; and it is just as much as you and I can do to get ready to go when He does command us.

Bro. Benson and Grant have been successful in their missions. Bro. Benson says some of the brethren were glad when he was mobbed. I was glad of it; for every mobbing difficulty will add glory upon the heads of [90] the humble, faithful and contrite in heart; it serves to prove and give them experience, it shows them the contrast between the one and the other, all this is preparatory for the saints to enter into their rest, and for the wicked to receive their punishment. Bro. Benson has been successful and I thank the Lord Almighty, that he turned the key here last fall, and caused a tremendous commotion among the political elements, earthquake, thundering, and lightning, above and below the earth, with great excitement; this gathered a great many more saints than if it had been fair weather all the time. This clashing and noise of the elements stirred up the people in Pottawatomie, and then they wanted to go to the mountains; like Bro. George A. Smith in the latter days of Nauvoo, he wanted to go to the mountains, or to California, or to Oregon, he was not very particular; what for? Simply because he was obliged to go somewhere; the saints who are coming now from Pottawatomie were obliged to leave for the valleys of the mountains; why? Because they had to run somewhere. Do you suppose I am sorry because of persecution? No! I never was in my life; but I have thanked God a thousand times that the devil is not yet bound, for if he had been, the saints would have gone to sleep; and if there could be such a thing, they would have been blotted out of existence, with all their intelligence, and the earth have received them into its bowels. Light, knowledge, truth, wickedness of every kind, the works of the Almighty, and the works of the devil, all conspire to roll on the great work that the Lord Jesus Christ is doing upon the earth; every person and power in their own order.

I do not wish to detain the congregation longer this morning, Bro. Kimball set before you the object of the meeting, and I have hinted at it. We will no[w] read over a few names that we have selected. May the Lord God of Israel bless you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The clerk read 93 names of individuals who had been proposed to foreign missions. (Des. News, Sept. 18, 1852)



[91]                            Proclamation!

Parley P. Pratt

September 18, 1852


An Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the people of the coasts and islands of the Pacific, of every nation, kindred, and tongue–Greeting:

It has pleased the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah–who died on a Roman Cross at Jerusalem, near one thousand eight hundred and fifty years since, and who arose from the dead on the third day; and, after giving commandments to His Apostles, ascended into the heavens, thenceforth to reign till His enemies are made His footstool–to send forth His angels in this present age of the world, to reveal a New Dispensation. Thus restoring to the earth the fullness and purity of the Gospel, the Apostleship, and the Church of the Saints, with all its miraculous gifts and blessings, which gospel, thus restored, with its Apostleship and powers, must be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people under the whole heavens, with the signs following them that believe: and then shall the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Messiah and King, descend from the heavens in His glorified, immortal body, and reign with His Saints, and over all the kingdoms of the earth, one thousand years.

Having obtained a portion of this ministry, and being appointed and set apart by our brethren of the Apostleship, to take the Presidency and especial charge of a mission to the countries mentioned herein–which include nearly one-half of the globe–we have, in pursuance of these responsibilities, commenced our mission by sending forth this Proclamation; first, in English; and to be translated and published by especial messengers, in due time, in every language and tongue included within the bounds of the mission.

First of all, having declared our object, purpose, destination, and commission, we hereby invite, and most earnestly plead with all men to repent, to turn away from their sins, and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and come with humble hearts and contrite spirits, and be baptized, (immersed) in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and they shall receive the Gift of the [92] Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, in the name of Jesus, of the Apostles and Elders who are sent forth by the Church of the Saints. Which Holy Spirit shall bear witness of the truth of this message, and of the remission of the sins of all them who obey the same with full purpose of heart; and shall fill their minds with joy and gladness, and with light and intelligence; and shall also open to their understanding many things which are to come. While some shall be blessed with visions, with the ministry of angels, with the spirit of prophecy and revelation; and others, with the gift to heal the sick, or to be healed, by anointing with oil in the name of the Lord, accompanied with prayer, or the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus. The deaf shall hear, the dumb speak, the lame walk, and the eyes of the blind see, inasmuch as they have faith sufficient to receive the same. And not many years hence, as faith, knowledge, union, and power increase, the dead shall be raised in some instances; the violence of fire be quenched; the prisons rent, if necessary; and the very elements controlled by the servants of God, in the name of Jesus.

All these gifts are included in the New Dispensation, and are to be bestowed upon man in due time, as faith shall increase.

The Church being yet in its infancy, its members have not yet attained to all these gifts; but they have progressed with astonishing rapidity, and are in many instances, enjoying many of these gifts in various countries.

We are aware that the astounding declarations contained in the Proclamation, of necessity, come in contact with the traditions of this and former ages; and also with the various priesthoods, organizations, and ordinances of the world called Christian, as well as with the various religions of the Pagan, Mohammedan, and Jew; but with all kindly feelings and respect for our fellowman, we cannot avoid this contact. We are the friend of man and the friend of truth. We, therefore, feel ourselves bound to bear witness of the truth as it is, and was, and is to come.

The Christian minister will inquire, “What need of a New Dispensation, where the Old has been perpetuated by an apostolic succession?”

[93] To which we reply, “That we know of no succession of the kind; we acknowledge none; but, for the satisfaction of others, we will point out the way to determine the negative or affirmative of that all-important question.”

Search the sacred writings of the Apostles of old for any other order of Apostles, ministers, ordinances, gifts, or powers, as constituting the true church, or connected with it, than the order set forth in the foregoing pages, and you will search in vain. The New Testament system was a system of inspiration, apostolic powers, miracles, healings, revelations, prophesyings, visions, angels, and all the gifts recorded in that book. It was a system of ordinances–such as baptism for remission of sins, by immersion in water, in the name of Jesus Christ; the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Spirit; the laying on of hands for healing the sick; also, anointing with oil for the same purpose; also, the administration of bread and wine, in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and the blood of atonement.

Such was the New Testament system. Peter himself had no right to alter it, neither had Paul; in so doing, they would have forfeited their apostolic powers, and their Christian standing; and would have been accursed, as it is written by Paul, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel, let him be accursed.”

This being an undeniable fact, which no man can successfully controvert or deny; the question of apostolic or church succession resolves itself thus:

Has the foregoing order of things been handed down in purity and power to this day? Its Apostleship, its powers of vision, revelation, prophecy, miracles, gifts, ordinances, and powers unaltered, unimpaired, unperverted?

If so, we have Apostles, Church, &c., now, without a New Dispensation or a new commission.

If not so, then there is no Apostleship, no Church, no Christian ministry and gifts on the earth, except commissioned by a New Dispensation.

In the latter case, we would inquire, by what standard shall the millennium, the age of peace, and universal truth, and knowledge, be ushered in?

By what standard shall the knowledge of the Lord [94] cover the earth as the waters cover the sea?

By what standard shall there be one Lord, and His name one, and He be the King of all the earth, as say the Prophets?

To what standard shall the Jews and the other tribes of Israel be restored, when the fullness of times is come in? When their times are fulfilled; when the full time arrives for the restoration of the things spoken of by all the holy Prophets since the world began?

In which, of all the branches of the so-called Christian Church, shall the power and miracles of God be manifested, when He shall make bare His arm in the eyes of all the nations, in the restoration of all the tribes of Israel and Judah?

Will His power and wisdom be displayed to restore them to a broken Covenant? to doctrines corrupted? to ordinances perverted? to a church divided, and destitute of the miraculous powers and gifts? in short, to Christendom, who have ruled all nations with a rod of iron, and made the nations and their rulers drunken with the wine of their abominations?

No, we boldly answer, no!

What then! Shall the words of the Prophets fall to the ground unfulfilled?

No, never!

Hence the unavoidable necessity of a new dispensation, a New Apostolic Commission.

Such commission is now restored; such dispensation is now committed, and is held by the Apostles and Elders of the Church of the Latter-day Saints.

Such is the cause in which martyrs have bled, and a whole people been disfranchised, robbed, plundered, dispersed, slandered in every possible way, and driven to the mountains and deserts of the American interior.

Honest, pious, and well meaning Christians! (for such there are in every sect under heaven), we hereby solemnly warn you, and entreat you, in the name of the Lord, to come out of every sect, and from all the Christian “Babels;” yea “come out of her my people,” as saith the ancient Apostles, “for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

[95] Come out, then, and unite with the Church of the Saints, and henceforth devote your faith, your prayers, your strength, and your means to the work of God.

This same invitation is meant for all sincere, well-meaning, and devoted clergymen, whether Roman or Protestant, as well as the other members, and the sincere, zealous, and devoted missionaries and their supporters, who bear the Bible to foreign lands, and who toil amid fields of ice, or burning in sands, amid deserts, mountains, or in the solitude of the wilderness, or in the lone and distant isles, surrounded by the infinite expanse of air and ocean, because of their love for Jesus and their fellow man.

To you we bring tidings of great joy!

The Latter-day glory has dawned upon the world!

The prayers of the faithful of all ages are heard!

The heavens have been again opened!

Angels have descended, bearing a Dispensation to man!

The Holy Ghost has been again shed forth!

The fullness of the Gospel is revealed!

The sick are healed!

Demons are cast out!

The Kingdom of God has come!

The Standard of Truth and Freedom is reared!

And to those who are in darkness, a light has dawned!

And ere long, darkness, ignorance, and oppression shall cease from the earth!

Open your hearts, then, and receive and learn the way of God more perfectly; return fully to the system of that Bible which you publish, and to that God whom you serve.

And to those who are only Christians by nation, by birth, or by profession, and not by conduct, we would say, by the commandment of the Lord, and also by way of invitation–Turn from all your iniquities and abominations, your lyings, deceivings, whoredoms, blasphemies, drunkenness, gambling, idleness, extravagance, pride, and folly; also from your murders, theft, and robbery, and from all sin.

[96] Cease to take the name of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, in vain. Pledge yourselves by a covenant and a fixed purpose to serve the Lord, and come and be baptized in His name, and you shall receive remission of sins and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

And then, if you endure to the end in keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ, you shall be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. You shall also have part in the first resurrection, which will come in a few years, and shall reign, in the flesh, on the earth, with the King, the great Messiah, one thousand years.


Address to Pagans:


To those who are not Christian, but who worship the various gods of India, China, Japan, or the Islands of the Pacific or Indian Oceans, we say–turn away from them; they are not Gods; they have no power.

Open your ears and your hearts, and hear the Apostles and Elders of the Church of the Saints. Learn of the true God, and of His Son Jesus Christ, who was dead and is alive, and shall live forevermore; and who is your King, and will soon come down from the more glorious planet where He dwells, and reign as the King of all nations; and your eyes shall see Him, your acclamations hail Him welcome, while He is crowned Lord of all.

Open your houses and your hearts, and receive and feed the Elders who come among you; give them means, and aid them in their travels; and verily your sick shall be healed, the evil demons which trouble you shall be cast out, and you shall have good dreams and visions of the Lord, and angels shall minister to some of you, and your hearts shall swell with love and gladness, and you will feel to forsake your sins, and be baptized by the Elders; and in so doing, they shall lay their hands upon you, the Holy Spirit bearing witness in your hearts of the truth, and enlightening your minds in the same.


Address to the Jews:


To the Jews we would say–Turn from your sins, and seek the God of your fathers. Search the Prophets; for lo, [97] your Messiah cometh speedily, and all the Saints with Him. Yea, He will descend upon the Mount of Olives, near your ancient city, disperse your enemies, defend Jerusalem, and establish His Kingdom over your nation and city, and over all the earth.

But what will be your astonishment, when gazing at Him, and falling at the feet of Him as your great deliverer, you discover the wounds in His feet, in His hands, and in His side, and inquire, “What are these wounds in your hands and in your feet?”

And He will exclaim, “These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom your fathers crucified. I am the son of God, your deliverer and your eternal King.”

O who can describe the mingled feelings of joy and gladness, and gratitude, and shame, and remorse, and repentance, and amazement, and wonder, which will then fill your bosoms! How you will repent, and flock to the water, and be baptized in His name for the remission of your sins. With what power the Holy Ghost will fall upon you, when the Apostles shall lay their hands upon your heads in the name of that Jesus who will stand in your presence. Then big tears of joy will gush forth and stream upon the ground, while many of you will fall upon His neck, or kiss His feet, and bathe them in your tears.

Blessed is he that has seen Him and believed; but more blessed are they who have not seen Him and yet believed.

If any of you can so far overcome your prejudices and traditions, as to admit the probability, or even possibility, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, and that when your Messiah comes to fulfill your national redemption, and to establish His kingdom over all the earth, it will not be the first time that He has appeared among men, or even to your own nation–why, then search diligently on the subject, and earnestly pray to Jehovah that you may understand the truth of a subject of such thrilling and vital importance.

After you have carefully reviewed your own Prophets, search the New Testament with the same careful and prayerful attention, and then obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, and search that with the same degree of candor [98] and earnestness; and I think your minds will expand, and you will be constrained to say, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.

If so, then come to the Standard of the New Dispensation–to the Apostles and elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; for you will readily see that there is no other system now extant, which even resembles, or will compare at all with the system established by Him and His former Apostles. Yea, come to them, repenting and turning from your sins, and go down into the waters of baptism, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Receive the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. You will then know the truth, and be prepared for less surprise and a more glorious triumph on the Mount of Olives, in the day of your returning King.

We have now shown you the door of admission into the Kingdom of God, into which you would do well to enter; and after entering therein, it will be required of you to keep the commandments of Jesus, and to look earnestly and daily for the fulfillment of the Prophets which speak of the restoration of Israel and Judah, the downfall of Gentile rule, and the prevalence of that Kingdom which shall be universal, and have no end.

You would also in the meantime do well to contribute liberally of your means to the Elders and Missionaries of the Church, for they are your brethren; they verily believe the Prophets, and they look, and pray, and labor earnestly for their fulfillment.


Address to the Red Man:


To the Red Men of America we will next address a few lines. You are a Branch of the House of Israel. You are descended from the Jews, or rather, more generally, from the tribe of Joseph, which Joseph was a great Prophet and ruler in Egypt.

Your fathers left Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah the Prophet–being led by a Prophet whose name was Lehi. After leaving Jerusalem, they wandered in the wilderness of Arabia, and along the shores of the Red Sea, for eight years, living on fruits and wild game. Arriving at the sea coast, they built a ship, put on board the necessary [99] provisions, and the seeds brought with them from Jerusalem; and setting sail they crossed the great ocean, and landed on the western coast of America, within the bounds of what is now called “Chili.” In process of time they peopled the entire continents of North and South America.

They were taught by Prophets from age to age. They were also favored with a personal visit from the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, after He had risen from the dead. His own mouth taught them the Gospel, and His own hand ordained Twelve Apostles of their own nation, and endowed them with the same powers as the other Twelve at Jerusalem. His own teaching opened to them the events of unborn time, and more particularly the future events pertaining to the American continent. His Gospel and prophetic instructions were written by His commandment, and by the inspiration of His own Spirit.

In after ages your fathers sinned against all this light and knowledge, and lost the Gospel privileges. Their Apostles were destroyed, or taken away and hid from the world. The working of miracles ceased because of iniquity. Civil government was broken up. Terrible and desolating wars ensued, which finally resulted in the darkness, ignorance, divisions, and subdivisions in which the white man from Europe found you, upwards of three hundred years ago.

Mormon was one of your fathers. He lived about one thousand four hundred years ago, in North America. He wrote an abridgment of your history, prophecies, and Gospel, from the records of your more ancient Prophets and Apostles; engraved the same on plates of gold, which records, at his death, descended to his son Moroni.

This Moroni, was the last of the ancient Prophets of America. He completed the records of Mormon on the plates, and made a sacred deposit of the same in a hill called Cumorah, which hill is now included within the limits of New York, United States. This deposit was made about the year four hundred and twenty of the Christian era.

The plates, thus deposited, were taken from their place of deposit, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven of the same era, by Joseph Smith, and [100] were by him translated and published to the world, in English, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty; the records and their contents having been revealed to him by an angel of God.

Many others saw and handled the plates and the engravings thereon, and have solemnly given their names to the world in testimony of the same, which testimony is published in full in said book. There were also three other men, who in open day saw the vision; saw the angel of the Lord descend from heaven; heard his voice bear record of the plates, and of their correct translation, and were commanded by him to bear testimony to the world. Their testimony is also published in full in said book.

Turn then from your drunkenness, idolatry, murders, wars and bloodshed–yea, turn from bowing down to images, the work of men’s hands, which have no power to do either harm or good; turn from adultery, fornication, filth, and all manner of abominations; and seek the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was once dead, and is alive, and behold, He lives forevermore. Seek peace with each other, and with all mankind. And when the elders of the Church of the Saints come among you, receive them, feed, lodge, and assist them; and hearken to their voice, for they bring glad tidings of great joy. Put away your sins and be baptized, (buried in the water,) in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of the same, and receive the laying on of the hands of the Apostles and Elders of this Church, for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

And you will be filled with joy and gladness, with light and knowledge. You will know and bear witness of the truth. Some of you will be able to speak by the Gift of the Holy Ghost, in great power. And by signs, and by visions, and by dreams, and by divers healings and miracles, will God confirm His word among you; for, behold, He purposes your restoration as a righteous Branch of Israel.

The Book of Mormon–the record of your fathers, will soon be published among you in English, in Spanish, and in every written language in use among your various tribes and tongues. Messengers will also be sent among you to read, recite, and interpret the contents of said book, as far as necessary, to those who cannot read–so that, to [101] say the least, you may have the Gospel of your forefathers, and some knowledge of their history and prophecies. (Mill. Star 14:465-470)



Brigham Young’s Address

September 23, 1852


Instead of it being a source of mourning, it would be a cause of great rejoicing to us if we could start this day on the journey where they [Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith Jr., and Father Smith (Joseph Smith Sr.)] are. I do not know how far it is to where they dwell, but it is not very far. I will tell you my reason for thinking so, as this is an item that has been a query in the minds of many. All the spirits organized to come to this world will be upon this earth and roam about it and be attached to it forever and forever without end. They are on it, in it, round about it, either in the body or out of the body. Good spirits and bad spirits are attached to this world until they receive their final destination. A great many think that when they die their spirits go to the sun or to the moon or to some of the starry worlds. Our spirits are brought forth in the spirit world to inhabit this earth, to take tabernacles and dwell on this earth. They belong to it and will be on, in and round about it from this time henceforth and forever. Those who are made partakers of the bliss and happiness to receive crowns in the celestial kingdom will have this earth for their possession.

And what will become of the others? I do not know anything more about it. One of the old apostles has told us that the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy death, hell and the devil, but after they are destroyed, we do not know what He does with them; neither do I trouble myself about it. It is enough for me to know that the spirits inhabit this earth. It is a blessing to them and the ancients looked forth to emigrate to some other planet but in leaving they knew they were going free from the prison of clay–our minds to be opened–and when our minds are in vision, it is as easy to see the Lord as it is to see any person in this room with our natural eyes. We will be in the presence of the Lord and He will be in our presence when He pleases. He can be in our presence when He pleases, in the presence [102] of good or bad men. He can show His finger or His face, and as He did to the children of Israel, His back parts if He thinks proper. It is just as He pleases. The good and the evil are so in the spirit world, only we shall be free from the tabernacle of flesh. The veil of the covering will be taken off which will make it easy for the spirits to understand and to know as they are known. (HDC, Ms d 1234, Box 48, Fd 6)




Parley P. Pratt

September 25, 1852

(continued from previous week)


Ancient Records of the Western Hemisphere


Having addressed ourselves in turn to pious Christians, Christian sinners, Pagans, Jews, and the Red Men of America, we will now return and again address the whole of the people within the bounds of our mission.

The Book of Mormon is destined to be published as fast as possible to every nation, and in every language and tongue. Its contents more deeply interest the world, and every intelligent, accountable being therein, than that of any other book (save the Jewish Scriptures) which is now extant in the world.

Its history penetrates the otherwise dark oblivion of the past, (as regards America) through the remote ages of antiquity; follows up the stream of the generations of man, till arriving at the great fountain head–the distributor of nations, tribes, and tongues–the Tower of Babel, where it ceases or is lost in, and sweetly blended with, the great Adamic river, whose source is in Paradise, the cradle of man: whose springs issue from beneath the throne of the eternal city–and whose secret fountains comprise the infinite expanse, the boundless ocean of intellect, fact, and historic truth, as recorded in the archives of eternity.

Its prophetic vision, separating from its history at that definite point, which by its authors might be called the present, opens the events of unborn time, and gives a view of things to come with all the clearness of history.

[103] The Ten Tribes of Israel, the Jews, the white nations of Europe, the red tribes of America–even the proud States of the American Union–may each see themselves and their actions in the prophetic telescope of that book. Their destiny is there written; and much of it from the mouth of Him who spoke, and Jerusalem was deluged in blood–wrapped in the flames of desolation and death, and trodden down for eighteen centuries–who prophesied, and that holy structure, the temple of God, the pride and confidence of a nation, was thrown down, and “not one stone left upon another”–who uttered His voice, and a nation withdrew before Him, ceased to be, and its fragments were made wanderers among the nations, til “the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.”

The fate of nations–the restoration of Judah and Israel–the downfall of corrupt churches and religious institutions–the end of Gentile superstition and misrule–the universal prevalence of peace, and truth, and light, and knowledge–the awful wars and troubles which will precede those happy times–the glorious coming of Jesus Christ as King over all the earth–the resurrection of the Saints to reign on the earth–are all predicted in that book; the time and means of their fulfillment pointed out with clearness, showing the present age more big with wonders, than all the ages of Adam’s race which have gone before it.

Its doctrines are developed in such plainness and simplicity, and with such clearness and precision, that no man can mistake them. They are there as they flowed from the mouth of a risen Redeemer, in the liquid eloquence of love, mingled with immortal tears of joy and compassion, and as written by men whose tears of overflowing affection and gratitude bathed His immortal feet.

All men are invited and instructed by its doctrines to turn from their sins and live; to believe on His name; to go down into the waters of baptism in His name, and arise to newness of life, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, enjoying the gifts of the same, and keeping His commandments to the end of their lives. On these conditions they are promised eternal life and exaltation in His presence, where is fullness of joy.

[104] Such is the Book of Mormon, that Book of books, that Ensign to the nations, which in twenty-one years, has, by the aid of apostolic powers and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, diffused its light over half the globe.

We are aware of the prejudice of “Christians” in favor of the Bible, and against all other books claiming to be of divine origin; but we also know perfectly, and bear record, that their prejudice is founded in ignorance, and is without any real or reasonable foundation. Such traditions and such prejudices grow out of the same narrow views which, in the days of Columbus, would not let the geographical knowledge of man expand, or his aspirations or thoughts reach beyond the boundaries of the old world, lest the very thought should be blasphemy–lest a world should be discovered where the Jewish Apostles had not been, and thus render their commission to preach the Gospel to every creature, an inconsistency.

We would ask such narrow minds the following questions:

Are there more countries than one?

Are there more nations than one?

Did the Great Father of all create those several countries?

Did He people them with intelligent beings, candidates for immortality and eternal life?

Did He love those beings without respect to nation or country?

Did His Son Jesus Christ shed His blood for all?

Did all partake of death, and mourning and sorrow?

Did all stand in need of the knowledge and comfort brought to light by His resurrection, and triumph over death, hell, and the grave?

Is it reasonable, right, and consistent, that all nations should have the good news of so glorious an event, and be comforted and taught?

Was Jesus Christ in His resurrected body, capable of overstepping the physical barriers of ocean and desert, and of paying a personal visit to the other hemisphere?

Were His angels capable of overcoming the waves and winds, and of bearing the glad tidings to the remotest lands?

[105] Did they mean it when they said to the shepherds of Judea, “We bring glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people?”

We think a candid man will answer all these questions in the affirmative.

If so, we would still inquire whether a risen Savior and His angels, in visiting the Western hemisphere, had a right to command the people there to write the facts of their ministry, and to record their doctrines? Whether His Spirit had a right to inspire and indict those writings? And after being so written, they would constitute a book–a holy scripture–a volume or volumes of the word of God?

We would further inquire, whether the risen Jesus and His angels have not the right and the power to reveal such records to the world; when, where, and by whom it seemeth them good?

If so, when should we look for them to come to the knowledge of the world, if not in the dawn of the restoration of all things which God hath spoken by the mouths of all His holy Prophets since the world began?

We beseech you, dear reader, whoever you are, to ponder well these questions, and they will swell and enlarge your heart.

We now solemnly predict, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that in a few years, the world shall bring together and compare ancient records, as sacred and as true as the words of Jesus Christ–as holy as the Bible; records which unfold the Gospel of the Son of God, revealed, at least, to three distinct nations of the earth, by His own ministry in His glorified body.

We will also name these records, as follows:

Records of the Jews, (the Bible); written in Asia.

Records of the remnant of Joseph, the Nephites, (Book of Mormon); written in America.

Records of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel; country not yet revealed.

These three national records will be familiarly known among the nations, in a few years; will be demonstrated as to their truth; and each of them will contain an account of the ministry of Jesus Christ to their respective countries, as He did really appear to them after His resurrection. The words which He spake, the doctrine [106] He taught, the Gospel and ordinances He set forth and commanded, will be written in each record.

In Judea, He chose and ordained twelve Apostles, viz., Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholemew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Zelotes, and Judas Iscariot. In America, He chose and ordained Twelve Apostles, viz., Nephi, Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah. In the country of the Ten Tribes, He, of course, chose other twelve, whose names will appear in due time.

Besides these records of His personal ministry, there were many of other countries and nations, (which held no communication with the nations where these administrations were had, and these quorums chosen), which received a knowledge of His death and resurrection, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. They have, also, written an account of the same.

Now, all these records which are saved, and which contain the word of God, will come to light and be revealed. There is nothing hid which shall not be made known; neither is there anything secret which shall not be revealed, and come abroad, in connection with the “times of the restoration of all things which God hath spoken by the mouths of all His holy Prophets since the world began.”

“The Jews shall have the words of the Nephites; and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews. And the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the Lost Tribes of Israel; and the lost Tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and of the Jews.” And thus the word of God shall be brought together and embodied. And the nations who have written it, shall be brought together and embodied also. And the things of all nations shall be revealed; and the earth be overwhelmed with the knowledge of the Past, the Present, and the Future; and darkness, bigotry, superstition, and falsehoods of every description, shall flee away, as the fleeting shadow of a cloud, from off all the earth.

The inquiry will be, What are the evidences upon which rest the truth of the Book of Mormon? To which we answer: Search the book and learn for yourselves. You will find:

[107] First–The testimony of the witnesses.

Second–The consistency, harmony, and evident truthfulness of its history and prophecies.

Third–The simplicity and purity of its doctrines.

And last, and best of all–the Gift of the Holy Spirit of truth, which bears witness to the heart of every honest, prayerful man, who desires to know and do the truth.

Truth is light.

Light is spirit.

Light cleaveth unto light.

Truth embraceth truth.

Intelligence comprehendeth intelligence.

Spirit recognizeth spirit.

Like embraceth like in all spiritual things.

These are some of the laws of nature in the spiritual world, and are as true, and as capable of demonstration as any physical law of the universe.

Two balls of quicksilver, placed in contact, immediately recognize and embrace each other. Two blazes of fire, placed in near proximity, will immediately spring toward each other and blend in one. Two drops of water placed upon a table, will remain in a round or globular form, until they are enlarged so as to expand their circles, when, as they mutually touch each other, they will instantly mingle and become one globular form. So it is in spiritual things. There is in every man a portion of the spirit of truth; a germ of light; a spiritual test or touchstone, which if strictly observed, studied, and followed by its possessor, will witness to him, and will, as it were, leap forward with a warm glow of joy and sympathy, to every truthful spirit with which it comes in contact: while by a shudder of disgust, it will recognize a false spirit, a lie. Call this spiritual magnetism, or what you please; it is so, and is a law of nature.

Herein consists the mystery of the agency of man. This is the reason why a man is under condemnation for rejecting any spiritual truth, or for embracing any spiritual error. A man’s deeds are evil: his monitor is unheeded; his good angel, and the good spirit within, are grieved; and, after many admonitions which are not heeded, they retire, and leave him in the dark; he loves his own; he cleaves to a lie; he rejects the truth; darkness still [108] increases; the world, the flesh, and the evil demons allure him onward, till death closes the scene, and ushers his spirit from the rudimental state of man, into the next sphere, when his evil demons and companions in darkness surround him, and dwell with him; each contributes his portion of the darkness, till cloud mingled with cloud, envelopes the whole in black despair, obscures the vision, forbids the eye to behold, the tongue to utter, or the pen to describe.

On the other hand; a man’s deeds are good–as saith the Scriptures, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God”–he obeys his monitor within him; he welcomes to his bosom every true and holy principle within his reach; he puts it into practice, and seeks for more; his mind expands; the field of intelligence opens around, above, beneath him; wide and more widely extends the vision; the past, the present, the future, opens to his view; earth, with its tribes; heaven, with its planets and intelligences; the heaven of heavens, with its brilliant circles of suns, and their myriads of angels and sons of God, basking in sunbeams of pure intelligence, and streams of light and love; each adding to, and mingling in the light of the other, till the whole enlightens the vast universe, both spiritual and physical; and the vision loses itself in its very immensity, on the confines of its own infinitude.

Let a person look back on his past life, carefully review and examine the days of his innocent childhood, his first approaches to temptation, immorality, or crime. Does he not remember to have felt a disagreeable burning in his bosom, a disgust, a trembling of nerve and muscles, a hesitation, in short, a something disapproving of the act he was about to commit? And, if he still persisted, did not this burning and uneasy feeling increase almost to a fever.

Well, reader, this was your monitor–the Spirit of God within you. Had you heeded it, it would have kept you from every temptation and crime.

On the other hand, do you not remember, many times in the course of your life, a fire, a warm glow of joy, a pleasing burning or sensation of pure light and pleasure in your bosom, approving of a good act, or prompting you [109] to do the same? in short, a feeling of pure good will, kind sympathy, and boundless love to all good intelligences, and to man?–a purifying of heart and sentiment, as if you would wish to do good continually, and never sin? They were the promptings of the spark of divinity within you. They were the teachings, inspirations, and whisperings of that light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. It is sweeter than honey; more harmonious than music; more pure than the drops of dew on the roses of Paradise; more tender than the apple of thine eye; and more valuable than the gold of Australia. Blessed are they who cultivate and nourish it in their bosoms, and carry it out in their lives; for it is an emanation from the fountain of eternal life; and those who follow up from whence it came, will arrive at that fountain, as surely as a sunbeam leads upward to the center of light.


On Laws and Governments


Having borne our testimony, as a faithful and true witness of the Gospel, and of things past, present, and to come; we will now give some information on the subject of the laws and governments of men, and the duties we owe to them, and the duties we sustain to them, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ in all the world.

Every government of man is permitted by the Lord, and is needful, until He reign whose right it is to reign; and until He subdue all enemies under His feet.

We are not sent forth to revolutionize the world in a political sense: but to warn the world of approaching events, instruct the ignorant, and call sinners to repentance.

The laws of every land will be our law, in a civil and political sense of the word.

We are in duty bound to obey magistrates, judges, rulers, governors, and kings, who have the legitimate rule in the various countries where we live, or where we travel, or sojourn.

If the spirit of modern European and American institutions, pertaining to liberty of conscience and a free interchange of intercourse, thought, and speech, marches onward from conquest to conquest–and thus opens the [110] way for all nations to diffuse their light, and interchange their knowledge–then, let us rejoice in the same, and improve the opportunity to declare the testimony of Jesus, and publish the Gospel of salvation, the good news of eternal life, wherever the foot of man has made an imprint; wherever sorrow, and tears, and mourning, and death, have cast their shadows of despair.

If the still advancing improvements in steam navigation, in railroad conveyance, and electric communication, follow universally in the wake of freedom’s triumphs and conquests; then, O ye Saints of the Most High! ye Elders and Apostles of Israel,


Let fly your thoughts on the lightning car,

With the speed of light to the realms afar.

Mount, mount the car with the house of fire,

Outstript the wind! he will never tire.

Let the wild-bird scream as he lags behind,

And the hurricane a champion find.

Search the darkest spot where mortals dwell,

With a voice of thunder the tidings tell.

Proclaim the dawn of a brighter day,

When the King of kings will His scepter sway.

Bid pain, and anguish, and sorrow cease,

And open the way for the Prince of Peace,

He will conquer death–bid sorrow flee,

And give to the nations a jubilee!


As you travel from one nation to another, you will find their laws, religions, ordinances, ceremonies, institutions, domestic arrangements, marriages, &c., &c., widely clashing, and at variance with each other, and with the laws of God.

But, remember that yours is a universal commission, of peace on earth and good will to man.

Yours is a proclamation of universal reformation and repentance. You are sent forth, as the ambassadors of the King–the Lord Jesus Christ, to command all persons who have arrived to the years of accountability, to repent and be baptized in His name for the remission of sins. You are sent forth to administer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands in the same holy name.

[111] You are sent forth to bear witness of the truth of this dispensation, and of a crucified and risen Savior. You are sent forth to prophesy, and warn the world of things to come.

You are sent forth to lay your hands on the little children of the members of the church, and bless them, and confirm upon them their Christian names, as members and heirs of the covenant of promise.

You are sent forth to baptize the nations, and thus prepare the way for the coming of the Son of God. You are sent forth to lay your hands on the sick, the lame, the blind, the deaf, the afflicted of every description, who believe in your testimony, and have faith to be healed; yea, verily, to lay your hands on them, and anoint them in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

You are sent forth to command demons, devils, and unclean and foul spirits of every kind, in the name of Jesus Christ, to depart from the tabernacles of persons afflicted by them.

You are sent forth to preach deliverance to the captive, to bind up the broken hearted, and to comfort all who mourn; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.

You are not sent forth to intermeddle with the civil, political, or domestic institutions, established by law, and rendered sacred by antiquity, or long established usage; except in so far as those institutions come in contact with liberty of conscience, and the commandments of Jesus Christ. When the latter is the case, you must obey God rather than man, and take the consequences, or flee to another place.

  1. P. Pratt, President of the Pacific Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mill. Star 14:481-485)



Address by Brigham Young

October 3, 1852


With permission I make a few remarks upon some of those principles that have been set forth by Elder Hyde.

First, I will say a few words pertaining to the resurrection. These principles are interesting. A true [112] knowledge and a correct understanding of them are a source of great comfort and joy to a Saint of God. Brother Hyde, in his remarks, is very cautious, and suggests this and that, as a mere opinion; but it is our privilege to know a great many of these things, from the manifestations of the Holy Ghost to ourselves, by the revelations that have been given to others, and from the teachings of those who have been with us.

In speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as a thief in the night, or like the light of the morning, so that all flesh shall see his glory together, and many more like expressions–combine them all in one, and it creates confusion in the mind.

Again, if we suppose the Savior is coming once for all, and that at His first appearance upon the earth He will destroy all the wicked, and cleanse the earth from its blood and corruption, it would conflict with many other sayings in the Holy Scriptures.

I think a great portion of this people have excellent ideas, and a great many of them have correct ideas with regard to the coming of the Son of Man.

In the first place, allow me to remark, that Jesus is at liberty–He has the power, ability, and the right, whenever He esteems it necessary, to reveal Himself to an individual, or to a community; He will manifest Himself to the congregation while in their public worship, if He pleases. The very nature of the character of the Savior, as we understand His character, gives Him the prerogative of appearing to an individual at noon-day, at midnight, in the morning, or in the evening; where, when, and as He pleases. This is His undoubted right.

In speaking of the resurrection, or of the appearing of the Savior, we read concerning it in the good old Book. When is the first resurrection? If this congregation were to answer this question, what would they say? It is not among those things that are to be; it is in the past; it was when the angels descended, and rolled back the stone from the mouth of the tomb where the Savior lay; when Jesus again resumed His body; that is the first resurrection of a mortal being to immortality upon this earth; it is passed long since.

[113] Those angels went there, what to do? To speak to the sleeping dust, not only of the Savior, but of Abraham for one, in all probability Lot for another, Noah for another, and Moses for another, saying, “Come up from the dead; it is time for your bodies to awake from their sleep of years, and forsake the dusty tomb;” and thus many of the saints were resurrected after the resurrection of Christ; but who believed it? Who knew of it? Who has testified of it? Not any person, only the parties concerned. No historian has ever given an account of it, excepting those who have written the testimony contained in this book, the New Testament, and in the Book of Mormon. These witnesses were personally interested, who are the only testators to this fact. Who believes it in this our day? Those only to whom these things have been revealed. Our fathers and mothers have testified to the doctrine as it is contained in the New Testament; our priests have taught us to believe it as it is written there; but who knows it? Those to whom God has revealed it. These, my brethren, are witnesses that this is my doctrine.

How do we know and understand the things of God? By the light Brother Hyde has been speaking of; Christ is the light of the world, and lighteth every man that cometh into the world, both Saint and sinner; He is the fountain of truth and intelligence to this creation.

I will say further, pertaining to the resurrection, or the coming of the Son of Man. As I have already said, the resurrection has commenced long since; and how do I know but what many have been resurrected since the time the angels rolled away the stone from the sepulcher, and called forth the body of the Savior? The Scriptures say many of the Saints arose and appeared unto many; but how many have been resurrected since then I know not, but I am proud to believe that it is not long; I am happy to believe that the resurrection of the last days is at hand. Who will be raised? The Saints–those who sleep in Jesus; those that have manifested to the Father, to the Son, to the holy angels, and to all their acquaintances upon the earth, that they believe in God, and acknowledge His hand in all things, and have served Him according to the best of their ability. Will Jesus come? Yes.

[114] We will suppose a case. Let this congregation be prepared to receive a visit from the Son of Man; suppose our hearts are sanctified before the Lord, or we have sanctified the Lord God in our hearts, and we are met here to worship Him, to praise Him, where we are enjoying the society of each other, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, secluded from the rude gaze and confused bustle of the world, retired from all the business transactions of human life, with the doors closed, and Jesus comes into our midst, casts off the evil from our eyes, as He did from the eyes of the two disciples that journeyed from Jerusalem, for they did not know Him until He broke bread at supper–suppose He appears in our midst, and rends the veil from our eyes; we shall know Him; He says, “Here are the prints of the nails in my hands, here is the place where my side was pierced, look at them, my brethren and sisters, for I am He.” Every eye will be upon Him, and every heart will love Him. He remains with us for a time, and He is gone.

We spread abroad upon the earth, and bear testimony of what we have seen. I ask, who will believe our testimony? None, unless the Lord deigns to reveal it to them, by an holy angel, or by the manifestation of His own person. We may testify to it until we drop in the grave, to no purpose, unless the Spirit manifests it to them; no person can possibly know it unless God makes it known to him.

This is an item of doctrine I feel to impress upon the minds of this people continually, viz., to live in the light of the Spirit of God, so that every man and woman may have revelations for themselves; for the Spirit of the Lord can instruct you, that you can know for yourselves.

Will the Saints arise from the dead? Yes. Who will know it? But a few. When the resurrection commences, I say but few will know it; and allow me to inform you, when you have seen Joseph, and Hyrum, and Father Smith, and many others, risen from the dead, and you Elders go abroad preaching, you will not tell the world of their resurrection, for they will not believe it. You may testify that Father Smith has arisen, that Joseph and Hyrum again possess their bodies; that they again live in the flesh, and they will laugh you to scorn, and persecute [115] you to the death, if they have the power, for your testimony’s sake.

Thus they will be governed and controlled, and overruled, and led by the principles of the holy Priesthood, and they will never mistrust but that it is the doings of wise men at the head of a powerful nation, schooled in governmental affairs, who know how to control their own nation, and then bring into subjection their neighboring nations, until the whole earth has become subject to them. They will not know that it is the Savior who is ruling King of nations as He does King of Saints. A great portion of the inhabitants of the earth will never mistrust but that it is the effects of the wisdom of men.

The Saints will be instructed how to build up Zion, how to build temples, and do the work of redemption for their dead; and the wicked nations will know nothing about it. When the Millennium is ushered in, no man or woman will know anything about it, only by the power of God. He will rule and reign, and His glory shall be in Zion, and the wicked will not know it is the hand of our God. The Saints will enjoy the light of His countenance, walk therein, and dwell in His presence.

These things are understood by this people; and if there is an Elder in Israel, or a person in this room, who does not believe what I have told them concerning the resurrection, just wait until it comes to pass, and then you will know it for yourselves. I care not whether you believe it or not; but I will tell you what I care for the most, and it is the only thing I do care for–will this people be prepared for this? Will you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and serve Him with all your mind and strength?

I do not care what you believe, for it will never affect or alter that which exists. Will the people serve God, do good, and live comfortably with each other–spread the Gospel abroad, and gather the Saints? I would not give the ashes of a rye straw whether you believe what I tell you about the resurrection, or anything else, or disbelieve it, if you love God and serve Him with all your hearts. You may believe what you like, if you will do good continually, and no evil; if you will never suffer yourselves to commit another sin against God or your neighbor, but always from [116] this morning be full of good acts, serving the Lord with all your hearts.

I will ask the people this morning, before I progress any further, if there are not some few men in the congregation that are so circumstanced as to manifest their kindness by sending out a few more teams to meet the emigrants, for men and women are suffering in the snow. I want to know if there is righteousness enough here to raise about a dozen teams; if you will do this, I care not what you believe about the resurrection, if I can only get religion enough in the people to accomplish that, it will satisfy me for the present. At the close of the meeting, I wish those who are willing to go and help the suffering, to come forward and say they will find teams for the purpose.

I will say a few words about education. I do not know but Elder Hyde is in the line of his duty when he takes up that subject; and it is no matter to me whether it is on the first or seventh day of the week, upon which he shall take up the subject. I think he is a member of the Regency of the University of Deseret. I wish him and every other man to be spirited in it; I wish every parent in the community to try and educate their children; and when they are educating their children, not to forget themselves. Learn how to govern and control yourselves, that when anger comes, you may triumph over it, saying, I do not receive you in my bosom; that when malice approaches you, you can walk over it like a king or a queen, treading it under your feet.

Suppose you take up a class, and try to instill these principles of education in your own hearts, and when your brother misuses you, return him good for evil, and not evil for evil. Can you get up a class in which to teach these lessons? They are excellent for a community, both for old, young, and middle aged, for male and female. Now commence such a school yourselves, that you may know how to walk and act, and converse upon all things that may be brought before you.

If any of the brethren and sisters need lessons on the principles of economy, it would be an excellent thing to get up a class upon that subject; it is true we may be rich, but you can make yourselves degraded, and bring yourselves to [117] beggary. This people live sumptuously; the soil of these valleys produces abundant sustenance by the application of a small amount of labor. We have an abundance of all kinds of vegetables, and of the finest quality; and cattle of the fattest kind, which produce beef of the most delicate flavor. There is need for classes to teach the principles of economy.

If you will permit me, I will give a short detail or sketch of my history. First, on literature: I went to school eleven days, after I was twenty-two years old, which was the most schooling I ever had. Secondly, economy: From the time I was sixteen years of age, I have clothed and fed myself, and helped some of my friends who could not do it for themselves. I have been in the school of economy since I was sixteen. I will give you a short item in my history touching my education in economy. I preached the Gospel two years before I came to Kirtland. I had a little property, which I gave for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God. I said, “Take it out of my way, for I would not give one dime for all creation, I want to go and preach the Gospel.” I came to Kirtland with two children, and no wife; all I had in creation would not have brought thirty-five dollars. I had distributed everything I had, and cried “Life, life, eternal life,” to the people.

Said Brother Joseph to me, “Now go to work and aid in building up Kirtland, and never again assist in building up Gentile cities, and gather together something for yourself.” I did so. Brother Cahoon knows how wages were when I lived in Kirtland; mechanical labor there was worth one dollar per day, and flour sometimes was eleven dollars per barrel. I worked for one dollar per day in the winter, and preached every summer. When Brother Brigham left Kirtland, he left over three thousand dollars’ worth of property, which he had gathered together.

I could sit down and take a class of children and teach them how to be economists. Brother David Elliot, who has just come in, knows all about it. It is for you not to waste your substance. For the time I commenced taking lessons in this church, if I only possessed one dollar or fifty cents, I would inquire of the Lord, saying, Father, let me know how to use this, that I may do good with it; that [118] it may increase in my possession, and multiply, that I may return what is given to me with an increase.

That is the way I have lived, and I can teach men and women how to live, and get rich, if they will hearken to me; but it never can be done by wasting, or being covetous of your substance. God, the Saints, and angels, are not pleased with it. But they are pleased when we convert every item of our ability, principles. I will return again to letters.

There is so much vanity in all there is upon the earth, it is a hard matter to pick out the wheat and let the chaff go. It is like looking for one grain of wheat in five bushels of chaff to get through education. When you get into philosophy and other of the higher branches of erudition, it is much the same. The world are vain with regard to the matter. For instance, the very foundation of the whole superstructure is vanity. I ask little John, a boy of six years of age, to stand before me; I say to him, “John spell sleigh;” he spells it in these letters, s-l-e-i-g-h, and pronounces it sla; he might as well pronounce it ox-yoke, for the letters in the word are as like the one as the other. You next take little Joseph, of three years of age; he has just learned his letters enough to know them, but has not learned enough to put them in syllables, and make words of them; you ask him to spell sleigh, and he will spell it sla; John could not spell it so, because he had been whipped from the truth.

The whole creation are gone after vanity, and after false gods, and false systems, until they are drunken; though not with wine, but with their own folly. Who is there that can pick out the good, and let the evil pass by; select together true principles, and let the rest alone? It is this people; this very congregation, with the assistance of God, are the people to do it in the last days. For my own diversion, allow me to look at this people and look at the world–what do they say of the Latter-day Saints? Why they say they are a perfect anomaly, a perfect miracle, as well as an anomaly. It is hard for me to divine what they would think about this congregation, in their sober moments. Suppose it were possible to summon the world before this people, wealth and power among them. All the [119] big and little kings would explain, “We are afraid of this kingdom; it is but a little nation, there are but few of them, it is true, but we are afraid of them.”

What is the matter, O ye Kings? Look at your numbers; see the millions you possess; only think of the vast concourse of people that compose the nations of the earth. You may take the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, China, yea all the world, and the Latter-day Saints are hardly a speck in creation compared with them, and yet they create more terror among the nations than all the rest combined together.

What is the matter? They are united. What says the United States? “Let us send a governor there; let us send our judges there.” But what do they cry? “We have no influence of power, for there are other men there who rule, and we cannot help it; they have the reins of government, and turn the people whithersoever they will, and we cannot help ourselves.”

What did a gentleman say to Mr. Fillmore? Said he, “You need not send anybody there, for Brigham Young is Governor, and he will govern the people all the time; and there is no other man that can govern them.” If there is any truth in this, it is, he will do so as long as the Lord lets him.

The Lord is with us; the love of God is in this people; and furthermore, the truth is, we have got more wisdom than all the world besides, if we are what we profess to be, for we have learned to serve the Lord. Is there any man can control this people, or lead them, but myself? I say, abstract from the power of God; could I do it without that? No. I have got cunning and wisdom enough about me to know that I cannot do this unless God sustains me; that I cannot be sustained by Him, unless I live so from day to day, that I can have the Holy Ghost, and the revelations of heaven, for myself, and for this people; otherwise I should be of no use to them.

If my brethren and sisters have wisdom enough to cleave to the Lord, and live in the light of His countenance, they will know enough to cleave one to the other; and when men are ordained to preach the Gospel to the nations, they will know enough to gather up the poor Saints, and especially to go out after those who are in the [120] snow; build temples, get their endowments, and the wisdom they need to come up in the resurrection of the just with the sanctified. May the Lord God in Heaven bless you; and I bless you. Amen. (Mill. Star 16:593-597; DNW 4:52)



Address by Brigham Young

General Conference, SLC

October 6, 1852


I expect, in all probability, I shall be able to say very little during this Conference. My lungs are in such a state that as soon as I talk long enough to entertain a congregation, they severely afflict me.

I have a few texts to give to the brethren who may speak, upon some of the items I wish to be laid before the Conference for your contemplation. The first I have noted is a question–Shall we commence to build a Temple next spring, in order that we may receive our endowments more fully? There are many in this congregation who are aware that we do not give all the endowments, neither can we, legally, until we build a Temple. Again, those parts that are already given, and will be given, in the place that we at present use, will be given over again in the Temple when it is finished. The endowments we now give are given merely by permission, as we have not a house in which to officiate in these ordinances of salvation, that is legal, though we have got a comfortable place, which we have dedicated to the Lord; and the brethren who go therein, know and can bear testimony whether the Spirit of the Lord is there or not.

The next thing I present is–We want workmen; masons to erect a wall around the Temple Block. We wish to have a wall to secure the block, that when we commence the Temple we shall not be under the necessity of being thronged and overrun by spectators. A portion of the wall on the north side is already built of stone, and rises about four feet above the surface of the earth; and we anticipate placing about ten feet of adobie work upon that–the whole to be crowned with a picket fence of six feet, making the entire wall about twenty feet high above the ground.

[121] The next item or text is–We want one hundred families to go to Iron County, where we expect to manufacture iron. I will say, for the consolation of those who love money, and feel as though they cannot do without it, as soon as these iron works are in successful operation, that will be a monied place.

We also want one hundred families to go to Millard County; that is the intended seat of government for this territory; it is a beautiful valley, and one of the best we have yet settled.

The next that I will notice is–We want some twenty missionaries to travel through these settlements. One hundred have already been appointed to go into all the world; and the number may be swelled a little more, previous to the departure of that part of the mission that is to proceed south. We think those brethren whom we shall appoint to travel at home can be as useful here as in any part of the world, to instruct, comfort, and build up the Saints in the most holy faith.

The next thing I have noted, may perhaps be to some a novelty. What was said here last Sabbath by Brother Call, and others, gives rise to this text, which I put forth for the brethren to preach upon. It is for the idlers and loafers to build me a good house. These men complain about me living on the tithing; but the truth is, I have never asked for one bushel of wheat, a single load of wood, or for the church to build me a house. If any complain about the First Presidency living on tithing, I want these men to build me a fine commodious house, worth about 25,000 dollars.

My next text is, for this people not to peddle away their wheat as they do at present, and as they did last year; not to sell your wheat for fifty cents per bushel, for, in all probability, you will have to buy it back again from the same men at four or five dollars per bushel. I will say still further upon this subject–if this community do not appreciate the blessings of the Lord, given to us from our mother earth–for our Heavenly Father causes her to bring forth in her strength, for the brethren and sisters who come here from far off countries–I tell you, in the name of the Lord God, I know the gate of plenty will be shut down, and your wheat and corn will be blasted; the earth [122] will cease to yield in her strength, if this people do not appreciate their blessings, and improve upon them. Further, if this people appreciate these blessings, we will see the time yet, in these mountains, when the people will come from our native countries for bread. If we are faithful, if we are true, if we are humble, and appreciate the blessings of Heaven that are poured upon us, and improve upon them, strangers will seek bread at our hands; but if we neglect our duty–if we become proud, idle, selfish, or covetous, and forget our God, the earth will cease to yield her fruits: they will be blasted, and will be in poverty; that, you may be assured of, brethren and sisters.

These texts I have given to the brethren, and I will say to the congregation–if there is any man who feels that he wants to pour out his soul here, before the people–come into this pulpit; we are your brethren. If your heart fails you–if you have not confidence to come to the stand, you may have the privilege of rising upon your feet in the congregation. We have come together to worship the Lord, to build up His Kingdom. This Conference is for the purpose of contemplating, not directly upon that which concerns us in the present tense, but to lay plans for future life: we are endeavoring to lay the foundation for future exaltation and happiness. This is the place to contemplate those things that our physical energies can act upon for our future course, administration, labors, &c. We are gathered together in this conference to talk over the things of God, and what will be for the best interest of His Kingdom on earth–to thank and praise Him for what He has done, and is doing, and will do for us, if we are faithful. God bless you. Amen. (Mill. Star 15:130-132, printed Feb. 26, 1853, DNW 2:98)



Address by Brigham Young

General Conference, SLC

October 7, 1852


[Nathan Tanner moved that the mill be sold, and the (Seventies) Hall be thrown up. Seconded, but not carried.]

President B. Young–I requested Brother Tanner to make that motion. A man that is not smart enough to live [123] in this city, is not fit to preside over this body of men. When God calls a man to preside, He gives him wisdom to preside, so heap the blame on to me. I want to let you know I have heard all that has been said this evening. I will appeal to every Seventy who was in Nauvoo, whether that Hall was not a credit to the Seventies, it was so admitted in New York and in England. I was the designer of that Hall, and I am ashamed of it; it is too small. To do credit to this body of men, let them build a Hall that will contain 15,000 persons; the Seventies were laying plans in Winter Quarters, to get nails and glass for a hall in the mountains.

This body of men have the privilege of building a hall, and it will belong to the Church. I have not the least fear of any division in this church, for I can turn them whithersoever I will. (Amen.)

There is a foundation laid to build upon. (He then spoke in praise of John D. Lee building the hall in Nauvoo.)

We will build our temples and our halls of science ourselves, for the Lord has suffered us to be driven 1000 miles from any place, and we have got to build for ourselves. My good sense taught me that the Seventies would want a hall, and I say, Stretch forth on the right and on the left, in the front and in the rear, and show what you can do.

I wish to ask this people if you know the doctrine you have been teaching? What is to be done to prepare this earth for a millennium? These Latter-day Saints have got to do it, or else they will be removed, and others will be placed in their stead. Can you and I do anything but what God requires at our hands, or what He approbates in the Heavens?

Joseph received the pattern of the temple in Kirtland, and said he to me, if the people would do as they were told, it would be superfluous to have a revelation. And if you are covetous and indolent, you may get a revelation in regard to this hall. The nerve, bone, and sinews, are the only capital to build with, and no other capital exists in reality. One-third of the capital of the Saints should go to enhance the beauty of the city, but let them hoard it up, and they are a poor, poverty-stricken people.

[124] If this plain, simple building (the Tabernacle) were now lying in its native state, you would not be as rich as you are today. Can you build that hall? Yes, I can build it myself.

Gentlemen, your hall is commenced, and if there is anything to regret, on my part, it is that the hall is too insignificant; and yet it can’t be beat in America. It would be an ornament to any street in London.

I can go and pick up the very property now, that will be lost in one year to come, in horses, oxen, &c., and that very property will be sufficient to build it. Now make yourselves poor, and [I can] then show you how to make yourselves rich again; that is on rational principles. If you want a hall, go and build it. You can’t find a man who has been here two years, but can get his bread and garden sauce. “Mormonism” has done all for me, and I always thank God, that He sent Joseph, the Prophet, to reveal His will. (Mill. Star 15:386, printed June 18, 1853; DNW 2:104)



The Ways of God, and the Ways of Men

Deseret News editorial

Millennial Star, October, 16, 1852


One of the greatest desires of the Saints is to live to do good, to help build up the Kingdom of God. To those who live in obedience to all the requirements of heaven, death has no terrors; but as the quiet, peaceful sleep of the infant imparts renewed life and vigor, so does death open anew, life to the Saints, as his spirit enters the Paradise of increased happiness and glory among the spirits of the sanctified ones, where they are waiting for their bodies to arise and re-unite, that their souls may be immortalized in newness of life, and enter into the immediate presence of their Eternal Father.

Far different with the unbeliever; he desires to live that he may enjoy life, and escape the fearful looking for of judgment, or a world unknown, for better or worse he knows not, but fears the worst; and therefore wishes to tarry as long as possible where he is. He fears to meet his last great enemy, death, lest the grim monster should introduce him to some region of despair, where he will [125] find all his faint hopes of an immortal glory for ever blasted, and where the voice of mercy will no more sound its peaceful notes in his doubting ear.

He knows not the purpose for which he came into the world; he knows not the God who sent him here; he knows not the fate that awaits him at his departure; he has seen his fellows come and go, till he is assured that his turn must follow, like all others, and he is all his life long subject to bondage through fear of that uncertain hereafter, concerning which no traveler returns to give him information; he lies down in misery, and awakes in torment, wishing that he knew what he is ignorant of, and forgetting that those who will not listen to the voice of God’s Prophets, would not believe though one should return to them from the dead. Gold is his god; he worships it at morning and evening, at midday and midnight; and could he have his wish thus far, would seat his last remains, the skeleton of his wasted body, on his golden coffers, to protect the object of his worship from desecration when his spirit shall have taken its departure to the dark, unknown regions of futurity.

Not so with the Saints, who esteem the present only as a preparation for the future; who know and feel that earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein; that what they possess is a stewardship for the passing moment; that having nothing of their own, they can take nothing with them when they depart hence; and if they could take all their gold, and silver, and substance, in their coffins with them, it would do them no good; for all those things that perish with the using are of no value only as they are used for some valuable and useful purpose; and as there is no word, device, or knowledge in the grave, they have no desire to take with them that which they cannot use, and the want of which would deprive others, who remain, of the privilege of doing good, and thus far destroy the end of the creation of those good things, good only for the good which may be done with them.

Loving others as they love themselves, and doing to their neighbors as they would be done unto, they want no means of doing good to be in their hands unimproved, but desire to put everything which God has put in their hands, [126] to be applied in the most active and useful way to promote the best interest of the Redeemer’s Kingdom, and the greatest amount of happiness that mortals are capable of experiencing here, to prepare them for a more exalted degree of felicity hereafter.

Bad as the world is, and all things connected therewith, it is the privilege of the Saints to live as perfect in their sphere and calling, and according to their knowledge, here in this state of probation, as it will be in the world which is to come; if it were not so, why do they pray their Heavenly Father that His will may be done on the earth as it is done in the heavens? And who will do the will of God on the earth as it is done in the heavens, if the Saints will not, do not, do it? Surely no one; for it is those, and those alone, that do the will of God, who are Saints.

In vain ye call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say, says the Savior. If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments; love is the fulfilling of the law. Men do that which they love to do; those who hate God, hate His law, and of course will not keep or abide it; and those who cannot abide the law of God on the earth, will not do His will on the earth; and consequently will not be prepared to abide the celestial law which governs God and all beings who dwell in His presence in the heavens.

As there is no space where there is no kingdom, there is no kingdom where there is no space. Where there is no law, there is no kingdom; and where there is no kingdom, there is no law; for all kingdoms are composed of intelligent existence or beings, and all beings are subjects of law more or less perfect in themselves, according to the intelligence and purity of the beings to whom the law is given, so far as God’s laws are concerned. Where there is no law, there can be no transgression; and where intelligent beings cannot transgress or do wrong, there is no test of their good or evil properties, passions, propensities, or acts; no test by which they can be judged, praised or blamed, punished or rewarded, for what they do.

A kingdom implies a king or lawgiver, laws, and subjects to be governed by those laws; and neither of the three can be without the others, and a perfect kingdom [127] exists; even the kingdom of Satan has the three; the devil is his own king and lawgiver, so far as his power extends, and has his laws and subjects. A telestial being is not capable of keeping a terrestrial law, for want of knowledge; a terrestrial being is not capable of keeping a celestial law for want of knowledge; and he is not capable of receiving that knowledge for want of capacity; his soul is not sufficiently expanded, the terrestrial law fills him full, and he cannot retain more. When any measure is full, to add more is to waste; it will run over and be lost.

As with measures, so with intelligences; when a man is filled with the intelligence, the law pertaining to the kingdom which he inhabits, he can receive no more, he can retain no more; and if a law of higher order were given to him, he would have no room for it, no capacity to improve by it.

Before man sinned, he was perfect in the sphere in which he was placed; and his Creator and Lawgiver gave him but one law, one command or prohibition, and that as a test of his obedience; all things connected with the kingdom in which he lived, and on the earth committed to his charge, were at his disposal, and he was permitted to give free scope to all his desires, and do as he pleased, in his sphere, just as his God did in His, if he would only keep one simple, plain, and easy-to-be-understood law; but the moment he sinned he was under the curse of that broken law, and many privileges and blessings which he had before enjoyed were taken from him, his hitherto almost unlimited freedom and liberty were taken from him, by his lawgiver’s giving him other laws more restricting in their nature, or more extensive in their operation, depriving him of blessings before enjoyed, as a punishment for the one he had broken.

This course God has pursued with His people in all dispensations. The law was changed to Adam to suit his acts and circumstances. The law to Israel, in the days of Moses, was changed to suit their acts and circumstances. God changes not; He does right all the time, and most peculiarly in this one thing He does not vary, wherein He shows His disposition to do good unto, and to bless, His children in that He always adapts His laws to their capacities and necessities. When Israel would not keep the [128] law of the higher Priesthood, God took it from their midst, in mercy to them, lest they should utterly destroy themselves by sinning against it; and left the lesser Priesthood with them, and the law of carnal commandments, as a school-master, to preserve them a distinct nation, until they should repent, and be ready to receive, and then He was ready to restore the higher Priesthood, which He did in the person of Christ.

Again, to save man from sinning so that he would be obliged to be destroyed from the earth before the earth had filled up the measure of its creation, He wisely received the Holy Priesthood up into heaven, and with it the opening door to a celestial law and celestial glory; and left man to wander on the earth for centuries in such darkness and ignorance, that he could not commit the unpardonable sin, and utterly and forever destroy himself from the presence of his Maker; leaving yet a door of hope, through future preaching of the Gospel, to those ignorant beings in the prisons of their spirits while His body was resting in the sepulcher.

The Eternal Father, having beheld the wickedness of man for many generations; that he had transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant–the only covenant by which he could hope for forgiveness here or hereafter; that the earth was hastening to its consummation, and fast filling up the measure of its creation; that the Sabbath of days, since the end of its creation numbering with the seventh day, or Sabbath of days during its creation or formation, according to the measurement of time at the planet Kolob, the residence of the Creator; and knowing that without His interposition those living on the earth, those who had lived on the earth, without the Gospel, and the earth itself, could not be prepared for celestial glory, sent forth His holy angels, and committed the greater and the lesser Priesthoods unto His servant Joseph Smith, who, by the virtue and power of that Priesthood, established the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth; committed that same Priesthood to many others; opened up the way of life and salvation to the presence of the Father, to the earth and all beings thereon who would receive the glad tidings; sealed his testimony with his blood; and fell asleep with all the [129] martyred Prophets which had gone before him to celestial Paradise.

And what was the first great and all-important law given to the Saints through Joseph, for the establishing of the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth in this dispensation? Would you say faith, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost? All this was required of sinners, that they might become Saints; always was, and always will be, required of the inhabitants of the earth that they may be Saints, and without all these things no one can be a Saint.

As every kingdom requires a space, and without a space there can be no kingdom, it was necessary there should be a space for the Kingdom of God on earth. And God, foreseeing this, raised up wise men, long before the opening of this last dispensation, and revealed to them a Constitution and form of political government on this land, under which all men could worship God according to their own consciences, and no one should be molested in his worship according to the laws of the land. And knowing also that this government, the best of all governments, in common with all other governments, had assumed to itself the right to control the land which He had formed for the benefit of the creatures of His creation, commanded His Saints to gather up their money, and all their money, without regard to the amount, and send their wise men with it to purchase land, so that there might be a space on the earth where His Church and Kingdom might be established, and no one could have it to say, that space, that land is mine, and the Saints have robbed me.

Did the Saints abide this great command? Some did, and some did not. There were some who sent all they could to purchase land for the establishment of Zion, and there were many who sent little or none, pretending they had none; that what they had was a wife’s or children’s dowry, and they must not dispose of it; and many excuses were invented by the Saints to keep their money, and comparatively but little land was purchased; and what was the result? They were few in numbers, and their enemies came upon them, and overcame them, and scattered them, just [130] as the Prophet Joseph told them they would, if they did not keep the commandment.

From that day almost to the present, the Saints have been driven from city to city, and from place to place; their lives have been wasted from the earth, till few who then were, are left to bear witness of their scourgings; and enough of their property has been wasted to have purchased a resting-place a thousand times; but no thanks to the wicked who have done this scourging, for God will require it at their hands in His own time; and although He uses the wicked as a rod to chastise His people when they transgress, and will not abide His law, they, the wicked, do it voluntarily, in the exercise of their agency; and they must be responsible for their acts, and sooner or later suffer the penalty due their crimes.

But to the Saints, in the opening of this last dispensation, as at the introduction of man on the earth, God gave the most perfect law He could give for the rapid furtherance of His Kingdom, for the good of His people, and endeavored to instill into their minds, that, as they had enlisted in the greatest and most glorious cause that could be instituted, they ought to consider all they possessed as a loan from their Creator and King, who owned all things; and they ought to use it all freely for the advancement of His Kingdom, without querying or gainsaying; not counting themselves or anything they possessed as their own, but that they had been bought with a price, which blood or treasure could never pay; and themselves and all their possessions were ever ready at the call of their Master, to be used even when He would.

To whom was this law of consecration given? To the Saints, before they had proved themselves disobedient, and for the simple reason that they might receive the greatest blessings possible, through the rapid building up of the Kingdom of God. Did they keep the law? No! They refused and were scattered. And what was the result? The law of tithing was given. To whom? To the Saints, after they had proved by their acts that they would not keep the law of consecration. Did the law of tithing abrogate or destroy the law of consecration? By no means; it is just as good now as it was before the law of tithing was given.

[131] When the more perfect law of consecration was rejected, the Lord gave the law of tithing. Why? Because God works by means. He formed the world out of the abundance of material that had existed from eternity, and in eternity, and used means to mold and fashion those materials in the form He desired, and used means for the accomplishment of all His works. And in this thing He gives an example to His people, and requires them to use means in building up His Kingdom, and without means He will not have it built. And as all means in creation were His own, He required all He had committed to His Saints, as His stewards, to be brought into use. And when He had proved that they would not do it, He gave them the least law He could give them, consistent with His proposes, and that was one tenth. And all who are not willing to do that much out of their stewardship, for the advancement of the cause they profess to love above all others, are not worthy to be called Saints, or disciples of Jesus.

And what has been the result? From the day the law of tithing was given, the Saints have been querying whether they understand it; whether they understand just how to divide a beef, as they have but one, and it is not clear in their minds how to arrange all the different parts, so as to select one-tenth of the value of the whole; or how many bushels of wheat they must tithe out of a thousand, when they have paid labor-tithing for every day in the year? Or whether labor-tithing is due at all, while engaged in gardening or farming? Or if they have but eight pigs, whether they shall tithe them at all, seeing they cannot divide equally without killing one?

Truly may it be said of all Saints who have admitted such queries, and a thousand more of a similar nature, or any queries at all, into their minds about the law of tithing, that they have not understood the subject. They have been looking at the shadow, and neglecting the substance having forgotten, or knowing not what manner of persons they ought to be, or what the law of the Priesthood requires.

What, children of the Kingdom and Saints of the Most High God, who are looking for and anticipating thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and exaltations in the eternal worlds, and joint heirship [132] with their beloved Savior to all the glories of His Father’s Kingdom, stooping to admit the temptations of Satan into their souls for one moment, so as to query how they shall divide one-tenth of their possessions and income with Him who has lent them all they have, (for they own nothing) and that, too, in the very generation when their God and King had given them a great and glorious law; and they have failed to comply, and lost its benefits and blessings; and on account of the slothfulness, and covetousness, and ignorance, and idolatry that still entwine around them, a new law has been forced, as it were, from the Courts of Glory, the least law that could be given, and the same that was given to ancient Israel in their slothfulness and backwardness in duty; and that, too, that they might attain to salvation with the least faith and works possible! And yet stop to query?

How are you going to get salvation without the ordinances which produce it? And how will you get those ordinances without a place in which to administer? And what is a Temple of the Lord for, but for the Saints to receive of those ordinances which will secure their own salvation and exaltation, with their friends, living and dead? And will mortals, beings destined to the glory you are hoping for and believing in, stoop to inquire about the division of a tenth of your possessions, the mere fruits of a broken but far more full and perfect law, which you ought to have kept, and had you kept which, no soul in Zion would ever have had occasion to say, I am poor, or lack for the comforts of life; for when God’s people do His will, He pours them out blessings till they have not room to receive, and their enemies have no power over them.

Ask those few, who have been devoting all their time and talents and substance to the building up of the Kingdom, if they regret their course. Ask many more, who have been handing over to the Lord’s storehouse without weight or measure for the last six months, if they would exchange the joy they feel at having laid aside their tithing queries, and risen in their feelings towards the fuller enjoyment of the higher law of consecration, by their acts, if they would exchange those good feelings for all the gold of California.

[133] When the Saints have paid their tithe, or one-tenth of all to the last farthing, how much have they paid? Just one tenth of what the law of God requires of them, only as they have made void that law through their transgressions; and if the Saints should turn to the Lord with their whole heart and substance, and consecrate themselves and all the Lord has lent them, to His service, even to the free offering of their lives, if need be, without the Lord’s inviting them to it, they would never hear the law of tithing mouthed to them again; they would soon feel that it was a law for a rebellious people, and not for them; that they lived above it, and had no use for it; and the joy of one year living in such obedience, would overbalance all the joys of their former lives, and the angels of heaven would be their companions by night and by day, and they could converse with them as with each other.

But what does the Lord want of so much tithing and consecration? To build Temples? No! He doesn’t want any of your money. He is not coming down here to work and build houses; He has been here and done His work, and He wants you to use your own means and do your own building. Does He want a Temple wherein He can receive His endowment? No! He received His endowment a long time ago, and see that you receive your endowments as He has His, that where He has gone you may go also, and dwell with Him forever.

Of late, particularly, many of the brethren have done nobly, and God has poured out His Spirit more abundantly, and the Saints have rejoiced more than ever; and we write not to find fault with any, but to spread before you the simple truth, praying that your minds may be opened to its reception, that your souls may expand, and your faith increase, so that you may have power to do more and more, and help to roll on the Kingdom of God faster and faster, that Zion may be built up, the Temple of the Lord be reared, salvation flow forth to the honest in heart of all nations, and the earth be purified and made ready, while the Saints shall stand in holy places, and watch the coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory. (Mill. Star 14:529-533)



[134]                     Government of Our Thoughts

From Edmondson’s “Self-Government”

Millennial Star, October 30, 1852


The government of our thoughts, though exceedingly difficult, is absolutely necessary. Thought is the spring of human conduct, and if that be impure, the streams of life must be polluted. To succeed in this arduous duty, every thought must be brought into captivity and obedience to Christ; or must we for a moment, indulge a thought which would offend our blessed Lord and Master. We cannot always prevent the entrance of improper thoughts into our minds. They frequently come without our consent; but, by the grace of God, we can banish them in a moment. When they are indulged, we contract guilt; but when we resist them, we preserve our innocence. They may grieve us; but, while we are on our guard, they cannot do us any harm. When cherished, they take deep root, and engross our whole attention; but when resisted, they perish, and we come off more than conquerors. It is a pleasant circumstance that our fellow men, with whom we are intimately connected, cannot see our thoughts; but it is an awful reflection that they lie naked and open to Him who will be our Judge in the last great day! On that account, as well as our present peace and comfort, we should be watchful and circumspect.

In a moral and religious point of view, the government of our thoughts requires peculiar care and circumspection. For instance, uncharitable thoughts of other men should be resisted with abhorrence, and we should ever put the best construction on all they say or do. Impure thought should have no place in our hearts, because, whenever they are indulged, impure actions must necessarily follow, if opportunities are favorable. Covetous or avaricious thought should be nipped in the bud, because they produce fraud, injustice, and oppression. It is madness to indulge ambitious thought; for the honors of this world, to which they aspire, are only shining bubbles upon the angry waves. Murmuring and repining thoughts are foul reflections upon God and His providence, and, for that reason, should be suppressed; for, whatever our weakness may suggest, God governs the world on the [135] principles of wisdom, justice, and goodness. Revengeful thoughts are expressly forbidden. When we feel them spring up, let us recollect what our Lawgiver has said, “vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord,” Romans xii. 9. In short we should constantly employ our thoughts on good and useful subjects, making an unalterable rule, that, whatever temptations assail us, no thought which is evil in itself, or hurtful in its tendencies, shall lodge in our breasts. (Mill. Star, October 30, 1852)




Millennial Star editorial

November 13, 1852


Men in their ambition have ever sought for power, to rule and to exercise a controlling influence over their fellow men, and generally but little regard has been had to the way and means by which they have come into possession of such power, neither when obtained, has it been always used with an eye single to the benefit or salvation of mankind. The desire, we admit, is a very natural one, from the fact that man is designed by God, and capacitated in his organization to be a ruler in a greater or lesser degree in the many grades that exist, from having rule over his own passions, propensities, and person, to that of a family, tribe, community or society, a state or nation, an empire or a kingdom; and even his ambition may aspire to rule the world, or like God, peradventure, to sway the scepter of unnumbered worlds.

All power is not immediately derived from the same source, but all legitimate right of Government is in the Priesthood of God. Tyrants and usurpers, under the titles of Emperors, Kings, and Presidents, have dominion upon the earth, which has been obtained, and is maintained, by the sword and by blood, all of which is a usurpation of power, gained by might, and not by right. The very sound of the word Priesthood, to every man who has a correct idea of the government of God, imparts a sensation that either elevates his soul with joy, or if he feel its influence is not within this reach, it abandons him to despair. It implies a divine right to govern and control, exercised by God, and imparted to whom He will; and when held by [136] man under His approbation, is superior to every other power, and therefore cannot virtually be called in question by any other. This right of government is so secured that no man can take the honor or power thereof unto himself, for God calls whom He will, and confers it upon him in His own appointed way; hence no man can obtain it without believing and confessing that there is a medium of immediate communication between him and his God; and all men who are called as was Aaron, by direct revelation, and ordained unto the Holy Priesthood, are ordained for men, in things pertaining to God, that reconciliation may be brought to pass.

By this we learn that the Priesthood administers in a perfect organization or government, because it is the government ordained, upheld, by a perfect Being. It is a holy and just authority, because it administers in things pertaining to God, and partakes of the virtue of all His attributes. It is reasonable, then, for us to conclude that God would require obedience and respect to be paid to His government wherever found, and that those who hold the Priesthood should be recognized as His messengers.

Upon a point so self-evident, we have no need to reason further to authorize us to remark, that in the administration of a perfect law, there must be perfect obedience to that law, on the part of the subjects who are governed by it; otherwise there is a violation of the law, which must be atoned for by the transgressor; if it were not so, the honor of the law would not be maintained; but the Law of God, being perfect, not only provides for the salvation of all through mercy, but it is also armed with justice, that its supremacy may be maintained by meting out a just recompense to the transgressor.

This Priesthood is now among men upon the earth, and is in successful operation for their salvation. The King himself, who holds all power in this Priesthood, was upon the earth more than eighteen hundred years ago, and desired to reign by virtue of it, but mankind would not suffer Him. He was holy, but men were so wicked they could not appreciate His goodness, nor His power; therefore they destroyed Him, and would not suffer Him to live upon the earth. And what was the result? That same holy power and saving influence which He possessed He [137] conferred upon men, who were not so perfect as Himself, and ordained them to be the medium of His power, that peradventure their labors and ministrations might be more adapted to the low, groveling, and degraded condition of those who were to receive them, and because of it, be better appreciated than His labors and motives were.

The minds of men generally are not capacitated to receive the ministrations of perfect beings; hence each grade of intelligences is administered unto by the next above in capacity, power, and glory, like unto the way of life to a Saint, which is from grace to grace, and from faith to faith, living by that which is in part until that which is perfect shall come. When the government of God is thoroughly established upon the earth, through the immediate agency of men and angels under God’s own supervision, and has so far gained the supremacy over contending powers, that the King’s person can be safe among men, and be duly honored by them, then will He again come to reign, and bring in that which is perfect; then shall a universal day of peace and righteousness be enjoyed by those who inherit the earth; for the King has decreed that all who cannot abide and honor the perfect administration of His laws in that day, shall be destroyed from off the earth.

According to examples which are recorded in sacred writ, and which have actually been witnessed by many of the saints of the present dispensation, men are called to receive the Priesthood, and in virtue of it, perform a certain work for which they seem adapted, and afterwards they are suffered to dishonor that Priesthood by using the influence which they have gained, to lead others astray; and thereby dishonor and reproach have at times been brought upon those who considered it a duty to listen to their counsel. By being enabled thus to accomplish their covetous, lustful, and unlawful ends, they have brought disgrace and suffering upon others, incurred the wrath of God and the disapprobation of His people upon themselves, and the power of the Priesthood has altogether departed from them, for its virtue will not abide with those who violate its laws.

[138] Because of those facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked–to what extent is obedience to those who hold the Priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all Saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to be tamely and blindly subject to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God, who seeks for the redemption of his fellows, would despise the idea of seeing another become his slave, who had an equal right with himself to the favor of God; he would rather see him stand by his side, a sworn enemy to wrong, so long as there was place found for it among men. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority, have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that by their Presidents, they should do it without asking any questions.

When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience, as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves, and wish to pave the way to accomplish that wrong; or else because they have done wrong, and wish to use the cloak of their authority to cover it with, lest it should be discovered by their superiors, who would require an atonement at their hands.

We would ask, For what is the Priesthood given unto men? It is that they may have a right to administer the law of God. Have they then a right to make void that law? Verily no. When the law of God has gone forth from His own mouth, and been declared by the mouths of His [139] Prophets and Apostles, saying, “Thou shalt not lie;” who can say by the virtue of his Priesthood, “You may lie and be approved?” The Lord and His Prophets have declared it as a law unto His people, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Then who can say, “Thou mayest commit adultery, and it will be no sin?” It is written as a law unto the Saints, “Thou shalt not kill.” Then we ask again, “Who can kill and be forgiven?” And in like manner it might be asked of all the laws of God, “Who has the right to make them void?” None can revoke the decree but Him by whom it was given; neither can the laws of God be trampled upon with impunity, or revoked by a lesser power than that by which they were framed. It is written of God, that He cannot lie; then none need suppose that He will approve of it through His authority which is on the earth; neither is He the Son of Man that He should repent, therefore He will maintain the law by which His Kingdom is governed. Should any think that they can give counsel to gratify their lusts, or answer avaricious ends, and say, “No one seeth us,” while they indulge therein, and delight in sin as a sweet morsel, they will learn with sorrow, that an eye which never sleeps has been upon their path, and He that seeth in secret shall make manifest, and reward openly every man according to his deeds, whether good or evil.

If a man could have as much authority as the Almighty, it would not authorize him to do wrong, nor counsel another to do wrong; and the man that will administer with partiality, for the sake of screening iniquity, will find his stewardship will be taken from him.

In administering the government of God, there are three parties concerned, viz., the subject who is governed, the person who governs, and the person by whose permission, or under whose approbation, he governs. Should a person be required to violate a known law by his President, or if he is not satisfied with the counsel which he gives, he should not openly reel against that President, but if they cannot see eye to eye, he should appeal privately to the next higher power or President, and where three are thus brought together who have a spirit to do right, right will prevail, and harmony be maintained. While such is the character of God’s government that its [140] genius and policy are to the end that iniquity may be swept from off the earth, persons need not think to excuse themselves for performing a known unlawful act simply because they were told to do it by another; if such an excuse as this would justify, none would ever need to come under condemnation; for men would be sure to find some one on whom to lay the burden of their sins. The day has come when everyone may expect to answer for their own sins, without attempting to cloak them with another’s Priesthood.

Great is the responsibility of that man who is called to give counsel which involves the salvation of another; and when such counsel is given, it should be of that pure character, that the powers above him upon the earth, with angels and God, can approve. He will then have no occasion to destroy his own influence and power by telling others that it will be no sin for them to commit adultery, to lie, or steal, &c., &c., if they are told to do it by the Priesthood, and thereby pervert the right ways of the Lord, and bring reproach upon the honor of His cause. The Lord asks for no such confidence in His Priesthood as this, neither do good men who are under its influence. The Priesthood never demands a wrong at the hands of another, though men who hold the Priesthood may make such a demand, as has sometimes been the case, and for which they have had to suffer.

Where the authority of God is, there should the confidence of all men be reposed, sufficiently to obey its laws, but not to violate them; for we have not yet learned that it has power enough to save the transgressor in his sins. Some men have been so wise as to think the little authority they had was sufficient for them to set aside law and revelation, and meet out justice and judgment upon their own responsibility. But in the end they have found that responsibility to be greater than they could bear.

These sentiments are not advanced with the idea of defining the limits of Divine authority, nor that any one can find language to portray the extent of the rights and powers of the Priesthood: for to fully comprehend it, would be to comprehend God. But they are offered with the consideration that Saints may be led to see the skill and wisdom manifested in its organization; how safely it is [141] guarded from the impositions of men, and the impossibility of sin prevailing where it is duly and wisely administered, and that none need be imposed upon if they understand the rights and privileges which it guarantees to them: then, if they do not avail themselves of those rights, they are left without excuse. Extreme exercise of power, in cases of such importance, and upon matters of such infinite moment, should be studiously avoided, when we consider that every one must render a faithful account of his stewardship.

Some have supposed that the more authority men have in the Kingdom of God, the greater is their liberty to disregard His laws, and that their greatness consists in their almost unlimited privileges, which leave them without restrictions; but this is a mistaken idea. Those who are the greatest in authority, are under the greatest restrictions; the law of their sphere is greater than that of those who are less in power, and the restrictions and penalty of that law are proportionally great; therefore they are under the greater obligation to maintain the virtue of the law and the institutions of God, otherwise confidence could not be reposed in them, but distrust and evil surmisings would be the result; disaffection would be found lurking in every avenue of society, and by thus severing the cords of union, it would prove the destruction of any people.

A voice from the heavens has again been heard breaking the silence of ages, with a purpose and determination to establish the Kingdom of God, and introduce a Celestial Government upon the earth; and if mankind will respect and obey those laws when revealed to them, they shall be saved, and inherit a celestial glory. Therefore, had we a voice like the sound of the trump of the Archangel, that could be heard by all living, or had we the power of a God to penetrate and make every heart to feel and realize the truth, we would proclaim it abroad in the ears of all living–Repent ye, repent ye, for the hour of God’s judgment has come, and the transgressor shall perish from off the earth, while the meek shall be redeemed to inherit it forever. (Mill. Star 14:593-596)



[142]               Reflections on the Religion of Heaven

and the Religion and Wisdom of Man

Elder W. G. Mills

December 18, 1852


Man is a progressive being: his mind is constituted to expand and enlarge, and to grasp all intelligence from every source; by which he becomes a distinguished creature, and answers the end of his creation; approximating to the perfection of that Being from whom he has proceeded.

The religion of heaven, as taught upon earth, in its design and practice, imparts principles of improvement, knowledge, and power. It is calculated to emancipate man from that ignorance in which he is born, dissipate the darkness in which he is enveloped, ameliorate his innate depravity, and turn his corrupt propensities into dignified faculties. It exalts and ennobles the intellect, and gives him a dignified stamp and bearing, which no other religion or system is capable of performing. The wisdom of man, with all his vast research, his knowledge of men and things from the history of past ages and the experience of his progenitors, his discoveries in the inexhaustible ocean of science, and his refinement in the arts–though it does much to civilize, improve, and polish, yet, when compared with the wisdom of Heaven, it appears like the glimmering spark of the midnight taper to the effulgence of that world of light suspended in the center of the orbits of planets, from which the most distant receives its enlightening and vivifying rays.

The reason why the true religion of heaven is so much superior to the forms, dogmas, principles, and wisdom of men, is, that the former is revealed from the Great creator of all things, and that in it He will continue to reveal to His people, until all truth will be known, all knowledge experienced, and all ignorance dispelled from His creatures who wish to enjoy the blessing.

The religion of Christians in this age, and in ages past, is and has been formed to cramp the religious energies of the mind, destroy the thirst which is often manifest for heavenly truth, and oppose the acquisition of more knowledge of the purposes of God. It is true, they [143] affirm, very strenuously and wisely too, that the mind of man should be educated, the arts acquired, the sciences understood, improvements and discoveries encouraged; that we should not be content with the learning, or extent of secular knowledge of our forefathers; and that even the most labored theories are impregnated with error, and capable of improvement; and they use every laudable exertion, influence, and means to extend the principles of education, and to carry their liberal opinions into operation. In every city, town, and village, are academies, seminaries, and schools,


“To rear the tender thought,

To teach the young idea how to shoot,

To pour instruction on the infant mind;”


and they enforce powerfully the necessity to improve the mind, and glean intelligence by every means. Boys and girls are now more conversant with the theories on the sun, planets, and stars, than their forefathers were with the history of other countries, or the movements of commerce with other nations. Now they cast, as it were, a line from planet to planet, and measure their distances; calculate their sizes, and prescribe their orbits in the azure expanse, as if they marked with their tiny fingers a line through which they must travel; tell their transits and eclipses, and their causes, as naturally as if they talked merely of the extinguishing of a candle; converse of the seasons, and recite the names of the constellations, and their situations, as methodically as if they had trodden the “milky way,” as they tread the pavement on their way to school, or run from light to light in the midnight vault of heaven, like the lamp trimmer in our streets. Thus they acquire and communicate intelligence of the things by which they are surrounded; and it is good and noble to do so.

But the moment we begin to speak of revelation from heaven in these days, for the purpose of learning the ways of God perfectly, and receiving more divine truth to lead mankind aright; when we declare, forcibly and incontrovertibly, the absolute necessity of present revelation to guide the Church among the systems and opinions of the [144] artful and designing, to prepare the world for the coming judgments which must inevitably overtake the wicked and rebellious, and for the accomplishment of Jehovah’s designs in relation to His work upon the earth, — we are accounted fools and fanatics, credulous and weak-minded; and, having no arguments to sustain their position, they cry out, “Beware of false prophets,” “Revelation has ceased! All is finished!” Yet, in opposition to the opinions of the learned, the sophistry and caviling of logicians, and the declamations of pious divines, it stands boldly on the page of the sacred record, “Where there is no vision, the people perish;” or, according to Dr. Conquest’s translation, “Where there is no revelation the people go astray.”

It is true, however, that Christian professors believe in revelation to a certain extent; but beyond that they cannot and dare not go. They imagine that God has no more to disclose for man upon this earth, than is contained in the Old and New Testaments; and they are really contented with a part of the truths revealed eighteen hundred years since. Hence, an end to religious improvement, or to more knowledge of God and His purposes. The New Testament, say they, is sufficient; but, I would ask, what has it done for them? It is “the dead letter” which Paul says “killeth;” and it has killed them; it has cut and divided them into so many pieces, like an animal well known to naturalists, though severed into many parts, yet each part becomes a distinct body. Who could think it, did not the fact exist, that so many hundred sects will arise from the perusal of that one little book, and form more opinions of its contents than there are pages in the book altogether!

Take any other work–on the arts or sciences; on astronomy, natural philosophy, geology, geography, geometry, mathematics, or any science or art–let a thousand men study its contents; and, if they believe it true, they will all form the same opinions, understand the same laws, and work in the same method. But in the grand science of salvation, with the unerring word of God, men are tossed about by every wind and doctrine, and are unstable and unsettled in their minds. What is really the cause of all this doubt, uncertainty, and fear? Is it because God’s laws are imperfect? Is it because He wishes to [145] perplex the minds of His creatures? No! Verily no! Go, and gaze at the sun, moon, planets, and stars; learn the laws that control them, and you will see that His laws are true, steady, and unchangeable, “His course one eternal round.” See the care He manifests to clothe nature, and provide His creatures with the necessaries of life; see His love in sending His Son, and Apostles, and Prophets to preach His truths infallibly; and then think does He desire to perplex the mind! It is because the Christian world will only have “the dead letter,” or past revelations, and will not be guided by men possessing the Priesthood to make known, with clearness and perspicuity, not only the revelations of the past, which are hid from the world by the wise; but likewise to receive more truths, more revelations adapted to the wants and position of the present generation!

While they improve, then, in art, science, and literature, they bind up their minds from the things of eternity in as many separate bundles, hinder the march of religious improvement, and can never know more of divine truth, or of God’s will, than those who originated their several man-made systems.

The disciples of Luther and the English Reformers, in these days, cannot possibly know more than Luther and the early Reformers did in their time; and can never attain to more principles and knowledge than contained in their creeds. The followers of Calvin, be they ever so shrewd, can never understand more than he who was their standard, notwithstanding their protestations to believe the Bible and all contained therein. The votaries of Wesley cannot go beyond the doctrines contained in the limited creed of their celebrated founder; their experience will give them no more knowledge; they dare not progress one doctrine, nor believe one principle more, or else they would cease to be identified as Wesleyans.

Thus it is with the whole body of the religious world, who deny constant and present revelation; though they should live to the age of Methuselah, yes, even enjoy a millennium of existence on this earth–they know no more at the end than at the beginning; further they cannot and dare not advance, or else they would forfeit their standing in the sect to which they may belong. That is like binding the secular student to a few rules or theories, at [146] which he must study all his days and nights; while stores of knowledge are within his grasp, and should be his privilege to enjoy.

This is evidently the state of the world at present; they are not capable of learning more truth, and aspire not to excel their forefathers in the extent of knowledge; for, in exhorting their flocks, in examining their feelings, and in decisions on disputed doctrines, they invariably turn to the writings of past uninspired commentators, to the works of “puritan divines,” and, like the disciples of the Pope and Pusey, to the writings of the ancient fathers. O, tempore! O, mores!

How different, then, the spirit of modern Christianity from that of the religion of heaven: it not only stops the progress of knowledge in the things of God, but it retrogrades or degenerates from the truths of heaven, as given by the Apostles anciently. Instead of possessing the same amount of intelligence and certainty, it divides the “milk of the word,” and so much adulterates the little given, by the foul mixture of sectarianism, that it suffers not the system to grow to its proper proportions, but poisons the energies of body and spirit, and gives it a puny, emaciated, and imbecile appearance.

Are there, however, principles calculated to make a wise, virtuous, holy, and just people, to be obtained here? The religion of heaven develops them. Should every correct and true principle be ascertained and practiced, which has been declared to man? The religion of heaven reveals and inculcates it. Should man receive all truth, moral, political, scientific, and divine, to make him happy and intelligent here? The oracles of God make it known, and His commandments enforce it to be received. Thus the religion of heaven, having proceeded from heaven, its author being God, its design and object to make Gods of men–spreads its enlightening influence on the earth, until every principle of truth in the earth, and under the earth, in the universe, and in the heavens, will be revealed through the Prophets and Apostles of God, when all light, all knowledge, all wisdom, and all power, will be possessed by the Saints of the Most High God. (Mill. Star 14:677-79)



[147]                     Wilford Woodruff’s Journal

November 21, 1852


Nov. 21st Sunday–P.P. Pratt preached on the Everlasting Covenant made to Abraham. The law was done away in Christ, but the promises of Abraham remained and all the prophesies of the prophets are to be fulfilled. The Jews gathered all Israel with their wives & children would come from the East, West, North & South & sit down with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob in the Kingdom of God.

The speaker then asked the question who are the people to build up the Kingdom of God in the last days preparatory to the coming of Christ? Whose laws, rules and regulations are agreeable to the blessings and order of the ancient patriarchs? He called up the different sects and kingdoms and governments and compared them to see who was in a situation to receive [the promises] made to Abraham. He brought up the Catholics and showed that they were not the ones for their Priesthood had not the privilege of either wives or children, and the greatest blessing to Abraham consisted in his seed and posterity. It could not be the Protestants. They did allow one wife to be sure but no more. So when they come to the Kingdom of God and find Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there with their many wives, concubines, and children they, the protestant Christian nations, if they had power, would cast out those patriarchs out of the kingdom for having more wives than one and concubines and many children, and for having the names of which they would call their bastard children written on the gates of the New Jerusalem. They would point the finger of scorn at these things so they would not agree.

But when we come to the Latter-Day Saints, we find them the only people on earth that suit the case exactly in every respect, and they are the Kingdom of God and hold the keys of the kingdom and they feel disposed to honor and respect their Father Abraham and their children and desire to render unto Israel all that belongs unto them.

P.P. Pratt expressed his feelings, and after happily referring to our vast separation and merciful reunion said this is the first opportunity we have had of being together [148] as a quorum, and feeling that each member has the most implicit confidence in every member of the quorum of the Twelve and also each member of the Presidency who presides over us. I feel as though the day is not far distant when men will stand among us in their immortal bodies holding the keys of death and hell and that Brother Joseph would say, if He was among us, that we had suffered enough and that we should be numbered among his jewels. He alluded to the great work we had to perform, the building of a temple, &c.

  1. Woodruff next spoke and expressed his feelings upon the subject of this meeting of the Twelve Apostles, a blessing which He never before enjoyed in his life, as He never had met with eleven of the Twelve Apostles. He considered there had never been but two bodies of men since the days of Adam who had met under such peculiar and interesting circumstances and those were the Twelve Apostles with Jesus in Jerusalem and the Twelve Apostles with Jesus in America. We know their history and work, and we know our own, and they are three events of great importance to the salvation of the world.

He referred to the peculiar and striking fact that there had never been a death in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles except in the case of David W. Patten, who fell a martyr to his religion by a special request which he made of the Lord that He might die that death. But the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve have stood in the front of the battle and the danger for the last twenty years in the midst of mobs, sickness, plagues, and danger by sea and land, but still they were preserved until the present day in bloom and health.

He referred to the great prosperity of the work of the Twelve abroad among the nations and rejoiced that the Lord had preserved them to return from the four corners of the earth to again sit in counsel together in Zion. He had the most implicit confidence in each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also of the Presidency who presided over us. Said President Young was a father to the whole church.

Erastus Snow next spoke and said though he was one of the youngest of the Quorum of the Twelve yet He had known the Quorum from the beginning when they were [149] first together in his father’s house. He expressed his joy in being with the Quorum and his entire confidence in each member of the Quorum and in the Saints generally. Since his absence to Denmark, he had felt and learned how to appreciate the society at home and the brethren and anticipated much pleasure in the association of this present winter. Hoped our meetings might be frequent and that we might become much improved.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

December 22, 1852


President O. Hyde remarked that if we were at liberty to prop[hesy?], it is while we are together as we are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And if we don’t feel to prophesy, speak by faith and by faith it should be fulfilled. Expressed his unlimited confidence in every member of the Quorum and of the Presidency and prophesied in the name of God that we should all meet and come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and receive our crowns in the Celestial Kingdom. It was confirmed by a good “Amen” by all the Quorum.

John Taylor next spoke. Said he [was] glad to meet with the Quorum. He referred to the changes taking place among the nations of the earth, and he believed we were destined to soon hold a great influence among them. He had felt moved upon at times to offer some counsel to Sir Robert Peel and Louis Napoleon and such men and tell them that He could give them advice that would do them good. He believed the day near when the kings would seek counsel at our hands. In the beginning the Elders went out and were weak and ignorant men. Now they are full of intelligence and the nations of the earth will feel their influence. When I am with this Quorum, I feel as though I was with the Gods.

G.A. Smith said he was delighted on the present occasion. He rejoiced to see the union of the Quorum and their disposition to do right. We don’t have to feel that one of the Quorum like Lyman Wight is drawing off one way and John E. Page another and A. Wm. Smith committing iniquity and we have to sustain him against our feelings. I have the satisfaction of believing that each member of [150] the Quorum is doing right, and I rejoice that the Quorum is able to publish the gospel in six different languages and to gather the people together. Hoped we should meet once a week and with the Presidency offer our prayers. He felt a proud satisfaction of being associated with 10 men which he believed to be the highest, learned, best educated and possessed the most intelligence of any men on earth. That our circumstances were such that we were obliged to have the most knowledge whether we would or not. He believed the prophesies uttered this evening would be fulfilled to the uttermost. He closed with his blessings upon us.

  1. Lyman said he had so many things upon his mind that he knew not what point to speak from. He felt in his nature that he was made up in the work of the Lord. He could not embrace any interest anywhere else only in this work. He has found out to his satisfaction what love and affection for his brethren are, that surpasses the love of women, for he had a confidence in his Quorum that was far greater than in his wives or children, for they have been brought up in the hard school of experience and have been tried in all things and proven to be true, and I have been proven with them, and I am wedded to my Quorum with all my interest. I go when I am sent and come when I am called, and so expect to continue to do. My interest is inseparably connected with this kingdom, and I trust ever will be through time and eternity.

C.C. Rich said those who had spoken met his feeling. He concurred in them all. I am happy in the present meeting. I had a dream while on my way home. I thought the ancients in their resurrected bodies were associating with us in this place. I have the most unbounded confidence not only in the Quorum of the Twelve but also in the first Presidency. I hope the winter seasons may be profitable to us in our associations and that we may improve our time.

E.T. Benson said he felt to concur in what had been said. I feel it to be a great blessing to come together. We have been blessed according to the desire of our hearts. Before I joined the Saints, I felt as though I would give all I possessed if I could find a people who would do right and be led by the spirit and power of God and I could be associated with them. I now feel that I have found that [151] people. I now feel associated with men with whom I could trust my eternal interest. I could leave my family with them any length of time and find them all right on my return. I have the utmost confidence in every member of that Quorum.

There is nothing to be done but what we can do. Every gift and qualification exists in this Quorum that there is in the Church [viz?] we cannot be equal with the First Presidency, and they must have all we have got or they could not preside over us. If the First Presidency were to be removed, the Quorum of the Twelve would have to preside; and if they had not the fulness of the gifts, they would not be fit to preside. I feel exceedingly thankful to be associated with such men. I have not language to express my feelings. When I was first called to be an Apostle in this Quorum, I could not sleep for three days and nights. I feel now as though I could break a nation to pieces. I felt renovated with the Holy Spirit while P.P. Pratt was speaking. No blessing is too great or too good for us and we shall possess them all.* * *

E.T. Benson continued from 6 pages back. Ask whatsoever you will and it shall be ours. My love for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency is far above the love of woman. You may take the most virtuous woman on earth into your bosom and there is something in it. There is not existing with the most virtuous man on earth (while destitute of the Priesthood and Holy Ghost) that spirit of life that there is with the servant of God. My only hope is with you. It is life when we meet and life when we part. He closed with thanksgiving and blessing.

  1. Woodruff addressed the Quorum upon the importance of their writing, the importance of their keeping a private history of their lives, labour and ministry, and also a joint history of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He said he had ever been inspired since he had been a member of the Church not only to write all of his own acts and life, but to write all the sermons, teachings and prophesies of the Prophet Joseph, President Brigham Young and Council of the Twelve Apostles as far as he was acquainted with their labour. He said each member of the Quorum should keep an account of their [152] missions, works, miracles, and the blessings of God unto them, and that the history of the Quorum of the Twelve could now be easily obtained, but if we omitted it until we were dead, our friends could not get it correctly before the world.



Speech by Parley P. Pratt

Council Chamber of the Legislative Assembly

December 18, 1852


Dec. 22 1852. (referring to Dec. 18) Counselor P.P. Pratt occupied the chair in the absence of the president but resigned it to address the council. The Honorable Counselor said, Gentlemen, I resign my place to the Hon. Counselor on my left and beg the privilege to express my views on government at some length. No merely human government ever had the power to originate or establish a system of true religion, but on the other hand a true religious system contains within itself the inherent and inalienable germs of all true government. True religion has the right and the power to originate government and laws for individuals, families, corporate bodies, states, nations, empires, or worlds. A true system of religion embraces all the real government that intelligent beings can need or reasonably desire in the heavens or on the earth.

Merely human government never created a Prophet, an Apostle, an Eternal High Priest, a God, or a Son of God. On the other hand, the eternal Priesthood has created worlds, and peopled them with man and with all the varieties of universal vegetable and animal resources. The eternal Priesthood has elected, ordained, and anointed kings and priests upon our earth and filled them with the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, power, might, majesty, and dominion for the benefit, instruction, government, and exaltation of the race of nations thus favored.

All governments not growing out of the true system and authority of religion is a perversion, a mockery, a dark unwieldy mass without certainty, stability or guarantee for even peace, safety or perpetuity. All such government is either founded in ignorance or self will wherein the people declare either in word or in act that [153] God and inspiration shall not control them and that an Angel, Prophet, Apostle, Priest, or King commissioned by him shall have no rule or have no sway in their national councils. All such governments are either in open rebellion against the powers that be or act wholly ignorant of the powers that have a right to be.

I will illustrate this subject by reference to the past. When man was first placed upon the earth, did he create governments or were governments (appointed or) given to him by the election of God made manifest by revelation? Did the lower creation rise up and elect Adam or did God say have thou dominion? From whence then was the first introduction of merely human government upon our earth?

The answer to this you will find in the words of God which He spake unto Moses on the mount, as revealed in those days by our great prophet and martyr informing us that Adam begat sons and daughters who went out and peopled the land in pairs long before the birth of Cain and Abel. And when Adam taught them the word of the Lord and the principles of righteousness and true government, Satan came also among them and said unto them believe it not, And they believed not in the teaching of Adam, but they believed Satan more than God, or more than the ruler He had appointed. There then arose the foundation of self-government without God–a government which was perpetual for many centuries and which finally filled the earth with violence and corruption and was overthrown by the flood.

Of those who survived the flood, Noah was of course the lawful king, patriarch, or ruler, and after him the elect of God continued through the loins of Shem down to Abraham. But in Abraham’s day, according to his own writings lately taken from the tombs of ancient Thebes and translated and published by our great prophet, we find a man-made government existing in Egypt under a race of Pharaohs. This Egypt, according to Abraham’s account, was first discovered by Egyptus or daughter of Ham, who afterwards settled her sons in it and from whom sprang the race of Pharaohs and the ancient Egyptians. The same authority also informs us that Ham and his race were cursed as it regards Priesthood but blessed in matters [154] pertaining to the fruits of the earth and of wisdom. And that the Pharaohs and their priests had not the Priesthood although they pretended to have received it from Ham their progenitor. Hence we find a government in Egypt of mere human origin and a Priesthood and religion by law established which worshipped several Gods, among which was the crokadile (sic) and which sacrificed human sacrifices upon the altar of state. Hence the calling out of Abraham and the reestablishing of a government of God to be perpetuated in his lineage forever which lineage is elected to reign and rule and hold the keys of religion, Priesthood, power and government while the earth endures and in worlds without end.

This government was perpetuated in the family of Isaac and Jacob and was exemplified in the person of Joseph, who by the gift of revelation became prime minister of Egypt and saved his father’s house and the nation from death by famine. Here is an instance of a mere human government yielding to be instructed and benefited by a revelation and a prophet. Behold the result descending the stream of time and tracing the fortunes of the chosen or royal lineage.

We next find a Moses, a man in whom was the spirit of true religion. By this religion he overthrew the Egyptians, delivered the nation from bondage, led them forth to freedom and gave them laws. By this religion his successor Joshua was also elected and qualified through him by the laying on of hands. And by this religion were all the judges chosen and qualified to fill the judiciary with equity and justice.

Now, Mr. President, it is clear that none of these glorious events were the result of popular elections or of human institutions. God gave a system of religion embracing inspiration, visions, prophets and Priesthood, and that religion and those prophets and revelations created nations, governments, and laws. Hence true government in all its branches and ramifications is the legitimate result or production of true religion. For instance, the Prophet Samuel, by virtue of his religious gift and power to elect by the word of God and to anoint Saul to be king of Israel, and by the same religious authority he had the right to reprove and even to reject [155] that same king, and to anoint and place upon the throne a shepherd boy called David in his stead. And when Samuel was dead and David was king of Israel, Nathan, another prophet, had power to reprove him for iniquity and to pass judgment upon him for his sins. Again, when Elijah had rebuked King Ahab and all his wicked rulers and adulterous priests and had fled to the mountains because they rebelled and sought his life, he was commanded to return and anoint Jehu for King of Israel, Haziel for King of Syria, and Elisha for Prophet in his stead, which he performed and was taken up.

In all these things I see not a vestige of the trumpary (sic) of modern human institutions, either of democracy, whigery, monarchy, or aristocracy (sic). I see nothing, in fact, but religion standing forth in its own native simplicity and clad in the panoply of its own legitimate heavenly powers, giving government and laws to nations and appointing and anointing magistrates, kings, and judges to administer the same.

But leaving for a moment the events of Palestine I glance for a moment at Babylon where sat Nebuchadnezzar in all the pride of self-confidence and self-government. This monarch had denied the hand of God and imputed to himself the power and glory of Babylon and the magnitude and glory of his vast dominion. He had also established a religion and created it. By law at a given signal all persons (on pain of death) were to bow down to his images and idols. But Daniel and his [–] fellows were there with the true religion, dream interpretations, visions, prophesyings, and miracles, and the word of God rebuking and punishing him, soon converted him to the truth. He then published an epistle to all nations and tongues under his dominions and in all languages, the purpose of which was that God was a revealer of secrets, a worker of signs and wonders, and an originator and controller of political power and government. In Babylon it was soon conceded that the wisdom of one revelator or prophet was ten times more valuable than all the combined wisdom of its sages without this gift. Hence Daniel was wisely placed in power as president of the presidents of more than a hundred provinces. This same Daniel by the word of the Lord afterwards reproved and [156] dethroned Belshazer and placed Cyrus, the Mede, upon the throne of Babylon. This monarch obeyed the word of the Lord so far as to restore the Jews and rebuild their city and temple.

So long as the Jews obeyed the voice of their prophets they prospered and were free, but losing the spirit of prophesy and true religion they forfeited their institutions, laws and doctrines. Hence, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ found them in bondage to a government called Rome. These Romans, like the Greeks before them, had manufactured their own government and religion and then enforced it upon others insomuch that the Jews themselves having lost the power of their own religion were obliged to submit. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ reproved all the needless trash and powerless forms of Jewish sects and of gentile superstitions and restored to the world the gifts of prophesy, visions, revelation and miracles which would have broken the human yoke, re-established the independence of Israel, and made Jerusalem the perpetual seat of government for all nations. But they would not. Jesus Christ would have made their temple a house of prayer for all nations in all coming time. He would have placed there the eternal keys of Priesthood power and government and wisdom. (A page missing)

. . . as was predicted by the ancient prophets. Though heaven and earth should be moved from their foundation, Though the bright luminary of day should refuse its light, the moon cease to fulfill its monthly ordinance, and yonder stars be hurled from their places, (something missing) spheres yet the government, the nationality, the priesthood, the oracles, the religion, the throne of Israel should never be removed, a man be wanting to fill that throne or a priest to minister at the altar of her Holy Temple. All nations would have to come to worship before the Lord and from this center they would have drawn their light and power, their kings, chosen and anointed and instructed by her prophets and apostles, would have established peace and equity and justice and truth in all the earth. But the Jews rebelled against their king and preferred their own powerless forms of religion. Jesus and His Apostles on this account removed from their midst the [157] keys of government and power and left them a prey to civil war, pestilence and famine, and to the ravages of the Romans.

After the overthrow of the Jews, the Romans were suffered to imbrue their hands in the blood of Apostles, Prophets, and Saints till none [were] to remain who possessed the keys of religion and government. It was then the powers of darkness triumphed upon our earth. Self-constituted government and human religions over-ran our earth. Truth was banished and fled far away. Equity could not enter. Justice was paralyzed and stood aghast. Mercy retiring dropped a tear of blood.

The blackness of darkness veiled the earth in morning. Ages, centuries–now fled; politics, laws, religions have multiplied; empires, kingdoms, states, republics have filled the world. But where, O where? The keys, powers, religion, knowledge, or government of God. Our puritan fathers fled to the American wilderness to rid themselves from the corruption of ages. Their children made a government wise and free. But, alas, the Priesthood, the power, the religion of heaven had long since been lost to man. Prophets and apostles were no more; our fathers knew this, and therefore as wise, honest and consistent men they refrained from manufacturing a state religion.

Again were the heavens opened. The silence of ages was broken. The gloom of overhanging night was pierced with a ray from the worlds of endless day. A celestial spark from the heavenly altar was rekindled upon the earth. The mystic veil was rent in twain. And the fogs and mists of long ages began to roll away as the gloom of a long night before the rising dawn. In the midst of the only great and free nation upon the earth, the God of Abraham raised up a mighty prophet, gave him the ancient keys of religion, government and power, and restored the apostleship with its keys of revelation, vision and prophecy, through the administration of which the laws and government were restored to man and His Kingdom organized upon the earth no more to be thrown down. People, magistrates, senators, governors, and states have opposed its progress with fire and sword and death but all in vain. It has waded through calumny, hate and [158] oppression and blood and fire and martyrdom till it organized itself amid the strongholds of these eternal mountains and stood forth a noble spectacle for the wonder and admiration of all nations a government created by heaven, preserved by the matchless power of the Almighty, and led and instructed by prophets and apostles with the keys of revelation.

The United States were constrained to recognize and sustain that which no human power could subdue. Hence the territorial government of Utah. And hence the local capacity in which we are now sitting as Senators and Representatives to give laws to a territory. In our local political capacity, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, we are limited to the geographical boundaries prescribed by the act of Congress. In this sense our jurisdiction is bounded by Oregon on the North, by California on the West, by 37 of North Lat. on the South, and by the snow clad summits of the Backbone of our continent on the East, and thus confined in its immediate bearing to a country not much larger than the British Isles.

But the eyes of the nations are upon us. We are a city on a hill, a candle on a candlestick that cannot be hid. The great, the noble of heart, the enterprising, the oppressed of all nations will flow to us as a continuous stream. Senators, governors, kings and rulers will cast their eyes to Utah and to her prophets, apostles, revelations, laws, and institutions as a model, a pattern in miniature for the renovation of the world.

In our capacity as Prophets, Apostles and Elders we have the keys of authority to organize and give form and constitution to a thousand local governments like this. Yes, Mr. President, it is ours to teach judges how to rule; to give senators wisdom and to reprove, instruct and impart wisdom to Presidents and Kings. It is ours to impart wisdom and knowledge and strength and salvation to the rulers and people of the great nation which gave us birth.

Until they know this and seek it at our hands, they will never arise to any considerable degree of permanent prosperity and peace. But on the contrary, vexation, disunion, perplexity, division is their doom and bloody wars and pestilence and storms and fires and whirlwinds and tempests, earthquakes and famines will continue to [159] waste them till they shall be constrained to acknowledge the hand of God and to humble themselves as in the dust and seek wisdom and instruction at the hand of prophets and apostles, as did kings and rulers in days of old, until, like Nebuchadnezzar, they shall acknowledge that God is a revelator, a worker of signs and wonders, and an originator and controllor of political governments.

Yes, Mr. President, our nation and the world shall be taught by the prophets and all nations feel the influence of the institutions now being developed in these halls of liberty, the chambers of the eternal mountains of Deseret. Let the United States go on in their own strength without the inspiration and institutions of the Almighty now offered them by our prophets. Let them spread abroad their dominions on every side. Let the principles of conquest or of annexation add the Canadas, British America, and even Greenland on the North, Spanish and Portuguese America to Cape Horn on the South; the west Indies on the East and the Isles of the Pacific including Japan on the west. Let these countries be gathered under the wings of the wide spread eagle, and let them be peopled by the enterprising of all nations by hundreds of millions. Let their rich and almost boundless resources be developed by all these and still remain ignorant and destitute of the keys of knowledge and power which lead and govern the destinies of Deseret or of Utah. Yet shall the institutions of that same Utah or of her people outweigh all this, have more present influence in the destinies of the world, and abide and give laws and religion to man when the best of mere human, civil, political, moral, social and religious institutions have ceased to be, and its memory only shadowed forth in the dim history of the past. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec. 18, 1852)


(Conclusion of 1852)



[160]                       Words of Brigham Young

January 2, 1853


President Young said the best way for the Twelve to get a living for themselves and families was to preach the gospel with all their might and your means will come in your way. T. B. Marsh once said he did not know what Joseph called the Twelve for without it was to abuse them. He told him if the Twelve were faithful they would soon see the day that they would have all the influence they could wield. That day has come. He said laying plans in our present situation for perpetuity was all a shadow. We may lay plans but they may be fruitless. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Mss.)



Revelation on Marriage

Millennial Star Editorial

January 8, 1853


Revelation on Marriage, &c.–In the course of events associated with the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God, it has fallen to our lot to bring before the Saints of the British Isles, and our readers generally, one of the most important Revelations that have come through the Prophet Joseph unto man in this last dispensation. None seem to penetrate so deep, or be so well calculated to shake to its very center the social structure which has been reared, and vainly nurtured by this professedly wise and Christian generation–none more conclusively exhibit how surely an end must come to all the works, institutions, ordinances, and covenants of men–none more portray that eternity of God’s purposes–and we may say, none have carried so weighty an influence, or had the power to stamp their divinity upon the mind, by absorbing every feeling of the soul to the extent the one has which appeared in our last. Our revelations will from time to time be given through the ministry of the Apostleship, which will still further increase the knowledge and power of the Saints, and more and more astonish and bewilder the world.

The sealing powers of the Holy Priesthood, by which the celestial union or marriage is consummated for [161] eternity, should interest every son and daughter of Adam, who desires, in this probation, to lay a permanent foundation for an eternal kingdom and glory. Upon this depends the consummation of the happiness of every soul that is saved. It is not for the present, but for eternity, that we live; and nothing less than eternal motives should prompt our every action; for unless such be the case, men cannot partake of the eternal powers of the Godhead, and thereby become Gods, even the Sons of God.

Through such light, the folly of men is truly made manifest, and the impotency of their wisdom betrayed. The reformation in the social relation of the human family, which is now begun, will extend its influence to every circle of society whether high or low, and every compact, nation, and kingdom must feel its influence, though a hireling priesthood may rage as their craft appears in danger.

Again, we would say, let the Saints of God everywhere take heed to their ways, and walk in His ordinances blameless; then shall the light of revelation continue to shine upon their path, and its increasing brightness continue unto the perfect day, when they shall see as they are seen, and know as they are known. (Mill. Star 15:25-26)




Elder Job Smith

Millennial Star, January 8, 1853


“A Religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (Doc. and Cov. 6:7)


So says the book which Joseph was inspired to write, and truly it is authenticated by observation and experience. Sacrifice is, virtually, the great objection why thousands–who can find but a trifling, ostensible excuse–reject the true Gospel.

It is most erroneously supposed that an indulgence in the desires and tendencies of our hearts for gain or pleasure, is the surest way to secure happiness. This is the [162] theory of the unbeliever, whose only heaven is the present time, and who has no God. It is not, however, the religion of the Saints, although it may be admitted that many bearing the name, have shown by their conduct, that they either did not believe in the principle of salvation by means of sacrifice, or thought the price too great for the thing to be obtained. Wise men remark their folly, but fools pass on blindly and are punished. They are mistaken throughout, for what they sought after so eagerly, was but like smoke–it passed away and left an aching void behind; it was not so good as they expected. Their happiness was, like the fruit of a false blossom, unknown.

Most people are ashamed to say that they seek for happiness in the gratification of their passions, but rather deceive their fellows and themselves too, with a specious pretense of piety, a covering which will not always hide their nakedness and folly. They invent, like the boy who urged “corns” as an excuse for smoking, some reason why, as they say, they are justified in deviating from God’s laws, and in wise and good men insist upon resisting. They have become convinced that the best course is to live according to the precepts of the Most High, which require an utter subservience of all things to the law of truth, and a self-sacrifice that none but the faithful are supported to make, and can look with pity upon the self-aggrandizing oaf, who is squandering away for naught that time and strength with which he is endowed for self-improvement. Some men have Gods, and some, we would suppose, in the minutest sense of the word, have none. Many make a god of silver and gold, and earthly possessions, while others reel heedlessly along, without care or consideration further than is crowded upon them by the sense of nature. Both of these are foolish. The former in making a god of that through which happiness is expected, in the few short dreamy years of this life only, without a thought for the millions of succeeding ages; the latter, having no God, have no happiness, and their life is thrown away. But, while the sacred injunction stands on record–the decree of the head of the Gods, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me, men may as well think of satisfying hunger with smoke, as to think of obtaining salvation, until they have sacrificed the worship of their idols, and given [163] themselves up to the glory of God.” “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” Why? Because he must first become like those whose affections are withdrawn from wealth, and set upon the true God; this will prove more happiness to him than his former possessions. “Except a man become as a little child, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” And because the “wisdom of the world” is foolishness with God, men who have acquired worldly wisdom have to lay it aside, and as a little child, commence to learn; a sacrifice which comparatively few are willing to make. And likewise, because the Lord requires the whole of a man’s affections, influence, and possessions, to be held at His command, or to be a sacrifice at His will–the only true pledge which a man can make that he loves God better than he does these things–so few are willing to serve Him in His own appointed way, but endeavor to deceive themselves with a vain hope, and pay worldly-wise, college-bred priests to tickle their ears with learning and divert their attention from the truth. “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.”

But let the Saints beware, for “not every one who saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven,” saith Jesus. And as, by observing the folly of fools, wise men learn wisdom, so let the Saints observe by the folly of the world their own tendency to err; and avoid the very appearance of that which in others they so strongly condemn. Sacrifice and self-denial are principles indispensably necessary in the life of a Saint, and the moment he puts them away–that moment he gives place to evil; he is off his guard, and of course must encounter the consequences, if he repent not. Observation serves to remind us, that apostates fall because they will not deny themselves; it teaches us that they first lose the Spirit of God, and but a few steps further we behold them in their darkest colors. The last state of such is worse than the first. It is too frequent to escape being noticed how ingeniously persons, who indulge a little in folly, will invent extenuating arguments against the force of that portion of God’s wisdom which particularly applies to [164] themselves, thus insinuating what they would not assert–that they know best! The “Word of Wisdom” affords remarkable instances of this.

Now the first commandment by the transgression of which man fell, was relating to diet, namely the partaking of forbidden fruit, and the next that he received after his fall was to offer sacrifice to the Lord. Cain offered not the firstlings of flocks for sacrifice, but brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the Lord, thus consulting his own convenience, and disobeying the command. May not many in this day, who pretend to keep God’s commandments, and perhaps do in a measure, but who love their appetites too well to take His counsels, draw a conclusion from the position of Cain, how they will stand before God? The fact of his scrupling to sacrifice as required appears to have been the key of his downfall. His self-love and self-sufficiency were foolish in the extreme. The self-love of men now, who are so foolish as to indulge it contrary to the wisdom of God, instead of using it as an incentive to protection from such things, will doubtless prove as fatal as heretofore, the same causes producing the same effects.

Sacrificing in obedience to God, inasmuch as we conceive Him to be a righteous being, induces, or increases faith in God. And by faith we must be saved when we are saved. We cannot be persuaded that a man has faith unless he prove the same by his works; and where works of obedience towards God are scant, their faith is certainly weak. “Those, then, who make the sacrifice, will have this testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God; and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith, therefore they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do, and without this guarantee faith could not exist.” (Lectures of Faith, sec. vi., par. 10. See the whole lecture.)

Faith and confidence are nearly alike; in fact, there is scarcely a shade of difference, especially when applied [165] to intelligent beings. Confidence in God, and in those who stand between ourselves and Him, is the greatest source of happiness that we know, to those who order their conduct according to His requirements. Withholding no earthly thing that they possess; yea, counting their lives but as means given wherewith to serve. Who, for one moment, could be unhappy when he had full confidence in the justice and righteousness of God, and in his own willingness to serve Him, and in the consciousness that he had done so? The fact is, confidence produces love; and as, through sacrifice and obedience, we increase in confidence, we increase in love, and it is said that “God is love.” It is certain that, as we increase in this glorious attribute, we become more Godlike–we entertain more nobility and generosity of soul towards all creatures and things that can legally claim God as their origin. This noble principle serves to bind together society: it constitutes the happiness and union of families, and seems to be the highest name by which we particularize the most desirable objects. It is the greatest essential in all constitutions, both great and small; without it families would cease to exist, and we can scarcely imagine that mankind itself could survive another generation. For want of it, families fail now to become nations as they did anciently. As the devil obtains power over the hearts of the children, they separate in their feelings, losing their confidence in, and love towards one another, instead of growing in it as they grow in strength and in capabilities. Thus it may be observed that, when many individuals begin to be free agents unto themselves, they begin to transgress, or abuse the agency lent them, and will not sacrifice that unto God which to Him belongs; and thus lose the natural affection which they previously had, until faith, confidence, and pure love are strangers to the human family.

But as quick as by obedience and self-sacrifice the Spirit of God is restored–confidence and love return, and become the strongest defense against persecution, temptation, and division. And herein lies the difference between the people of God and the wicked. Herein is the secret why no dissenting votes are made among the Saints. Herein is the strength of God’s kingdom, and its superiority over all other kingdoms. Obedience and sacrifice increase faith, [166] confidence, and love towards God and His people: love makes union; union is strength. These combined constitute excellency. This is Godliness, the opposite to distrust, suspicion, division, and wickedness. O that the Saints were perfect in those holy attributes.

Some will tell us that they are prepared to sacrifice their all! They could die, if needs be, for their religion! But how naked and contemptible they appear when you discover that they do not sacrifice those things which God requires at their hands in their private intercourse and conduct. When you see a brother that thinks he is wronged by another, refuse to forgive–refuse to sacrifice a most hateful feeling, antipathy, after having made the above declaration, we conclude that he is a liar, and that hypocrisy lurks in his bosom.

But, how cheering it is to contemplate that the Spirit of God is again founding a Kingdom which shall never be thrown down, again sealing family compacts which never shall dissolve, again purifying society from the evils which have destroyed its peace for the last six thousand years; and is bringing in that blessed period of time when love shall be the prevailing principle which shall unite mankind together, and bind them to their Maker. To die is but a small thing for the realization of such a Millennium. Then let us with all our hearts live to assist in bringing it about. (Mill. Star 15:28-30)



Wilford Woodruff Journal

January 16, 1853


President Brigham Young followed him and remarked that the whole human family were seeking salvation as they suppose but all in their own way. But many men could not comprehend the truth. Many Phylosiphers (sic) Could believe and comprehend that matter was Eternal but Could not Comprehend that God was Eternal or never had a beginning. But I can. Brother Rich remark[s about?] Zion are Correct. I have had Zion with me ever since I have been in the Church. I have it all the time and thousands of others have it but many do not. What is the matter? They receive the gospel because it is almighty, because they see that it will prevail and be upper [167] most. They receive the truth but do not receive the love of it and hence they fall out by the way and if you want to know [who] receives the truth but not the love of it see who falls out by the way. Some who are in the Church sware (sic), take the name of God in vain. They say they will be damned if they do this or that. So they will be. They are Damned already. Now is the time to get your salvation and exaltation. It has to be done here. Your words, thoughts, acts, and deeds are daily either Exhalting (sic) or debasing you. If you are not getting your exaltation here you will not get it hereafter. Then try to improve your time here and get salvation daily. If you pay strict attention to yourselves in all things you will not have much time to attend to the faults of your neighbors.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

Sunday, January 23, 1853


I attended meeting. Elder O. Hyde preached. Said we should acknowledge the hand of God in all things. Referred to Martin Luther, the reformation, &c. and said the hand of God was in it and that He had inspired Columbus and many men to perform certain works and who knows but what he inspired Mohammad to cause the people to acknowledge one God and one prophet. Martin Luther with others created a great Change in his day from Popary to more freedom of conscience in religious and political matters and the way has been prepared in process of time so the kingdom of God has been esstablished (sic) and so with all the events of the present day, steam power, Rail Roads, Telegraph lines, and all the Revolutions of the present Nations. May we not acknowledge the hand of God in them all as bringing to pass the purposes of the Lord? The Lord says he is angry with none except those who do not acknowledge his hand in all things.

No man can find out God. We shall not know as much as God for then there would be two Competitors on the Throne. We may see the day when we shall know as much as God does now but then He will know as much more at that time than we as he does now. If we do wrong we shall be chastized for it. If we do well we shall have our reward for that.

[168] P.P. Pratt followed and said how could doors be open in China and other parts of the world if God had not moved upon some of the Nations to cause a change among the nations and to have the Bible printed in the different languages so the people could have the scriptures to read. After men have published the Bible and got $50,000 dollars for the same if they won’t receive the fullness of the gospel when they hear it the Lord can say to them you are well paid for what you have done and if you won’t do any more go your way. I will raise up somebody else so don’t you complain as you have got your pay. I feel thankful for a few truths that are about in the world as it prepares the way for many more.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

Sunday, January 30, 1853


P.P. Pratt preached. His Subject was the Kingdom of God which was to be set up in the last days. He said if we were to take the present order, rules and regulation of either the Jews, Gentiles, Christian or pagan as a standard to set up as the pattern for the great Kingdom of our God, of which the prophets had spoken, there was none of them which would fit, compare, or answer the purpose at all for the last dispensation. When did we ever see a generation or any Nation make their own prophets and Apostles to get Revelation and do the work of God? In order to set up a kingdom and government in the last days to gather the 10 Tribes of Israel, the Jews and gentiles, and all Nations, Break down the Roman power, build up, esstablish (sic) Zion and maintain it, it must be something different from any Human government or device of man. It must originate from the heavens, be governed and controlled by the God of heaven, led by inspiration and revelation in all of its undertakings, and it must contain within itself all the blessings and covenants which God made to Abraham concerning his seed and posterity.

This Kingdom is here in the valley of the mountains. It has been esstablished (sic) by the hand of God and it embraces all that God has promised, or that is necessary to perfect the great work or all that Jew or Gentile Can look for. It embraces the whole of the New and Everlasting Covenant, [169] the fulness of the gospel, with all the power and Authority of the same, the Keys of the Kingdom, the Endowments, sealing powers, the patriarchal matrimony, and the foundation laid for gathering all Israel.

The Ancient deciples (sic) and Apostles did not set up this Kingdom as some have supposed. When they inquired of Jesus if he would at that time restore again the Kingdom to Israel, Jesus informed them that it was not given to them to know (eve[r/n]) the times and seasons which the Lord had reserved unto himself when he would set up the Kingdom. So they were not permitted to know the time, much less to perform the work. They asked the Savior what they should do then. He told them they should bear witness of his name before both Jew and gentile and for this same testimony they would have to lay down their lives. The Kingdom of God was set up in their day but the people would not permit it to remain long among [them] for they killed the prophets, Apostles, and Elders who preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God And the priesthood and Kingdom of God was taken from them and they have fallen into darkness and Error.

But now the Kingdom of God is set up for the last time to again restore Israel and you cannot force Israel even by the sword to receive a Kingdom and Laws and acknowledge the great standard which is to be set up in the last days for the governing, gathering, and controlling of all Israel except it is right and according to the promises made to the Fathers, and this Kingdom of God, when it was to appear was to be like a mustard seed. It was to be the least of all herbs, but was to grow untill the fowls of heaven lodged in the branches thereof.

Should we attempt to take any of the Kingdoms of the world as this great standard out of which to build the Kingdom of God? It would not compare at all with the parable given. But when we take the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints it does compare in evry (sic) respect and contains within itself evry (sic) thing that is promised in the great standard that was to be set up in the last days. It is no matter what this is called at the present time, a church, a republic, or a Kingdom. The Kingdom is certainly here and in very deed. It has commenced, like a mustard seed, very small, but as the seed gathers its [170] moisture from the Earth which causes it to spring forth and take root, so will this Kingdom continue to gather the good from all Nations untill (sic) it becomes the greatest of All Kingdoms under Heaven and untill the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ. The signs of this Kingdom are appearing in the heavens and the Earth that was spoken of by Christ and the Apostle, and why should not the Kingdom appear?

Some may say I have been Baptized, Joined the Church, am in the Kingdom, Now why may not I go to Calafornia (sic) and get gold and take all the comfort I can in this world? Well if one part of the Kingdom of God have a right to go, the whole have and scatter abroad. Then whare (sic) is your Kingdom and gathering? We are now in as good a place as we can get in. If we were to go to Calafornia (sic) we should be whare (sic) we would be in the midst of the scum of Hell. If we should go to Cal. or New Orlens (sic) because we could get sugar for 3 cts., whare would the work of the Kingdom of God be? My views are that when we are gathered, we keep so, and build up Temples, give Endowments to the living and dead, except as we go on missions abroad in the world, as the Angels would go to hell on a mission and [be] glad to return as soon as they got through. If you want gold, build up the Kingdom of God, make Zion a city on a hill that cannot be hid, and carry out the purposes of the Lord and then gold will flow in unto you from all Nations. Your Presidency and Apostles will then hardly have time to go out of the Temple to get their breakfast instead of running about to know how to get their [land/field?] ploughed so as to raise bread to eat, and while all Nations are b[reak?]ing up, the rich among them will invest their wealth among the institution of Zion, and not trust it among any [of] the sinking Nations, and those that wished to save their lives will flee to Zion for safety, for they will be the ownly (sic) people that will not be at war one with another. Many other Edifying remarks were made by the speaker.



[171]                             Gathering

Millennial Star Editorial

January 15, 1853


The season of the year has now arrived when many of the British Saints will bid adieu to their friends, and kindred, and fatherland, to journey across the mighty deep to the land of Zion, that they may engage more fully in building up the Kingdom of God.

The spectacle of hundreds and thousands of persons readily sacrificing from religious motives the claims of country, relationship, and acquaintance, and emigrating to a land to them personally unknown–where they will be comparative strangers, must undoubtedly appear strange and unaccountable to the majority of mankind. But Saints, who have learned of the things of God in some small degree, whose minds have been opened to an understanding of the economy of salvation, know full well the righteousness and wisdom of the motives that induce them to forsake the land of their nativity, and gather themselves together to another land. They are able to give a reason for the hope that is within them in this respect. They know that wickedness can never be brought to an end until the wicked are destroyed from off the face of the earth, and that it is not the mind of God that the righteous should perish with the wicked. They know that if the righteous are ever to live peaceably upon the earth, and enjoy the blessings of the Kingdom of God, they must first be gathered out from the wicked, that the wicked may be taken from the earth, and so be prevented injuring and oppressing the righteous. They know that the revelations and laws of God are calculated to benefit men, socially, temporally, and spiritually; and they are also well aware that those laws cannot be fully kept, and consequently their benefits cannot be fully realized, by the people of God, until they be gathered from the midst of the nations, and become a people separate and distinct from all other people. These are some of the motives that induce the Latter-day Saints to emigrate in such startling numbers from the shores of Britain, and from all countries where they may be located.

[172] Wickedness has long reigned in the palace and in the cottage; among all ranks and conditions of mankind: Those who have practiced it have spread themselves like a green bay tree, and luxuriated rankly in this lower world, at the expense of the honest, the sober, the industrious, the innocent, and the virtuous.

The purposes of the creation of this earth and mankind, have been little understood, and less cared for, by the majority of men. Virtue and integrity–pearls beyond all price, have been bought and sold for worse than filthy lucre, to be trampled underfoot of men, and accounted things of naught. The poor and the righteous have groaned under the iron hand of the oppressor, and longed for death, that they might be set free. The laws and ordinances and covenants of the God of Heaven, have been transgressed, and changed, and broken; and the earth has become defiled under the inhabitants thereof to such a degree, that nothing less than the consuming glory of the Lord will purify it from the abomination and defilement with which it is corrupted.

Notwithstanding the general dark and degraded state in which the majority of mankind are at the present time, there are still hundreds and thousands of men and women who ardently hope for better things, and earnestly seek for the truth as for a hidden treasure, and steadfastly pursue righteousness and equity as the pathway to eternal happiness. To such, the intelligence that the Almighty has once more looked down from the Heavens, and seen the low, fallen, corrupted state of the workmanship of His hands, and remembered His ancient covenant and promise to gather His people in one in the latter days, and establish His kingdom upon the earth, never more to be thrown down; that His will may be done upon the earth as it is done in the Heavens, that sin and suffering may cease, and righteousness, and truth, and peace, and everlasting joy and happiness prevail forevermore–to such this intelligence will prove more grateful than the haven of rest to the tempest-tossed mariner, or a green oasis to the weary traveler in a burning desert.

This the Almighty has done, and the gathering of the Latter-day Saints is to speed on this mighty and glorious work.

[173] The above remarks may be more adapted to benefit those who are not as yet numbered amongst the people of God; but we wish to make a few observations for the benefit of the Saints, especially the emigrating ones.

No one having the name of a Saint should emigrate to the land of Zion, unless he do it with an eye single to the glory of God, and the building up of His Kingdom. When persons amongst the Latter-day Saints leave their native land with the intention of going right up to headquarters, and do it from unworthy motive, they generally get disappointed in the object of their ambition, and apostatize long before they reach the mountains, and often fall by the destroyer. Every one who emigrates for Zion, should see that his heart is right, and his actions pure before God, and set his face as flint Zion-ward, determining not to heed the oily tales of apostates, nor the fears and falterings of weak brethren; but resolving to push onward with all faithfulness and diligence, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, staying not on his way until he reach the mountains, where he can halt in peace and security, and look down in safety upon the turmoil, and strife, and desolation of an ungodly generation, who have sown to the wind and must reap the whirlwind.

Those who obey the great commandment to gather, must of course do it at a sacrifice, and in the face of many privations. Three or four hundred people from various parts of the country, and perhaps from various countries, differing in manners, habits, dispositions, and associations, suddenly lodged in the limited dimensions of a ship, cannot expect to be quite so comfortable, or have things so much their own way, as they may have been accustomed to in their own houses on the land. Still their comfort or discomfort will rest in a great measure with themselves. By watching and praying, and seeking the influence of the Holy Spirit, and exercising patience and forbearance, and cultivating a cheerful and obliging demeanor towards one another, the voyage to New Orleans may be converted into a pleasure trip, and all privations and discomforts be forgotten in the peace and harmony which may prevail. A shipload of gathering Saints, who are faithful in the observance of their duties, may exercise a control over [174] winds, and waves, and untoward and uncomfortable circumstances, which they never before dreamt of. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” How much more then shall the faith and prayers of three hundred Saints have power to draw down the blessings of Heaven, seeing they have just made a sacrifice of their attachment to kin, and country, and worldly prospects, for the express purpose of fulfilling the Lord’s commandment to gather, for it is a truth that “Sacrifice brings down the blessings of Heaven.”

All good Saints have received of the one Spirit, which unites their hearts as one if they heed its gentle and peaceable whisperings, and leads them to bear with each others’ infirmities and weaknesses, and exercise long-suffering, and kindly and charitable feelings towards each other, each esteeming his brother or his sister better than himself. These agreeable and unmistakable traits of a Saint’s character can be exhibited on a sea voyage, with the greatest benefit to all parties.

The valleys of the Mississippi and the Missouri may be likened to Bunyan’s “slough of despond.” Some of the Saints, when they arrive at this portion of their journey, having miscalculated their faith or their patience, through murmuring, or repining, or listening to the sophistical tales of wicked apostates, grow cold in the spirit of the work, and stay behind here, or are slothful and careless in pursuing their journey further; they ultimately lose the Spirit of the Lord entirely, and turn again to the beggarly elements, and become spiritually dead; and oftentimes temporal death follows; for the powers of darkness, the agents of both temporal and spiritual death, abound in those valleys; indeed the destroyer rides upon the face of the waters, and his influence prevails on the land to such an extent, that those valleys become to many, the valley of the “shadow of death.”

It is indeed foretold that the time shall come when none but those who are upright in heart shall be able to go up to Zion; but the diligent, the faithful, and the upright, need be under no fear; for the promise of the Almighty is unto them, that He will still shield them as in the hollow of His hand, that they shall live to accomplish their work upon the earth, and though a thousand should fall at their [175] side, and ten thousand be destroyed around them, yet they shall stand in holy places and not be moved. The great secrets of safety for the Saints are prayer and faithfulness, in performing their duties in the seasons therefore, in observing the ordinances and commandments and precepts of the Lord, and in a willing obedience to the counsels of those who may be set over them in the Holy Priesthood. By doing this, the emigrating Saints may live to accomplish the purest and best desires of their hearts–even to arrive at Zion in safety, and be instructed in the way of the Lord more perfectly; but those who neglect these things, will have themselves to reproach when they find their portion amongst degraded and abandoned apostates. (Mill. Star 15:33-35)



Who Are the Noble?

Elder George D. Keaton

Millennial Star, January 29, 1853


If I were to ask the above question of those who are not acquainted with the Gospel as revealed from heaven in these last days, some would point me to those in the “Prize Ring,” who are skilled in using their fists in inflicting punishment on the bodies of those who have no better sense than to appear in the “Ring” before them. Others would point me to those of great titles, such as lords, dukes, warriors, archbishops, &c. I shall not dwell upon showing who are not the noble, but shall proceed to show who they are, from well founded evidence that cannot be disputed. I would ask, wherein does nobility consist? Does it not consist in doing that which is good? Every reasonable person will answer, yes. Is there anything noble in doing that which is sinful in the sight of God? In lying, stealing, defrauding, drunkenness, adultery, fighting, and shedding innocent blood, for the sake of getting money and victory? Instead of there being anything noble in these deeds, they are of the most degraded, diabolical, and dangerous character, calculated to ruin the soul of all who practice them.  Wherein is the nobility in man seeking to tyrannize over his fellow man, and in order to gain the fame and applause of the world, having recourse to deeds which are evil in their nature? Such a fame as this the [176] owners will be ashamed of in a day to come. Jesus says, “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Would not such be taking a much wiser step if they were to follow the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;” and if, instead of seeking the applause of the world, they were to seek to overcome the evils of the day–strive to become conquerors over the powers of darkness–obey the Gospel–and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God!

The noble are those who, at the bidding of the Lord through His humble servants, arise and go forth as swift messengers to the slumbering nations, to carry glad tidings of great joy, even the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. With their lives in their hands, they leave the dear partners of their bosoms, and their charming little ones, and travel over mountains, deserts, and seas, without purse or scrip, for the good of their fellow creatures, and teach doctrines which are diametrically opposed to the popular systems of the day, regardless of the dangers to which they are exposed, putting their whole trust in the Lord. The courage manifested by these noble men is truly astonishing! They perform feats unequaled by any people on the earth.

Who are the noble? They are those who arise in compliance with the heavenly call, “Come out of her (Babylon) my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” and, like Abraham of old, leave the land of their nativity, and go forth unto that choice land which the Lord has appointed for the gathering of His elect from all nations under heaven, where they shall be hid in the hollow of His hand, while His indignation shall be poured out upon the ungodly, who will not obey His commands. The Saints not only gather to Zion in order to escape the plagues of great Babylon, but also that they may be more fully taught in the ways of the Lord. The Prophet Micah, speaking by the spirit of prophecy concerning the gathering place of the Saints in the last days, says, “And many people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will [177] walk in His paths,” so that the faithful people of God, or the wise virgins, may be ready when the cry shall be made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.”

Who are the noble? Some may answer, those of high birth, and the rich; but Jesus, the most noble being that was ever born of woman, was not of a high worldly birth. He was the supposed son of a carpenter, born in a stable, and cradled in a manger. Are the rich in this world’s goods the noble in the sight of God? Generally speaking, they are not. Jesus says, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God.” Their riches are their ruin, they cause some to be puffed up in the pride of their heart, so that they will not bow to the mandates of Heaven; they are too proud to associate with the Lord’s people, a great many of whom are of the honest and industrious poor. Although Jesus has said, “It is hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,” still it is possible, and probable, yea, it is certain, that some of the rich will be saved, for some of them will be wise, and prove themselves to be among the noble of the earth in the sight of God and His people. Having obeyed the first principles of the Gospel, they will appropriate their means to the building up of Zion, and the gathering home of the Lord’s poor and oppressed Saints, who are unable to effect their own deliverance from Babylon; and the poor thus helped, who are of equal estimation in the sight of God with the rich, in a day to come will rise up and call them blessed.

Again, among the noble are those who seek to know God, whom to know is eternal life, who, on hearing the Gospel preached by the Lord’s servants, embrace it by repenting of their sins, and being baptized by immersion for the remission of them, in spite of all the persecution they may meet with for so doing; for the noble are willing to sacrifice everything for the Gospel’s sake, if called to do so; they will do as Moses did,–choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of reward. The noble will sacrifice the present enjoyments and allurements of this world, for future glory, not even counting their lives dear [178] unto them, that they may obtain a better resurrection. Paul says, “The people of Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed, also honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” The noble spirits of this age, who are not already walking in the light of truth and new revelation, will not be satisfied with flying false reports, concerning the Saints of God, but they will search the Scriptures to see if these things are so. And as sure as they search through the love of truth, so sure will they become convinced of the truth of this great and important message now revealed from Heaven, for the salvation of all who receive it, and endure to the end; and which will stand as a fearful testimony against all those who hear and reject it.

In conclusion, I boldly affirm, without fear of contradiction, that the noble of the earth are those who receive the truth in the love thereof, and continue therein, who take up their cross and follow Christ, endeavoring to avoid all sin and wickedness, doing all the good they can, being faithful in all things committed to their charge–who bear all things patiently for the Gospel’s sake–who nobly stand in defense of the principles of eternal truth, against the calumny heaped upon it, by those who neither fear God, nor revere His laws–who are not to be frightened out of their faith, by the threats and persecutions of the wicked–and who cry–

“What wilt thou have me do, O Lord?

And yield obedience to the heavenly word.”

(Mill. Star 15:75-77)



Our Feelings

John Jaques

Millennial Star, February 5, 1853


It is very easy for us to make a sacrifice of anything except our feelings; when we come to them, “There’s the rub!” Money or property can be easily sacrificed, but our feelings, our prejudices, our preconceived notions, can not be so readily surrendered.

[179] The love of their money or property will cause the condemnation of many, but the love of their feelings, right or wrong, will cause far more to fall short of the glory of God. How difficult it is to persuade two contending persons to stifle their animosity towards each other, and ask each other’s forgiveness. Each considers his opponent chiefly in the wrong, and though at the same time he acknowledge himself a little in the wrong too, yet how much more easily each can be persuaded to sacrifice his time, talent, money, or property to harm his opponent, than he can be persuaded to sacrifice the feeling animosity that burns in his bosom. It requires little reason, little argument, little persuasion, to secure the devotion of anything either possesses, for the purpose of gratifying the feeling of revenge upon his fellow; but it requires a great deal of reason, a great deal of argument, a great deal of persuasion, to secure from either the sacrifice of that feeling of revenge, though he be in the wrong, and the giving up of his revengeful feelings would be productive of much benefit to him both in a pecuniary and moral point of view. In fact, do we not often see men who would rather beggar themselves and their friends than give up their feelings? We do; and some are so obstinate as not to withhold their life, if thereby they can accomplish the purpose of wreaking their revenge upon others. Examples of the truth of these remarks are of daily occurrence. They are constantly before our eyes.

This tenacious clinging to our feelings, this obstinate persistence in refusing to sacrifice them, when duty requires their sacrifice, has been one of the greatest obstacles to the spread of the work of God in all ages of the world. It was in ancient times, and it is now.

When the Almighty chose Moses and commanded him to go to Pharaoh, to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt, Moses felt unwilling to go, and told the Lord that his brethren in Egypt would not receive him. When the Lord told him that they would hearken to his voice, Moses was still unwilling, he urged that he was not eloquent, but “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue;” the Lord said unto him, “Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and [180] teach thee what thou shalt say.” Moses, however, still felt reluctant, and said, “O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses,” and He appointed Aaron, an eloquent speaker, to be spokesman for Moses. Now, what was the reason of Moses’ reluctance to go and fulfill the mission the Lord appointed him! This; his feelings were opposed to it; his feelings of fear, and perhaps of pride. Before Moses left Egypt, he slew an Egyptian who was smiting an Hebrew, and hid the dead body in the sand. Pharaoh heard of this, and sought to slay Moses, which was the cause of his fleeing from Egypt to the land of Midian. And Moses recollected the sarcastic remark of one of his Hebrew brethren, who was contending with another Hebrew: “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian?” And Moses was brought up in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he might feel rather ashamed to appear in the face of the whole Egyptian nation as the leader of the Hebrews, who at this time were despised and oppressed by the Egyptians. No wonder, then, that the commandment he received came in contact with his feelings. The Lord had to tell him expressly that the Hebrews would hearken to his voice, and he should bring them out into the land of Canaan; and also that those Egyptians who sought his life were all dead.

We know very well the feelings that pervade the bosoms of men and women when they first become convinced of the Gospel. We know that many are too proud to condescend to obey it, and consequently, they deprive themselves of the blessings which obedience produces. Although they cannot advance one argument in opposition to the principles laid before them, yet they are ashamed to acknowledge before their acquaintances and the world that they have been heretofore believing in “lies, vanity, and things wherein there is opened, their understandings enlightened, and their knowledge increased, by that despised people, the Latter-day Saints.” Others who are convinced of the truth, do not obey it because it would deny them the gratification of many feelings which are offensive in the sight of God.

[181] And after people have entered the Church, they ever and anon find precepts and commandments that come contrary to their feelings, and to obey which requires a great effort of the mind. If an Elder is called to go on a mission, as like as not it comes in contact with his feelings, and, unless he has well disciplined his feelings by the law of God, it proves a great trial to him to set upon its fulfillment; perhaps he has just married a wife, or bought a horse, or a yoke of oxen, or purchased or rented a farm, or engaged in extensive business arrangements, which renders it peculiarly inconvenient for him to fulfill his mission straightway, and he may feel to run any way but the right, to escape performing his duty, like Jonah when sent on a mission to Nineveh.

A doctrine may be unfolded, or a revelation given, which comes right across the feelings of many, and if they are not careful and considerate, they are led on to apostasy, and lose their standing in the Church; not because they know any scriptural or reasonable objection to the doctrine or revelation, but merely because it comes in opposition to their feelings. (Mill. Star 15:91-93)




Elder C. A. Whitley

Millennial Star, February 5, 1853


Many have lost the Spirit of the Lord, and become as dead branches, by giving way to their feelings in neglecting to gather when they had opportunity; and others have lost it by neglecting to comply with other precepts or commandments, merely because they did not suit their feelings.

When the Saints were mobbed and driven in Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord gave a revelation for all the Saints to consecrate their means, and purchase the lands that belonged to their enemies; which could have been done, had all united to do it; and if they had done it, the Lord said Zion should have been redeemed, and their enemies should have had no further power over them. But it did not exactly suit the notions of some to consecrate their hard-earned property, and consequently the children of Zion were scattered, and have not yet been restored to [182] their possessions, but they have been scourged from city to city, and but few of them remain to return to Jackson county, when the Lord shall give permission; all this had happened according to the word of the Lord, by the Prophet Joseph.

Now there is a great secret respecting our feelings, the sacrifice of them when opposed to the will of the Lord, is obedience; and obedience is far more acceptable to the Lord than the sacrifice of all the money or property we may possess. And all who have made the experiment know, and all who will make it, may know, that when a revelation or commandment from the Lord comes in contact with our feelings, there’s a great blessing at the back of that revelation or commandment, which blessing cannot be obtained, except we sacrifice our feelings for the Law of the Lord; but the moment we determine that we will, that moment we are free, the load falls from our back, as Christian’s did at the Cross, and our minds are filled with unspeakable peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Amongst the various duties that press upon the Saints in this their probationary state, there is one that claims their especial attention, from its importance and tendency. It is capable of being both profitably and agreeably performed by the Saint, indeed I know of none more so than that of prayer. When we consider it is the medium of approach to the Divine Majesty, we are led to estimate it in an higher light than is generally done, and are led to feel that due importance of the reverence that is required. When we draw nigh to God, it makes us feel our own insignificance, and teaches us the measure of humility we need. Were we to approach an earthly potentate, we should be careful to observe all due respectfulness, and to avoid all approaches to irreverence both in carriage and conversation; how much more so ought we to feel the majesty of the presence of the King of kings when we appear in His presence to present our petitions. Though He expects us to feel that we are not approaching an equal, but a Being possessed of an incalculable amount of light and intelligence, yet He does not require us to tell Him how high and how great He is, but encourages us to approach and solicit for our wants, both temporal and spiritual, in the same manner we [183] would ask of an earthly father. Just as a child looks to his parent for support and advice, our Heavenly Father desires us to look to Him, casing all our care upon Him, for He careth for us; His superior wisdom shows Him those things we stand in need of, and which would be beneficial to us, but He requires us to seek of Him for them; He bids us ask and we shall receive, to prove Him and see if He will not open the windows of heaven and pour us out such a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

He declares for our encouragement, that where two or three shall agree touching anything they shall ask, it shall be done unto them; not that He intends us to ask and coolly leave the result to Providence, but after using every effort in our power, to look to Him for the increase. In our public approaches, our study should be to keep our minds untrammeled from the world, and in the spirit of humility and faith to present our desires to God. The thought never should be permitted to fill us with fear and trouble, that our language is open to the criticism of our fellow-worshippers, for lip service is an abomination to the Lord. To Him we should look as a solace from affliction, for we are taught that whom He loveth He chasteneth, and that all things work together for good.

Our elder Brother and Mediator bids us apply daily for our daily bread, when we need it. Still we should labor to our utmost, for God helps them that help themselves, and man must labor for his bread, and then look to God for the control of those things for his benefit which are beyond his present power.

Paul teaches us to pray without ceasing, not that we are to continue prostrate before the throne of God, but to live in the spirit of gratefulness for the blessings that are momentarily bestowed upon us. Prayer refreshes and reinvigorates the Saints, and enables them to overcome the assaults of the enemy, and keeps them close to their duty, and enables them to press forward with joy and exaltation for the mark and prize of their high calling. It keeps them with lamps trimmed, waiting the approach of the Bridegroom. May we then be found frequent in our petitions to the footstool of grace, that when our Master shall call us hence we shall be found worthy to sit down [184] with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and the company of the redeemed at the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Mill. Star 15:93-94)



Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 6, 1853


President B. Young followed and said the organization of man is one of the deepest subjects that the philosopher of the day attempts to investiga[te]. The mystery of man in his organization has been a study for ages. It has been a mystery but it is because of ignorance. There is no such thing as mystery or miracle ownly (sic) to the ignorant. [To] Any intelligent being that knows the cause and effect of things it is no miracle or mystery. It is our privilege to asspire (sic) after that knowledge that the greatest intelligence possesses. We should take that Course that we may ever increase in knowledge. Then we are sure of exaltation.

Why I make mention of this thing is because I look upon this people who are now before me. I am like the rest of you that when the light of truth shines upon me my mind is enlightened and I am asstonished (sic) to look at the world of mankind. Their actions are like little Children. You look at your Children about the House and you will see a perfect pattern of the world. The children will fight and cry about and after evry (sic) thing that they ought not to have. They want a looking glass, hammer, razor and many things that they would injure themselves and are not old enough to handle. So it is with all the world. If they had all their desires granted them, they would leep deaches (sic), fences, Hedges and gutters and go to hell across lots and never wait to take the road. Even old men, like Children, will ask for things they cannot use and I can see the same in this Church. Many of the people ask for things they Cannot Handle. I see it evry day.

I wish to exhort the people Here to an item of our religion, yet I am happy to say that the item that I am about to exhort you to, the people generally are ready to carry out. Firstly I would say let us observe the Mormon Creed. Let evry[one] mind their own business. Evry one has weeds enough in his own guarding [garden] to attend to without [185] attending to the weeds in his Neighbor’s garden. For while you are attending to the weeds of your Neighbor, those in your own will grow vary thick and tall and will finally spoil the good seed.

I am asstonished that the people do not see that they can get along much better without doing evil than with. If a person does you an injury, don’t retaliate and you get a great advantage of the person doing the evil. If a person injures you, do him good and you get the advantage of him and the victory.

Follow the Counsel of Brother Snow and improve your time in Study and treasuring up knowledge. Children should have their times of recreations, for if they are kept still from seeing and knowing any thing appertaining to amusements till they are 18 years of age, when they do get out they will act vary wild. But let the children sow their wild oats, do up the dancing and frolicking while young, that when they get older they may read the Bible, Book of Mormon and preach the gospel and do goog [good] on the Earth. I want to know all there is on Earth, in Heaven, and Hell so that no person shall know more than I do. But in obtaining this knowledge I do not wish to sin. There is no need of sinning.

If the weather had been good I should have called upon the people to have commenced digging out the foundation of the Temple. I want to lay the corner stone of the Temple on the 6th day of next April if the Lord will. If you want to know what size I am calculating to build the Temple I will say I am expecting to break ground 150 feet by 220, And the foundation for the building to stand upon, 20 feet deep and 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. The basement story will then commence on the top of the foundation and that will be 16 feet high, 8 feet under ground and 8 feet above. Then the main building will commence on the top of the basement story.

What is there here in the valley that should hinder this people from being Happy? I am happy because I do not fret about any thing that I cannot do. I won’t fret about any thing. What Hinders your praying and praising God? Nobody but your own selves. If you are seeking to weed your neighbor’s garden you will have business enough. But this is a Happy people. I wish they would prize their [186] blessings. You have not got to mourn as did the Ancients because their children would Apostatize. They will not have time but will have all they can do to perform the work of God as it rolls upon them to prepare the kingdom for the coming of Christ, gather up the Nations, &c. Then be happy and do the things required of you.




Is It Consistent with the Bible,

the Book of Mormon, and the Doc. & Cov.

of the Church of

Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

(A letter from Elder John Jaques to Mr. J-G-)

Millennial Star

February 12 & 26, March 5 & 12, 1853


Liverpool, January 31st, 1853.

Mr. J-G-,

My dear Sir,: Your letter of the 17th instant lies before me, and the present being the earliest opportunity that has presented itself for replying, I cheerfully embrace it, and proceed to consider the subject of your communication, viz., the doctrine of polygamy, or plurality of wives.

You acknowledge, sir, that the religion of the Latter-day Saints may be right, but you are not at present able to comprehend it particularly when you compare the Revelation published in the Millennial Star, No. 1, current volume, with a passage on the 133rd page of the Book of Mormon, and another passage in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section on Marriage, and the denials which the Latter-day Saints have given to new paper reports on this subject.

I do not purpose at the present time to enter into a lengthy disquisition upon the subject of polygamy, but inasmuch as you request me to throw a little light upon the matter, by the assistance of the Spirit of God I will briefly, though I hope satisfactorily, endeavor to lay before you a few of my ideas upon it, and present a few references; and the best way of doing this that presents itself to my view, is to resolve your difficulties into the form of two interrogations, and answer them, as follows:

[187] 1. Is the doctrine of polygamy or plurality of wives a Scriptural doctrine?

  1. If polygamy be a Scriptural doctrine, how can it be reconciled with what is found on the 133rd page of the Book of Mormon, with the remarks in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section on Marriage, and with the denials which the Latter-day Saints have given to various newspaper reports upon the subject?

First.–Is the doctrine of polygamy, or plurality of wives a Scriptural doctrine?

Sir, in answer to this question, I can say, with the utmost assurance, and without the slightest fear of truthful contradiction, Yes! As far back as Lamech we can find the system of plurality of wives dated, for the inspired historian relates, “And Lamech took unto him two wives, the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.”–Gen. iv. 19. Now the Scriptures do not condemn Lamech of this thing; there is not a having more wives than one.

The next person we come to in the sacred history, is one of the most noted of all the men of God whose names are recorded on the inspired page, Abraham, the father of the faithful, the friend of God.

The Lord promised Abraham that He would make his seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then should Abraham’s seed be numbered.–Genesis xiii., 16. But Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren; how then was his seed to become as the sands of the sea-shore, for multitude? When Sarah saw that she bore Abraham no children, she besought him to take Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid, to wife, and said to him, “Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abraham, to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived.”–Gen. xvi., 2, 3, 4. Did the conduct of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar in this matter please the Lord? Yes! most assuredly. When Hagar found that she had conceived, [188] she naturally enough felt proud of it, and in the pride of her heart despised her mistress, who was not so fortunate. When Sarah saw that she was despised, she dealt hardly with Hagar, until Hagar fled from her face into the wilderness. And the Angel of the Lord met her, and counseled her to return to her mistress. What! The Angel of the Lord visit and speak to one of the wives of a bigamist? Most certainly; the Lord sent His Angel to do it. “Shocking! horrible!!”, exclaims a pious, one-wifed, church or chapel-going Christian; “What awful blasphemy!”, says another, to represent the Lord as a sanctioner of bigamy!! But “facts are stubborn things;” no matter how shocking, horrible, or awfully blasphemous it may appear to the morbid imaginations of over-pious religionists, still the Lord actually approbated it; the fact of His doing so stares us sternly and uncompromisingly in the face; it meets us every way; we cannot flee from it, turn where we will; if we deny it, we must discard the Bible altogether and seek some other guide. We must look upon that sacred book, which we have been taught to consider as containing the revealed will of God, and His dealings with our ancestors, and His design in reference to ourselves and the earth we stand upon–we must look upon that sacred book, as a batch of falsehoods, a collection of cunningly devised fables, more flighty, absurd, and, unreal, than those of the Arabian Nights, or Gulliver, or Don Quixote, or Baron Munchausen, if we intend to maintain that God did not approve of Abraham’s polygamic career.

But what more did the Angel of the Lord say unto Hagar? He said, “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael.” Gen. xvi., 10, 11. And when Hagar was sent away another time, the Angel of the Lord told her not to fear, for her son Ishmael should become a great nation; and it is stated that “God was with the lad, and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.”– Gen. xxi. Here is still further proof that the Lord approbated Hagar’s conduct in becoming one of Abraham’s wives.

Was Sarah, for giving Hagar to Abraham’s bosom, and Abraham, for receiving her, blessed of the Lord? Most [189] certainly they were. Thirteen years after Ishmael’s birth, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and made a covenant with him, that he should be exceedingly fruitful, then become the father of many nations and kings; that Ishmael, his son by Hagar, should be blessed, and become fruitful and multiply exceedingly, and beget twelve princes, and be made a great nation. The Lord also promised Abraham that his wife Sarah should be blessed, and bear a son, and become the mother of nations and kings.–Gen. xvii. Now at this time, Sarah was ninety years old, and Abraham ninety-nine, and they both laughed at the idea of a child being born unto them at that age. Considering the improbability of such an occurrence at that advanced age, especially as Sarah had been barren during the whole of her former life, Abraham besought the Lord that Ishmael might live to continue a seed upon the earth through which the Lord might fulfill His former promise to him. And God said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”–Gen. xvii. 19. Here it is manifest that the Lord approbated Sarah in giving Hagar to Abraham. When Sarah was the only wife of Abraham, she was barren, and continued so until she gave her husband another wife. After she gave Hagar to him to wife, not only did Hagar conceive and bring forth, but the Lord condescended to visit Sarah, and signify His approbation of her conduct by “opening her womb;” and Sarah conceived and bore her lord a son, even in her old age, when it had “ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” When Abraham had one wife, like pious Christians of our day, the Lord denied him the fruit of the womb, although He had promised it to him; but immediately upon his taking a second wife, like the people of our day called heathens, or Mahometans, the Lord blessed him with posterity, and that not only by his second wife, but also by his first.

Sir, make what comment you please upon this; anyhow, it is a rotten argument for the one-wife system. I will merely say, and I do it with reverence, that if the Almighty were to treat men now as He treated Abraham, that is, withhold posterity when they have only one wife, [190] and bless them with children immediately upon their taking a second wife–if the Almighty were to do this, Christendom must speedily renounce its present marriage policy, and adopt a more liberal and more Scriptural one, or in a few years it would be blotted out of existence, and a “dark age” of polygamy prevail; and as Christians have not any Prophets among them, they do not know whether this is among the “secrets of the Lord” or not.

There is another testimony that God was pleased with Abraham. Why did the Lord bless Hagar’s son Ishmael? The Lord said to Abraham, “And also of the son of the bond-woman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed!”–Gen. xxi, 13. This, to Christendom, must appear most astounding; the Lord actually blessing Ishmael, because Abraham begot him by having more wives than one! The Lord blessing a man’s children because he had two wives!! If the Lord blessed Hagar’s child, because, to obtain that child, she gave herself to Abraham, though as a second wife, we must very naturally conclude that if Hagar had stayed in the land of Egypt, and become the only wife of an Egyptian, her first born would not have been entitled to the blessing which the Lord promised unto him in consequence of his being Abraham’s seed.

In the first verse of the 25th chapter of Genesis, it is recorded that Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. And in the sixth verse it is recorded that Abraham had several concubines; and yet the blessing of the Lord was upon him, and he earned the reputation of being one of the most faithful men that ever lived. Doubtless some of these concubines were the Egyptian maidservants which Pharaoh gave unto Abraham when he took his wife Sarah from him.–Gen. xii. Now, if the Lord abominated the doctrine of polygamy as much as modern Christians profess to do, can we imagine for one moment that He would have chosen Abraham, that noted polygamist, from all the families of the earth, to be His especial friend, and to receive the blessing that his seed should eternally increase, and become as the sands of the sea-shore, and as the stars of heaven, for multitude? Can we imagine that God disapproved of Abraham’s conduct, when we recollect that He forbore to fulfill the promise of posterity whilst he was the husband of only one wife, and [191] immediately commenced to fulfill it when Abraham took a second wife? If God was displeased with Abraham’s method of raising and increasing his family, would He have told Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed? What, bless all the nations of the earth through the family of a man who kept many wives and concubines? How strange and startling to the Christian ear! Oh! How contrary, how directly opposite to the ideas which have been instilled in our minds from our infancy, by those who read the Bible as a sealed book! We can now see very plainly that Abraham’s conduct was not disapproved of God. On the contrary, he possessed the entire confidence of God, insomuch that when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorra for their wickedness, He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing that I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.”–Gen xviii., 17, 18, 19. And the Lord told him! Think on this a moment. The Lord made Abraham His confidant, because He knew him that he would command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord. The Lord was so well pleased with the fashion of Abraham’s family order and government, that He chose him upon that very account. Here is most conclusive proof that the Lord was well pleased with Abraham’s family arrangements. If the Lord had disapproved of Abraham’s having many wives and concubines, can we suppose for one moment that He would have chosen him to be a pattern and instructor to all future generations? Can we imagine that the Lord would have said Abraham commanded his house well, if polygamy had been as obnoxious to Him as our modern divines represent it?

It is folly to urge that polygamy was an established usage among the nations in the day of Abraham, and that it would have been more difficult for a man of God to confine himself to one wife then, than it is now for Christians to take two or more; for Abraham was so [192] faithful to the Lord, that he spared not his only son, the child of promise, the heir of the greater blessing, but freely offered him as a sacrifice, which was as great a trial to his feelings as it would be to Christians now to have more than one wife. If it had been the will of the Lord for Abraham to have had only one wife, he would have cheerfully obeyed it, though it had been contrary to established usage. But in the passage I have just quoted, the Lord expressly declared that He knew that Abraham would command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord. Abraham then must have been walking in the “way of the Lord” as the husband of several wives. Now, we have no alternative; we are irresistibly driven to the conclusion, that instead of the Lord being displeased with the polygamy of Abraham, it met with His highest approbation, and He chose Abraham to bless the nations with this principle, for He knew he would teach it to his posterity, as the subsequent history of the children of Israel abundantly testifies. I might say that Abraham’s having more wives than one, not only pleased the Lord, but was by His direct appointment.

If the Lord be more pleased with the modern Christian who has only one wife, than He was with Abraham who had many wives, how is it that the Lord visited Abraham and his wives, and sent His angels to visit them, and blessed them so abundantly, whilst He never condescends to reveal Himself, or send His angels, or promise blessings to the modern Christian? For the Christian of our day declares that the Lord has not spoken to man, or sent His angels to him, for seventeen hundred years! If God hated polygamy and loved monogamy, why did He walk and talk with the ancient polygamist as a man talks with his friend, and now refuse to manifest Himself to the modern monogamist? Are we to suppose that the visits of the Lord and His angels, and the promises of great blessings from His hands, are marks of these things, marks of approbation? Must we believe that the presence and oral instruction and blessings from His hands, are marks of disapprobation; and the withholding of these things marks of approbation? Must we believe that the presence and oral instruction and blessing of the Lord and His angels, are signs of disfavor and non-[193]acceptance; and the absence of these things signs of favor and acceptance? We cannot so delude ourselves. The society of the Lord and His angels is the great boon for which Jesus died; to bring men to the enjoyment of it is the great end of salvation, the acme of the ambition of every righteous man that has lived since the foundation of the world. No monogamist since the days of Abraham ever received such signal blessings at the hand of the Lord, and such indubitable tokens of the divine favor, as that ancient polygamist received. And if the polygamist enjoyed more of the divine presence and favor than the monogamist does, the course and conduct of the former must have been more in accordance with the will of the Lord, than the course and conduct of the latter are. We cannot conclude otherwise.

Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was a polygamist, and was highly favored of the Lord. His father Isaac blessed him, in the name of the Lord, with the blessing of Abraham, and sent him away to take a wife of the daughters of Laban, his mother’s brother. And as Jacob journeyed to Padenaram, where Laban lived, he laid himself down to sleep; and the Almighty appeared to him in a dream, and renewed the blessing which his father Isaac had pronounced upon his head. When Jacob awoke, he vowed to serve the Lord, and went on his journey, and came to the house of Laban, and agreed to serve Laban seven years for his daughter Rachel. At the expiration of the seven years, Laban deceived Jacob by giving him his daughter Leah to wife, instead of Rachel. When Jacob discovered the deception, he agreed to labor another seven years for Rachel; and when the seven years were expired, Laban gave Rachel to him to wife.–Gen. xxix.

But this is not all. Leah bare children; Rachel was barren. Rachel therefore said unto Jacob, “Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: And Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.”–Gen. xxx., 3, 4, 5.

Leah acted in a similar manner to what Rachel did. “When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her to Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah’s [194] maid bare Jacob a son.”–Gen. xxx. 9, 10. Now, here was Jacob, to whom God had promised the blessings of Abraham, having four wives at one and the same time. Did the Lord revoke His covenant with Jacob, and cease to bless him, for having four wives? No; quite the contrary. Rachel, his second wife, was denied children, until he had taken his two maids Bilhah and Zilpah to wife; and then, “God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”–Gen. xxx. 22, 23. Afterwards Rachel bore another son. Now, what was the reproach of Rachel? That she was childless. A reproach that clave to her whilst her husband had only two wives, but which was taken away by the Lord after her husband had taken four wives. And all the four wives of Jacob were blessed with children. Here we see that God blessed Jacob abundantly with the fruit of the womb, although his peculiar domestic relations were at variance with modern Christian notions of purity and righteousness.

Did God bless Jacob in his flocks and in his herds? Yes, in a most extraordinary manner. When Rachel had borne Jacob a son, Jacob wished to go to the land of Canaan, where his father dwelt, that he might properly provide for his fast increasing household. Laban besought him not to go, “for,” said he, “I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.”–Gen. xxx. Does it not appear strange that the Lord should bless a man with one wife, for the sake of one who had four wives? It does to Christendom; but nevertheless the Good Book declares it. Jacob agreed to stay with Laban, and the Lord blessed him abundantly, insomuch that he “increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants and menservants, and camels, and asses.”

At another time God commanded Jacob to return to the land of his fathers, and promised him He would be with him; and as he journeyed Laban pursued him, but God appeared to Laban in a dream of the night, and warned him not to hurt Jacob, saying, “Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob, either good or bad.” And the angels of God escorted Jacob and his wives and servants, and the Lord gave him favor in the eyes of Esau his [195] brother; yea God, at this very period, condescended to wrestle with him all night, and wrought a miracle upon him, and blessed him, saying, “As a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”–Gen. xxxi, xxxii.

But the most notable and unanswerable evidence that God approved of Jacob’s having more wives than one, lies in the fact of His choosing the twelve sons of Jacob’s four wives to be the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. If polygamy were in opposition to the will of God, why did God choose the twelve sons of a polygamist to become the fathers of His peculiar and chosen people? Why did He not charge Jacob to have no more than one wife, if that would have been more pleasing to Him than his having four wives? Jacob would doubtless have confined himself to one wife, like good Christians now-a-days, if the Lord had commanded him, for he made a vow to serve the Lord. Why did the Lord give so direct and unmistakable a sanction to polygamy, as to name His people after such a celebrated polygamist as Jacob? The decree that Jacob’s twelve tribes of Israel, was not an insignificant or transient decree, but one which has left its imprint on all succeeding time, and will mold the features of society in and after the resurrection from the dead; for the Lord has promised to gather Israel together in the restitution of all things, and unite them under one national standard upon the very land where their fathers practiced the polygamic order of domestic relations. And the land will be specifically divided amongst the twelve tribes; and the chief city will have twelve gates, guarded by twelve angels, with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the gates. Ezekiel xlvii.: xlviii: Rev. xxi. Nothing could more fully and satisfactorily prove that polygamy is in perfect accordance with the law of the Lord, than the fact of the Lord’s choosing such a family as that of Jacob to be the head of His chosen people. All the blessings of salvation received by the rest of the world, must come through this polygamic family, throughout all generations. The inscription of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel upon the gates of the city of the holy Jerusalem, the city of God, will declare to all eternity the purity, the righteousness, and the divine ordination of polygamy, and even now it [196] foretells the everlasting perpetuity of the principle. Though Christian divines of our day affect to despise the family order of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet God honored them in it, and He has declared He will honor them to all generations. When Moses asked the Lord what His name was, that he might tell it unto the children of Israel if they asked him, the Lord told him to say unto the children of Israel, “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”–Ex. iii. 15.

Speaking of Moses, Moses taught the principle of polygamy to the children of Israel, and the laws regulating it are amongst the statutes of the Lord, delivered by Moses unto them. Ex. xxi.: Numb. xxxi.: Deut. xx., xxi., xxv. (15:97-102)

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After Israel had settled in the land of Canaan, and Joshua and his compeers of the ruling Elders of Israel were dead, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and He gave them into the hand of the Midianites, who sorely distressed them, and destroyed their flocks, and herds, and the increase of the earth. At this juncture the Almighty sent His Angel unto a poor man, of the half tribe of Manasseh, named Gideon, as he was threshing wheat; and the angel said unto him, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor * * Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: Have not I sent thee? * * * Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”–Judges, vi., 12, 14, 16. He was also commanded to throw down the altar and grove of Baal, and build an altar to the Lord, and offer a burnt sacrifice thereon; which he did. And the Spirit of the Lord was with him mightily, and God blessed him, and give the Midianites into his hand, and they were “subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.”

Now, this was no slight honor which the Lord conferred upon Gideon,–to call him from the threshing-floor to deliver his people and country from the hands of [197] their enemies; and to be so singly blessed of the Lord, as, with a small force of three hundred men, to put all the hosts of Midian to flight, and to slay of them one hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen; and thus to bring rest and peace, and consequent prosperity, to the land for forty years. As this man received such high honor at the hand of the Lord, it may be interesting to know whether his domestic circle was modeled after the order of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, or after the most approved modern Christian fashion. The thirtieth verse of the eighth chapter of Judges determines this point:–“and Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.” And the next verse reveals the fact that, although his household numbered many wives, yet it was not without concubines. I will leave Christians to ruminate upon the why and wherefore of the Lords choosing such a man as Gideon to break down the altar of Baal, and build an altar to the Lord, and offer burnt sacrifice to Him, and reform religion, and deliver Israel, and give the land peace. In my humble opinion, the Christians of the present day would dictate the Lord to choose a very different person to accomplish such a work now. Such a man as Gideon, they think, would be just the man to build up altars to Baal, and plant groves to screen from the open face of heaven the orgies of his worship, and the license of his priests; and to corrupt the true religion, and to bring Israel under bondage, and to fill the land with violence and abomination. O, how men change! It is well the Lord is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, or the sons of Jacob would indeed be consumed.

In the days of the Judges of Israel there was a man, dwelling in Mount Ephraim, named Elkanah. Now, this man was a very conscientious man; he “went up out of his city yearly to worship, and to sacrifice unto the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh,” but he had two wives; the one named Hannah, the other Peninnah. The latter had children; the former was barren. Although living with a man who had more wives than one, Hannah was a very pious woman; and she grieved in her heart that she was denied children. When the family were in Shiloh, with their yearly sacrifice, Hannah went to the house of the Lord, “and she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and [198] wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O, Lord of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”–1. Sam., i., 10, 11. and Hannah opened her mind to the Priest, Eli, who ministered before the Lord. And Eli said, –“Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition, which thou hast asked of Him.” Now, did the Lord bless Hannah with the desire of her heart? “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.”–1 Sam., i, 19, 290. Did the Lord accept this son of Elkanah and Hannah, and be with and bless him? Yes; “The child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and also with men.” And the Lord called Samuel by name, while he was yet a child, and told him how He would cut off the strength of Eli’s house, because Eli’s sons did wickedly, and their father did not restrain them in it.

After Samuel grew up, “the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established to be a Prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel, in Shiloh, by the word of the Lord.”–1 Sam., iii, 19, 20, 21. And the Lord was with him, and blessed him, and, when he was old, he died, and all Israel lamented him.

Now, the Lord declared to Israel, in the days of Moses, that He would punish the iniquity of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation; and if Elkanah’s having two wives was iniquity in the sight of the Lord, would He have given Elkanah a son, by Hannah, and then have preferred that son above the house of Eli the Priest, and blessed him, and prospered him all his days? No; certainly not. Neither, if He had been displeased with [199] Hannah, would He have answered her prayer, by granting her a son, and after that, three sons and two daughters besides.

Saul was anointed King over Israel, and he was a great polygamist, but he did not please the Lord, and the Lord rejected him, and allowed the Philistines to array themselves against the house of Israel; and David, a stripling of the family of Jesse, delivered his people out of the hand of their enemies. Saul was envious towards David, and sought to take his life, but the Lord preserved him, and commanded Samuel to anoint him king, in the place of Saul. And David was raised by the Lord from the sheepcote to the throne, and prospered abundantly; and the Lord told him that his house, and his kingdom, and his throne, should be established for ever. Now, this man, David, who was in such high favor with the Lord, had many wives and concubines. Nor was the Lord displeased with him for this. On the contrary, Nathan the Prophet declared that the Lord gave into David’s bosom the wives of his master, Saul; and also that, if what He had given him had not satisfied David, He would have given him more, that is, providing David had asked it.–2 Sam., xii., 8. There is not another declaration so plain and palpable between the lids of the Bible, that the Lord appointed and approved the principle of plurality of wives. But, here it is, in language that cannot be misunderstood. Here we are plainly told that the Lord was actively employed in establishing the principle of polygamy upon the earth. Would He have done it if it were displeasing to him? Would He have done it if it were an impure and unrighteous principle? Would He have done it if it tended to demoralize and debase the human family? Would He have given David so many wives if He detested the idea of a man’s having more wives than one? We cannot conceive that He would. All the counsels of the Lord tend to exalt the human family; for David himself says, “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever.”–Psalm xxxiii., 11. And the Lord, through Jeremiah, says, that if the Prophets had stood in the counsel of the Lord, and caused the people to hear His words, then they should have turned them from their evil ways, and the evil of their doings.–Jeremiah, xxiii., 22.

[200] When we read the Bible, and its pages are opened to our understanding, are we not led to wonder why men should blindly and obstinately oppose principles of so manifestly divine origin? When we reflect that so many learned, and otherwise good men have studied the life of the “sweet singer of Israel,” and admired the many noble features of his character, and have been enraptured with his sublime and inspired Psalms–are we not surprised and filled with pity that these men should so far forget themselves, as to rise up in opposition to the order in which that inspired man was instructed to build his house, which house the Lord promised him should be established for ever?

Solomon, the son of David, was endowed with wisdom above the sons of men, and chosen of the Lord to rear Him a Temple, the like of which the world has not seen before or since; and was otherwise blessed and prospered above all the kings of Israel. This man was likewise a polygamist whilst the Lord favored him so remarkably.

I have adduced so many instances of the practice of polygamy in ancient times among the people of God; but where is the necessity of instancing single individuals, when it is so notorious that the system of polygamy was of divine ordination, and formed an inherent part of the religion of all those mighty men of old, whose faith and righteousness are the burden of sacred history, and have been the theme of many a pious sermon? There is none.

But you may remark that the principle of polygamy was a part and parcel of the Mosaic law, and was altogether done away in Christ, and consequently was not allowed under the Christian dispensation; therefore, unless some testimony in favor of it can be found in the New Testament, all my arguments in support of it, so far, must fall to the ground. Such an objection might be made, and is often, but it is a very short-sighted one. The law of polygamy is part and parcel of the Gospel which was observed long before the days of Moses. Indeed, the ceremonial law of Moses was only added to the Gospel because of the transgression of the people. So Paul says, Gal. iii. the Patriarch Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed–and the law of Moses did [201] not bless all the families of the earth–and his grandson Jacob, the founder of the house of Israel, both lived in the practice of polygamy according to the law of the Gospel, hundreds of years before the Mosaic dispensation. This fact dissipates at once the idea that polygamy was merely a Mosaic institution, and was to cease to be observed after the introduction of the Gospel by Jesus Christ. The Mosaic or ceremonial law was an intermediate system, the Gospel being known and obeyed for ages previous to the days of Moses; consequently, when Jesus came, he re-introduced the Gospel, with all its blessings, so far as the people would receive them; and he only abolished those laws and institutions of the Mosaic economy which were added to the Gospel. It follows, then, of necessity, that polygamy, being a part of the Gospel, as well as being observable under the Mosaic dispensation, was not abolished when Jesus came, but continued after the law of Moses, as before, a principle of the unchanging, everlasting Gospel of salvation. And it follows, just as necessarily, that if the system of polygamy had fallen into disuse in the days of Jesus, he, in re-introducing the Gospel, would have re-introduced the system of plurality of wives, as an essential and constituent portion of the Gospel. And by the same rule it also follows, that wherever the Gospel is now proclaimed, in its fullness, this same system of plurality of wives must also be taught to the people; and, when taught, must be obeyed by them as circumstances may justify, or they are under condemnation, which is in accordance with the first paragraph of the Revelation in No. 1 Star.

Seeing, then, that plurality of wives is an integral part of the Gospel of salvation, it is altogether immaterial whether anything can be found in the New Testament in support of it or not. If anything can be found there directly in favor of polygamy, it will only confirm the conclusion we must already have come to; and if there be nothing in the New Testament in support of the doctrine, even then our conclusion is a safe one, for there is not a single passage that can be brought forward to overthrow it. (15:133-136)

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[202] The following extract is taken from the New York Evangelist, respecting a case of polygamy in the Presbyterian Dakota mission, and serves to show the very awkward dilemma into which the position of the Christian opposer of polygamy throws him, and also the utter absence of evidence in the New Testament against this principle:–


“Extract from the Minutes of the Presbytery of Ripley,

Met at Sardinia, April 13, 1843”

“Presbytery took up the reference from the church of Lacquiparle, viz.: A man, before hearing the Gospel, had taken two wives, by each of which he has children, nearly grown and smaller. They are both pleased to dwell with him. He, having heard the word of God, and believing that there is no salvation except in Jesus Christ, desires admission to the privileges of the church. Shall we require him to put away one of his wives? And if so, where is our Scripture authority for so doing?

“Signed,  T.S. Williamson.

S.R. Riggs

“Reply of Presbytery:–

“Dear Brethren,–We have duly considered the question you referred to us. The following was moved and carried as the answer of a majority of one, viz.: `We dare not say, require him to put her away.’ The majority were of opinion that there is not sufficient warrant for such a requisition. The minority alleged that Matt. ii, 14-16, and Mark x, 2-9, are sufficient warrant for requiring him to put her away–that the Savior condemns all departures from the original institution, and no mention is made of any practicing polygamy being received into the apostolic churches–and that, of course, there can be no authority for receiving any now who live in the violation of the original institution of marriage.

“Upon the whole we deem it the safest to adhere strictly to the original institution, as no exceptions are found in the New Testament, and the Savior clearly condemns all departures made in the Old.


“Jesse H. Lockhart, Stated Clerk

“The applicant was not received by the church.”

[203] Now this wise synod might have written an answer in much briefer compass than they did, and have told the truth of the matter:–Beloved brethren,–We do not know whether polygamy is right or wrong, and we have no Prophet to inquire of the Lord about it! This would have expressed their situation exactly. But what do the passages, referred to by the Presbytery, contain relating to monogamy or polygamy? Absolutely and definitely, nothing. If you take the trouble to find the first passage, you will discover that it relates to Joseph’s–the reputed father of Jesus–taking his wife Mary and her infant down into Egypt, to escape the malicious envy of Herod, &c. The second passage is as follows:–“And the Pharisees came to him (Jesus), and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: So then they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” How this passage could be brought in opposition to polygamy, or to warrant the separation of a bigamist from one of his wives, I am at a loss to understand. Did the learned presbytery imagine that the words, “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female,” could be brought to oppose bigamy? All that we can deduce from these words in reference to the question of the Pharisees, is that God created the sexes for each other, and consequently divorce is unnatural. Or did the Presbytery suppose that the words, “and they twain shall be one flesh,” signified that all the human family were to be joined in single pairs, one man to one woman? This inference cannot reasonably be drawn; for a polygamist just as much becomes one flesh with his second or his third, or his twelfth wife, as he does with his first. It is just as proper to say of a man and his sixth wife, “they twain shall be one flesh,” as it is to say it of the man and his first wife. Abraham and Keturah were as [204] much “one flesh” as Abraham and Sarah were; and Jacob and Bilhah were as much “one flesh” as Jacob and Leah were. And with the same propriety could it have been said of David and wither of Saul’s wives, which the Lord gave into David’s bosom, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder,” as it could have been said of David and Michael, his first wife.

But these eight verses in St. Mark’s Gospel, could have been specially applied in the case of the Dakota convert, though certainly not in the identical manner the Ripley Presbytery imagined they could be applied. The verses are upon the subject of divorce, and the case of the Dakota convert was a question of divorce, as well as of polygamy. The decision of the Presbytery was, virtually, “We dare not say, require him to put her away, but this we will say, we dare not receive him into our church unless he do put her away.” This is their decision in effect–a very ambiguous and equivocal one, certainly. Now the words of Jesus, “therefore what God hath joined together let no man put asunder;” no, not even the pious Ripley Presbytery, in the case of their heathen converts! Well might they write, “We dare not say, require him to put her away,” in the face of the above positive injunction by the Author of marriage. And if they read the 11th and 12th verses of the same chapter, in connection with Matthew v, 32, they knew that whoever put away his wife at all, saving for the cause of fornication, caused her to commit adultery, and whosoever married one that was put away committed adultery also. And Malachi says, “the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away;” Mal. ii.16. And St. Paul says, “Marriage is honorable in all;” yea, even in the case of these two wives of the poor repenting Dakota.

Were the decision of the Ripley Presbytery acted upon wherever the Gospel is preached among the heathens or Mahometans, what scenes of suffering and woe, wailing and lamentation, degradation and vice, would it open up on every hand. The loving second, third, or fourth wife, as might be, with her prattling little ones, must be separated from the faithful husband and fond father–and the Lord God all the time hating putting away–and turned adrift on the wide world, to help themselves as best they could, [205] branded with adultery and illegitimacy; whilst the man that might take that outcast woman to be his wife, would share her infamy; or, on the other hand, if the husband refused to put away all his wives but one, then he and they must be cut off from the blessings of salvation and Christian fellowship, and remain without God and without hope in the world! Are these the tender mercies of the Almighty? No; they are the debasing traditions of men. This circumstance of the Dakota and the American Presbyterians reminds me of the heathen who went to the missionary to be baptized. On being questioned, he stated that he had several wives. He was made to understand that he could not be baptized whilst he had more wives than one. The heathen went away, and returned again in a few months, renewing his request. He was again questioned how many wives he had. One, said he. What had he done with all the others? I have eaten them, was the cool reply. Now which was the greatest fool, the missionary or the heathen? Verily, when the blind lead the blind, shall they not both fall into the ditch together?

It is natural to conclude that the passages named in Matthew and Mark are the strongest that can be adduced from the New Testament in opposition to the system of polygamy; if any stronger could have been brought forward, no doubt the Presbytery of Ripley in their wisdom would have cited them. But I will pursue the matter a little farther.

It is well known to every student of the Bible, that when a man died among the people of God, leaving his wife a childless widow, according to the law of the Lord it was the duty of the nearest of kin to the deceased to take the woman to his home to wife,–although he might, at the same time, have a wife or wives of his own,–and raise up seed to the name of her proper husband, that his house might not become extinct. Neither was this a Mosaic institution merely; for Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, had a childless daughter-in-law, Tamer, whose husband was dead; and Judah commanded his son Onan to take Tamar to wife. Onan took her to wife, but, knowing that the seed would not be his, he wickedly prevented her conceiving; and the Lord was so angry with Onan for this, that He slew him. Tamar finally succeeded in obtaining [206] offspring for her husband, though by a stratagem which appears exceedingly disreputable to those who forget that to be fruitful and multiply was the first great universal command given to mankind.–Gen. xxviii. Lot’s daughters, too, when they dwelt in a cave alone with their father, and saw that there were no men to perform the part of husbands to them, scrupled not to go to their father, in order that his posterity might continue upon the earth. They obeyed the great law of increase in the only way they could, however repugnant to their feelings it might have been.–Gen. xix.

This law of building up a man’s family by proxy, when necessary, commenced under the Gospel, continued through the Mosaic dispensation, and was not annulled when Jesus came: For certain Sadducees came to him, representing the case of a woman who was taken to wife by seven brothers successively, and neither of them left seed.–Mark xii; Luke xx. Now, when this Polygamic custom was thus plainly put to Jesus, He did not make any remark depreciating it; but, knowing that the Sadducees came merely to catch Him in His words, He answered them evasively; and it certainly could not be expected that He would deprecate a Gospel institution. But the Savior does say that “every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”–Mat. xix, 29. Every man, therefore, who has lost his wife through the influence of wicked spirits or wicked men, is to have an hundred fold restitution. This will be a tremendous blow at Satan’s kingdom, and will establish the truth that the wrath of men is turned to the praise and glory of God, and to the exaltation and happiness of the righteous.

But you may say, does not St. Paul tell Titus, in the Epistle to him, 1st chapter, 5th and 6th verses, that he should ordain Elders in every city, providing they be individually blameless, the husband of one wife? And does he not, in his 1st Epistle to Timothy, 3rd chapter, tell Timothy, that “a bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife,” and that “the deacons be the husbands of one wife?” Most assuredly he does; but saying that a man must [207] be the husband of one wife, in order to be qualified for a certain office, is not saying that he shall have no more wives than one. Instead of St. Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus restricting a man to one wife, they made it incumbent upon those two men to see that none should fill the offices above-named excepting they had married at least one wife; and this is in perfect accordance with his declaration to the Corinthian Church, (1st Epistle xi, 11) “Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.”

St. Paul, in his 1st Epistle to Timothy, 5th chapter, 14th verse, says, “I will therefore, that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, &c.” Now the relative numbers of the sexes, in Britain, preponderate in favor of the female portion; therefore, this counsel cannot fully apply to Britain’s daughters in our day: neither can it be said of them that “marriage is honorable in all,” providing no man is permitted to have more than one wife. And if this counsel will not apply to the people of our own day and country, it is quite probable that the same difficulty presented itself anciently, and if so, some of the primitive Saints must have taken more than one wife, or Paul’s counsel was not complied with.

I have thus shown that Polygamy is a principle of the everlasting Gospel, and that consequently the New Testament favors it. I will proceed to show that it has been foretold that this principle should prevail on earth, in the Church of Christ, in the last days.

Isaiah, in his 4th chapter, speaking of the work of the Lord in the last days, says, “And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: Only, let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Now, I have before stated, that the “reproach” of a woman in Israel was being childless, and thus failing to answer the purpose of her creation. Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias the Priest, and the mother of John the Baptist, was for a long time barren; but, according to the promise of the Lord, she eventually bore a son, and she said, “thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.”–Luke i, 25.

[208] When Rachel, Jacob’s wife, gave birth to a son, after many years of barrenness, she said, “God hath taken away my reproach.”–Gen. xxx, 23. When Jephtha’s daughter knew that she was devoted to be sacrificed to the Lord, in consequence of her father’s rash vow, she besought him to allow her to go up and down among the mountains two months, not to bewail that she was to be sacrificed merely, but to “bewail her virginity,” or, in other words, to lament that she was about to be cut off in the flower of her youth, without having the privilege of obeying the great law of increase.–Judg. xi. David, speaking of the Lord’s anger upon Israel, says, “the fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given in marriage.”–Psalm lxxviii, 63. And, again, he says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them”–Psalm cxxvii, 3, 4, 5.

It appears, then, that in the last days the numerical relation of the sexes will be so disproportionate that seven women will gladly cling to the skirts of one man, that he may perform the duty of an husband unto them all, that the reproach of not fulfilling the great end of their creation may not cleave to them. And if the man object to their suit upon the plea that he would be unable to sustain such a household with their offspring–sooner than endure the reproach of being childless, the women will proffer to eat their own bread, and wear their own apparel, if he will only allow them to be called by his name, &c., and so belong to his house. Now, the men who are to do this are not to be wicked men, for the third verse of the same chapter says, “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.”

What is to cause such a wonderful disproportion in the numbers of the two sexes in the last days? Isaiah, in his twenty-fourth chapter tells us. He says, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: [209] therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” According to this, the majority of the inhabitants of the earth in the last days, will be so wicked, that they will be destroyed by the judgments of the Lord, and but “few men left.” Isaiah did not say that there would be but few women left, but he said there would be but “few men left.” You may say that the term “but few men left,” is used by Isaiah in a general sense, in the passage in question, and signifies there will be but few of the human family left, and consequently the presumption that many women will be left cannot be entertained. But the inference that many more women than men, will be left, can with propriety be drawn from that passage, when we consider that the passage concerning the seven women clinging to one man refers to the latter times, when the judgments of God shall have swept through the nations, and laid their pride low. And Isaiah, in his thirteenth chapter, speaking of the same period, says, “And I (the Lord) will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Now here it is evident that women will be more abundant than men; for if men are so scarce and precious, it must be in comparison of number with the other sex, for things or persons are called precious when the supply is greatly unequal to the demand for them. For further proof that the male sex will principally fall, see Zech. xiv.

I have now proved–though at much greater length than I at first anticipated–that polygamy or plurality of wives is pre-eminently a Scriptural doctrine–that it is a part and parcel of the Gospel of salvation–that the most noted righteous men in ancient days practiced it, under the express sanction and appointment of the Almighty–and also that according to prophecy, the same principle must be again in operation in the latter times, when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the face of the mighty deep. I now pass on to consider our second question. (15:145-149)

* * *


[210] Second.–If polygamy be a Scriptural doctrine, how can it be reconciled with what is found on the 132nd and 133rd pages of the Book of Mormon, with the remarks in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section on Marriage, and with the denials which the Latter-day Saints have given to various newspaper reports upon the subject?

The passage referred to in the Book of Mormon, reads as follows:–“For behold, thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax in iniquity–they understand not the Scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon, his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women, and whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.”

The above quotation, at first glance, without reading the context, certainly appears to strongly condemn the practice of polygamy. If there be nothing in the context to qualify the above passage, then we must come to the conclusion that polygamy is not pleasing in the sight of God; and if we arrive at this conclusion, then the Book of Mormon cannot harmonize with the Scriptures–as I have already proved, incontestably, that God approbated polygamy, according to the Bible–and if they do not harmonize, they cannot both be true, but one must be wrong. If the Lord intended the above quotation to apply in an unqualified manner to His people, then it is certain that the Bible is false, for the Bible represents the Lord as approbating polygamy, and even Himself giving a plurality of wives to one of His servants–and this [211] quotation, if unqualified, represents Him abominating the principle, and commanding His people to abstain from it.

The Christian will at once boldly say that the Bible is true, and that the Book of Mormon is false, and if so, his position is a most awkward one–the very Book that he professes to regard as his standard of faith and practice–that very Book, most unequivocally states that the Lord Himself anciently honored the principle of plurality of wives, and greatly blessed those good men who practiced it; and that Book contains no record of His prohibiting it. Therefore–for the sake of argument, allowing the Book of Mormon to be false–the man who professes to be a Christian, and at the same time deprecates polygamy, is notoriously inconsistent, for his Bible teaches the principle. Allowing Joseph Smith to have been an impostor, the Book of Mormon to be a romance, and “Mormonism” to be a farce, still the position of the Christian is the same–he is under the strictest necessity to believe polygamy to be in accordance with the mind and will of God. The Christian does not believe in the Book of Mormon, consequently it is perfectly immaterial to him whether that Book contains anything upon the subject before us, pro or con. But he professes to place the most implicit credence in the Bible, believing it to be the very word of God, dictated to Holy men by the revelations of the Holy Ghost–therefore he is without excuse–he has not the slightest ground for rejecting the doctrine of polygamy–he is bound to believe it, and receive it as a righteous principle. If he call himself a child of Abraham, and despise the principle, he belies his words and deceives himself, for the children of Abraham will have the faith and do the works of Abraham. No matter what the Christian must either give up his Bible or believe in the doctrine or plurality of wives–he has no other alternative–his cheek ought to burn with shame, when he rises up and opens his mouth to oppose the principle. In Roman Catholic countries, where the free circulation of the Bible is prohibited, there may be some excuse for the mass of the people who feel opposed to the doctrine–the responsibility lies upon the priest, who has access to the Bible; but Roman Catholic authorities, who forbid the general reading of the Bible, [212] have also a peculiar faculty in “forbidding to marry,” not only several wives, but even one wife. However if the people in Catholic countries have a shadow of an excuse for their faith in this matter, the people in Protestant countries have not the least, especially in this “land of Bibles.” Here ignorance of the Bible cannot be urged–if Christians oppose the doctrine, it is very certain that the traditions of their forefathers have more weight with them than the declarations of Scripture have.

Perhaps you will pardon this digression. I will now show to you that the Lord did not intend that this passage should apply in an unqualified manner. Let us look at the nature of man, and then consider the position of God’s people about the time this command was given. Temporal things may illustrate spiritual things. When your children were very young, you were very careful what you allowed them to handle. A very blunt knife–a knife that would have been a burden to you–for the boy, was as much as you dare trust him with. As he grew older and more capable, you allowed him to handle a sharper one for his own advantage, until he could use the keen edged razor with perfect impunity. Just so does the Lord deal towards His Church. Polygamy is not the first principle of the Gospel–It is not the first principle the Church of God is entrusted with. It is a sharp instrument–for good or evil, according to its using–only suitable for a certain degree of maturity. If you reason, even now he has grown up, should he recklessly use the sharp instruments within his reach, and work evil instead of good with them, you would take them from him, at least for a time. Jehovah acts so. And in this position were the people to whom this command was given. David and Solomon, whilst they were kings in Jerusalem, set the example of abusing the principle of plurality of wives, the former in the case of Bathsheba the wife of Uriah, (2 Sam. xi); the latter in taking to his bosom of the “women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” 1 Kings xi. 1, 2. The third and fourth verses of the same chapter say, that Solomon “had seven [213] hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods,” &c. The example thus being set to the nation by those in high places, it is no wonder that the mass of the people corrupted themselves, until, in the reign of Zedekiah, the Lord sent Prophets to Jerusalem to testify that the city should be destroyed, and the people carried captive to Babylon, unless they repented.– Book of Mormon, page 2.

At this critical period the Lord revealed Himself to Lehi, and commanded him to depart from Jerusalem, and journey to another land, even the continent of America. Seeing that the Jewish nation had abused the principle of polygamy to such an extent, and not being willing that the same corruptions and abomination should prevail in the land which is now called America, it appears that the Lord gave Lehi commandment that he and his male posterity should only have one wife each. And it also appears that many of the people disregarded this commandment, and took many wives and concubines, and committed whoredom too; for the Prophet Jacob addressed himself to the Nephites as follows:– “For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem; yea, and in all the lands of my people; because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me, against the men of my people, saith Lord of Hosts; for they shall not carry away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts. And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things, which ye ought not to have done. Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your [214] children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. * * * And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent, they shall possess the land of your inheritance , and the Lord God will lead away the righteous out from among you. Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness, and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our fathers, that they should have, save it were one wife; and concubines they should have none; and there should not be whoredoms committed among them. And now this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day, they shall become a blessed people.” pages 133, 134.

Nevertheless, this commandment to Lehi and his posterity was not an unconditional or irrevocable one, for at the end of the commandment are the words, “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise, they shall hearken unto these things.” The sum and substance of the matter is this:–God did not abominate David’s and Solomon’s taking more wives than one each, according to His law–for the Lord Himself gave David several–but He abominated their abusing the privileges He gave them, in taking women when and where they please, without consulting Him in the matter. And in order that the same things might not prevail on the American Continent, as they did at Jerusalem, and Lord gave a general commandment that all His people upon it should have only one wife each, excepting He wished to speedily raise up a people to Himself–then He would command them; otherwise, they were required to observe the one wife system. This was a very wise arrangement; for we can very readily imagine that profligacy and recklessness in the head of a family, would produce manifold more misery if that family were of the polygamic order, than if it were of the monogamic, because of the greater responsibility and the greater number of dependents in a polygamic family. In the Book of Mormon we read of persons taking a [215] plurality of wives, though we do not read of the Lord commanding any one so to do, though He had the power. But there is nothing further in that Book even apparently opposed to the principle, consequently we cannot come to any other conclusion than that Polygamy is perfectly consistent with the Book of Mormon.

The passage you refer to in the Doctrine and Covenants, section cix., par 4, reads as follows:–“Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” In the lxv. section, par. 3, there is a passage similar to part of the above; besides these, the Doctrine and Covenants is silent upon the matter.

Now the Revelation on Plurality of Wives is published, I can imagine you are ready to say, Why was polygamy in this quotation called a crime, and the application of the term polygamy to your Church esteemed a reproach? Polygamy is not called crime there–it reads, “the crime of fornication, and polygamy.” Observe, the word “crime” is of the singular number, and consequently can not refer to both the following nouns. It can only refer to one, and that is “fornication.” If it read, “the crimes of fornication and polygamy,” then you might justly have said that polygamy was designated a crime; but as the passage now stands, you cannot reasonably say so.

As polygamy being termed a “reproach” to this Church, that term was true enough when this passage in the Doctrine and Covenants was written. The Book of Mormon, as I have shown before, states that the Lord’s people were not to have more wives than one, except they received special commandment from Him otherwise. The Elders in the infancy of the Church, believing in the Book of Mormon, of course practiced the one wife system, until they were commanded to adopt a plurality of wives. Almost from the foundation of the church have its enemies declared that polygamy was practiced by the Elders; and the term polygamy, being contemptuously applied to the Church whilst its members were monogamists, was very justly considered nothing less than a “reproach” upon it.

[216] You may ask, But does not the passage read, “that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband?” Certainly it does; but that is hard upon bachelors only, like Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus on the ordination of officers. It says positively that “one man should have one wife,”–it does not say positively that a man should not have more than one wife, but it does say positively that one woman should have but one husband. The reason is obvious. If one woman had more than one husband–as is the case among some of the inhabitants of the regions of the Himalya, and also of Malabar, and Ceylon, who practice polyandry–the seed would be mixed, which is an abomination to the Lord; but a man’s having more wives than one only increases his posterity, which is not abomination to the Lord; on the contrary, it is the fulfilling of the first great law of life.

No doubt you are filled with admiration at the manner in which the passages I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, were rendered–conveying the truth, yet in such a manner that none but those who had the spirit of truth could understand, and yet so plain withal, when pointed out, that men wonder why they erred. But this is a characteristic of many of the revelations of the Almighty; and thus oftentimes does the “foolishness” of God bring to naught the wisdom of the wise. No doubt you can now see, plainly, that the doctrine of plurality of wives is perfectly consistent with the Doctrine and Covenants.

Newspaper reports are queer things to handle, because we can scarcely see two alike. If the Latter-day Saints were to flatly deny all newspaper stories concerning them, they would scarcely go amiss. Sometime ago the Family Herald stated that Utah Territory contained a population of 300,000 souls, which I have no doubt would be surprising information even in Utah itself. The other week I saw a statement in the Tablet, a Catholic newspaper, that seven thousand German “Mormons” were about emigrating for Salt Lake Valley–which certainly was a feature of “Mormonism” in Germany that was quite startling to the authorities of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Some time last winter or spring, Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock, while replying to a [217] “Lecture on Mormonism,” in the Music Hall, Liverpool, stated that during the exodus his wife was laid in the grave, and that she was the only wife he had. From the declaration the Liverpool papers published far and wide that Elder Wheelock had denied that a plurality of wives prevailed among the Latter-day Saints. Respecting this doctrine there has probably been more misrepresentation in newspaper and public reports, than any other believed by the Saints. Some have represented that a promiscuous intercourse of the sexes was practiced among the Saints–some, that a relation, denominated “spiritual wifeism,” which allowed carnal privileges, was countenanced among them–others, that a species of spiritual plurality, which did not include sexual intercourse, was entered into.

But to the question–Have not the Latter-day Saints denied that a plurality of wives existed in their midst, when such was actually the case? Doubtless some have, because they did not know that such was the case. If they were ignorant that the Lord had given a commandment upon the matter, and they formed their conclusions from the Book of Mormon, which you will still recollect forbids it, except by commandment, then they are not culpable for denying it, because, to the best of their knowledge, such was not the case.

Probably you may wish to put the question still closer to me–Have not some Elders of the Latter-day Saints denied that Polygamy was practiced in the Church, when at the same time they positively knew that it was? That is a personal question, and must be answered accordingly. I can only answer for myself–I have not, neither have I heard any other Elder.

The question may arise in your mind–If a plurality of wives has been prevalent in the Church so long, why have not the Elders publicly preached the doctrine? The answer is very plain. Because neither the body of the Saints nor Christendom were prepared for it. There is a time for all things. God does not reveal to His Church all knowledge at once, but gives “line upon line, and precept upon precept.” Neither is it wisdom in His Elders to publish all knowledge the moment it is revealed to them. Permit me again to remind you that man’s spiritual growth is strictly analogous to his mortal growth. Your [218] little child asks you various questions respecting its origin, or its course when it shall arrive at maturity, and makes most amusing remarks on the subject. You sit and smile at it–you do not tell it the truth about these things, because it would be folly so to do, but you consider it perfectly proper and wise to evade its interrogations, or to refuse to answer them, and direct its discourse to other subjects. It is just so in God’s dealings with His Church. And if God acts so, His servants to be like Him must do so too, and if they do otherwise, they are not wise, nor free from condemnation. St. Paul was caught up into the third heavens, and heard things that it was not lawful he should utter on the earth.–2 Corinthians xii. And if it had been lawful to utter them, perhaps it would not have been expedient. Now, if St. Paul had been questioned to the day of his death, respecting what he saw, it would have been his positive duty to have refused to tell, and to have done this he must have evaded the subject when questions were put directly to him. By reading the Doctrine and Covenants, sec. xx., par. 16, sec. lxxvi., par 4, you will learn that many things were and are to be withheld from the Saints and the world, and only to be revealed at the fitting times and seasons. If the doctrine of polygamy had been publicly preached by the Elders when the Church was in its infancy, and when the Saints were comparatively ignorant and weak in the faith, it is probably that very few indeed would have been able to endure, for this principle comes so directly opposite to the traditions of Christendom, that even good men are shocked by it, although they can find no solid argument in the Scriptures, or out of them, to oppose it. And not only would the weak Saints have had to endure a fearful struggle in their own minds, but they would have had, at the same time, to endure the galling opposition and derision of the Christian world. For Christendom considers it less criminal for a man to commit whoredom, than for him to publicly marry more wives than one, and honorably support them and their offspring. Consequently the Christian nations have enacted laws to punish polygamy, but have not enacted laws to punish adultery, or if they have, they are inaccessible to all but a privileged few. Some of these Christian governments actually license [219] houses for the purpose of female prostitution, and all wink at them.

A vast field of contemplation now lies open before me, wherein I might consider the advantages of the plurality system, and the objections that might be urged against it. But I have already extended far–very far beyond the limits I originally designed, and lest I should weary your patience, I now bring my letter to a close. I trust what I have written will be a source of satisfaction to you, and convince you that polygamy is perfectly consistent with the word of God contained either in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or the Doctrine and Covenants. I have shown that the most noted men of God in ancient times practiced a plurality of wives, under the express sanction of the Almighty–that on one occasion He himself gave a man several wives, whilst that same man previously had a plurality–that the whole tenor of the Old Testament supports the doctrine, and indicates its prevalence among the righteous in the last days–that the New Testament favors it–that the Book of Mormon is not opposed to it–that the Doctrine and Covenants does not disallow it–and that wisdom was manifested by the Elders in refusing to preach the doctrine publicly, previous to its recent publication.

Now, sir, shall you and I receive the doctrine or reject it? Shall we acknowledge that the ways of God are everlasting, and return Him thanks for the revelations of His will? Or shall we lift our puny arms in opposition to His high and mighty purposes? Sir, whatever may have been our previous notions upon the matter, let us cast them all aside as far as they oppose the word and will of the Almighty. However contrary the doctrine of plurality of wives may be to our education, and to the ideas and feelings our education has engendered, let us individually bow ourselves in all humility before the throne of our Father in Heaven, and say–Not my will, but Thine be done.

Meantime I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours respectfully,

John Jaques (15:161-166)


(Mill. Star 15:97-102,133-136,145-149,161-166)



[220]                      Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 12, 1853


I attended Sister Rhodes’ funeral. The President, Twelve, and a large congregation of people assembled And President Young Preached and said that the few remarks I have to make I will endeavor to speak to the point. My text is it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the House of feasting for that is the end of all men and the living will lay it to heart. When we are in a situation so that we Cannot know any thing ownly what we know by the natural senses it causes us to mourn the loss of friends. But if we could understand all things it would often times be a source of Joy instead of morning.

When a spirit enters a tabernacle here in this life it enters into a state of sorrow. Yet if we understood things in their true light we should be satisfyed with it. When the spirit enters the body it enters a dark cell and is left to sorrow and to be tried in all things. But when the spirit leaves the body of a saint it enters into the brilliant light and glory of God, like taking a prisoner out of a dark cell whare He could see a little glimmer of light through the grates and put him into the blaze of the mid days sun.

When we loose [lose] our Friends we mourn. But what is it that mourns? Is it that light, truth and intelligence of the Almighty that is in man that mourns? No it is the grocer [grosser] part of our being that mourns. Let a person be unclothed and we could see the spirit of our sister And all other friends and shake hands with them and spirit be tangible to each other as our bodies now are to each other. When I am filled with the spirit of God I can see men and what is in them. And the more we are refined in spirit the more we can see. The reason I cannot shake hands with Sister Rhodes is because of this gross body.

Women were not made to die in child bed as sister Rhodes has done. But what is the matter? Death is here. It is death that has caused it. Death is in the land around us. It is here. Children die before they are born. This [is] because their is death around us. We cannot see it. We have the Head ake. We cannot see that (yet it exists) because we are in the body. But if we were out of the body we could see it.

[221] We should advance in the phylosophy of Eternal things and learn as we live when we go to the House of feasting we go to feast our bodies. When we go to the house of mourning we mourn as it were in spirit and our minds are called to serious truths.

But what would really be a case of mourning? It would be to follow a person to the grave who had not improved their day of salvation, had an oppertunity of being saved and exhalted and had neglected it. That would be a case of mourning. But a person that had done the best they Could and improved their opportunities of salvation we have no cause to mourn for such. I would say to the children don’t mourn for your mother. I would to God you was as sure of salvation as your mother is. If I was to mourn for anyth[ing?] in this case it would be because we have not more power to cast the devil out of the house and out of the Neighborhood.

Can we realize that sister Rhodes is not dead? She lives now more than she did before. It is the sinner that will die not the Righteous. When the spirit of this woman left the body it was ushered into a flood of light but her body is as any other clay but her spirit is in open day. She saw a little light in the body so as not to put her eye out when she came to the full light.

I wish to give a little counsel to the Children here. Brother Snow will take charge of the place. I want the children to go to school And want an inventory of things here taken for the benefit of Brother Rhodes and Brother Snow both. I request the children to do as well as your mother has done according to the light you have, and I will warrant you salvation and Eternal life, and I would say the same to all who are here, but upon no other principle can I warrant any body salvation exsept upon the principle of doing good and obeying the Lord. Do good to your families and to each other. I want to say to all present there is no blame to be attached to any of the sisters who waited upon Sister Rhodes. They have all done as well as they could, for I have enquired into the whole affair and her time had Come to die and so will [yours] in its turn.

J.M. Grant followed and said he hoped all would attend to their prayers. It takes as much to damn a man as [222] it does to save him. Some wonder why we don’t have revelation now in our day as well as in the days of Joseph. In his day the brethren would not build a log cabin till they went to Joseph to ask counsel how they should set it, whare they should put the door, &c. But at the present day men have learned to do sumthing themselves without troubling the president or the Lord about it. Some have thought if they could get to Jackson Co., Mo., or in this valley they would be Holy and among a Holy people. But I do not know of any soil that will make men Holy if men are not Holy themselves. I don’t know of any particular spot of ground that will make them so. Joseph Had to give written Revelation to get men to go on missions, but I do not believe that any men were ever called more by Revelation to go on a mission to preach the gospel than were our Brethren last fall, nor do I believe any men were filled more with Revelation and inspiration in blessing those set apart than were our Brethren who blessed those set apart last fall.

There is no other kingdom like this on the Earth. The Ancient Apostles had no more of the spirit of God to prepare them for their work than our Apostles have for the work which they have to perform in our day. I would say that the dispensation of Moses and Christ and the Apostles looks like this dispensation, though this dispensation will eclips all other dispensations for it is the finishing up of the building. Moses never began to do what we have to do.

I am of the opinion that men that Are our prophets, Apostles and leaders, that have laid the foundation of this church and kingdom and are building upon it, were reserved from Eternity to come forth in this dispensation to accomplish the great work which is to be done. Never did men live with more nerve, desission o[r/f?] Character, perseverance, and faith and power than those that lead this dispensation. Had they have lived in the days of the Apostles they would have raised the devil with both Jew and Gentile. Had they have lived in the days of Moses they would have raised the vary Devil with the Canaanites and various Nations. The commencement of this church and Kingdom may not appear as great as it did in the days of Moses and Christ and the Apostles, but look at the [223] progress of this kingdom and the deeds and work[s?] of Our leaders and the people are startling. Even their exidous out of the States to these mountains and the results that have and will follow are greater than the results that followed Moses and the Israelites.

A mighty great Nation have sent their Judges and rulers to us. They did not behave themselves as they should do. We cast them out and sent them home. If all the world was Consolodated into one [Nation?] and sent delegates and rulers unto us, if they run against the priesthood and infringed upon our rights we would cast them out and send them home, regardless of consequences. We know what the consequences are.

I want to say to the mass of the saints here you do not keep up with the Presidency of this church and those that are associated with him, and if you are not careful I fear they will get out of sight of you and perhaps be translated and leave you. I pray God to keep you in the path of duty so that you may inherit all the blessings that are promised you.

President Kimball followed and said He believed we had more to do than other dispensations, yet they had the Keys of the kingdom. If they had not had them they could not have given them to us. Jesus says my Sheep hear my voice and will follow me. If they don’t pray I think they are not the sheep of Christ. If you don’t ask the Savior for what you want how do you expect to get it? Then ask the Lord for what you want. Brother Brigham holds the Keys of this Kingdom and no body els holds them as he does. Others hold keys but they hold them under him. He holds the keys that Peter held.

Some want to go to Calafornia whare it is warmer but going to Calafornia won’t warm your hearts.

The majority of this people have great hearts and you want to be able to stand alone without leaning upon any one. If you don’t do it you will be apt to fall.

If I ever get to glory I expect to be tried. Some think they [have] been tryed by leaving their homes but how is it? You was on other mans lands and servants and now you have houses and lands of your own. So this was no great trial but a blessing. But you have to be tried. We are going to build up a Temple. I expect the devil will kick up a [224] fuss by and by to try you. Well Let it come. I hope the Chaff will be blown away. But when Brother Brigham says build this Temple let us go to it rit [right] up.

Some have asked if we could do any more good in the States. I say yes when those that profess to be saints will gather out and not much before.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 14, 1853


This was an important and interesting day to the saints in the valley and even in all the world. The saints met upon the Temple block in a vast body to break ground for another Temple. The people commenced gathering at an early hour and at 11 o’clock there were thousands upon the ground. President Young and Counsel, the quorum of the Twelve, with many of the quorums of the church were on the ground. All the bands of music in the city were present.

At 11 o’clock President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards got into a Buggy inside the square, surrounded by the quorum of the Twelve. President Young arose and addressed the people and said, Our history is too well known for me to speak of it now. We shall now again attempt to build another Temple. We have tried it many times but have not been able to finish them so as to occupy them for any length of time. We may not now, but we will try it. We may Just as well build a Temple that will cost a Million of dollars as well as not and we would be just as well off and better too than before. And I would just as well build a Temple that would Cost a Million of dollars if I knew we should be driven from it in a month by our enemies as though we should occupy it a Thousand years. It is all the same with me for when the Lord Commands us to do any thing we should do it just as freely without asking the whys and wharefore whether we have the privilege of enjoying it or not.

If you ask if it is the will of God for us to build a Temple I answer yes it is the will of God we should build a Temple. We cannot attend to the ordinances of the House of the Lord without it. If you ask if I have received a revelation or vision upon the subject. I would answer yes I [225] have been in vision much of the time upon the subject. I knew it was the will of God that we should build a Temple on this same ground when I first came into the valley, and while the brethren were exploring out I said all the time this is the place for the City and Temple and it is the will of God that we should do all we Can in this valley and surrounding Country for the benefit of the people. If the people needed it I would give them a written Revelation upon this subject, but do you not know that it is your duty to build up Houses for your own benefit? You want a buttery, Bedrooms, and other convenient rooms in your dwelling house. Well we want a Temple more than we want dwelling houses.

I will relate some of the sayings of Joseph while in Kirtland. He said concerning the building of that Temple that it grieved him and also the spirit of God to think that the saints were not willing to build a Temple by the counsel of the priesthood without a written revelation and commandment from God. That was it not for the penurious feelings of the people the Lord would not give revelations and commandments as he does. Whenever the Lord finds the people willing to do good, build up his Kingdom and do good without being commanded He will be more pleased with them.

I will bring forth my art and plan for a Temple. Then if any man can present any better plan or get faith enough to call to his aid any of the old Nephites or any of the Ancients and will present a better plan than mine will be, we will receive it.

A word to the people. I wish to ask if you want a commandment every year to require you to pay your Tithing when it is a standing law unto Israel and has been from the days of Abraham. You all know this well. If you don’t want to pay your tithing or any portion of you, I don’t want you should. It is for your good not mine.

I don’t want a Temple to get my endowments in, For I got my Endowments and all the blessings appertaining thereto under the hands of Joseph before his death and before the Temple was built in Nauvoo and so did my counsellors and part of the Twelve got theirs before the Temple was built. Brother Joseph seemed urged by the spirit of God to perform this work. Had he not have done [226] it he might have died without conferring the Keys upon others.

If this people pay their tithing we shall have an abundance in the Store house to build a Temple with without giving all you have got. Yet all you have should be upon the Altar ready to be offered if necessary. I shall ask the people to come and work out their Tithing by labour for that is what we want. I believe we shall have your help.

Seven years ago tomorrow at 7 o’clock I crossed the Mississippi River. I believed then that God had a good place in the mountains for us and would lead us to it, and He has done it for which I feel thankful, if some feel quite sorry for not having the privilege of suffering with us. But I will promise you all if you will be faithful that you shall have the privilege of suffering and being tried as much as you will wish. Let all men be satisfied, faithful and Humble and God will bless you.

Met at 2 o’clock according to adjournment. Pray[er] By W. Woodruff who also addressed the congregation. The following are some of the remarks He made:

I am always interested in meeting with the saints esspecialy with so many of the Seventies and Elders as are here to day. There never was a school in any age of the world that presents as much of interest to the reflecting mind as the one presenting itself to us in this age, not ownly the affairs of the church but the History of the Cha[nges?] and Revolution of all Nations on Earth. The Time has come when the Earth is to be redeemed from the power and dominion of the Devil and the heavens with all the prophets that have ever lived are [included?] in the great work. The Elders who are before me to day have this great battle to fight and the victory to win. I never saw a time in any age of my life when I have had more desire to live than at the present time. I want to see the work progress, the kingdom rise, that it may become esstablished in all the Earth and the Effects that will follow.

Yes, the Elders should improve their time in treasuring up knowledge and counsel, for you will want it when you go to the Nations of the Earth. Don’t spend your time in playing Cards, dice, chess, or in any such foolish way, but improve the time to the best advantage and seek to conquer yourselves and preside over yourselves and [227] bring all your passions in subjection to the law of Christ, as our president has taught us.

One item which I count of importance I wish to speak of. I wish to exhort the 70’s and Elders to keep a Journal and History of their lives for the record and history of this Church and Kingdom will be wanted in a future day. There has been no dispensation on Earth the procedings of which will be more interesting than the one in which we live. Should we ever have the privilege in our resurrected bodies of visiting other planits and the inhabitants of the same we should want to learn the history of that people. If they had kept no records of their lives and the dealings of God with them so we could get their History we should feel much disappointed.

So would they should they visit us. It is true that Joseph Smith kept a History of his own life and those things in some measure connected with him. He is now dead but his life and Testimony is now being published to the world in separate peaces in our publications. Also President Young has scribes who are recording his daily acts and life which is right and good. But does that record the life History and dealings of God with the many thousands of the Apostles and Elders who are or will be in all the world among evry Nation under Heaven? No verrily No. Then all ye Elders of Israel write your History and the dealings of God with you in all the world for your own benefit and that of your posterity, for the benefit of the House of Israel, for the benefit of Jew and Gentile, for the benefit of future generations, and in fine for the benefit of those celestial beings from other palnets who may see fit to visit us either in time or Eternity and wish to visit our libraries and peruse the History of the inhabitants of the Earth, esspecially the Saints in the last dispensation and fulness of times. Then write and do not neglect it. Many other remarks were made by the speaker which are not recorded Here.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 15, 1853


President Brigham Young arose and said he does appreciate the blessings we enjoy. There is no other people [228] on earth that enjoy as great blessings in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some suppose that no people but ourselves have enjoyed the light of the Lord. No other people do enjoy the fulness of the gospel but all men more or less have had the light of the Lord as he was the light that enlight[eneth?] evry man that cometh into the world. We are now living in the time of times, the dispensation of all dispensations. None have put it down, no matter how it may be disspiced it is the kingdom of God on the Earth hear in our midst.

Now ask yourselves the question are you as happy as you expected you would be when you got to Zion? Have you got what you anticipated you would get? All the world cannot disprove this to be the Kingdom of God. Here the saints are gathered from the states, England, and other parts of the world. What were your feelings while there? It was if I could ownly get to the valley with the Saints I would be satisfyed for I cannot bear to stay in the wicked world and hear the blasphemes of the people. But I want to be with the saints. Well now are you not with the saints and are you not the saints? Then are you happy? What did you anticipate? Why it was that there would the blessed saints dwell whare there would be no more sin or wickedness and I shall bask in the smiles of my Lord. Well how is it now? Is it as you anticipat[ed]? I can answer it for myself. If I don’t have all the light, truth, Joy and happiness and glory that I anticipated [it] is because of my vary self and my will prevents me. All hell cannot hender me if I am right from enjoying all that I expect.

If any other man does wrong, trespasses, steals my polls, fence, or any thing els, it is no reason why I should do wrong again. Because my neighbor does an evil It is no reason why I should do an evil in all the days of my life. [I?] say that man that will do right in all things, let his Neighbor do as he may, shall have heaven here. Who has got power to che[a]t me out of my crown, Glory, Heaven, Kingdom, &c? Who is it that has an influence over you? Who is it will deprive you of all that you expect? Nobody but your own selves. And any body that does not know enough about salvation to judge what to do when you are instructed continually are not Capable of receiving a Celestial Kingdom. They are not worthy of it. No one that [229] cannot preside over themselves is worthy of it. But it is those who are valiant in the Testimony of Jesus Christ and bring themselves in subjection to the Law of Christ and say I will serve God let others do as they may.

Another question. I will do all I can to ask the Lord for wisdom all the day long and if I do right am I not Capable of knowing things for myself? I am. When the people first went to Jackson Co. they thought if they could ownly get there they would be in glory. Nearly all seemed anxious to get there. I did not go myself but went into the world and preached the gospel to the people. But by and bye the people in that place had more trouble than we did.

But I now will ask if they suffered in their feelings as much as they would have done if they had anticipated the trouble and known it before? No for they could not bear it. The Anticipation of trouble or Happiness is far beyond the reality in this life. Some think they could not bear the troubles that this Church have passed through. But I have passed through it and bourn it well enough and never felt better than I have in the midst of the persecutions of the Saints.

We talk of sacrifice. Do we sacrifice in the building of this Kingdom? If I had millions and used it in the building of this Kingdom would it be sacrifice? No. If I was Called to go and preach the gospel all the days of my life and never see my family again it would not be sacrifice. What is our reward for our labour and faithfulness? It is thrones, kingdoms, principalities, Eternal Lives and a seat among the Gods. Then is it sacrifice? No such thing.

I believe that all would be better to gather together with the saints than to remain in the world. I thought all would be honest. I laid aside all my account Books. I thought I should not need to keep any accounts with the saints but I have found it quite different. Many do not fell disposed to pay their debts if they can gag red [get rid] of it.

Many of the Saints are fearful. The little time that I talked on the stand to Judge Brocchus there was more suffering in the flesh and in spirit in the few minutes and for months afterwards than you would suffer in reality in years of persecution. Many in their imagination saw us all hung, shot, drown, murdered, massacred in evry imaginable shape that you could think of, and one reason that [230] you suffer so much more than you expected here in Zion is you have brought yourselves with you, but at last you will lay down Self and it will go to the dust.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 20, 1853


Now I want to give a text for everybody to preach from and that is take a Course to restore Confidence throughout the whole land of Zion and the whole kingdom of God. Let confidence be restored to all men by an upright course of life and doing right unto all and practice it. Commence with your family, your children. If you give your child[ren?] any thing, for instance a trunk to put their things in don’t ever go to that trunk or disturb those things in any wise without the special leave of your child. So by your wife. Any thing that she possesses or that you give her, never disturb that or take any thing that is hers without her leave. So [let?] the wife do by the Husband. Never disturb any thing that is his without his leave. So with children. They should never touch any thing that is their parents without their leave. I never opened a trunk belong[ing] to one of my wives in my life but once and that was to get a portrait to send to the States as I could not wait for her to return before the messenger left.

Then from your families let this principle go through your neighborhood and throughout the whole kingdom of God. Pay all men what you owe them. Fulfill your promises and if your Neighbor’s Horse, ox, Cow, or anything that He has is suffering by your door, feed it, and save its life as you would if it was your own. And then let your Neighbor’s woods, polls, fence, and evry thing He has got alone and let all of mine alone and I will yours. And in this way you will restore Confidence. Don’t trespass on any body but do right and the blessings of God will attend you.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

February 27, 1853


Sunday. I attended meeting. President Brigham Young preached and he presented some of the most [231] interesting and deepest principles ever presented to man on the earth. I had not paper and did not write them. The following are some of the items given:

In speaking of the privileges of this people He said the people should first perform evry known duty and not neglect them to enjoy any pleasure.

In speaking of dancing he said when the saints were taken up with the spirit of the fiddle and dancing and had not the spirit of God they were wrong and in the wrong road. A man should never go to a dance to the neglect of other Duties neither should he unless he Could have the spirit of God as well as in a prayer meeting.

He said some Elders would threaten to curse their wives if they did not obey him because he had the priesthood. He said the Curses of such men were of no force and the women need have no fears of it.

He said again some men had a desire to stick to the work because it made them kings and priests, so they Could sway a great septer and rule with a rod of Iron, and damn men here and curse them there,&c., and had not in view the principles of Justice, Jud[ge]ment, mercy, truth, &c., but they can not arise upon such principles. Even God himself, should He act upon this principle He would cease to be God, for the principles that Sustain him and his Throne would forsake him and he would cease to be God. For light and truth and evry other good principle cleaves unto itself And these all sustain the throne of God and He sustains them. He and all righteous men love the truth for the truth sake, and embrace it and maintain it because it is just and true, not because it gives them power to rule with a rod of Iron.

Some men want women sealed to them, at the same time they will steal my property. I want such men to go to Calafornia as soon as possible for they will go to Hell any how.

Who should have women sealed to them? Those men who have proved to God, Angels, and m[a/e?]n that they are willing to do any thing that God requires of them at the sacrafice of all their own private interests or feelings and have been faithful all the day long. Such should have women sealed to them for they will be saved. I have told the brethren that all good men might have this privilege [232] but they must be their own Judges. If men ask for this privilege and abuse it they sell their birth right like Esau. They cannot ever regain it in all Eternity. Men that have women sealed to them and abuse them, and turn them out doors, and treat lightly those sacred things given unto them, it will prove a Curse unto them. Then beware O ye people how ye treat the things of God that are Committed unto you. For many will wake up from an awful dream and find themselves wifeless and childless in the morning of the resurrection who thought they had possessions, for they will sceace to increase, and when they cease to increase they will decrease.

The difference between Christ and the devil is Christ will increase and the devil will decrease until Christ will have power to destroy death and him that hath the power of death which is the devil. Yes the devil will finally be destroyed and disorganized and will cease to exhist as a devil and the Elements of which he is composed will go back into its mother Element and the Devil will cease to be, and so will his Angels, and every thing that does not increase will decrease untill it will be disorganized and he expressed it as his opinions that there were many who had a tabernacle on Earth that would never have a resurrection. Many other interesting remarks were made by the speaker.



Restoration of the Priesthood

Elder Thomas James Bryceson

Millennial Star, March 5, 1853


I do not suppose there is any event predicted in the word of inspired truth, connected with the work of the last days, upon which so much misunderstanding exists, and which produces so little impression upon the minds of the human family, as the restoration of the Holy Priesthood; yet, at the same time, there is no subject more intimately connected and associated with the happiness, well-being, and eternal destiny of man, than this; as it is the right understanding and full appreciation of this matter that can alone lay a sure foundation for an eternal exaltation to honor, dignity, and power in the Kingdom of our God.

[233] When we come to the sacred page, and review the history of God’s dealings with His own peculiar people, we find there is no subject upon which the Lord has been more particular than this. Whenever He had a work to do–a nation to warn of impending judgments–or a covenant to enter into–it has always been through the channel of legitimate authority, which constitutes the Priesthood; and therefore we find, when all mankind had corrupted themselves before God, and He looked down from heaven, and saw that they had all gone out of the way, and that there was none that did good, no not one, He determined to destroy them, and sweep them off the earth, by bringing upon the same a flood of water. But previous to doing this, He raised up a righteous man, even Noah, endowed him with legitimate authority, and sent him with a message unto those people; and that message was just as binding as though God had come down from the eternal world, and proclaimed that message Himself unto them. Why so? Because Noah was endowed with authority, and clothed with the Priesthood; he stood in the place of God unto them, and his words would either prove a savior of life unto life, or of death unto death. They rejected him, God’s judgments came upon them, and that people’s history stands out in bold relief to future generations as a fearful example of the consequences of sin and unbelief.

Again, we find upon another occasion, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and told him that He would give unto him and his seed, the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession; that his seed should become innumerable as the sand by the sea-shore, or the stars in the heavens for number; that they should be strangers in a land that was not theirs; should serve a strange king; and that they should be evilly treated for four hundred years. After that the nation whom they served should be judged; and He would bring them out with great substance and wealth.–Gen. xv. When the time came for the fulfillment of this promise, the Lord appeared to Moses as he was tending his father-in-law’s sheep, in the land of Midian; told him that he was to be the personage to bring about this deliverance: and when Moses complained to the Lord, and told Him that he was a man of slow speech, the Lord reproved him, and told him to take Aaron his brother, [234] and Aaron should be to Moses instead of a mouth, and Moses should be to Aaron instead of God. This being the case, and the Priesthood or authority being thus conferred upon them–for be it remembered, the Lord sent them in His name, and name signifies authority–away they go unto Pharaoh. The history of that circumstance is too well known to need any comment. Suffice it to say, they were rejected, and in rejecting them, Pharaoh rejected Him whose servants they were, and who sent them; therefore the judgments of a sin-avenging God came upon that nation, and Pharaoh and his host perished quickly in the Red Sea.

From these and other circumstances which could be adduced, we discover, that when the Lord raises up an individual, and confers upon him authority, that authority or Priesthood causes the message to be binding upon those unto whom it is sent. But the world generally, more especially some religious portions of it, do not believe in any Priesthood; and so much are they at a loss to answer the question as to who hath required that which they do at their hands, they will resort to any subterfuge, and consequently tell us that the Priesthood was local; that it was confined to the tribe of Levi, and that it altogether ceased with the Temple sacrifice. To this I reply that there are two Priesthoods, the one called the Aaronic, the other called the Melchizedec. The former went by descent from father to son amongst the Levites. The latter was bestowed upon choice spirits who were called and chosen of the Lord: Before Melchizedec’s day, it was called the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. It existed in the eternal world before the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy, and will still continue to exist when this world has been purified, cleansed redeemed, and become the final abode and dwelling-place of the righteous in eternity. After Melchizedec’s day it was called by his name, to prevent the too frequent repetition of the Son of God’s name, because Melchizedec was such a great High Priest. Under the former Priesthood, the people attended to the ceremonial law–because of their transgression of the gospel, (Galatians iii),–which Paul tells us neither they nor their fathers were able to bear, and which never could have [235] made the comers thereunto perfect, or brought them the blessing of eternal life.

Both orders of Priesthood existed under the Gospel dispensation. John the Baptist held the Aaronic, because he was a literal descendant of Aaron; our Savior held the Melchizedec. The inspired Psalmist in the one hundredth and tenth Psalm, says, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent; thou (Messiah) art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” The order of Melchizedec was after the power of an endless life; and how could that which was endless and eternal be dispensed with or cease?

Not only did the Savior hold this Priesthood, but He conferred the same upon His Apostles. Hear His own words, ye that despise the Priesthood and lift up the puny arm of rebellion against the work of God: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”–John xiii. 18. How was Jesus sent? By the Father, clothed with the Priesthood’s power. How were the Apostles sent? They were sent by Jesus, the same as He was sent by His Father; therefore they, as a matter of necessity, must have held the Melchizedec Priesthood. Besides, our Savior said unto them, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” What is the ordination here spoken of? It is placing upon them authority to enable them to administer the ordinances of life and salvation, so that what they bound on earth was bound in heaven; and this because they held binding and sealing power, which pertains exclusively to the Priesthood. Perfection and exaltation to life eternal never could have come by the Aaronic Priesthood, and therefore the Melchizedec Priesthood, with all its attendant blessings, had to stand up to regulate and control the Aaronic, and bring the Saints to perfection.

But why talk of the restoration of the Priesthood to this age? I answer, the Gospel could not exist without it. Under the old dispensation, authority was necessary to administer the ordinances; and the stranger who came nigh to attend the altar was to be put to death. And although the law was changed, the necessity of authority to administer remained the same under the new as well as [236] under the old. No man, saith the Apostle taketh this honor upon himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron. A man may lawfully desire this honor, but if he presumes to take upon himself authority without being called, as was Aaron, by new revelation, he will most certainly be counted a rebel and traitor to the government of God.

Now this Priesthood has been lost from the earth through Gentile apostasy and transgression, and thereby a necessity was created for its restoration, that the Gospel might be preached, and a people prepared to receive the Messiah when He shall come in glory and power. This restoration is clearly predicted in the Scriptures of truth.

Isaiah says, in his xl. chapter, “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God.” This comforting language is to be addressed to the Jews, by the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This language and mission is addressed by the inspired writers to John the Baptist, and although the Savior said that John was the Elias who was to come, yet he put in the little words, “if ye will receive him” Well! The Jews would not receive him, but rejected him the same as they did the Messiah; and therefore the time had not come for this comforting language to be sounded in the ears of the children of Israel; a long dispersion awaited them; they were to be cast under the feet of the Gentiles until the fullness of the Gentiles come in; they were to become a hiss, a by-word, and a proverb among all nations; and consequently John’s mission did not cease with the first coming of the Messiah, but extended to that period of time when “the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple,” and when every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. John the Baptist came forth in this the dispensation of the fullness of times in the capacity of a ministering angel, and laid his hands upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and said, “Upon you my brethren, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, * * * and this shall never be taken from off the earth until the [237] sons of Levi do offer again an offering in righteousness.” But as this Priesthood cannot administer all the ordinances of God’s kingdom, it was necessary for the Melchizedec Priesthood to be brought back also, which was done by Peter, James, and John, who conferred it upon others, so that it was not derived from a corrupt source, through popes and bishops in apostate and corrupt Rome, but by revelation direct from the eternal worlds.

But, says the objector, how can we know this to be true? We did not see the Angel thus descend! Besides which, we have been given to understand that the human family were never to be again blessed with the ministering of angels. To this I reply, that man’s faith or belief has very little to do with God’s word; the people of God always were blessed with the ministration of angels both under the new as well as under the old dispensation. Angels often made their appearance to comfort, bless, and instruct the human family, and reveal unto them the mind and will of Jehovah, and thus unfold to them His purposes in reference to the future; and upon one occasion John the beloved Apostle, while on the isle of Patmos, was going to worship one, but he said, “See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, &c.;” and Paul sets the matter forever at rest by telling us that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. And I am bold to affirm that nothing less than apostasy and transgression would have done away with these things which ever pertained to the Saints of the Most High, and which constituted them a peculiar people in the eyes of all the world. But there is an infallible rule given unto us whereby we can demonstrate the truth of this restoration, and prove the fact to the minds of every honest individual who will take the trouble to investigate the same. Says the Savior, “A tree is known by its fruits.” Now if you wished to be determined in your own mind whether a tree is a plum or a peach tree, how would you proceed? Would you ask how many persons were present to behold the process of sowing the seed, or how long it had been growing? No; you would proceed to the tree and examine it for yourself, and determine its character by the fruit it bore. Do precisely the same with the Priesthood.

[238] In ancient times the fruits of legitimate authority were, faith, wisdom, knowledge, discernment of spirits, power to work miracles, prophecy, the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of those tongues; these blessings were the results of the Spirit of God being with men in certainty and power, as it ever attends the true Priesthood. The like cause will produce the like effect in all ages of the world.

Reader, try the experiment. He that will do my will, says the Savior, shall know of my doctrine, whether it be of God. You cannot claim this knowledge only through the principle of obedience. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, be baptized for the remission of the same, enjoy the Holy Ghost through the legally appointed channel, and you will know that the Latter-day Saints are in possession of the Priesthood, and that its teachings are binding upon every son and daughter of Adam, from the river to the end of the earth, and that it alone can raise you to honor and glory ineffable, celestial, and eternal. (Mill. Star 15:102-105)



To the Saints Scattered Throughout

the United States and British Provinces–Greeting

First Epistle of Orson Pratt (from the Seer)

Millennial Star, March 19, 1853


Dear Brethren,–Having been appointed by the First Presidency, with the sanction of a Special Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Great Salt Lake City on the 28th of August, 1852, to preside over the Saints throughout the United States and British Provinces in North America; in accordance therewith, I have left my family and my home in the peaceful vales of the mountains; and, after crossing the wild desert plains which intervene between the happy land of the Saints and the Gentile lands of strife and wickedness, I find myself within the field of my mission.

That the Saints may more fully learn the nature of my mission among them, I will insert the following:–

(Here follows Elder Pratt’s “Letter of Appointment,” which may be found in The Star No. 3, page 42.)

The principal features of my mission are contained in the foregoing letter; but ever feeling a deep interest in [239] the welfare of the Saints, you will permit me, through the medium of this Epistle, to impart to you such instructions as the Holy Spirit may whisper to my mind. I wish to ask the Saints who still remain scattered abroad, Do you enjoy as great a measure of the Spirit of God as when you were first baptized into this Kingdom? Or, are your minds barren? Your understandings unfruitful? Your souls in darkness? And your feelings cold and indifferent towards the great work which you have embraced, and which once made you joyful and happy? If this be your condition, it is of the utmost importance that you know the causes of these unhappy changes in your feelings. Is it because the Lord has changed, and forgotten to be gracious? Is it because the fullness of His Gospel does not produce the same effects or happiness now, as it did in ancient times? Is it because the Book of Mormon, or any of the Revelations given through Joseph the Seer, have failed to accomplish those purposes for which they were sent? Is it because the Saints have passed through great tribulation, and have been driven from city to city, from state to state, and finally banished from this great Republic to seek a home in the wild glens of the Rocky Mountains? Is it because God has forsaken His people, and will no longer show them mercy? No, verily, no; none of these causes have conspired to drive away the Comforter from your hearts, or to envelope you in darkness, or to make you cold, and indifferent, and unhappy. But the principal cause of your unpleasant and unhappy state of mind, is your own disobedience to one of the most important commands which God has given to His people in this last dispensation, namely: to flee out of Babylon, and gather themselves together, and stand in holy places, that they may escape the plagues and desolating scourges which the Lord has decreed to pour out upon the nations, because of their great sins and wickedness which continually cry unto the heavens for vengeance. Can any Saint neglect so important a command, when it is within their power to keep it, and still be justified and retain the peaceable Spirit of the Lord? No; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved with such, and will, by degrees, withdraw from them, and they will grope in the dark, and be liable to be overcome by temptation, and be led captive by the will of the Devil: [240] such ones, not having the Spirit that leads into all truth, are liable to be deceived by the doctrines of men and Devils; for the Lord will frequently suffer strong delusions to overpower such, that their damnation may be the greater, because they profess to know the Lord, and yet will not obey Him. Remember the word of the Lord which came by the mouth of Joseph the Seer, saying, “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not, will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.” Have you hearkened to the word of God? Have you exerted yourselves to the utmost to flee from Babylon? If not, no wonder that you are in darkness–no wonder that the peaceable Spirit has been grieved from your bosom. Repent, therefore, speedily, and obey the voice of the Lord, and gather yourselves among His people, lest the destroyer lay hold upon you in an hour you think not, and you perish in disobedience, and your name be cut off from the generations of Zion. If you will awake from the slumber of death, which has seized upon you, and use every exertion to obey the voice of the Lord your God, His anger shall be turned away from you, and He will show you mercy, and His Spirit shall be restored unto you again, and His hand shall be stretched out over you to shield and protect you, and to gather you even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings to save them from the approaching storms; so shall the Lord your God save you, and comfort your hearts, and make you to sing with joy and gladness, and you shall be His people, and He will be the Lord your God. Awake then, O awake! Flee to the mountains for refuge! For a day of trouble is at hand–a day of fierce battle and war–a day of mourning and lamentation for widows and orphans whose husbands and fathers shall fall in battle: it shall be the day of the Lord’s controversy for His people–a day of recompense of the innocent blood of Prophets and Saints, which has been shed among this nation.

The time is drawing nigh for these things to be fulfilled; for this nation has rejected the Book of Mormon, which the Lord brought forth by the ministering of Angels, and sent unto them by the hands of His servants; they [241] have rejected the Church of Christ, which the Lord God in mercy established in their midst; they have suffered His Saints to be trampled upon by mobs, to be scourged, afflicted, abused, driven from their homes, deprived of the most sacred rights of American citizenship, and finally to be banished from their midst, and obliged to seek refuge in the solitary wilds and deserts of the Rocky Mountains. They have closed their doors, their synagogues, their eyes, and their hearts against one of the most glorious and important messages that ever saluted the ears of mortals; they have suffered one of the greatest, most renowned, and most celebrated Prophets that ever lived upon the earth to be murdered in cold blood, without bringing the murderers to justice; they have suffered scores of innocent men, women, and children to be tortured, shot down, and butchered, in open day, by beings who afterward boasted of their horrid deeds; and yet, no means are instituted to bring these guilty wretches to punishment. Does not the blood of the Saints and of Prophets cry aloud to the heavens for vengeance? And shall this nation escape the judgments decreed against them? And will the Almighty forbear to execute the vengeance written? Verily, no; for in December, 1833, the word of the lord came through Joseph, the Seer, concerning His Saints who had been driven from their homes in Jackson county, Missouri, saying:–

“Let them importune at the feet of the judge; and if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor; and if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president; and if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of His hiding place, and in His fury vex the nation, and in His hot displeasure, and in His fierce anger, in His time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites and unbelievers, even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Pray ye, therefore, that their ears may be opened unto your cries, that I may be merciful unto them, that these things may not come upon them.” (Doctrine and Covenants, page 282, English edition.)

[242] For nineteen years the Saints have importuned, according to this commandment. But have they obtained redress? No. The Judges and the Governor of the State of Missouri, instead of redressing our wrongs, suffered us, under the force of arms, to be killed, immured in dungeons, and banished from the State. The President, instead of restoring us to our homes and lands, which we purchased of the National Government, suffered us to be deprived of the dearest rights of American Citizenship, and to be banished by the force of arms from this great Republic, to seek refuge among hostile savages in the barren wastes of the snowy mountains. The cries and importunities of the Saints for redress and protection, were met with the cold reply, “Your cause is just, but we have no power to protect you.”

The Saints have long cried unto the Lord that He would open the ears and soften the hearts of the Rulers and Authorities of our country, that they might execute justice and right in behalf of the suffering, down-trodden, exiled citizens of this great Republic, who have been, by the force of arms, driven into banishment. But their ears are closed to our cries, their eyes are shut to our sufferings, and their hearts hardened against the mourning and lamentations of widows and orphans whose husbands and fathers have been cruelly martyred for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God. The cup of the iniquity of this nation is nearly full; and woe unto them when the time shall come that they are fully ripe in their abominations, for they shall utterly perish from off the face of this choice land, and the land shall be left empty and desolate–yea, their cities shall be destroyed, and their houses shall be desolate. “For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim; He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.” (Isaiah xxviii, 21) Yea, He shall destroy and lay waste, and none shall hinder.

I will again say to the Saints scattered abroad in this land, do you wish deliverance in the day of trouble? If you do, arise and flee to the mountains, and prepare for the day of the Lord, for it is near. Let all the children of Zion go up unto the mountains; for thus said the Prophet [243] Isaiah, in his prophetic exhortation to the Zion of the last days, “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain.” For, “behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” (Isaiah xl. 9-11.) Isaiah clearly saw that, before the second coming of the Lord, to rule “with strong hand,” Zion would be required to “get up into the high mountain.”

Many of the children of Zion have fulfilled this exhortation of Isaiah; and I now say to the balance of her children, “Get thee up into the high mountains,”and sanctify yourselves, that you may be as an ensign upon the mountains–a standard for the people, unto whom the meek and virtuous of all nations shall flow. For thus said the Prophet Isaiah, “He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah xi. 12.) This ensign, remember, was not to be set up in Palestine, where Isaiah lived at the time he delivered the prophecy, but it was to be set up “from afar,” or at a great distance from that country: hence he says, again, “and he will lift up an ensign to the nations from afar, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and behold, they shall come with speed swiftly,” (Isaiah v. 26.) Four things are clearly predicted in this passage: First, an ensign is to be lifted up to the nations by the Lord Himself; secondly, this ensign was to be lifted up, not in the country where Isaiah dwelt, but in a far country; thirdly, when this ensign should be set up, the Lord should hiss unto the nations, not from Palestine, but “from the ends of the earth,” clearly indicating a message that should hiss forth from that distant country for the benefit of all nations; and lastly, a people from among these nations should “come with speed swiftly,” not by the slow process of traveling to which the ancients were accustomed, but “they shall come with speed swiftly,” indicating, no doubt, the powerful agency of steam, by which that people should be gathered from among the nations speedily, swiftly, unto the standard or ensign lifted up. This standard or ensign was not to be [244] raised among Judah or Israel, but among the Gentile, for the benefit of both Israel and Judah; for then, as Isaiah says in the foregoing quotation, both Israel and Judah will be gathered. That this standard was to be raised among the Gentiles, instead of Israel, is clearly predicted in another passage, as follows:–“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.” (Isaiah xlix. 22.) That this standard or ensign was not only to be set up by the Lord God, among the Gentiles, but that it was also to be lifted up on the mountains, is also predicted by Isaiah as follows:–“All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, SEE YE, WHEN HE LIFTETH UP AN ENSIGN ON THE MOUNTAINS; and when He bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of Hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out, and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts, the Mount Zion.” (Isaiah xviii. 3, 5, 6, 7.) The place, then, for the lifting up of the ensign, is to be “on the mountains,” and that, too, just before “the harvest,” or the end of the wicked world, when the Lord is to destroy a certain nation under the name of the sour grape, and they are to be left unburied for the fowls and beasts to summer and winter upon them. It will be perceived also, that “all the inhabitants of the world, and the dwellers on the earth,” are called upon to both see and hear, when the Lord lifts up that ensign on the mountains.

Under a deep sense of the important events which await this generation, I beg of Zion to bear with me, while I repeat again the prophetic exhortation of Isaiah: — “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain.” Tarry not, lest you fall among the wicked, and [245] are deprived of the blessings which the Lord has decreed to pour out upon Zion.

That Zion was to occupy an elevated position on the earth, is still further evident from the word of the Lord which came through Joseph the Seer, in September, 1831, saying:–“Behold, I, the Lord, have made my Church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a HILL, OR IN A HIGH PLACE, to judge the nations; for it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion: And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not Apostles and Prophets shall be known. And even the Bishop, who is a judge, and his Counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships, shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead; for behold, I say unto you, that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her, and she shall be an Ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven. And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen.” (Doctrine and Covenants, page 156.)

In this extract the Lord predicted that Zion should “be an Ensign unto the people,” “sitting on a hill or in a High Place,” and that she should flourish. In another revelation, given through Joseph the Seer, to James Coville, in January, 1831, the Lord says, “Thou art called to labor in my vineyard, and to build up my Church, and to bring forth Zion, that it may rejoice upon the HILLS and flourish.” (Doc. and Cov., page 212.) And in March, 1831, the word of the Lord again came unto Joseph the Seer, saying, “Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites (meaning the American Indians) shall blossom as the rose. Zion shall flourish upon the hills, and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.” (Page 218.) Thus we see that twenty-two years ago, it was foretold in great plainness that Zion should flourish and rejoice upon the hills and mountains: when these prophecies were given, we did not know, for many years, how nor when the Lord intended to fulfill them; but fifteen years after the prediction, the Lord [246] suffered our enemies to rise against us, and we were driven by the force of arms from these States, and were obliged to flee to the mountains for refuge; thus, in an unexpected manner, Zion is placed in her appropriate position, and is truly beginning to flourish and rejoice upon the hills and mountains, according to the predictions of Joseph the Prophet, and according to many predictions of the ancient Prophets. Oh, how wonderful are the dealings of God with His people! And how marvelously does He fulfill the words of inspiration! Though the Heavens and Earth pass away, yet the word of the Lord spoken through Joseph the Seer, shall not pass away, but every jot and tittle that has not already come to pass, shall be fulfilled in its time and season. (Mill. Star 15:177-181)



Wilford Woodruff Journal

March 20, 1853


Sunday. I attended meeting. P.P. Pratt Preached. Was followed by David Whitmore. Brother Pratt Preached upon the first Principles of the gospel. Said the Ancient prophets had a knowledge of the gospel and of Jesus Christ and bore testimony of him And the Apostles were called to preach it to the nations. I always was Anxious to have the same gospel esstablished in my day. A methodist once asked me if I did not rejoice to see that denomination prosper so. I told him no. I said I wished that denomination and all others would come down. He asked why. I said so The Church of Christ might be built up in its stead.

I had a man a few days since come to me with a flying Roll from Gladden Bishop and wished to teach me. I heard him awhile. I then asked him if He believed Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and set up the Kingdom of God on the Earth and ordained Twelve Apostles to build up that kingdom in all the world. He said He did. I then told him, as I was one of those Twelve Apostles, that I should be damned if I was not in a situation to Judge him and all other men that I come in contact with whether their work was of God or the Devil; And I know your Roll and work is of the Devil and not of God, while you say I shall be damned if I don’t receive it.

[247] We know the Lord is with the leaders of this people. We know through the wisdom which God has given President Young he has fed and preserved this people in the wilderness and on other places and has done well. We know he has done well and that He is the good shepherd that feeds the flock. A true shepherd does not stand in need of telling the flock all the time that He is the good [shepherd] for the flock knows it without being told of it.



Wilford Woodruff Journal

March 24, 1853


Sunday. Meeting was Addressed this morning by Brother Clawson and was followed by President Young. He said it was a common thing for the Elders to remark that they did not feel like teaching or speaking here in the Tabernacle to the people. This may be excusable in them for I have been schooled in this class a long time, yet I want to say to the Elders when you get up here pour out what is in you, and if you have Errors pour them out and let me correct you, for this is the place to be corrected. Let out all the doctrine that is in you [as you] do in the wards meetings, there you will teach the people your Doctrine whether true or false but in this stand you are as still and dark as night.

Prophets and Apostles and all the saints are edefyed when they hear an Elder preach by the spirit of God. The Devil would strive to make you believe that you could not preach and He would take all of the spirit of God from you if he could. I will tell you what the Lord and the prophets and Apostles want of all of the Elders and that is that you live in such a manner that you may be filled with fire so that you can preach or pray and be filled with … <no ending>



The Measure of Creation

John Jaques

Millennial Star, March 26, 1853


When God creates anything, He creates it for some specific purpose–and when it accomplishes that purpose, it fulfills the measure of its creation.

[248] When God created this earth, He had a definite purpose in view. Finding Himself the Father of multitudes of bodiless spirits, He organized the materials of which this world is composed, into a habitable globe, that those spirits might take to themselves fleshly bodies upon it–work out a short probation in the midst of evil, that they might learn to properly appreciate and enjoy the good–and, if they proved themselves worthy, reside upon it eternally when their bodies and it were immortalized.

The Almighty did not send them all to work out their probation upon the earth at one and the same time, but, first forming, from the dust of the ground, a male body, and afterwards forming a female one from the male, He ordained that these two should generate, from their own loins, other bodies for other spirits, who, in turn, were to follow the same example–that, by successive generation, all the spirits that He designed should dwell on this globe, might be provided with bodies, and thus have the privilege of working out their probation, and proving whether they were worthy to receive more glorious bodies, and eternal inheritances upon this earth after their probatory state came to an end.

As the period of the probatory residence of these beings upon the earth, though a short one, is one of suffering and woe, tribulation and anguish, finished by a painful dissolution of the body, and as the Scriptures assure us that, after their probatory state, all these spirits who are worthy, are to receive an eternal residence here, in the enjoyment of the highest and most ecstatic bliss, the question may be asked–Why did not the Almighty Himself create bodies for all the spirits, and send them upon the earth at one and the same time, and thus shorten the period of probation and suffering, and hasten the period of exaltation and enjoyment? Two reasons appear conspicuous.

First–If he had done so, it would have been productive of disorder–so many beings entering on a new state of existence, having new sensations and feelings, and being destitute of all experience in the exercise of the same, might have run into endless excesses, unless they had the personal teaching of the Father of their spirits, to impart to them a competent knowledge of their true [249] position, that they might ever keep in view the great end for which they received their bodies; for though God can delegate His power to others, yet He did not do so in the creation. Now if so many millions of beings on this earth had required the personal instructions of the Almighty, at one time, they would have engrossed His personal attention so completely as to have withdrawn it from others of His children, who might have been awaiting His organization of worlds in other parts of His vast dominions, where they might work out their probations–or the set times for new dispensations or restitutions in other worlds, might have arrived ere He had given personal instructions to one hundredth part of the spirits pertaining to this world. The Almighty has so many worlds to look after, that Scripture informs us of very few individuals, indeed, who have received personal instructions from Him. He may be personally present at the opening and close of the probatory state of a world, and He may pay a visit to the opener of a dispensation and speak face to face with him, as He did to Moses, but His Family of spirits is too numerous for Him to personally instruct all of them during their probation. By creating bodies for one pair of spirits, Himself, and instructing them personally, and sending the other spirits in succession to receive bodies by generation, and enjoining upon the earthly parents to properly instruct their earthly children, all the beings can receive the necessary instruction, and all profit by the experience of their predecessors.

Second–By the spirits taking bodies through successive generation, connections are formed which infuse sensations of mutual dependence, love, and gratitude; and which constitute a grand connecting chain that holds them together in enduring bonds, and proves a great preventative of disorder, confusion, and strife.

As God has appointed generation to be the means whereby spirits should receive fleshy bodies, we naturally conclude that the procreation of their species is one of the greatest and most important laws binding upon the human family. And as God created this earth to be the residence of man, and organized it in such a manner that it was capable of producing all things necessary for his sustenance, comfort, and happiness during his probatory [250] state, we also conclude that another of the greatest duties devolving upon the human family is to spread themselves abroad upon the earth, and cultivate it, and supply themselves with every necessary and comfort during their sojourn here. And we conclude mightily in this matter, for the first great commandment, pertaining to this world, given to man, was “to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Gen. i, 28.

All men and women, then, on arriving at maturity, if they have the power and are not commanded otherwise, are under a responsibility to procreate their species upon the earth, not by promiscuous connection, but according to the law of God. And all human traditions, customs, usages, laws, and enactments, that prevent men and women doing this, are in violation of this great responsibility. Whilst so many spirits are eagerly waiting to be clothed upon with earthly bodies, it is wrong in any man or woman to conduct themselves in such a manner as to delay the probation of any of the spirits. But it is a notorious fact that multitudes of men and women fail to fulfill the royal law of increase–some by refusing or forbidding marriage–some by disabling their systems through extreme lust–and some by abortively destroying the fruit of their loins. These things are exceedingly prevalent amongst modern nations, and they produce an incalculable amount of disorder, wretchedness, and woe. Indeed, most of the evils which prevail in the world at the present time are the result of the violation, for centuries on centuries, of the command to increase, and replenish the earth. Any man that could lead a nation to rightly observe this great command, would prove himself one of the greatest of preachers, philosophers, and statesmen of the age, because that nation would be fulfilling the measure of man’s creation, and, as far as the influence of that nation would extend, the earth too would be fulfilling the measure of its creation.

The artificial state of society at the present time, prevents many from procreating their species as soon as they otherwise would, and debars some from doing it at all. Persons of limited means are expected to make a certain “appearance” which their income is wholly inadequate to justify, but if they do not sustain the [251] “appearance,” they must lose caste, and, perhaps, the little income they do realize also–and thus they are diverted from fulfilling a fundamental law, and their means are wasted on outside show. Some, from pride, endeavor to appear finer, give more splendid parties, keep larger establishments, and sport more gaudy equipages, than their neighbors. The children brought up with these examples before them continually, feel exceedingly fearful to “commit matrimony” until they have some prospect of keeping up the show, and in finer style, too, if possible, than their parents do. Some, from uncertainty of sufficiently remunerative employment, whereby they can hope to maintain a family, postpone marriage for years; and, some from the same cause, never have the fortune or the courage to contract it at all. Most of these evils are the result of overpopulation–which is caused by bodies of men and women congregating in particular spots of the earth, and refusing to spread abroad upon its face to replenish it–and the absence of pure laws to regulate such a state of society. Indeed, the law of increase can not be fully fulfilled unless men do obey the other great law to replenish the earth–and to do this, they must scatter themselves upon its surface. The Almighty knew that the first of these laws could not be magnified independent of the other, and therefore He coupled them together when He first gave them unto man, as a sign that one was imperfect without the other, and that He intended them to go hand in hand.

Not only have the nations of the earth violated the law of increase, but many governments have enacted laws restricting their subjects from spreading themselves abroad upon the face of the earth, and replenishing it–forbidding them, upon pain of certain penalties, to quit the land that gave them birth. In all nations, the people have strong feelings in favor of the place of their earthly nativity–this feeling is not to be despised, providing it be not so strong as to cause them to disobey any of the laws of God. So powerful is this feeling in many people, that they cannot endure the thought of journeying to a strange country. It does not appear that the Patriarchs of old gave way to such a feeling, for many of them sojourned in strange lands, and Abraham went, by the direction of God, [252] he knew not whither. But this may be accounted for–the Patriarchs knew the purposes of God and respected His laws whilst the modern nations neither understand His purposes nor appreciate His laws. The Saints, however, are learning better, and accordingly we find them leaving the country of their birth, by hundreds and thousands, and spreading themselves upon vacant portions of the earth, to replenish it, that they may be sustained while they magnify the law of increase in such a full and hearty manner as will astonish the world, and render them justified in the sight of God. But the love of fatherland burns so deeply, even in the bosom of the Saints, that they often can exclaim–


Oh! were it not Jehovah’s voice,

Waking the nations from their sleep,

In mercy bids His Saints arise,

And journey o’er the mighty deep;

But for this thought–Should I neglect

God’s counsel, He will me reject,

Nor stay His swift avenging arm

When direful judgments spread alarm;

Flatt’ring as all the visions are

Of competence in climes afar,

I could not break the magic spell

To bid my native land farewell!


Although many of the human family do not procreate their species so fast as they would do providing the state of society were different, yet the desire of the sexes for each other–which the Lord wisely planted in their bosoms as an incentive to their obeying His law–still burns within them, and many give full scope to it. As they cannot do this legally without marriage, and as marriage would naturally bring on the responsibility of offspring, which must be provided for, illicit intercourse is the alternative. To afford further facilities for this practice, in most if not all of the large cities and towns of the civilized world, there exists a class of females whose profession is to yield their persons to promiscuous intercourse. Doubtless many if not most of these persons originally fell in the snare of the heartless seducer. In [253] London, the public prostitute class is variously estimated at from thirty thousand to one hundred thousand. If that city contain such a fearful number of persons who live in such a state, what must be the aggregate number of public prostitutes in the whole civilized world. To say nothing of the vast amount of private intrigue and prostitution, what a depth of depravity is here displayed! What an awful recklessness of the consequences of violating the law of God! What a prodigal waste of human seed! Surely the fierce anger of the Father of spirits is kindled against His disobedient children upon the earth, and will fall upon them without measure unless they repent and obey His laws.

Men imagine that crowding together vast masses of human beings on small spots of the earth, and building up monster cities where the wealthy can roll in all the splendor and magnificence which the collected skill and the competition of these masses can afford, whilst the majority are cooped up in filthy dens of pestiferous courts and alleys–men imagine that this constitutes human greatness and prosperity. Most egregious mistake! “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, by the end thereof are the ways of death.” Human greatness and prosperity consist in keeping the laws of God, and so fulfilling the measure of creation.

Look at that young woman with pale and haggard countenance and emaciated frame, stitching shirts by the gloomy glimmer of the rushlight, for a mere acknowledgment. How does she live? She barely exists. Can she fulfill the measure of her creation by procreating her species? If she do, it must be in the deepest poverty, or at the expense of purity and virtue, for her male acquaintance are too poor or too vile to think of honorable marriage. Were she properly provided with the comforts or even necessaries of life, and honorably united to the man of her choice, her pale and hollow cheeks would give place to the bloom and fullness of vigorous womanhood; and doubtless, within twelve months, in place of deep-drawn sighs and faltering speech, she would be making her husband’s habitation ring with her “extravagant and hyperbolical encomiums” on the first innocent pledge of their mutual affection. Were it possible [254] for her and one of her sober male acquaintances to be suddenly transplanted to a new country, where they might freely “replenish the earth,” comfort and happiness would be the result of their complying with the command to “be fruitful and multiply;” but, so long as they are imprisoned in a dingy court or alley of a Christian city, they cannot “replenish the earth,” and if they do “be fruitful and multiply,” they must do it in the midst of the most abject poverty, and consequent heart-rending wretchedness, or in the midst of crime.

Wherever large cities abound, there seduction, adultery, prostitution, and every conceivable violation of the law of increase, may be found–and, as the cities grow in density of population, these evils increase, because the greater part of the inhabitants of these cities ought to be cultivating the earth, and they are not engaged in that work. All the efforts of the nations to stem the torrents of evil amongst them, will be futile, so long as some spots of the earth are so densely populated, and others remain in primitive solitude. As if to spur mankind on to “replenish the earth,” and as consequence of their neglecting to do it, the Almighty has wisely ordained that the hand of tyranny and oppression should fall in a great measure upon those who fail to obey this law–while, at the same time, a corresponding degree of liberty and happiness should rest upon those who magnify it. To leave the thickly populated cities that gave them birth, and to “replenish the earth,” though solely induced to it by the shining gold of Australia or California, is vastly preferable to dragging out a miserable existence in the paternal chimney corner; for by and bye the gold frenzy is over, the people settle down, cultivate the soil, and multiply their species. Where gold is the sole cause of the dispersion of bodies of men over previously vacant portions of the earth, a much greater amount of liberty and happiness is enjoyed by those who quit their native land with the express God-like purpose of settling and cultivating new portions of the earth, and securing, for themselves and their posterity, inheritances whereon they may, without fear of starvation, “be fruitful and multiply.”

[255] The nations have been following the imaginations of their own hearts, for centuries, but God has taken matters in hand now. Men have disobeyed the laws of God with perfect impunity, but He has now arisen to call the world to account, and put an end to wickedness and the seed of evil doers. He now requires men to obey His laws without trifling, and His people to fulfill the measure of their creation. He has now commanded them to raise up a righteous seed unto Him, and if they do not, His judgments will be upon them, and they will not escape. When God gives a talent or privilege to the sons of men, He likes to see it used for the advancement of His glory. He has given a talent to many of the sons of men–they have hid it in a napkin, or abused it. Now He will take the one talent from them, and give it to them that have ten talents. He gave men and women the power and privilege to increase their kind. They have done so in a measure, but not to anything like the extent they might have done. He gave them the power and privilege to “replenish the earth.” They have cultivated it to some extent, but to nothing like the extent they might have done, for they have made many parts of it little less than sinks of iniquity, which will require the fervent heat of the day of the Lord to purify again.

He gave men a commandment to generate bodies for the numerous spirits waiting for their probation, but many have abused the privilege. Now He is about to take it away from them and give it to whom He will. He gave this earth as a vineyard to be replenished by the children of men, but many of them have eaten and drunken, and have smitten their fellow-servants, and neglected the vineyard. He will shortly come and slay those wicked husbandmen, and give the vineyard to others.

We have seen that the great object of the devil and wicked men is to prevent or destroy life. Now we may learn that the great object of the Lord and all good men is to increase and multiply life. As there are doubtless many spirits waiting to be clothed upon with bodies–as God is about to remove many of the male sex from the earth, by judgments, for their wickedness in neglecting to keep His commands–and as He designs to make a short work upon the earth in the latter days we may naturally– conclude that He will require every deserving man and woman [256] living upon the face of the earth, after they have arrived at proper maturity, to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth”–and this cannot be done except upon the ancient order of plurality of wives, which the Lord has seen fit to restore in these last days. The day may reasonably be anticipated when every man among God’s people will have a wife, if he deserve one, and every woman a husband, and all the adult inhabitants of Zion will obey the command to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Then “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose”–“then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together”–then “corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids”–then shall be heard “the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endureth for ever; and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the House of the Lord”–then shall seduction, and fornication, and adultery, and whoredom, and poverty, and wretchedness, have no place in Zion–then shall a prostitute not be found in the land–then shall the mother no more destroy the fruit of her womb–but the earth shall be replenished, and, with its inhabitants, fulfill the end for which is was created. (Mill. Star 15:193-197)





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